Hello everyone, thanks for accepting me in this community and I'd like, for my first post, to get some help on religious symbols and how to deal with them.

I live in Brazil, where most of people declare themselves catholics, but just a few of them really attend church. As I can see all over the country, there are too many religious images and symbols spread all around.

Fisrt, and the most important of them is Christ the redeemer in Rio de Janeiro. The statue itself is a really beautiful piece of art (Altough I prefer the city's view best) and, nowadays it'd weird to see Rio without its most famous monument. But, what do you think of this kind of art?

But, the thing is, almost everywhere you go, you see a catholic symbol, and I'm not talking about private places, but public ones, like hospitals, schools, post offices...

There's a complex of hospitals here in Sao Paulo (and public) where I drop by sometimes and at the waiting room of one of the buildings there's a HUGE cathlic Saint, surrounded by flowers (once I even saw candles).

The State, here in Brazil has already been separeted from The Church since 1988 with the New Constitution, so, I ask myself: "Why the heck are these things all over the places?? Shouldn't there be a proper "room" for these things to be??"


And this is really my doubt: Shouldn't these symbols be in an apropriate place, like a church?? And, is there anything we can do to change it? Is it worth it??


Thanks in advance and I'll try to upload a pic of the Saint (Nossa Senhora Aparecida),


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The BBC picked up a study in March that says religion may "become extinct" in 9 countries: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-12811197

Brazil is not one of the 9 countries in the study, nor is the US. What we choose to do, while we wait for religion to die a natural death is a very personal decision. There is widespread discrimination against atheists in the US and activism can have unpleasant consequences.


I recommend that you check out the Freedom From Religion Foundation www.ffrf.org. They have a new campaign where people publicly declare themselves to be atheists. They also have a great weekly podcast. And their materials may be helpful to you in deciding what to do.


In some respects the most important thing you can do is try to connect with other people who think like you do. The fact that you took action to join this site is a step in the right direction. You also need to think about how to connect with people who live near you.

no padda?/ what's this?? lol....Good luck é Boa sorte!!
How interesting! I didn't know this about Hawaii. Good effort by the HCSS. I wish more of the United States had better laws against billboards. Hideous billboards are like litter along the expressways and along city streets here.

Thanks Mark for the suggestion...and I had read that in some countries religion is dying and I really got really happy, but I bet Brazil is gonna be the last one to overcome this beliefs...people are so weird here, anyways, I'll check the FFRF web site better to come up with some ideas..it's a pity that this Foundation works only in the US.

And, S.F. Zeigler,   

I loved your idea of taking a pentagram to that hospital, but, I know everyone is going to be against me. I'm a little afraid of doing this and have no support. Would it be possible to hire a lawyer to take care of these matters?? And, again, is it worth it? Because the point is not only get rid of the image, the proble is people's minds....



Alexandre, you said Brazil got constitutional separation of church and state in 1998 -- well we got it in 1789, and we're STILL fighting the battle. We have a number of organizations that work on it case by legal case, and don't always win. I don't know what to advise you, except that you need to find other Brazilian non-believers, and also non-Catholics who understand the concept of separation, and do fundraising and awareness activities, and eventually get the money together to legally challenge the most egregious examples. Brazil has enough people who believe in religions other than Catholicism that, if they were aware that their rights are being violated, might be willing to cooperate. Boa sorte!
Yeah, Natalie...that's so hard...I mean..the symbols and other stuff don't do anything to me, ok, but I feel uncomfortable to be in the same room as one, that's why i always talk about this issue; everyone is always against me (my family, specially), except my 3 best friends, who are also atheists. Unfortunantly, we are not able to gather all this money by ourselves and finding other atheits is even more difficult. The key is education...but, here, we lack of education....lots of religion stuff (when used fot their interests) and just a little of science, reading, discussions..But, despite the education problem we face all over the country, there are excellence centers here in Sao Paulo, Rio and some parts in the south. Only here in Sao Paulo (with 11.244.369 people - IBGE 2010) it's estimated that 10% has no religion, it doesn't mean they are atheists, but, it means something....maybe with more and more education, we can reach somewhere better..thanks...
Brazil's problem more then likely stems from cultural reasons then it being state sponsorship of religiosity. Many problems exist in Brazil, mostly due to the economy and education. So at the end of the day your quickest route to seeing reduced religiosity in Brazil is one in which all children can go to school without the family suffering from a lack of funds. What would help that the most if you ask me is state sponsorship of family planning. Basically a federal program that provided family planning education & services to all individuals that are going through puberty to well past that. If Brazil is anything like South Texas is you more then likely have the problem with teen pregnancy and repeat teen pregnancy. Those greatly increase the odds of poverty in the United States even, so I've no doubt it's a hefty problem in Brazil. Your biggest contender obviously is the very problem you have with religion. The Roman Catholic Church has repeated it's disdain for prophylactics time and again. Even in cases where it could've saved millions of lives that died due to disease. What thoroughly opened my eyes to the issue was watching an Al Jazeera English special about people living along a river within Brazil. I don't remember if it was the Amazon or not, but I do have the link for it if you want to watch it.

Now, I'm very ashamed of being brazilian...If you're able to understand portuguese, you'll see that all these people mention God or Jesus in their speech, but why do they do so? In my opinion is a lack of perspective in life that make this people believe and wait for a "God's solution". Who should we blame for? I know, situations similar to this happens all over the world (speacially in poor regions).

Here in Sao Paulo, which is very far from the Amazon, other things happen too. "If God wants that way, so we have to accept." that's what they say. I don't agree and we could do much better instead of waiting for a "divine's" answer....

Do not be ashamed of your heritage to the point of abandoning hope. You must try to remember that it wasn't that long ago culturally for many nations to be at the same point as your own. My heritage isn't much better in my opinion. I'm even descended from people who fought in the Confederacy, which I'm definitely not proud of. But I still try to find good in my fellow citizens & residents. I'm not perfect, and I do admit to having a checkered past of my own. Hell I've said some pretty hateful and ignorant things in my childhood, but I've clearly changed. Which is why I try to not be all that harsh on them even though most are either ignorant or willfully stupid. Even in cases such as the later I've come to accept that they were indoctrinated to be that way. However I do see hope, mainly due to Rome being so tyrannical over the years. I'm not fluent on Brazilian history/culture, and Sao Paulo even less so (my favorite city in the country is Rio de Janeiro, but I accept that it is a hell hole due to the massive profits of the drug trade and the fact that an honest day's labor for most people keeps them in poverty. The people are beautiful though, and from what I've seen Brazilian culture at least in Rio is more accepting of people who've been murdered in Texas; for example homosexuals.) but from what I've seen Brazilians are beautiful, wonderful people just trying to get by. Ultimately religiosity is tied with poverty. While there are exceptions to that there are far more liberal Christians who come from a middle class background. Oddly I think the weakening Roman Catholicism faces is rebellion. Most Mexicans who I grew up with in my early years used condoms while having sex. It was just a fact of life for them. However if you asked them what religion they were many would just say Catholic out of habit due to it being the religion they were raised in. Getting to know them though showed just how much they diverged from Roman Catholicism. Be it scientific issues like stem cell research or human cloning, they do not feel it is the role of religion to inhibit scientific research. As for cases like homosexual marriage, they've been pretty indifferent to the religious argument declaring it immoral. Lastly I should mention that they definitely do not agree with the concept of papal infallibility. Now I will admit that I don't have a wide range of friends, but the ones I have had generally weren't religious zealots. Those that were did not remain my friends for long. Which obviously is why I'm a tad optimistic about the future of Catholic nations.

Anyway, sorry about the long meandering post. I tend to type in a form of stream of thought. So if it appears jumbled that is the reason. :)

I know this is not directly on point, but check this out if you haven't seen it, from a friend at the Atheist group in Albuquerque. Very funny.

Indeed, entirely off-topic but hilarious!


Thanks for posting the photo.  To my eyes, it is a very strange looking thing.  I'd hate to see those creepy idols everywhere. 

There are multiple reasons to object to religious statues and symbols in public and especially on public property. 

1. The display is paid for and maintained by tax dollars, including that of atheists.

2. The display sends a constant message of judging, condemning, and threatening atheists with violent eternal torture, as well as 2nd class status.

3. The display is a sick glorification of death.  I am not just talking about the crucifix, which an obvious replica of a tool of torture.  Consider the statues of the character Mary, who is blissful and full of contentment that her son is butchered.   

Christianity and Islam are death cults.  They revere suffering, "righteous" violence, and blood sacrifice/death.  At the beginning of the bible:  God chose Abel's blood sacrifice and rejected Cain's grain sacrifice.  At the end of the bible: God requires a blood sacrifice of his own son Jesus.  

It makes no sense to traumatize children and offend peaceful adults with these statues and nightmarish crucifixes. 




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