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Rise of Secularism and Spiritual Decline in Canada


“Number of Canadians reporting religious affiliations at all-time low: StatCan.” News headlines such as this should compel us to wonder where our society is headed. What will be the future of our children in coming decades? As a community, are we doing enough, to safeguard our future generations spiritual connection with our creator? As a community, are we doing enough, to ensure our future generations simply do not just “go with the flow?”

Unfortunately, the answer is a resounding NO!

There was a mention of an incident that occurred in England some thirty years ago where Muslim community purchased a church to be converted into a mosque. The church officials inquired from Muslim leaders, “why are you purchasing this church?” The Muslim officials said: “for our children.” The church officials quipped: “that’s what we also had in mind, when we built it.” 

A similar incident also occurred few years back at the Richmond mosque when Richmond Mayor, Brodie visited the mosque and was astonished to see that the number of youngsters attending the prayers were almost as equal as adults, and he stated something to the affect that he loves seeing youngsters attending places of worship. Unfortunately, in our church we only see elderly. 

That is a bitter truth reality and if we as a community do not put an action plan in place to attract youth to our mosques and give them a reason to be connected to the mosque. There is a great likelihood that our future generations will also follow the disturbing Canadian trend, and simply just “go with the flow!”

Let us examine the recent report released by StatsCan “Religiosity in Canada and its evolution from 1985 to 2019,” and determine how much of a thin ice we as a community are skating, when it comes to religiosity, spirituality, and possible submersion of our future generations of Muslim Canadians in what seems like a popular Canadian trend of “No Religious Affiliation” category. 

StatsCan report released on October 28, 2021 highlights a disturbing trend: “In recent decades, the religious landscape in Canada has undergone significant changes, including a decline in religious affiliation and the practice of religious activities, both collectively and individually.”

“In 2019, 68% of Canadians aged 15 and older reported having a religious affiliation.”

“It's the first time that fewer than 70 per cent of Canadians reported being religiously affiliated since StatCan began tracking the data in 1985. Between 2000 and 2017, the percentage of religiously affiliated Canadians hovered around 77 to 82 per cent, before declining to 75 per cent in 2018.” Reported CTV.

“54% considered their religious or spiritual beliefs to be somewhat or very important to how they live their lives. “ 

“StatCan also found that religion was becoming less important for more Canadians. The percentage of people who reported that religious or spiritual beliefs were somewhat important or very important was 54 per cent in 2019. In the mid-2000s, it was around 70 per cent.” According to CTV. 

“23% of Canadians said they participated in a group religious activity at least once a month, and 30% said they engaged in a religious or spiritual activity on their own at least once a week.”

“In recent decades, there has been a decline in religious affiliation, participation in group or individual religious or spiritual activities, and the importance of religious and spiritual beliefs in how people live their lives. Changes in indicators of religiosity over time appear to be the result of differences between younger and older cohorts.”

The last point is of extreme importance, “differences between younger and older cohorts.” Every parent will vouch that there is a “generational gap” between them and their children. We cannot really blame the children for this as many of the parents are immigrants and expect their children to act and behave how they did when they were children. The one thing we tend to forget our expectations are based on a completely different culture and society. Meanwhile these children have a limited exposure to it as they spend most of their time outside in school and work, which teaches them whole different sets of expectations and behaviour. 

This striking aspect was highlighted in CTV News article on the report: “Within the youngest age group, 62 per cent of those born outside of Canada reported a religious affiliation, compared to 39 per cent of Canadian-born individuals.”

What is the single most important factor we as a community need to focus on from the report summary in CTV News article is: “Being religiously affiliated was not necessarily correlated to placing a high importance on religion, StatCan said. Between 2017 and 2019, 18 per cent of Canadians reported a religious affiliation while also indicating that rarely or never participated in group religious activities and considered their religious beliefs to be of little importance to how they live their lives.”

Ours, and our children’s connectivity to the mosque. We may declare our faith as Muslim on a StatsCan survey but how connected are we and how connected are our children to the mosque? If we are not connected to the mosque and ensure that our children also connect with the mosque, there is a great likelihood that soon enough we will find our mosques empty or only far and few elderlies roaming about from time to time attending a prayer or two, that two may be in a week or a month. 

It is up to us as a an individual and as a community to ensure that not only we set an example for our children about the importance of a mosque in our daily lives and for our own spiritual connection by remaining connected with the mosques on a regular basis, preferably, daily basis, but we also ensure that we take our children with us to the mosque so they began to develop a spiritual connection wit the mosque. 

The dangerous alternative is, we “go with the flow” and let our children sink in the popular and disturbing Canadian trend when it comes to religion and spiritual connection with our creator. 

The choice is ours!


Article Source: ALAMEENPOST