If your beliefs have helped you find a sense of meaning and purpose in life, that’s great. And if your local church is actively trying to better people’s lives with things like no strings attached food and shelter, that’s also great. Thank you for doing those things and for doing what you can to live up to the standard that organized religion likes to claim it sets for itself. But as someone who doesn’t believe that whatever good is being done is enough to outweigh all of the harm caused by religion in the form of greed, fraud, brainwashing, discouraging certain medical care, discrimination, human rights violations, war, murder, sexual abuse, residential schools and more, it’s hard not to see these stats and feel just a tiny bit better about the future.
StatCan data released on Thursday shows that in 2019, only 68 per cent of Canadians 15 or older reported having a religious affiliation.
It’s the first time that fewer than 70 per cent of Canadians reported being religiously affiliated since StatCan began tracking the data in 1985. Between 2000 and 2017, the percentage of religiously affiliated Canadians hovered around 77 to 82 per cent, before declining to 75 per cent in 2018.
Only 23 per cent of Canadians in 2019 reported attending group religious activities, such as church service, at least once a month. Between 2000 and 2009, that figure was around 30 per cent.
StatCan also found that religion was becoming less important for more Canadians. The percentage of people who reported that religious or spiritual beliefs were somewhat important or very important was 54 per cent in 2019. In the mid-2000s, it was around 70 per cent.
The report also talked about differences among age groups. Religious affiliation was the highest among Canadians born between 1940 and 1959 at 85 per cent, compared to 32 per cent for those born between 1980 and 1999.