Evangelical Protestantism has arguably become the fastest-growing religion in South America, if not the world.
For converts, it emphasizes self-discipline and provides a network of communal support, which together have helped many overcome substance abuse, avoid crime and violence, and resolve relationship problems. But can people simply decide to believe in a religion because of the benefits it reportedly delivers?
Reason to Believe: Cultural Agency in Latin American Evangelicalism, the new book from David Smilde, associate professor of sociology at UGA, explores this question and its answer.
Based on extensive fieldwork among Pentecostal men in Caracas, Venezuela, this rich urban ethnography unravels the cultural and personal dynamics of conversion as it seeks to explain the explosion of Evangelical Protestantism.
Smilde is also the coauthor of Protesta y Cultura en Venezuela: Los Marcos de Accion Colectiva en 1999.