Reginald Beeby’s latest survey shows that four in 10 Canadians don’t value religion while the proportion of people who identify themselves as having no religion has climbed  to 24 per cent in 2009 from one per cent in 1931

however a sold core of three in ten continue to strongly value religion.

The two strongest religious groups are roman Catholics and Protestant evangelicals.

Is religion in decline in Canada?

What do you think?


  1. 1

    Religion in general is probably not in decline, but…you will find that most people tend to equate “religion” with the Mosaic cults: Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. Anyone who practises a religion outside the Mosaic tends to get discounted as being “non-religious.” That is, at the very least, an unfortunate side-effect of the isolationist attitudes of a lot of Mosaics’, “If you ain’t one of us, you ain’t nothin’.”

    An interesting attribute of shrinking population in any movement is that, having been used to occupying such a large space for such a long time, they sometimes tend to get louder as they get smaller — perhaps a way of yelling at the rest of the world, “Don’t lose me! I’m still here! I’m still important!” That explains the volume of a lot of the proselytizing and evangelizing sects. It’s an animal instinct to think that the louder something is, the bigger it is. But it’s not necessarily true.

    But here’s the thing about surveys: they’re inaccurate as hell. There is no way to determine, short of a specific head-count, how many people belong to any group at all. And even then, you have to be able to believe that every single person is telling you the absolute truth when they answer questions that must be clearly and unamibuously put to them at a time when they are psychologically capable and emotionally willing to answer. Anything else is guesswork.

  2. 2

    Religion is on the decline. Churches are empty, closing and “converting” (:-)) to condos.
    The Catholic church has taken the biggest hit, largely because of their stance on birth control, lavish rituals, control by male priests, and the numerous scandals, to name only a few.
    Evangelists are holding their own, by offering a bible based teaching against a modern back drop of programs such as Sunday school, youth groups, and music, etc.
    I believe that 24% (or thereabouts) would identify themselves as having no religion. Where would they learn anything about it? Parents don’t take their children to church, and religion is not taught in school.
    It’s akin to learning to spell…who can spell anymore? 1%!
    It’s interesting that so many people cry out to God when they are dying, or in dire straits. That explains the word faith.

  3. 3

    PS: I’m off to church this lovely Sunday morning, with my family, including my 14 year old, delightful grand daughter.
    We plan to give our testimonials on what we are grateful for this Thanksgiving.
    We have many! Living in Canada is one of them!
    Our Pastor works as an EMT and a nurse, part time. He is an inspiration to all of us.
    Happy Thanksgiving to all!

  4. 4

    I have a decidedly non-religious neighbour,French Canadian,who,with many of his generation,threw off his religion in the early sixties. Now,in his early seventies, he regrets it. he told me that many of his friends have turned to alcohol,others have sought out other forms of religion. Plud,his own kids seem rootles,and are adrift in life.

    So,to answer the question, I think that religion is making a comeback,and will never be erased.

  5. 5
    jim Says:

    I’ve noticed that one does not have to be affiliated with a religious institution to be religious. The church I once belonged to has lost my interest. My arrangement with the church is….thank you for everything you’ve taught me, but don’t call me, I’ll call you. I have not changed my a priori thinking or my transcendental. If one doesn’t believe in a power greater than themselves, it’s ok with me, as long as they truly truly believe in what their destination will be. I know that my higher power will recognize that belief as being profound, although I won’t stretch it to include those who think that football is a religion.If one needs proof that there is a higher power may I suggest that one stand on the corner of Peel and Ste,Catherine Streets in Montreal and drop their drawers, and In a few minutes a power greater than themselves will drive up to them in a blue and white patrol car and hustle them off to the twitch farm. P.S. In this season, let’s all say a prayer for all the faithfully departed…the turkey, the two legged type, that is.

  6. 6
    Trev Says:

    “…having no religion has climbed to 24 per cent in 2009 from one per cent in 1931”
    I hate to be pedantic (ho ho) but surely one percent is not statistically significant. Really everybody felt under pressure to claim allegiance to a particular religion in 1931. Just as homosexuals had to keep quiet in 1931 so secular-minded people had to as well.
    So 24per cent revealing they have no religion nowadays is maybe not so surprising considering the onslaught of consumerist messages from television.

  7. 7
    Neil McKenty Says:

    The heavy weights at the Vatican claim they will be happy with a much smaller church provided its adherents buy the whole ball of was from birth control to euthanasia.

    Do you suppose that’s the answer. Integrity rather than integers.

  8. 8

    Life has changed since 1931, when social events and religion intertwined. There was little else except work and a day off of fellowship. The church told the congregation how to live, procreate, tithe and think. There was no media highway to explore and to question the core thinking.
    I don’t need to go back that far. The world I grew up in was rich in history but poor in communication.
    There was a time when we did as we were told, and now we do as we are asked.
    We’ve come a long way, baby!

  9. 9
    Trev Says:

    If the catholic movement becomes ” a much smaller church provided its adherents buy the whole ball of wax” – they will then are like any other grouping of atomised consumers in the modern arena of capitalism. From Gays, Mormons to Muslims, or any other grouping. there is room in this era, as long as they pay in dollars and don’t mess with the overarching capitalist order.

  10. 10
    jim Says:

    Is there a master plan? Himself makes the scene. He took some Jews meshed them with the Gentiles and the result was Christianity. They named themselves Catholics. All other Christian religions have as a basis, the Catholic New Testament together with the Original Testment. The Apostles were Catholics. I’ve noticed that the protestants did not procure a license to use the Apostles’ names when they named their churches and turned the Apostles into Protestants. At one time I believed in Apostolic Succession but Lordy, Lordy what happened that descent included Pope Benedict who is a descendent of Judas Iscariot. Did the master plan include multi-storied churches, and the clergy dressed in multi-coloured dresses and red slippers?. Did the plan include the crusades?How about the destruction of children’s minds for a lifetime when the clergy played doctor? Jesus chin-wagged on street corners. Didn’t cost money. Is the value of all church properties in the trillions of dollars? In the end, does the master plan include the disappearance of the church over time and Benny knows it? The people will go back to street corners. The rise and fall of the clergy.

  11. 11
    joe agnost Says:

    Is religion in decline? I sure hope so… the sooner we rid humanity of these silly myths the sooner humanity can progress with what is real. Religion divides us and just gives humans a reason to hate their fellow man.

    littlepatti wrote: “It’s interesting that so many people cry out to God when they are dying, or in dire straits.”

    Take a look at how Christopher Hitchens is handling his cancer if you want to see how an atheist deals with “dire straits”… No crying out to God, no need for false hopes or prayers. Just reality – and it’s beautiful.

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