Currently, all countries in the region in general are separate of the Catholic Church and declared laic states, which guarantees freedom of religion for its inhabitants. The last country to approve the freedom of religion was Bolivia (since 2008).
Except for Suriname and Uruguay, the more professed religion in the South American countries is the Catholic religion. While countries such as Paraguay, Peru, Colombia and Argentina more than three-quarters of the population is Catholic, in Chile it is 57%.
Catholicism was the only religion allowed in the colonial era; the indigenous were forced to abandon their beliefs, although many did not abandon it at all, for example, countries with predominantly Amerindian population such as Bolivia and Peru there is a syncretism between indigenous religions and the Catholic religion, that has occurred since colonial times. In Brazil or Colombia, Catholicism was mixed with certain African rituals.
Protestantism has been a presence since the nineteenth century, as a minority, but has had a strong increase since the 1980s. The majority of Latin American Protestants in general are Pentecostals.Brazil today is the most evangelical country in South America, where 89% of Brazilians evangelicals are Pentecostals, in Chile represents 79% of the total evangelicals in that country, 69% in Argentina and 59% in Colombia. On the other part, in Uruguay 66% of evangelicals are Methodists, while only 20% are Pentecostal.
Eastern Orthodox Christianity was brought to South America by groups of immigrants from several different regions, mainly Eastern Europe and the Middle East. This traditional branch of Eastern Christianity has also spread beyond the boundaries of immigrant communities. There are several Eastern Orthodox ecclesiastical jurisdictions in South America, organized within the Assembly of Canonical Orthodox Bishops of Latin America.
Several groups of Christian immigrants, mainly from the Middle East, Caucasus, Africa and India, brought Oriental Orthodoxy to the South America. This ancient branch of Eastern Christianity includes several ecclesiastical jurisdictions in the South America, like Coptic Orthodox Church in South America and Syriac Orthodox Church.
Brazil is the country with more practitioners in the world of Allan Kardec's Spiritism. Practitioners of the Judaism, Buddhist, Islamic, Hinduism, Bahá'í Faith, and Shinto denominations and religions also exercised in Latin America.
Part of Religions in South America (2013):
|Countries||Christians||Roman Catholics||Other Christians||Others, no religion (atheists and agnostics) and no answer|
|Argentina||84 %||77 %||7 %||16 %|
|Bolivia||93 %||76 %||17 %||7 %|
|Brazil||84 %||63 %||21 %||16 %|
|Chile||70 %||57 %||13 %||30 %|
|Colombia||78 %||75 %||3 %||22 %|
|Ecuador||93 %||81 %||12 %||7 %|
|Paraguay||96 %||88 %||8 %||4 %|
|Perú||87 %||77 %||10 %||13 %|
|Suriname||48 %||21 %||27 %||52 %|
|Uruguay||49 %||41 %||8 %||51 %|
|Venezuela||91 %||79 %||12 %||9 %|