Evangelical churches snowball in Brazil

The New York Times reports on the growth of evangelical churches in Brazil, and their particular appeal to the young:

Evangelical Christian churches are luring Brazilians away from Roman Catholicism, the dominant religion in Brazil. In 1950, 94 percent of Brazilians said they were Catholic, but that number fell steadily to 74 percent by 2000. Meanwhile, the percentage of those who described themselves as evangelicals grew by five times in that period, reaching 15 percent in 2000. A new government census is due out next year.

Despite Brazil’s deep connection to Catholicism, more and more Brazilians want to experiment and choose their own religion, said Silvia Fernandes, a professor at the Federal Rural University of Rio de Janeiro, who wrote a book about Brazil’s evangelical movement.

She said more Brazilians were attracted to evangelical churches, or Pentecostalism, for the “flexibility of the religious expression.” They see churches like Reborn as places where they can express themselves more freely, and “not only look for solutions to personal problems, but also find a place to meet and socialize.”

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