Paulo Bittencourt

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Thinking made Paulo Bittencourt an atheist.
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I don't want to believe, I want to know.
—Paulo Bittencourt [1]
(Many quotes on the internet are misquotes, and this is one of them, often misattributed to Carl Sagan, who never said or wrote this sentence.)[2]

Paulo Bittencourt (also known as Paulo Bitencourt) is a Brazil-born Austrian freethinker, humanist and atheist.


Paulo Bittencourt says he was “abused” as a child, that is, subjected to child indoctrination. His mother took him to the Seventh-day Adventist Church, which teaches that Earth was created in 6 days, is 6,000 years old and dinosaurs became extinct because they did not fit into Noah’s big boat.[3] Led to believe from the cradle that working for a celestial invisible man is the most noble of all professions, in 1987 Bittencourt enrolled at an Adventist college, in São Paulo, to study Theology. With three semesters left to becoming a man of God, the Bible stories began to seem ridiculous to him and the degree of control the church exercised over his life, excessive. So, he abandoned his studies and moved to Europe, eventually settling in Vienna, Austria, where he graduated from the Konservatorium der Stadt Wien as an opera singer. In 1995, Bittencourt became part of the ensemble of the largest German-language theater, the Burgtheater, both as a singer and actor.[4]


Although he had left the church and started living without caring about religion and belief in God, Paulo Bittencourt had reservations about considering himself an atheist. That changed when he read the book Ethics, by Bento de Espinosa (Baruch Spinoza). When, with the massive help from Evangelical churches, Jair Bolsonaro, a cheap but no less dangerous copy of Donald Trump, was elected president of Brazil, a country in which 25 new Evangelical churches are started a day,[5] Bittencourt began calling himself “terribly atheistic”, a mockery he makes of Bolsonaro’s “terribly Evangelical”.

The rise to power of ultraconservative and radical right-winger Bolsonaro compelled Paulo Bittencourt to make videos and write about the evils of religion and the benefits of being a freethinker.[6]

Horrified by the explosive growth of Evangelicals and the ever-increasing imposition of religion on politics, Paulo Bittencourt says Brazil is being transformed into a Protestant Saudi Arabia, an Evangelical Iran and a Pentecostal Afghanistan.[7]


Paulo Bittencourt is the author of the books:

  • Liberated from Religion: The Inestimable Pleasure of Being a Freethinker
  • Wasting Time on God: Why I Am an Atheist
  • (Only in Portuguese) Com Zeus Não Se Brinca: Loucuras da Crença em Deus (Zeus Is Not to Be Played With: Madnesses of the Belief in God).[8]

Quotes from Paulo Bittencourt's books[edit]

I don't reject God, because for me to be able to reject him he first would have to exist.
—Paulo Bittencourt
(Wasting Time on God)[9]
I respect people's right to believe imbecilities, not the imbecilities people have the right to believe.
—Paulo Bittencourt
(Liberated from Religion)[10]

See also[edit]

Want to read this in another language?[edit]

Se você procura pelo artigo em Português, ver Paulo Bittencourt (português).

External links[edit]