Magazine article Anglican Journal

Canadians Modest about Their Religion While Americans Prone to Exaggeration

Magazine article Anglican Journal

Canadians Modest about Their Religion While Americans Prone to Exaggeration

Article excerpt

STAFF

Canadians may actually be more religious than they say they are, while their neighbours south of the border may actually be going to church much less than they say they do, two separate studies have reported.

The number of Canadians in church pews and who identify with an organized religion may have plummeted since the 1940s but a Statistics Canada report says more than half actually engage in "private religious behaviour" either in the privacy of their own homes or in other locations.

Only one-third (32 per cent) of adult Canadians attend religious services at least monthly, but more than one-half (53 per cent) pray, meditate, worship and read sacred texts, said Statscan in a report released in May.

Statscan used data from the General Social Survey and the 2002 Ethnic Diversity Survey to track the religious views and practices of Canadians.

"Public religious behaviour, religious affiliation and attendance have been declining among much of the population, but this captures only one aspect of people's religiosity," said Statscan. "There has been much debate about whether Canada is becoming increasingly secularized. Many argue that institutional religion has a reduced influence on Canadian society.

"Certainly, religious attendance rates between the late 1940s and late 1990s have declined significantly while, the percentage of people reporting no religious affiliation has increased. But does this imply that there is an erosion of individual faith, based on the supposition that attendance rates decrease because people lack the belief that motivates attendance? …

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