Unless you’ve added your Pastor as a friend on Facebook, you’re likely not going to see much religious on your feed, if anything at all. And if you still read newspapers, topics related to religion are for the most part absent.  Religion, organized religion, and the number of “church-goers,” is in the decline – but does that mean Canadians are without a faith or any faith at all?

On May 2, 2017 Dr. Angus Reid – Chairman of the Angus Reid Institute – presented on the topic of “Faith and Society: How the forces of a new era will reshape individual and collective religious experience in Canada”.  The lecture was held at St. Mark’s College Vancouver as the 2017 Annual Carr Lecture.  Dr. Reid began by presenting data from the study conducted in April 2017 which summarizes the mindset of Canadians toward religion (source: http://angusreid.org/religion-in-canada-150). The study surveyed religious belief and practice in Canada, and grouped Canadians in 5 categories according to the level of religious observance:

  • 21% of respondents were considered to be religiously committed. Of that group, women were considered more committed.
  • 30% were considered to be privately faithful. This group believed in God and prayed, and desired God; however, did not want anything to do with organized religion.
  • 30% were categorized as spiritually uncertain. These people believed in God–but that’s it.
  • The remaining 19% would consider themselves as non-believers. Unsurprisingly, this group featured a high percentage of young males.

Dr. Reid also made several interesting observations such as education having little effect on this outcome. Immigrants also make up a significant portion of the faithful. The real divide, the data concludes, is between the believers (80%) and non-believers (20%); This data completely reverses what the media and what our “secular society” has suggested in the past few decades. Moreover, while there is a decline in the attendance in churches, Canadians are still claiming to have a connection with God and faith.  Dr. Reid continued by making the observation that faith in our society has brought upon greater concern for others, increased community life, greater charitable giving, and greater satisfaction in family life.

The way forward will be a challenge, but not without hope.  Dr. Reid concluded by exhorting those in the room – including Christians and persons of other faith communities – to be good communicators (as this will be foundational for ongoing and future dialogue), to demonstrate forgiveness, mercy, and unity, and lastly, to develop leadership and be leaders at the forefront of change.

You can find an audio recording of the lecture here.

In a short conversation I had with a Muslim woman prior to the lecture, she made a beautiful claim that, while we have differences, it is our faith that will unite us. This is my first blog post here on City in Focus, and I want to begin by encouraging those who read this blog to be leaders who will demonstrate courage in the face of change, to be the light where there is darkness, to demonstrate love to those who are unloved, and to be persons of faith who live out their hope–hope in King Jesus, hope in a better tomorrow. Together we can transform our cities and the canvas of Canada.

Feel free to comment below or reach out to me at damon@cityinfocus.ca to suggest future topics or feedback anything from the post.