For years, Ronaldo da Silva's daily routine consisted of drinking himself into a stupor until he passed out on a sidewalk. Now he spends his days praying and singing with hundreds of fellow Christians at the Universal Church of the Kingdom of God in Carapicuiba, a sprawling shantytown on the outskirts of Sao Paulo where Pentecostal congregations are found on just about every block.
‘I'd probably be dead or in jail if it weren't for this church,’ said da Silva, a 38-year- old former Catholic who claims God cured him of epilepsy and helped him straighten out his life when he converted to Pentecostalism a decade ago.
Conversions like da Silva's are increasingly common all over Brazil, where a boom in evangelical Protestantism is steadily chipping away at the supremacy of the Roman Catholic Church. p 1That is Todd Benson, cited in this paper by Potter, Amaral, & Woodberry. The draft is here and it is published in Social Forces.