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.
Brazil is the country with more practitioners in the world of Allan Kardec's codification of the Spiritism, followed by over 12 million people, with 30 to 45 million sympathizers. Most followers of the Spiritism are highly educated people that were mostly Catholic, Protests and Atheists respectively. Despite the Spiritism does not recognize Jesus as God or the only son of God, but as the most illuminated spirit that were born on Earth, the Spiritism is also considered as Christian religion, in addition to science and philosophy, as The Spirits Book explain it, at its 1019 questions and answers. The basic books of the codification includes The Spirits Book, The Book on Mediums, The Gospel According to Spiritism, Heaven and Hell and The Genesis According to Spiritism.
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.
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 %|