Ipsos

Ipsos

April 12, 2009 06:00 ET

As Christians Mark the Death and Resurrection of Jesus Christ this E

Men Fall Away From Grace

Attention: News Editor, Government/Political Affairs Editor TORONTO, ON--(Marketwire - April 12, 2009) - Toronto, ON - As Christians mark the crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus Christ this coming weekend, a new Ipsos Reid poll conducted on behalf of Canwest News Service and Global National has revealed that six in ten (58%) Canadians 'definitely believe in God', down from 64% who said the same in 2003. Further, 13% of Canadians indicate that 'sometimes they do, sometimes they don't' believe in God, statistically unchanged (down 1 point) from six years ago.

And it's men who have fallen away from Grace the most over the past few years: there has been a steady erosion in the belief in God from 82% in the mid 1990's through numerous poll's by Ipsos Reid to 63% today (compared to women at 79%). Regionally, the two regions where non-believers have risen over that time are in Atlantic Canada-from 16% previously to 27% today-and in Alberta where non-believers have gone from 9% to 19%.

Alternatively, 10% say they're not sure if they believe in God (down 1 point), while 15% say they don't believe in God (up 5 points). Three percent (3%) don't know what to believe (up 1 point).

Despite fewer Canadians believing in God, fully one in three (34%) 'Agree' (17% strongly/17% somewhat) that 'during the last year of these economic times they've prayed more often than usual so that it helps them and their family'. In fact, nearly one in ten (8%) non-believers 'Agree' (1% strongly/7% somewhat) that they've prayed more this year. Furthermore, one in three (30%) 'Agree' (14% strongly/16% somewhat) that they 'feel so desperate that God is the only entity that they can turn to in their life'.

Four in ten (38%) Canadians 'Agree' (19% strongly/19% somewhat) that they 'have committed their life to Christ and consider themselves to be a converted Christian', down 3 points from 2006. Six in ten (57%) 'Disagree' (37% strongly/20% somewhat) with this sentiment.

Jesus as the Son of God…

A majority (52%) of Canadians believe that 'Jesus of Nazareth was the actual Son of God who was crucified and then rose from the dead after being buried and then ascended into heaven, which paved the way for the forgiveness of their sins'. One quarter (23%) of Canadians think that 'Jesus of Nazareth was a Jewish preacher or prophet who was a man who was crucified and was buried but did not rise from the dead and was not the Son of God'.

Adopting a contrary stance, 15% believe that 'Jesus of Nazareth, despite what has been written, did not really exist and is just a story that was intentionally developed to create a religious movement'. One in ten (10%) don't know which of the above statements best describes their beliefs.

Creation versus Evolution…

Debate continues to swirl over the origin of human beings, and Canadians are split on the matter. One in three (31%) consider themselves to be 'creationists' and believe that 'human beings were in fact created by a spiritual force such as the God they believe in and do not believe that the origin of man came from evolving from other species such as apes'. Interestingly, only four in ten (41%) believers are creationists.

On the other hand, four in ten (41%) say that they are 'evolutionists' and believe that 'human beings were in fact created over a long period of time of evolution growing into a fully formed human beings that they are today from lower species such as apes'. Further, three in ten (30%) believers say they're evolutionists.

Two in ten (21%) simply don't know what to believe and 'sometimes agree or disagree with theories and ideas put forward by both creationists and evolutionists'. Believers (23%) are more likely to agree with both positions than are non-believers (18%).

Overall, 7% of Canadians don't know which of the above categories is closest to their own point of view.

Heaven, Hell and the Afterlife…

Canadians are quite divided when it comes to their beliefs on what happens when individuals die. Two in ten (21%) believe that you 'go to either heaven or hell' (unchanged from 2003), while 7% 'believe in heaven, but not hell' (down 1 point). Two in ten (20%) 'believe in an afterlife but not specifically in a heaven or hell' (down 6 points), while 15% think we simply cease to exist when we die (up 4 points).

Seven percent (7%) of Canadians believe we are 'ultimately reincarnated' (unchanged), while three in ten (28%) don't know what happens when we die (up 3 points).

Canada and Religion…

Six in ten (58%) Canadians 'Agree' (21% strongly/36% somewhat) that 'Canada is essentially a Christian nation', while four in ten (38%) 'Disagree' (16% strongly/22% somewhat). Of note is that nearly one half (48%) of non-believers consider this to be true, while six in ten (61%) believers agreed with this premise.

Even if a majority thinks Canada is essentially Christian, eight in ten (80%) 'agree' (45% strongly/35% somewhat' that 'we give those who believe in religions other than a form of Christianity a proper amount of tolerance to practice their faith, with believers (81%) and non-believers (81%) being equally as likely to think so.

But when examining the degree to which other religions give a proper amount of tolerance to Christians in Canada, the nation is split. Likely brought on by debates of Christmas and Holiday Trees or other such quarrels, four in ten (41%) 'agree' (14% strongly/27% somewhat) that 'those who believe in religions other than a form of Christianity do not give a proper amount of tolerance to Canadians who practice the Christian faith, with believers (46%) being more likely than non-believers (30%) to 'agree'. Nearly one half (49%) (20% strongly/29% somewhat) 'disagrees' that this is the case.

These are the findings of an Ipsos Reid poll conducted March 31 to April 2, 2009 for Canwest News Service and Global Television. For the survey, a representative randomly selected sample of 1,000 adult Canadians was interviewed by telephone. With a sample of this size, the results are considered accurate to within ± 3.1 percentage points, 19 times out of 20, of what they would have been had the entire adult population of Canada been polled. The margin of error will be larger within regions and for other sub-groupings of the survey population. These data were weighted to ensure that the sample's regional and age/sex composition reflects that of the actual Canadian population according to Census data.

For more information on this news release, please contact:

John Wright
Senior Vice President
Ipsos Reid
Public Affairs
(416) 324-2002
john.wright@ipsos-reid.com

About Ipsos Reid
Ipsos Reid is Canada's market intelligence leader, the country's leading provider of public opinion research, and research partner for loyalty and forecasting and modelling insights. With operations in eight cities, Ipsos Reid employs more than 600 research professionals and support staff in Canada. The company has the biggest network of telephone call centres in the country, as well as the largest pre-recruited household and online panels. Ipsos Reid's marketing research and public affairs practices offer the premier suite of research vehicles in Canada, all of which provide clients with actionable and relevant information. Staffed with seasoned research consultants with extensive industry-specific backgrounds, Ipsos Reid offers syndicated information or custom solutions across key sectors of the Canadian economy, including consumer packaged goods, financial services, automotive, retail, and technology & telecommunications. Ipsos Reid is an Ipsos company, a leading global survey-based market research group.

To learn more, please visit www.ipsos.ca.

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IN: EDUCATION, POLITICS, RELIGION

Contact Information

  • John Wright, Senior Vice President, Ipsos Reid Public Affairs
    Primary Phone: 416-324-2002
    E-mail: john.wright@ipsos.com