Canadians consider certain religions damaging to society: survey
Source: Global News
Many Canadians now believe Catholicism, evangelical Christianity and Islam are more damaging to society than beneficial, a new survey shows, as people across the country continue to turn their backs on religion.
A new Angus Reid survey, released Monday, has shone a light on perceptions of certain religions in post-pandemic Canada, at a time when religiosity in the country is already at an all-time low.
“Broader society still is not fully comfortable and fully clear about what to do with religion, and therefore they show some signs of discomfort,” Abdie Kazemipur, a University of Calgary sociologist and the chair in ethnic studies, explains.
“It’s not intolerance at the moment, it is discomfort.”
The survey reveals that all religious groups surveyed viewed evangelical Chistianity as more damaging to society than beneficial, while Islam was also perceived in a largely negative light. Respondents from both religions were also more likely to feel that Canada doesn’t make room for their beliefs in society.
Rania Lawendy, CEO of Action for Humanity and former Muslim Association of Canada spokesperson, says that’s because Islamophobia remains rife in Canada and Muslims are still made to feel that their religion is “not conducive to the universal values of Canada.”
“You only feel ‘othered’ when others make you feel like ‘the others’,” Lawendy says.
“How can I not feel othered when Bill 21 exists?”
The survey comes after data released by Statistics Canada in late 2021 showed only 68 per cent of Canadians 15 or older now report having a religious affiliation. It’s the first time that number has dipped below 70 per cent since StatCan began tracking the data in 1985.
Canadians now largely ‘spiritually uncertain’
The new Angus Reid data is a culmination of two 2022 surveys — one conducted between Jan. 21 and Feb. 3 and including a group of 1,290 Canadians from the four largest non-Christian faith groups (Muslim, Sikh, Hindu and Jewish) and another conducted from April 5 to 7, involving 1,708 participants from the general population.