Canada Day is almost upon us, so I thought I’d give my perspective on the spiritual temperature of our nation.
MacLean’s magazine conducted a poll a couple of years ago which revealed some surprising stats about us.
• 78 per cent of Canadians affiliate themselves with a particular church.
• 20 per cent regularly attend church (both Roman Catholic and Protestants included). That figure is somewhat lower in B.C., ranging from one per cent on the West end of Vancouver to 30 per cent in our Abbotsford Bible Belt.
• 67 per cent believe that Jesus Christ is god’s son, died so that man’s sip would be forgiven, and was resurrected to eternal life,
• 7 per cent consider themselves to be evangelical Christians. Evangelical is made up of two root words, “Eu” meaning “good”, and “angel” meaning “messenger”, so the word implies a readiness to share our faith with others
• 32 per cent believe the Bible is God’s Word and should be taken literally,
• 54 per cent read the Bible at least occasionally,
• 13,000 say they are atheists.
My observations from these statistics and conversations with hundreds of Canadians over the past few years, are that we are a very spiritual nation, but we are also a very private people – our faith is personal. We like God, but we don’t like the Church very much. These six generalizations summarize where we are in relation to spirituality.
• We are intrigued with mystery. Watch a bit of Canadian TV and see how much is about the supernatural, whether Christian, other world religions, cultic, occultic, New Age or extraterrestrial.
• We are in the market for religion. People are more open to God and spiritual thins than I’ve seen in my lifetime. Whereas “God was dead”, 20 years ago, people are much less self-conscious about talking about their faith these days.
• We still have a sense of religious memory. Although it’s fading fast, most baby boomers either grew up in the church or had parents who did. Even those who had a grandmother who was a believer tend to hang onto her spiritual skirts.
• We are searching for an anchor outside of ourselves. Our world is changing so fast we’re scared on the inside and feel a bit spiritually insecure. Questions like “Where’d I come from?” and “Where am I going?” chase all of us.
• We are searching for sinificance. We want to know “Who am I” and Why am I here?”
• We want healthy relationships. To love and to be loved. We want to.know that someone cares about us.
Stats show that about 80 per cent of us are searching for answers to the last three questions. That’s why I’m continuing to write about The Lord is our Shepherd. I think we’ll find many of our answers in Psalm 23.
Originally published in the Tri-City News newspaper in Barry Buzza’s “Pastor’s Perspective” column.
For a listing of Pastor Barry’s books visit Over The Wall Ministries.