Douglas Todd is the very fine religion writer for the Vancouver Sun newspaper. By that I don’t mean he is a believer, he may be, I just have no idea. I mean that he is an excellent writer with a keen eye for trends in religion. He now has a blog on the Vancouver Sun site. Today’s entry is an eye-opener in some ways … not that it surprises me, but rather confirms what I have long sensed. The post is entitled “Secularism is the new default position – almost everywhere“. A few snippets:
Fittingly, British Columbia, gets a good dose of attention. The study repeats what many already know about B.C.; that it’s arguably the most “secular” region in North America. That 36 per cent of British Columbians have “no religion,” and another 21 per cent say they’re affiliated with a religion, but virtually never attend.
No surprises here, but perhaps outsiders might be surprised to know it. There is a ready antagonism to the gospel that surrounds us when we witness.
On the ‘default’ position in BC:
In other words, secularism is the default position in Canada, especially B.C. Going to a church, synagogue or temple is now a counter-cultural act.
Even though church attendance is higher in the U.S., a secular ethos also remains strong there. Like Canadians, many Americans consider themselves secular- but-spiritual.
On France, Todd reports:
hardcore secularism is one of the things that makes French people think they’re just as special as Americans think they are.
The situation in Britain is a divide between old and young, with the young politely disinterested in religion, and the net result an even more secular society than Canada.
Denmark has only 5% church attendance, though much more are officially members of the state church.
It surprises many outsiders, but 44 per cent of Israeli Jews are secular; utterly non-religious.
The post is a distillation of Todd’s regular column for the Vancouver Sun. You can read the longer column here for the time being (it may become unavailable eventually).
On the one hand, it is depressing to face the negativity of out and out antagonism so frequently. On the other hand, that means for us that almost everyone we meet is a potential convert. May God grant grace to their souls!