Losing faith in droves

A survey of Canadian youth reveals that the religious middle-ground of those who believe in God, but do not go to church or practice religion, is disappearing, leaving behind teens who are either very religious or those who don’t believe in God at all.

Reginald Bibby, the University of Lethbridge sociologist who heads up Project Teen, says “For years I have been saying that, for all the problems of organized religion in Canada, God has continued to do well in the polls. That’s no longer the case.”

Macleans.ca reports:

Every day, Mohamed Hadi wakes up before sunrise for morning prayer. The 19-year-old then boards a bus for the 90-minute ride from his home in Richmond, B.C., to the campus of Simon Fraser University, where he’s studying to become a physiotherapist. He’s involved in the Muslim Students’ Association, and with Rich in Faith, a Muslim youth group he founded that offers tutoring and mentoring services. Hadi’s a busy guy, yet he always finds time for his religion, including prayer five times a day. “It helps me stay composed,” he says, “and to maintain balance in my life.”

Such devotion is rare among teens these days—or at least, among those from Protestant and Catholic households. Just as the younger generation is abandoning the Christian faith, though, non-Western religions, such as Islam and Buddhism, are growing in Canada at a surprising speed. According to new data from Project Teen Canada, more teens now identify as Muslim than Anglican, United Church of Canada and Baptist combined. As a group, the percentage who adhere to so-called “other faiths”—including Islam, Buddhism, Hinduism and Sikhism—has grown fivefold since Project Teen began its surveys in 1984, while the percentage of teens who identify as Roman Catholic has declined by one third, and the percentage who identify as Protestant is down by almost two-thirds.

Read the rest here.

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