Lecture With Dr. Reginald W. Bibby in the Laframboise Cafeteria
Saint Paul University presents Dr. Reginald Bibby
Dr. Reginald W. Bibby
“It’s Far from Over: The Future of Religion in Canada”
April 4, 2013
DR. REGINALD W. BIBBY is Board of Governors Research Chair in the Department of Sociology at the University of Lethbridge, Alberta. Over the past four decades, he has been monitoring social trends in Canada through a series of well-known national surveys of adults and teenagers; in the process, he has gathered pioneering and historic data on religion and youth.
In this presentation, Dr. Bibby clarifies and updates his provocative arguments from his recent book, Beyond the Gods & Back: Religion’s Demise and Why It Matters. Most observers have maintained that religion in Canada has been in irreversible decline since the 1960s. What’s more, the secularization trend has been seen as part of a global pattern, an inevitable correlate of industrialization and post-industrialization. So it is that commentators today routinely see religion in Canada as a thing of the past. Extensive trend research and current research on religion in this country shows something quite different to be occurring: religious polarization. While it’s true that a growing core of Canadians is choosing to live life without religious faith, a relatively stable core of people continues to value faith. Also, a significant number of people constitute something of an ambivalent middle, continuing to identify with religious groups while drawing selectively on them in à la carte fashion.
Such a polarization pattern is found everywhere, including the United States. The future of religion in Canada is not in doubt; what remains to be seen is the extent to which Canadians will reject and accept religion, which “religious companies” will prosper and which ones will fail. What is particularly worth watching are “wild card events” – unexpected developments that have the potential to shake up the status quo.
This lecture will be given in English