Wednesday, 20 February 2013

"Religious Attachement" Goes Up In Quebec, For The First Time Since... Forever. Freak Out! Freak Out!

Notre Dame Church, Montreal, 1900.  I guess it
was empty back then too.  Where are all the
tourists? (source: Library of Congress)
I've reported several times before about how Quebec seems to be growing ever more secular every year without fail since the Quiet Revolution.  Which is a good thing for ex-Catholic turned Atheist yours truly. In fact, it had become the most secular place in Canada and has held that title for a long time.  But not so anymore - apparently - and I can hear those who have been yearning for those glory days of religion here in la Belle Province breathing collective sighs of hope and relief.

Well, I don't think anyone really wants to go back to the horrors that were Church-saddled Quebec.  But apparently religious attachment - whatever that means - is on the ascent.

And apparently the Church is getting some new spin and could be making a bit of a comeback - or maybe it's the Muslims who are bumping the numbers up.  Or perhaps it's the seeming abundance of older New Age folk and people who consider themselves spiritual.  This province has more healing crystals than you can shake an athame at. Or maybe nobody really actually knows what's going on because nobody bothered to ask what religious attachment really means and which religion we're talking about.  Yeah, that looks more likely.

Here's the story from the Ottawa Gazette, New survey suggests Quebec residents feel increasing sense of attachment to religion.

Basically it looks like Quebecers have found some small new amount of religious attachment, which puts them very close to being at par with the rest of the country - which is apparently marginally more secular on average this year than in 2010.  All in all, we're still a lot of religious slackers, aren't we?
Nationally, 36 per cent of Canadians stated in the November survey that they consider themselves “very” or “somewhat” attached to religion. That’s marginally down from the 39 per cent recorded in an ACS survey conducted about two years earlier, in September 2010.
But there were notable shifts in religious sentiment within different parts of Canada. In Quebec, for example, the proportion of respondents expressing some form of attachment to religion rose from 26 per cent in the 2010 poll to 34 per cent in the latest survey.
That's an 8 percent rise in 3 years.  Seems a little steep to me - like these numbers are sort of flying all over every which way, even when you factor in 2.9% error, 19 times out of 20.

The story goes on to mention how the Catholic Church may be seen as a little less odious these days because a local boy is in the running to be the next pope.  Also, Catholicism is being tied more closely to a strong Quebec identity rather than an evil oppressive organization that kept French Quebec under its heel in the past.  Well, then maybe it could be those minorities (read: Muslims) that contribute to this.

But you see, they never bothered to ask why.  So who knows.  I'm not even finding what the question was!  If anyone actually finds the damn survey, please send me the link!

And it was such a mixed bag everywhere else, that I wonder how useful this particular survey is.
The survey also showed a six-per-cent increase in self-professed religiosity in Atlantic Canada, from 33 to 39 per cent. And 34 per cent of B.C. residents described themselves as very or somewhat religious, up slightly from 31 per cent in 2010. 
But elsewhere in Canada, the expressed sense of attachment to religion has declined, decreasing from 46 to 38 per cent in Ontario, from 48 to 43 per cent in Manitoba/Saskatchewan and — most significantly — from 49 to 31 per cent in Alberta.
There's an interview with the guy who did this work at the Montreal Gazette podcast,  Religious attachment on the rise in “secular” Quebec: poll.

Can I almost hear some kind of hopeful yearning in the interviewer's voice? "... if you and I will have lived to see the day when religion will return to being a factor in Quebec and in Quebec politics."  I could be mistaken there, though.  I don't really know the author's views - so don't quote me on that.

It is also interesting how this poll comes out in the middle of the provincial government pushing to adopt a secular charter, with very little apparent popular opposition.

You know, religious affiliation has been in such a consistent and downward decline here in Quebec that I would be surprised if we didn't see the occasional bump upward now and then.  Well, there certainly could be room for an aberration or two here as well, you think?  Has this rampant secularism hit bottom? We'll see how the numbers poll next year and the year after.  Perhaps Alberta will become the new secular centre of Canada!  My suitcases are on standby.

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