Religious Canadians a Giving Bunch

By Longhurst, John | Winnipeg Free Press, April 22, 2017 | Go to article overview

Religious Canadians a Giving Bunch


Longhurst, John, Winnipeg Free Press


A new survey about Canadians and religion is out, and it shows that faith in Canada is still very much alive.

The survey, released April 13 by Angus Reid in collaboration with Canada 150, found 21 per cent of Canadians identify as religiously committed; 30 per cent are privately faithful; and 31 per cent are spiritually uncertain. Only 19 per cent consider themselves to be non-believers.

The survey also found that 67 per cent of Canadians believe God or a higher power exists; 60 per cent believe in life after death; 53 per cent believe God is active in the world; 57 per cent believe there is a heaven; and 41 per cent believe there is a hell.

While there are many interesting things in the study, what struck me is how religiously committed Canadians viewed their engagement with the world around them.

The survey found that the more religious someone is, the more they give to charity, volunteer and are involved in the community. People who are religiously committed were more than twice as likely as members of any other group to say they are "very involved" or "quite involved" in community activities.

Non-believers, by contrast, were the most likely to say they are "not at all involved" in the community.

Religiously committed Canadians were also almost twice as likely as any other group to say they "try to donate to whatever charities they can."

As someone who works in the non-profit sector, these findings are of great interest to me. They confirm previous research by Statistics Canada, which found people who are more religiously active (who attend religious meetings or services at least once a week) are more inclined to donate, and also to make larger donations.

Why does being religious correlate with giving to charity, volunteering and engagement?

One reason, the Angus Reid survey suggests, is that being part of a worshipping community provides people with more opportunities to help -- to do neighbourhood cleanup, be part of a soup kitchen or support an inner-city organization. …

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