Nearly a quarter of Canadians say they have no religion in recent social surveys, with even larger figures present among teens and young adults. U.S. studies show diversity among those who say they have no religion: some are believers, spiritual persons and infrequent religious service attenders who choose not to identify with any one faith tradition. Others are either active non-believers involved with atheist and humanist networks and movements, or inactive non-believers removed from these groups while not holding any beliefs in the transcendent or supernatural. The worldviews of these non-religious populations along with their values, family and educational choices, prejudices and openness, mental and physical health outcomes as well as their political behaviour often differ from those who are more involved with organized religion. Yet, Canadian scholars in the fields of religious studies, the sociology of religion and the psychology of religion are just now beginning to turn their attention to these phenomena. They still lag behind their American counterparts in studying the empirical realities along with the social and political implications of a growing non-religious demographic within the plural Canadian landscape.
The goal of this two-day workshop event at the University of Waterloo is to bring together those emerging and established Canadian researchers along with key scholars from the U.S. with directly or indirectly relevant research agendas. This event will be a crucial moment to share preliminary research findings, to brainstorm and to drive innovation and new collaborations in this emerging subdiscipline of non-religion and secularity studies.
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