Role of faith in Canadian society still a source of debate

New Angus Reid Institute survey found while most Canadians believe in a higher power, they still favour a more secular nation

A majority of Canadians say they believe in a higher power and feel that religious freedom makes the country a better place, according to a new Angus Reid Institute survey.

But that does not mean that Canadians want to see the country move away from becoming a more secular nation, according to the research, which explores questions about the role of faith in public life.

"While the majority of adults in this country profess some belief in God or a higher power, a significant segment also wishes to see a more secular nation," Angus Reid said in a press release. The study "explores elements of this push-and-pull, finding that a premium placed on freedom of religion exists alongside limitations as to how far that faith should extend in public life."

Source: Angus Reid Institute

Canadians are divided on whether freedom of religion improves equality and human rights, with 42% saying it does not. A firm 58% majority said being brought up with faith creates better citizenship characteristics, while 40% disagreed.

"One-in-five Canadians (22%) feel that Canadian society 'shuts out' their faith and values, while one-third (33%) feel that room is made for their expression," said the study. "The biggest group, 37%, do not feel any real impact from broader society with respect to their personal beliefs."

The study also found that an equal number of Canadians are public faith proponents (36%) and public faith opponents (35%), while 30% are uncertain.

Half of Canadians feel that faith communities impact on society is mixed, while 31% said the impact is more good than bad.

For a PDF of the study, click here:

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