Religious Diversity in Mexico, National Census and Religious Freedom

Explore the role of religion in shaping human culture and the importance of interreligious dialogue for peaceful coexistence. Learn about Mexico's religious landscape and the importance of religious freedom.

Religious Diversity in Mexico, National Census and Religious Freedom
Religious diversity is cultural wealth. Credit: UNAM

Religion is a transcendent cultural manifestation that showcases humanity's diversity and richness, according to Jorge Traslosheros Hernández, an academic at the Institute of Historical Research at UNAM. On World Religion Day, he talked about how important dialogue between religions is for building peaceful, democratic societies.

"Freedom of religion is a human right and a constitutive element of democratic societies," said the doctor in Latin American Studies. He also said that religious freedom goes beyond tolerance and is important for different cultures to live together peacefully.

World Religion Day serves to celebrate this phenomenon and recognize the importance of interreligious dialogue for peaceful coexistence. Pope John Paul II started the annual meetings in Assisi, Italy, in 1986. These meetings bring together leaders from polytheistic, animist, mystical, and monotheistic cultures from all over the world to work for peace.

Religious Diversity in Mexico, National Census and Religious Freedom

Mexico is home to approximately 250 different religions, according to the National Institute of Geography and Statistics Classification of Religions 2020. The National Population and Housing Census of 2020 showed that 77% of the people said they were Catholic, 11.2% said they were Protestant or Evangelical Christian, 0.2% said they belonged to another religion, 2.5% said they were religious but didn't belong to any religion, and 8.1% said they had no religion.

The university expert emphasized that Mexico has gradually built mechanisms to increase religious freedom, with a key factor being the establishment of a secular state that allows religions to flourish within civil society. He said that the state should be non-religious and neutral so that a non-religious society could grow freely in an environment of peace, justice, and order.

Traslosheros Hernandez explained that there is a predominant Indo-Christianity in Mexico, characterized by its focus on rituals, images, and public manifestations. He also noted that at the start of the 20th century, Catholicism faced persecution, but the growth of democracy and historical studies have helped society understand the diverse religious landscape in Mexico.

He emphasized that the rule of law's function is to protect human rights, with religious freedom being one of the most important. The right to religious freedom was first established in the Constitution in 2013 and has been the subject of heated debate. But the expert stressed that people need to learn how to talk to each other and realize that religious freedom includes a lot of other freedoms.

Religion and Religious Rituals at the Core of Culture

According to an expert from the Institute of Humanities, religion, and religious rituals play a fundamental role in shaping human culture. Archeological and anthropological evidence shows that they clearly understood concepts like death, life, existence, and the possibility of an afterlife.

Religion is a whole experience that includes all of human life and its rituals can be seen in music, poetry, and literature, as well as in oral and written traditions.

The importance of religion in shaping culture stems from its connection to tradition. The actor who transmits it and the generation that receives it adapt it to their reality and transmits it to the next generation, laying the groundwork for a strong cultural heritage that is constantly evolving.

Religious Beliefs: Sacred and Profane

Religious beliefs are based on a foundational fact and the distinction between the sacred and the profane. The sacred is shown in all parts of culture, but it is most obvious in places of worship like temples, churches, and mosques. According to the expert, there is always a threshold that separates the sacred from the profane. Many religions limit access to religious leaders, such as priests, shamans, or theological leaders, and the norms and rules that govern the community in the face of the sacred are not necessarily the same as those in the face of the profane.

Varied Religious Traditions

Religion comes in many forms, including mystical religions, where the concept of God is not mentioned but is still felt; animist religions, where leaders are known as shamans and everything is believed to be animated by a divine principle; pre-Hispanic polytheistic religions, where a divine power dominates all things; and monotheistic religions, where God is viewed as a person, such as in the Christian, Jewish, and Muslim traditions. Each of these traditions has numerous variations and the most significant presence in the world.