New survey shows Canadians continue to believe in God but many are indifferent toward organized religion

Less than half of Canadians believe organized religion is good for society. 

TORONTO, July 8, 2014 /CNW/ - The United Church Observer (The Observer) is reporting the results of a new, groundbreaking survey that spotlights Canadian attitudes toward organized religion. As church attendance declines and landmark church buildings close, The Observer, an award-winning independent monthly magazine, is helping to clarify the reasons behind the diminishing role of organized religion in Canada today.

"Fifty years ago, the baby boom produced a generation of church-going children. Today many of the churches they attended are nearly empty. Anecdotally, we know our country has become less religious over time, and we wanted to develop a comprehensive set of statistics to explain what we were seeing," says Observer editor David Wilson. "These results give us a more complete picture of where Canadians stand on religion, and reveal some assumptions that are simply not true."

The poll surveyed 3,000 English-speaking Canadians in February and March 2014. Among the survey's findings:

  • While only 7% of Canadians say they are devoutly religious, two-thirds say they believe in a God of some sort.
  • Only 40% of Canadians think religion is good for society, while 10% think it's bad. The rest are non-committal.
  • Among the 10% of Canadians who say they are against organized religion, more than a third say they nevertheless believe in God.

Nearly two-thirds of Canadians describe worship services as "boring."

"The survey shows us that even though institutionalized religion may be a turnoff for some people, especially those in the 'spiritual not religious' crowd, it would be wrong to characterize Canadians as anti-religion," says Jane Armstrong of Jane Armstrong Research Associates, the firm that designed and conducted the online survey.

"There is not so much disdain for organized religion in Canada as there is a degree of indifference, combined with a lack of knowledge about what defines and shapes many faith communities today," she adds.

An animated video of survey highlights can be found at: Full results and analysis of the survey are at The package includes reaction from:

• Rev. Bill Blaikie, former House of Commons deputy speaker and United Church minister;

• Prof. Reginald Bibby, University of Lethbridge religion trends researcher; and

• Rev. Karen Hamilton, general secretary of the Canadian Council of Churches.

Jane Armstrong Research Associates is a full-service research consultancy that conducts survey research for clients in the public, private and not-for-profit sectors.

Celebrating its 185th anniversary this year, The United Church Observer is an independently incorporated magazine that is affiliated with The United Church of Canada but is not an official voice of the denomination. In the 2014 National Magazine Awards competition, The Observer won a gold, a silver and two honourable mentions for editorial excellence.

Video with caption: "Video: The surprising results of how Canadians perceive organized religion are revealed in a new animated video produced by The Observer.". Video available at:

Image with caption: "The cover image of The United Church Observer magazine's July/August edition. Canadians were asked their thoughts on organized religion. The resounding answer: 'Meh'! (CNW Group/The United Church Observer)". Image available at:

Image with caption: "United Church Observer (CNW Group/The United Church Observer)". Image available at:

SOURCE: The United Church Observer

For further information: Media contact: Dayo Kefentse, Tel: 416.573.3296,,


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