Non-Religion and Secularity in Canada

A Workshop Event, 18-19 October 2019 at the University of Waterloo

Hosted by the Departments of Sociology & Legal Studies and Religious Studies

Event Description:

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.

Event Schedule (Held in Hagey Hall, room HH 373):

Day 1: Friday October 18, 2019.

8:45-9:15: Arrival, morning coffee and snacks

9:15-10:30: Session 1

Greetings, and introductions to the event and participants

10:30-10:45: Morning Break

10:45-12:15: Session 2 - Conceptualization and measurement of non-religion and secularity

Living Well Together: Nonreligion in the Context of Religious Diversity, Lori Beaman & Cory Steele, University of Ottawa

Scientific Atheism as Secular Religion, Stephen LeDrew, Memorial University of Newfoundland

Connecting Psychology to Secularism and Nonreligion Studies, Sean Moore, University of Alberta

Non-Religion in Canada: Measuring a Positive Absence, Peter Beyer, University of Ottawa

Discussant: Zachary Munro, University of Waterloo

12:15-13:30: Lunch

13:30-14:30: Session 3

Small group activity with new Millennial Trends Survey results

14:30-14:45: Afternoon break 1

14:45-16:45: Session 4

Discussion of small group activity with new Millennial Trends Survey results

16:45-17:00: Afternoon break 2

17:00-18:30: Keynote address

Conceptual, Methodological, and Substantive Challenges in the Study of Nonreligion, Joseph Baker, East Tennessee State University

19:00: Dinner at the Solé Restaurant and Wine Bar, 83 Erb St W Building Two, Waterloo, ON


Day 2: Saturday October 19, 2019

8:45-9:15: Arrival, morning coffee and snacks

9:15-10:45: Session 5 –New empirical findings on non-religion and secularity

Let Sleeping Dogs Die: The Life and Death of Canada’s Law Prohibiting Blasphemous Libel, Steven Tomlins, Institute of Governance

Labours of Non-Religion in Twelve-Step Recovery, Zachary Munro, University of Waterloo

Blessed Are the Cheesemakers: Religion vs. Nonreligion in the Canadian Community Health Survey, Ryan Cragun, University of Tampa and David Speed, University of New Brunswick

In Whom do the Non-Religious put their Faith? An Analysis of Cleavage Patterns in Non-Religious Canadians' Voting Behaviour, Christopher Raymond, Queen’s University Belfast

Discussant: Sarah Wilkins-Laflamme, University of Waterloo

10:45-11:00: Morning Break

11:00-12:30: Session 6 – New empirical findings on non-religion and secularity

Reverential Naturalism and the “None Zone”, Paul Bramadat, University of Victoria

When Religious Resources are Recycled as Popular (Secular) Culture, Géraldine Mossière, Université de Montréal

Views of the “Other”: The Religiously Affiliated and Unaffiliated in Canada, Joel Thiessen, Ambrose University

Towards a Better Understanding of the Social and Religious Context Surrounding Support for Bill 21 in Quebec, E.-Martin Meunier & Jacob Legault-Leclair, University of Ottawa

Discussant: David Seljak, University of Waterloo

12:30-13:30: Lunch and end of workshop event

Group Handouts

Group A handout - Organized and digital nonbelief activities among young adults.pdf

Group A

Group B handout - Digital nonreligion among young adults.pdf

Group B

Group C handout - Nonreligion and immigration among young adults.pdf

Group C

Group D handout - Inherited nonreligion and intergenerational switching.pdf

Group D

Group E handout - Nonreligion and civic engagement among young adults.pdf

Group E

Group F handout - Nonreligion and spirituality among young adults.pdf

Group F

Group G handout - Nonreligion and life events among young adults.pdf

Group G

Group H handout - Nonreligion and homophily among young adults.pdf

Group H