Religion isn’t dying. It may be rising from the grave

When his book Unknown Gods was published 22 years ago, University of Lethbridge sociologist and pollster Reginald Bibby painted a rather dreary picture of where Canada’s churches would be by about 2015. Congregations would be older, birth rates wouldn’t keep up with the number of folks who were dying off, and all the while many children weren’t being socialized into a faith. It was a linear decline, plain and simple. The writing was on the wall. “Even with the Toronto Maple Leafs, there is hope for a better next year,” he says in an interview. “Whereas with religion, it looked pretty much over.”

When 2015 finally came around, Bibby decided to revisit his book and check on his predictions. He discovered that for many religious groups, he was quite off-target. Catholics, for example, are building new churches in some parts of the country. Evangelicals increased their total numbers as Canada’s population grew. The same goes for Muslims, Hindus, Buddhists and Sikhs. He had accurately forecasted a long, drawn-out decline for the United Church of Canada and the Anglican Church. But some religions were getting an infusion of new blood.

“What I screwed up on—it sounds so naive looking back—[is] I didn’t allow for the immigration variable,” Bibby says. “The thing that pumps new life into religion in Canada has been this mammoth entrance not only of Muslims, but also Catholics.” Not to mention the Protestants, Sikhs and Hindus…

  • Freedom

    We need more Catholics in the US Government

    • FactsWillOut

      You mean more followers of Hippy “Who am I to Judge, Tax the Rich to Feed the Poor” Frankie?
      I think not.

      • Freedom

        More good people of faith who have a higher obligation to do what is right because of their faith in God. And who ultimately understand they will be judged by a higher power if they do evil.

      • Oracle9

        It’s OK, no need to fear Catholics. We’re giving it all to the Muslims anyway.

    • Norman_In_New_York

      Six of the nine Supreme Court justices are Catholics. The other three are Jews. Not one is a Protestant.

  • FactsWillOut

    Pissing on the side of the highway is illegal. Cutting off folks heads is illegal.
    Therefore pissing on the side of the highway = cutting off folks heads.

    Say goodnight.

  • Rick McGinnis

    Like most people engaged in the “social sciences,” he confused the thing he wants to see with the thing that would happen.

    • Frau Katze

      It would seem that way. Now he has to content himself with only the fall of a few Protestant sects.

      • Rosenmops

        Notice it is the “progressive” denominations in decline.

        • ntt1

          united church and Anglican, committed Anglicans have moved their moral leadership to African bishops because the English ones are complete dweebs.

        • Frau Katze

          Yep. I noticed that.

    • Una Salus

      What he really screwed up on was probably an assumption that immigrants would assimilate and move towards a completely secular orientation in time. That also isn’t happening in countries like France and Sweden with large sections of their immigrant population.

  • Dana Garcia

    The Catholic church in the US has been one of the biggest promoters of open borders, since so many illegal aliens lean pope and have been filling the empty pews. Catholic elites have actually spent millions of dollars to lobby for less American sovereignty and more Mexicans let in.

  • ntt1

    a lot of our Anglican congregation have taken their kids to the Evangelical church’s because just like islam; they offer absolutes , Anglicans have become a bunch of appeasers to groups that have no interest in being part of the church, the collapse in BC started when the Anglicans gave in to Indian blackmail over the residential schools scam. then our bishop embraced gays , …2% of the population and zero in our church and lost 10-15% of committed congregation yearly there after. now they talk of facility sharing with united church ,,,its over.

    • Frances

      They’re also going to ACNA – Anglican Church in North America. There are a batch of parishes in the Vancouver area, a few across the Prairies, and some in Ontario, Quebec, and the Maritimes.

      • ntt1

        Yes Several friends joined Anglican essentials in protest over our rather loopy bishop Michaels maneuvers to embrace those that just don’t really give a shit. we have been dwindling ever since, I left about two years ago due to sermons on global warming, out reach to non-existent moderate muslims and funding of groups like Kairos a terror support group.

  • Uncle_Waspy

    The United Church is like the Seinfeld of religions….a religion about nothing. 😛

    • DD_Austin

      The United church is symbolic of the west, the positions of power seized
      by idealistic leftist perverts, abandoned by it’s unheard from, disgusted
      once loyal members, it stands for nothing but the greed of it’s elite as it
      sells it’s assets and soul for a last few days of debauchery.

      Like a tree rotten to the core, it will fall, and be fed to the fire

  • Paulla

    As Sunday School attendance declines, crime rate goes up.

  • The Church is growing in Asia and Africa.

  • David Murrell

    A lot of people, leftists and conservative, do not like Reginald Bibby. One left-wing librarian told me that, over the years, Bibby has refused to share his rather large micro-data base, the data base he uses for all of his books on Canada’s religion.
    But as a religious conservative, I have liked much of what Bibbly says. In his books, he has defended evangelical Christians as churches who deserve their membership growth. He has also written that churches should be “hospitable churches”, inviting people (like immigrants) in — something old-line churches are loathe to do. Our small Baptist church follows this latter policy, and immigrants have come to our church, since we have community meals and programs to help people in the community.
    But I take what some of the comments here are saying: the od line churches are liberal; they have little faith in the Bible; and they are losing members (the Anglicans and the United church members). Bibby over the years has not stressed this enough.