Demon-haunted worlds : enchantment, disenchantment, and the Universal Church of the Kingdom of God

Doran, Justin Michael
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This report analyzes the Igreja Universal do Reino de Deus (Universal Church of the Kingdom of God)—a Brazilian neo-Pentecostal church—by its capacity to enchant everyday life in modern, disenchanted worlds. It provides a history of the church, a cultural biography of its founder, and a description of the church’s demonology and ritual life. It argues that through ritual performance, members come to embody the church’s discourse of biblical sacrifice. This process enchants their lives and sanctifies their participation in modern, disenchanted institutions such as late capitalism and medical science. It further argues that previous scholarship has interpreted neo-Pentecostal churches from an implicitly ethical perspective that is rooted in Western modernity. This perspective, in turn, has led to unwarranted dismissiveness toward church members’ self-reports of the empowerment they experience through their religious life.