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Canadians losing faith in religion

It's no secret fewer Canadians attend church today than 20 years ago, but what may be surprising is almost half of Canadians believe religion does more harm than good, according to the results of a survey conducted by Ipsos Reid.

Explanations from experts vary - from fear of extremists and anger toward individuals who abuse positions of power, to a national "forgetting" of Canadian history.

"In the past few years, there have been several high-profile international situations involving perceived religious conflicts, as well as the anniversary of 9/11, and I think when people see those, it causes them to fear religion and to see it as a source of conflict," said Janet Epp Buckingham, associate professor at Trinity Western University in Ottawa.

Religion seems to be a key player in many of today's top stories, from stand-alone events - such as the 2005 riots in the suburbs of Paris linked to the French government's proposed burka ban, and rightwing Christian Anders Behring Breivik's shooting rampage in Oslo, Norway - to more drawn-out sagas, such as child abuse in the Catholic Church, and the perception that Christians are constantly campaigning against gay marriage and abortion.

Canadians who don't participate in religion themselves experience it in the news, which can sensationalize the negatives aspects of religion, said Dr. Pamela Dickey Young, the principal of the School of Religion at Queen's University, in Kingston, Ont.

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TAGGED: ATHEISM, RELIGION


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