Nearly half of Canadians believe that the presence of religion in Canada contributes both good and evil equally, according to a new poll.
The study, conducted by the Angus Reid Institute with nonpartisan think tank Cardus and released Tuesday, surveyed nearly 1,300 Canadians about their religious practices, as well as their views on how religious communities can benefit or harm the public.
About 47% of Canadians surveyed said religion contributes both good and bad to the community as a whole. About 31% said religion brought more good than harm to society, while 22% said religion brought more harm than good.
According to the poll, the number of Canadians who believe that religion brings more harm to society than good has increased in recent years, from 14% at the end of 2017.
“Last summer, ground-penetrating radar confirmed that there were hundreds of unmarked graves at former residential school sites across the country, many of which were operated by the Catholic Church,” wrote officials. researchers in the report. “In the four years since, and with these tragic stories brought to light, Canadians’ views of the contribution of religious and faith communities to society have turned negative.”
When broken down by religious group, all faiths reported a higher percentage of those who believe religious communities do more good than harm to society. Support for the idea was particularly high among evangelical Christians – 67% of whom said religion was very or mostly good for society, compared to 3% of evangelicals who said religion did more harm than good .
Among non-religious Canadians, 39% said faith does more harm to society than good, while 12% said it does more good than harm.
Regardless of their personal religion, respondents were also asked whether the presence of specific religions in public life benefits or harms Canadian society. For three religions — Catholicism, Evangelical Christianity and Islam — Canadians are more likely to believe that their presence harms rather than benefits society. For other religions, including Hinduism, Sikhism and Judaism, respondents’ positive ratings outweighed negative ratings.
SPIRITUALITY OF CANADIANS
According to the survey, spirituality varies across the country.
In order to categorize respondents into a spectrum of beliefs, the researchers asked about their beliefs, including their belief in God or a higher power and their belief in life after death.
The researchers also asked about their religious practices, including how often they pray or go to church, how they feel or experience the presence of God or a higher power, and how important it was for their child or children to receive religious instruction or to be involved in their lives. religious community.
According to the study, one in five Canadians identify as “non-believer,” while four in five respondents said they have some openness to God or spirituality. The largest group of Canadians identify as “spiritually uncertain,” accounting for almost half of the population at 46%.
The number of Canadians who identify as “religiously committed” has declined slightly in recent years, researchers say, while the number of those who say they are uncertain has increased.
The province with the fewest respondents identifying as “committed religious” or “privately faithful” was Quebec, while the Prairies had the most.
While seven in 10 Canadians were raised in some sort of religious tradition, only about three in 10 said they pray at least once or twice a month.