Religion / A Brief History of Religions and Religious Beliefs in Puerto Rico
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Mita house, Arecibo
In the mid-twentieth century different religions such as JudaismJudaism: Religion based on the laws of Moses, an Israeli prophet, that is characterized by monotheism and by the expectation of the arrival of the Messiah, the son of God., HinduismHinduism: Predominant religion in India, derived from Vedantism and ancient Brahmanism. The supreme aspiration of a Hindu is union with Brahman, the pinnacle of goodness and happiness. Followers of the religion believe in reincarnation as a means of achieving perfection., Islamislam: Monotheistic religion founded by the Arab prophet Mohammed, whose dogma and precepts are collected in the Koran., and BuddhismBuddhism: Philosophical and religious doctrine derived from Brahmanism, founded in India in the 6th century by the prophet Siddhartha Gautama or Buddha. came to the island. The first Jewish synagogue in Puerto Rico was the Jewish Community Center of Puerto Rico, established in 1942. It is a Conservative synagogue located in Miramar since 1953. A Jewish Reform community was also established on the island in 1967.

Religious institutions and groups that do not belong to traditional churches have also flourished. Most of these are Christian, but many are not considered properly Christian. These include the Jehovah's Witnesses, the Seventh-day Adventists, the Mormons or the Church of Jesus Christ of the Latter Day Saints, and the Mita Congregationcongregation: An association of people for purposes of worship or charity.. The latter, which originated in Puerto Rico, was founded in 1940 by Juanita García Peraza in Arecibo.
During the 1960s, a period in which there was a philosophical revolution against the established order exemplified by the hippies. The origins of this revolution was a growing distrust of authority and the inability of social institutions to satisfy people's needs in all facets of social life. This brought with it the introduction of new religious practices associated with Hinduism, transcendental meditation, esoteric movements, and the New Age. In 1968, Jiddu Krishnamurti, a Hinduist leader, established the Latin American center of his organization called Krishnamurti Hispanic American Foundation in Puerto Rico.

In the 1970s there was a resurgence of charismatic Protestant revivalist groups, especially Pentecostals, preaching a message of the end of our days. This was part of a tendency that began with the arrival of Pentecostalism in 1916, which had an outbreak of popularity in the 1930s, and has lasted to this day. In this resurgence, religious sects that were founded by persons who were not part of traditional Protestant religious institutions proliferated. A religious event know as "Clamor to God" began to held in this decade The massive demonstration of different Protestant denominations and thousands of followers has had an important social and political impact on the agendas of the country.

Very important religious figures visited Puerto Rico at the end of the twentieth century and the beginning of the twenty-first century. Pope John Paul II was received by hundreds of thousands of pilgrims on October 12, 1984. Twenty year later, on September 23, 2004, the Dalai Lama of Tibet, Tenzin Gyatso, also came to the island to bring his message of peace.

In that same year (2004), the Ecumenical and Inter-religious Coalition of Puerto Rico was founded. This organization, which includes Christian religious leaders, such as Catholics, Lutherans, Episcopals, Methodists, Disciples of ChristDisciples of Christ: Christian denomination founded by Thomas and Alexander Campbell in the United States in the early 19th century., and Baptists, as well as Muslims, began as a Christian organization created to work in favor of the withdrawal of the US Navy from the island of Vieques. The purpose of the Ecumenical and Inter-religious Coalition of Puerto Rico is to foster peace and the common good of Puerto Rican society by facilitating the dialogue among the different sectors of the country and working towards a consensus with regard to issues that affect civil society.

At this time, Christianity is the principal religious current in Puerto Rico, including the Catholic and Protestant denominations. Protestant churches continue to grow, while a diversity of currents and spiritual expressions that are not part of traditional ecclesiastical institutions have come on to the religious scenario. These new expressions coexist with traditional religious beliefs. The new expressions of spirituality are oriented to individuality and address the inner search for a sense of the divine.

Autor: Grupo Editorial EPRL
Published: September 16, 2014.

Page: 1, 2, 3, 4,

Version: 08100302 Rev. 1
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