What Does Haiti Mean in the Bible?
When people hear the words Haiti in the Bible, they may wonder how they should interpret these words. Haitians are not Catholics, and they practice Vodou, an ancestral worship cult. Yet their reliance on biblical principles led them to fight for their independence. If they’re not Catholic, they may be Protestants.
Vodou is an ancestral worship cult
Vodou is an ancestral worship cultic tradition that has its roots in pre-Colombian Haiti. The cult evolved through several stages, the first during slavery and the second after Haiti gained its independence in 1804. Both periods have seen changes in the Vodou pantheon, as well as the practices and rituals that surround the worship of these deities.
Originally, Vodou was a style of ritual practice within a syncretic religious system in Haiti. The word vodou is derived from the Fon language, where it means “god” or “spirit.” Vodou differs from Christianity in its view of the cosmos and the existence of spirits. It also does not believe in a heaven.
A Vodou priest undergoes an extensive initiation period to become an official interpreter for the lwa. This role is typically passed down through families. The Vodou religion also involves secret societies that meet only at night and follow strict hierarchy. These secret societies can be very secretive and difficult to gain access to.
In Haiti, the religious tradition of Vodou is closely connected to the agricultural culture of the country. Peasants have their own plots of land, and they have a particular duty to the spirits. However, the role of the priest is not as rigidly defined as in the country, so a priest can have multiple roles.
Protestantism is an alternative to Catholicism
Although Haiti has been predominantly Catholic for centuries, Protestantism has recently gained ground as a viable alternative. Haiti’s evangelical Protestants denounce voodoo as a vice and are establishing themselves as a major force in the country. Today, Protestants make up more than a third of Haiti’s population.
The Protestant churches in Haiti were established in the early days of the republic, and Protestant missions were sent from other countries to help Haiti. Most Haitian Protestants are Baptists, but other denominations have emerged. There are also Presbyterians and Seventh Day Adventists.
After the 2010 earthquake, Haiti’s Protestants faced a tough situation. Although the Haitian government had little support for churches, they had helped with reconstruction. Haiti’s Catholic church has social welfare functions and Catholic schools are still a major force in social mobility. Moreover, Regine Jackson argues that Catholicism offers Haitian diasporans a sense of respectability.
Protestants and Catholics often argue over the religious differences between the two. Some Catholics feel that Protestantism is similar to Catholicism, while others say they are different. This tension has been an ongoing issue in Haiti. However, the Catholic church continues to remain the dominant religion in Haiti.
In a survey of Protestants in the United States, one-third identified the Reformation as a time when Christians broke away from Catholicism. Only one-fifth identified Martin Luther as the inspiration for the Reformation.