The Theory of Evolution and Evangelicalism in Brazil
Brazil, the 5th biggest country in the world and still the number one catholic nation (65% of the population), has seen an impressive growth of Pentecostal and the so-called Neo-Pentecostal movement, with evangelicals from fundamentalist backgrounds reaching political positions of notoriety. Thus, the debates of areas of concern for this growing number of evangelicals have gained momentum, and the question of origins, a historical stumbling block for this group, has been making the news often. There is actually a bill under way right now in the National Congress to promote the teaching of creationism as an alternative to evolution in the public school system, much like the well-known stories that every now and then spring up in the US, and it counts with strong support of the population, according to research. Scholarship in the Science-Religion area is slim in Brazil, tendentiously superficial and highly influenced by either American fundamentalism on the evangelical side, or a strong liberalism from the Catholic and Lutheran side, where evolution is far from being a problem or even an issue for discussion. The idea of going to Oxford came from the simple fact that British Christianity seems to be far more successful in dealing with evolution and Christian faith than any other country in the world. British evangelical theology has articulated, especially in the person of Prof. Alister McGrath, a coherent evangelical theology in harmony with scientific thinking. Hence, I would like to study in loco not only how this theology is articulated today, but the historical processes on how British Christianity and evangelicalism have answered to the challenges of Darwin, fundamentalism, and of new atheism.
Faculty of Theology and Religion, University of Oxford, UK
Prof Alister McGrath and Dr Ignacio Silva
Winter and Spring 2016