Thursday, September 1st 2011 - 08:11 UTC

Brazilian catholic church loosing ground to evangelists, atheists and agnostics

The Brazilian Catholic Church continues to loose ground to the evangelists and those who declare to have no religion, according to the latest survey released by the Social policies centre from the Getulio Vargas Foundation in Rio.

Evangelists already represent 20.2% of the Brazilian population

According to the new religions map of Brazil, coordinated by sociologist Marcelo Neri, Catholics have dropped from 73.8% of the total Brazilian population to 68.4% in 2009, which represents a fall of 5.4 percentage points.

Simultaneously evangelists now represent 20.2% of the population compared to 17.9% in 2003, and those with no religion (atheists and agnostics) have jumped from 5.1% in 2003 to 6.7% in 2009.

The report was based on data collected from 200.000 interviews under the Family Budget survey undertaken by Brazil’s geography and statistics institute, IBGE.

The fall in the number of Catholics has been gradual but sustained from the start of last century, but had remained reasonably stable in the previous 2000/2003 survey by FGV.

“In 2009 we have arrived to the lowest level of Catholic adepts in Brazil’s documented history”, says the report. “We observe the fall in the percentage of Catholics is extensive to all age groups. The change was lesser for the older age groups and greater among the young generations”.

Such a reduction opened space for other beliefs as well as atheists and agnostics.

The evangelist “Assembly of God” has become the second strongest church in Brazil (in numbers) with great influence in D and E income sectors” said Marcelo Neri, who added that it is clearly advancing on sectors A and B.

Evangelists have advanced in all age groups but penetration is much greater among the young. In the emerging class C, evangelists represent 21.5% of the population, above the national average (20.2%).

Catholicism is the religion with greater presence in the extremes of the income spectrum (72.7% in class E and 69% in AB), while the evangelist and Pentecostal have become more popular among the mid lower half of income distribution (15.3% in Class D). Traditional evangelists are concentrated at AB (8.35%) and C (8.7%).

Regarding geographical distribution the greatest concentration of Catholics is in the north east of Brazil with the state of Piauí having 87.9% Catholics compared to the national average of 68.4%.

“Data shows that the long standing Brazilian poverty, in rural areas of the north-east, which are also the most supported with social programs, remain Catholic while the new poverty (like the non aided urban periphery of the large cities) seems to be migrating to the new Pentecostal churches and non religion, according to FGV.

At the same time family per capita income of evangelists is 6.9% lower to that of Catholics, precisely because Catholicism still has a relevant presence among the Brazilian economic elite.

As to gender, Brazilian women at the same time they are more religious than men, they are also currently less Catholic: among those declaring a religion, 75.3% of men say they are catholic which compares with the 71.3% for women.

“While men simply abandon beliefs, the women change church, preserving more than men their religiosity”, says the FGV reports.

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1 geo (#) Sep 01st, 2011 - 07:12 pm Report abuse
we are the “” atheists “” have the majority in the world !
2 GeoffWard2 (#) Sep 02nd, 2011 - 07:22 am Report abuse
The article fails to recognise that Christianity in Brasil is strongly conditioned - especially in the huge North East - by African tribal 'religions'.

There is significant, on-the-ground recognition that Catholicism has to contain the spirit presence of the Candomble West African faiths, mutated into Voodoo in Haiti and Candomble in Brasil. God(s) and the saints have their parallels in the conjoined religion.

Big city catholicism may be more 'pure' as may be the faith in the more 'European' south of Brasil, but, where I live, much faith is practiced in the shadows, and Evangelic Christianity already dominates over Catholicism.

Candomble can be hunted out with the help of those of the faith but all most of us normally see is the residues of ceremonies, offerings etc scattered on the beach by the incoming tide - chicken heads and feet, flowers, candles, dismembered dolls, etc.
3 Forgetit87 (#) Sep 02nd, 2011 - 09:33 pm Report abuse
I personally know no one who engages in those African rituals. Of course I've heard of rumours about them, though. But the fact is that they are restricted to some subsects of the rabble. I can understand your impressions, though. African cults are most common in Bahia. But in the rest of the country, even in areas with large African presense - e.g., Rio and some other Northeastern states such as Pernambuco - the population for the most part sees them with strangement, fear, contempt or mockery (the Evangelicals and the Atheists being the most dismissive).

BTW, it should be said the FGV numbers on the non-religious population are underestimations if compared to those prduced by the IBGE.
4 Forgetit86 (#) Sep 02nd, 2011 - 09:38 pm Report abuse
When I was a kid, me and my playmates found those Macumba candles near the building we lived. Now, I have never, nor have I heard, of animal parts being found open in the air, specially at beaches. Where do you live, Geoff? I know it is in Bahia, but is it really in Salvador or is it in some really savage area?
5 xbarilox (#) Sep 03rd, 2011 - 03:16 am Report abuse
6 GeoffWard2 (#) Sep 04th, 2011 - 11:57 am Report abuse
these peope are NOT the rabble of Brasil or savages - as you put it.

They are ordinary people who have a different religious belief to you.
They are the maid, the caseiro, the carpenter, the fisherman on the beach, the acaraje-seller, the man who cleans the streets, perhaps the man who builds your house and the woman who owns the hairdressing salon.
Many have their religion intertwined with Catholicism and take the blood and body of Christ at the altar alongside you.

They are not the dalits of Brasilian society, however much you might prefer to think so.

They are, however, the descendents of the African people your parent's parents bought and sold as slaves.
7 Forgetit87 (#) Sep 05th, 2011 - 10:25 am Report abuse
The ancestors of mine that I've been able to track down, weren't in the country before the XX century. They didn't participate in the slave trade in any way. And I meant rabble in the neuterest sense - in the sense that they're economically worse-off. But how nice of you to take advantage at that single term to get all moralistic on me - specially when it's you who have a record of making revolting elitistic comments against Brazil's poor. As for my use of the 'savage' word, it was sarcastic - for I can't imagine animal sacrifices taking place at the beaches of Brazil's urban centers, specially in larger ones such as Salvador.
8 GeoffWard2 (#) Sep 05th, 2011 - 10:32 pm Report abuse
Mmmm, you did rather leave yourself wide open ;-)

'Savage' is everywhere, not just in the big city.

Eris, my partner's caseiro, was returning from his evangelical church yesterday, stopped at gun-to-the-head-point, and asked why he was not buying his drugs from their gang. His (our) bicycle was thieved from under him, but he escaped the bullets on foot when the two gangs clashed over 'the turf'.

Next door is buiding even higher walls with razor wire following a break-in with menaces.
The house opposite already has all this;
and we are electronically protected following one attempt that was fended off by the guard-dog.

These drug gangs are beyond christianity's sects/macumba-candomble;
they are feral animals fighting for dominance of the place we live.

And macumba (beach) rituals take place in the city as well as outside; it may hurt people at whom the ritual is directed, but, as you might expect, I am not informed of the outcomes.
9 Forgetit87 (#) Sep 05th, 2011 - 11:57 pm Report abuse
Your caseiro is named after a Greek goddess, hahaha! :)
10 GeoffWard2 (#) Sep 06th, 2011 - 01:56 pm Report abuse
You are somewhat amusing;
even our good-humoured, Evangelical, drug-despising Erisvaldo would think so.
So much so that he recommends ERIS to address the more anti-democratic behavious of our elected elite.
11 Forgetit87 (#) Sep 06th, 2011 - 07:32 pm Report abuse
Ah, so Erisvaldo is his real name? I'm disappointed.
12 GeoffWard2 (#) Sep 06th, 2011 - 10:31 pm Report abuse
. . . and do you really think my partner would let me have my own Greek goddess in the garden???

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