Ecuador is a democratic republic situated in the northwestern part of South America bordering Peru, Colombia, and the Pacific Ocean. The official language spoken in Ecuador is Spanish together with 13 other languages that are recognized throughout the country. Ecuador is a hub of ethnical diversity with a population of more than 16 million people with most of them being Mestizo followed by other smaller groups including Amerindian, African, and European descendants. Religion is a very important aspect to the people of Ecuador. For centuries, Ecuador has been overwhelmingly Roman Catholic, although Protestantism and unbelief have grown in recent past with the larger percentage being Roman Catholic after having been colonized by the Spanish. Below are the different religious beliefs in Ecuador.
Religious Beliefs In Ecuador
Roman Catholic Christianity
Roman Catholicism was first introduced to Ecuador during the colonial era by the Spanish, and ever since Catholicism continues to be the most important religion for both the Ecuadorian society and government. Catholicism was made the official religion of Ecuador after 1869 making Catholics the only persons to be eligible for citizenship. However, in 1899 a liberal government led by President Alfaro Delgado established a new constitution that encouraged respect for all religions and a guaranteed freedom of choice for religious practices. Religious freedom made a huge impact in regards to public education in that it became free of the religious influence. Roman Catholic Christianity accounts for about 79% of the population in Ecuador.
Protestant Christianity in Ecuador can be traced back to English and German descents. Most of the protestant Christians in Latin America are known as Evangelicals with a good number of them being Pentecostals together with other active denominations. The Evangelical movement gained great momentum during the 18th and the 19th century with the first protestant missionary entering Ecuador during the late 18th century. In the beginning, it was quite hard for any other faith aside from Roman Catholic to thrive however, protestant Christianity has been growing at the expense of Catholicism. Presently, Protestantism accounts for 11% of the population in Ecuador.
Atheism Or Agnosticism
Atheism is the absence of belief that a greater or divine power exists whereas Agnosticism is the general view supernatural claims or the existence of God is unknown. Agnosticism emerged from the ancient Greece as a formal philosophical position whose views were derived using a skeptical approach by renowned philosophers such as Socrates. One of the few people to identify as atheist lived during the 18th century. Atheistical concepts derive their arguments from the lack of evidence that a higher power exists. Both agnostic and atheist in Ecuador fail to openly declare their belief for fear of discrimination, social stigma, and even worse persecution. Before religious freedom was established in Ecuador both Agnosticism and Atheism were highly condemned. However, now an individual is allowed the freedom of religious choice including confessing as agnostic or atheist, although it is not easy especially in Ecuador. The two belief systems account for 7% of the total population in Ecuador.
Jehovah's Witness Christianity
Jehovah's Witness are a Christian denomination whose beliefs are different from the mainstream Christian views. The Jehovah's Witness faith was founded by Charles Taze Russel in the late 18th century having emerged from the Bible Student Movement. In order for Bible student movement to distinguish itself from other Bible student groups it adopted the name Jehovah's Witness in the year 1931. Jehovah's Witness use a door to door approach of preaching and the distribution of their literary works such as The Watchtower. Approximately 1% of the Ecuadorian population accounts for the Jehovah's Witness.
Other Religious Beliefs In Ecuador
Other religious affiliations in Ecuador include Islam, Judaism, Buddhism, Latter-day Saints, Baha’i and Apostolic Faith. All of these religious affiliations consist of small groups who have been slowly integrated into the Ecuadorian society. The 'Other' group accounts for 2% of the population in the country.