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Fulcrum: An Inflection Point in Canadian Culture


Author(s): Scott Douglas Jacobsen

Publication (Outlet/Website): Medium (Personal)

Publication Date (yyyy/mm/dd): 2022/11/10

The new census from 2021 shocking many religious observants and non-religious non-observants in the country has been non-shocking to non-religious observant me. The declination has been subtle, but perceivable within the other sparse data sets on Canadian religious demographics.

The country is in a less of a terminal decline vis-à-vis religion necessarily and more in a gradual fading away of customs not passed on convincingly to the next generations. Scandals from the Pope and the Residential Schools system, anti-Muslim sentiment, fundamentalist Catholic and Islamic online groups, anti-Semitism, anti-atheist, and other concurrent phenomena do not explain these trends in full, even mostly.

The decline in religion in Canadian society is in larger part a matter of demographic shifts over generations. Older generations get older and young generations get middle-aged, and the birth rates of each cohort continues to decline, while the passing on of religious custom and belief gets less rigid.

Thus, religious domination of one group inevitably declines over decades. As well, as these are decades-long trends; the notion of rapid shifts or a revivalism are unlikely if not impossible. The nature of large-scale statistical trendlines, e.g., human-induced climate change, is slow and steady: A line of best fit.

Canadian Christianity, as with other staple religions in Canada’s national landscape decline or mostly remain stable; newcomers to part of Turtle Island or North America retain traditions and a sense of renewed life and vision, and concomitant higher birth rates, reduced rights of women, lesser education of women, and more fervent religiosity of their homelands, on average compared to Canadians of nth generations.

“On average” simply for the fact of the Canadian landscape being more non-religious than most other countries and immigration accounting for some of the religious growth in the country, i.e., among the Canadian Sikh, Hindi, Buddhist, and Muslim, populations. Others with more education, more rights for women, more finances, and so on, tend to have fewer children, regardless of religion.

20 years ago, Christians accounts for 77.1% of the Canadian religious landscape. 2001, the dominant mythos, mythology, and literary landscape, was Christian and biblical. These populations aged, died, and/or failed to pass on the religious customs of their versions of Christian doctrine and tradition.

In the current period, 2021, Christians only account for 53.3% of the population. Granted, that was last year. If we make a trend line of 77.1% minus 53.3% (77.1–53.3) for 23.8% divided by 20 years, we come to 1.19% loss of Christianity per year in a simplistic analysis..

53.3 minus 1.19 is 52.11, so, 52.11% of the country as Christian some time this year (2022), plus or minus for a margin of error. Fast forward 1.19 to 2024, or 2.38, we come to 49.73%. Somewhere in 2024, Christianity, as an unprecedent development — as with the current develops at 53.3%, will be less than half of the Canadian population.

The 2020s in Canada will be the decade of replacement of Christianity and Christians as the dominant sociopolitical force in Canadian society by the Nones — atheists, agnostics, humanists, and the like — and minority religions, particularly Islam. It will be an accelerated phenomenon of the 2000s and the 2010s.

As many young were digital natives, their mental landscape was influenced severely by an online culture where freedom of expression and freedom of association reigned more freely than many other places. The New Atheism, Firebrand Atheism and Militant Atheism, came to the fore with Richard Dawkins, Sam Harris, Christopher Hitchens and Daniel Dennett in the early 2000s to the middle 2010s.

Since that time, it has waned and non-religious communities have formulated new tactics, new communities, new heroes, and revisions to former convictions to incorporate the feedback from culture, including non-religious and religious criticism alike.

The increase in those marking No Religion does not mean an increase in mean intelligence or critical thinking, or an acceptance of deep philosophy or scientific empiricism. Rather, it may simply be a removal of one type and mark a transition to less structured ideational trances with some of the literature remarking on SBNRs or the spiritual but not religious types.

They can be open to all forms of spirituality, beliefs, practices, supernaturalisms, and so on. The basic premise is the idea that individuals in these communities came from formerly Christian communities, moved into new domains of belief structures, and became something, according to professional researchers, more akin to SBNR status. Perhaps, if the No Religion demarcation or appellation was changed a tad, then there would be a discovery about this as part of the landscape of belief.

Regardless of the finer points, Canadian religion is changing, fast, and the country, demographically and culturally, is at an inflection point.


In-Sight Publishing by Scott Douglas Jacobsen is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License. Based on a work at


© Scott Douglas Jacobsen and In-Sight Publishing 2012-Present. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this site’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Scott Douglas Jacobsen and In-Sight Publishing with appropriate and specific direction to the original content. All interviewees and authors co-copyright their material and may disseminate for their independent purposes.

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