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A brief overview of religious distribution in the Americas


The Americas are divided in a Northern and Southern continent and comprise many different countries, the major ones in North America being Canada, the United States of America and Mexico – and in the South, Brazil, Argentina, Colombia and Venezuela. The major religions in these countries today are still the religions which were brought by colonists from Europe.

North america

In the United States, with its history of British colonisation and immigration from all over Europe, half of the population belong to about 900 Protestant churches, and about a quarter of the population are Roman Catholics. No single Protestant church in the USA is larger than the Roman Catholic Church. The Jewish adherents number less than ten per cent but this is the largest concentration of Jews In the world - by one estimate, there are as many Jews in New York City as there are in Israel. Since the revision of immigration laws, which banned Asian immigration to the USA, in 1965, a steady stream of immigrants together with religious teachers and missionaries have arrived from Asia and has led to sizeable numbers of adherents to Eastern religions such as Hinduism and Buddhism.

The group that has grown the most in recent years is those who belong to no religion (this now stands at about 20 per cent) although these people are not necessarily atheists. Many still believe in God and think of themselves as spiritual despite avoiding organised religion.

When compared with European statistics Americans are more religious with 97 per cent saying they believe in God and about half of them reporting that they attend church services weekly, but only a quarter declared themselves "deeply religious".

In Canada, where there were mainly English and French immigrants, about half of the population are Roman Catholic (from the French stream) and 36 per cent Protestants (from the English immigrants). Once again. as in other Western countries, more Canadians than ever are reporting no religious affiliation

Three quarters of the Canadians who list themselves as not belonging to any religion, are under the age of 45 – but 40 per cent of these people actually believe in a God who cares about them personally.

Mexico lies just south of the United States and was colonised by Spain in the early sixteenth century. Ever since that time, Roman Catholicism has had a strong influence on the country. Today 90 per cent of Mexicans belong to the Roman Catholic Church, and just a tiny group to Protestant denominations – mostly of a Pentecostal variety.

South america

With regard to the countries of South America, the pattern is the same as in Northern America inasmuch as the religion of the colonisers (Spain and Portugal) have all but wiped out the traditional religions of the sub–continent, both the religions of great Andean civilisations such as the Incas and those practised by tribes deep in the Amazon rain forest. In Brazil, the largest country in South America, three–quarters of the population belong to the Roman Catholic Church, and in Argentina, Colombia and Venezuela the percentages are even higher. Lately Protestantism, particularly of the Pentecostal/Evangelical variety, has made some inroads, but still Protestants remain in the minority. The way evangelicalism is growing in Brazil, though, that might no longer be true by the time you read this. One or two Brazilian pentecostal churches are even being exported: The Universal Church of the Kingdom of God, for example, has branches in South Africa, where it evangelises in inner-city environments.

An interesting development that has its roots in this part of the world is Liberation Theology, which emphasises that the church should lead the struggle against oppressors for a better life on earth. A number of Catholic and Protestant theologians led the way in countries such as Brazil, Columbia, Mexico and Argentina in protesting, on theological grounds, the way in which the poor masses of the rural and large urban slums were treated in these countries. The movement eventually brought people together in Christian–based communities, to study the Bible and to fight for social justice. This movement also had an influence on the struggle against apartheid in South Africa.

Questions & Answers

How we are making nano material?
what is a peer
What is meant by 'nano scale'?
What is STMs full form?
scanning tunneling microscope
what is Nano technology ?
Bob Reply
write examples of Nano molecule?
The nanotechnology is as new science, to scale nanometric
nanotechnology is the study, desing, synthesis, manipulation and application of materials and functional systems through control of matter at nanoscale
Is there any normative that regulates the use of silver nanoparticles?
Damian Reply
what king of growth are you checking .?
What fields keep nano created devices from performing or assimulating ? Magnetic fields ? Are do they assimilate ?
Stoney Reply
why we need to study biomolecules, molecular biology in nanotechnology?
Adin Reply
yes I'm doing my masters in nanotechnology, we are being studying all these domains as well..
what school?
biomolecules are e building blocks of every organics and inorganic materials.
anyone know any internet site where one can find nanotechnology papers?
Damian Reply
sciencedirect big data base
Introduction about quantum dots in nanotechnology
Praveena Reply
what does nano mean?
Anassong Reply
nano basically means 10^(-9). nanometer is a unit to measure length.
do you think it's worthwhile in the long term to study the effects and possibilities of nanotechnology on viral treatment?
Damian Reply
absolutely yes
how to know photocatalytic properties of tio2 nanoparticles...what to do now
Akash Reply
it is a goid question and i want to know the answer as well
characteristics of micro business
for teaching engĺish at school how nano technology help us
How can I make nanorobot?
Do somebody tell me a best nano engineering book for beginners?
s. Reply
there is no specific books for beginners but there is book called principle of nanotechnology
how can I make nanorobot?
what is fullerene does it is used to make bukky balls
Devang Reply
are you nano engineer ?
fullerene is a bucky ball aka Carbon 60 molecule. It was name by the architect Fuller. He design the geodesic dome. it resembles a soccer ball.
what is the actual application of fullerenes nowadays?
That is a great question Damian. best way to answer that question is to Google it. there are hundreds of applications for buck minister fullerenes, from medical to aerospace. you can also find plenty of research papers that will give you great detail on the potential applications of fullerenes.
what is the Synthesis, properties,and applications of carbon nano chemistry
Abhijith Reply
Mostly, they use nano carbon for electronics and for materials to be strengthened.
is Bucky paper clear?
carbon nanotubes has various application in fuel cells membrane, current research on cancer drug,and in electronics MEMS and NEMS etc
how did you get the value of 2000N.What calculations are needed to arrive at it
Smarajit Reply
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Source:  OpenStax, Learning about religion. OpenStax CNX. Apr 18, 2015 Download for free at https://legacy.cnx.org/content/col11780/1.1
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