Thursday, August 3, 2017

Canadian atheists face a tough slog ahead



Before I give some Google statistics relating to Canadian atheism/secular humanism, I am going to preface the Google data with some introductory information relating to Canadian atheism.

The Canadian atheist activist Pat O'Brien is a Canadian atheist, an activist, and ex-president of Humanist Canada and British Columbia Humanist Association (Secular humanism is a form of atheism).

O'Brien said about the willingness atheists/humanists to support national and provincial atheist organizations: "The biggest problem is fundraising. It is difficult to get Humanists to part with their money."

O'Brien said about his tenure as the president of Humanist Canada:
It has been said many times that trying to get Humanists to agree on something is like trying to herd cats. I learned early on that as a leader I could not rule from above, or make unilateral decisions. The membership is highly educated and smart they do not respond well to decrees or being told what to do or what position they should take on a matter so one learns to be inclusive, trying to reach consensus. Without going into too much detail, the reason I resigned was because I felt in a particular circumstance unilateral action was the best course to take and still believe I made the right decision, but it lead to me being forced to resign. In the end, my decision was upheld.
On December 10, 2011, USA Today reported in a story entitled Study: Atheists distrusted as much as rapists:
The study, conducted among 350 Americans adults and 420 Canadian college students, asked participants to decide if a fictional driver damaged a parked car and left the scene, then found a wallet and took the money, was the driver more likely to be a teacher, an atheist teacher, or a rapist teacher? 
The participants, who were from religious and nonreligious backgrounds, most often chose the atheist teacher. 
The study is part of an attempt to understand what needs religion fulfills in people. Among the conclusions is a sense of trust in others. 
"People find atheists very suspect," Shariff said. "They don't fear God so we should distrust them; they do not have the same moral obligations of others. This is a common refrain against atheists. People fear them as a group.

The 2016 Vancouver Sun article entitled Young immigrants to Canada passionate about spirituality indicates
The spiritual commitments of Kim and Shaik illustrate a trend captured by Statistics Canada and pollsters at the Angus Reid Institute: Young immigrants to Canada have an unusually high rate of religious commitment. 
Angus Reid discovered that younger immigrants, including millennials, are almost three times as likely as Canadian-born residents to take part in religious activities, whether Christian, Sikh or Muslim. 
More than half recent immigrants between ages 18 and 49 told Angus Reid pollsters they attend a religious institution at least once a month in Canada, which is also a higher rate than among older immigrants. 
As a result of in-migration, Canadian sociologist of religion Reginald Bibbysays, institutional religion is far from dying in Canada, despite the emphasis journalists and academics place on the expansion of secularism.
The abstract for 2016 journal article Christian Churches and Immigrant Support in Canada: An Organizational Ecology Perspective which was published in the Review of Religious Research states:
Canada receives roughly 250,000 immigrants each year, and the government spends considerable resources on assisting them to settle and integrate into Canadian society through the agencies they support. Most of these new immigrants settle in Canada’s largest cities, where churches meet specific needs that extend beyond the capacities of government agencies. In smaller centers, churches cover a wide range of services because few government supports are available. Little is known about the work of churches in Canada in spite of their importance to immigrant settlement and integration. In this study, we examine the services offered to immigrants by Canadian Christian churches. We show how the service provision of Christian churches is constrained by other organizations and groups in their environment, in ways consonant with the organizational ecology framework. Specifically, churches service the needs of immigrants by adapting to specific niche needs and by filling in gaps left by other service providers.
The Canadian born scholar Eric Kaufmann wrote:
I argue that 97% of the world's population growth is taking place in the developing world, where 95% of people are religious. 
On the other hand, the secular West and East Asia has very low fertility and a rapidly aging population... In the coming decades, the developed world's demand for workers to pay its pensions and work in its service sector will soar alongside the booming supply of young people in the third world. Ergo, we can expect significant immigration to the secular West which will import religious revival on the back of ethnic change. In addition, those with religious beliefs tend to have higher birth rates than the secular population, with fundamentalists having far larger families. The epicentre of these trends will be in immigration gateway cities like New York (a third white), Amsterdam (half Dutch), Los Angeles (28% white), and London, 45% white British.

The Global and Mail states:
A report this week from Statistics Canada forecasting the country’s demographic makeup in 2036 suggests it’s too late. The transformation of Canada is already far advanced, and continuing.
By 2036, the agency predicts, as many as 30 per cent of all residents will not have been born in Canada. Another 20 per cent of the population will be native-born, but with at least one immigrant parent.
Furthermore, much of Canada's immigration is from Asia (Filipinos, Indians, Chinese, etc.) and much of the atheistic areas of Asia are seeing a rapid decline of atheists and a strong growth of evangelical Christianity (see: East Asia and global desecularization ).

In 2014, the Vancouver Sun declared in article entitled Think religion is in decline? Look at who is 'going forth and multiplying':
Eric Kaufmann, a noted London-based demographer, projects that religious people, especially conservatives, will win the race against the non-religious in the 21st century.
Why? Basically because religious women are having far more babies than secular women....
The main reason Islam, Catholicism and conservative Protestantism is expanding is not necessarily because they’re converting newcomers, Kaufman argues, but because their religions tend to be “pro-natal” and they have more children.
“What no one has noticed is that far from declining, the religious are expanding their share of the population: in fact, the more religious people are, the more children they have,” Kaufmann says in Shall the Religious Inherit the Earth? (Profile Books)....
“The cumulative effect of immigration from religious countries, and religious fertility will be to reverse the secularization process in the West. Not only will the religious eventually triumph over the non-religious, but it is those who are the most extreme in their beliefs who have the largest families.”,,,, 
Because of increasingly high immigration rates to the West, Kaufmann projects regions such as Europe, the U.S., Canada and Australia will grow more religious. “Religion is coming to the West on the backs of immigrants.”... 
What about Canada?
The most recent figures available confirm Kaufmann’s thesis.
Muslim women in Canada have the highest birthrate — at 2.4 babies per woman, followed by Hindus (2 babies per woman), Sikhs (1.9), Jews (1.8), various Protestants (1.6) and Catholics (1.6). Non-religious Canadian women have only 1.4 babies per woman.
Kaufmann has also discovered that children of immigrants do not easily walk away from the family religion — not like many of the offspring of parents born in the West.
Children of immigrants often engage in “cultural defence,” says sociologists. They tend to stay with their parents’ traditional, ethno-religious customs to affirm their identities.
When secularism does gain newcomers, Kaufmann says, they come mainly from the offspring of domestic-born moderate or liberal religious parents. “The middle ground,” as Kaufmann puts it, “is being hollowed out.”
There is a “higher cost” for members of conservative religions to reject their parents’ faith, he says. “To leave a conservative religion is a big, big step. You’re leaving more behind.”
With such lines of reasoning, Kaufmann makes a case that is worth taking seriously regarding who shall inherit the Earth.
Google Canada: Search volume for atheism/agnosticism terms - 2005 to present
Google Trends shows how often a particular search-term is entered relative to the total search-volume. It provides Google search volume data across various regions of the world, and in various languages.
Below are resources related to Google trends data of popular atheism/agnosticism/evolution terms.

Google Canada: Search volume for atheism/agnosticism terms - Last 5 years


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