Religion seems to be a key player in many of today’s top stories, from stand-alone events – such as the 2005 riots in the suburbs of Paris linked to the French government’s proposed burka ban, and rightwing Christian Anders Behring Breivik’s shooting rampage in Oslo, Norway – to more drawn-out sagas, such as child abuse in the Catholic Church, and the perception that Christians are constantly campaigning against gay marriage and abortion.
Canadians who don’t participate in religion themselves experience it in the news, which can sensationalize the negatives aspects of religion, said Dr. Pamela Dickey Young, the principal of the School of Religion at Queen’s University, in Kingston, Ont.
Dickey Young said when she asks most of her firstyear students if they're religious, they say no. When she asks if they are spiritual, they say yes. She said this follows a general trend among Canadians who are turning away from organized religion – which is seen as a concrete set of pre-ordained rules – in favour of a more personalized spiritual journey.