Canadians view non-Christian religions with uncertainty, dislike: Poll

Nearly seventy per cent of Quebecers hold an unfavourable opinion of Islam, but a favourable opinion of Christianity.

The results from the last of three comprehensive national surveys about religion, religious freedom and values by Angus Reid Global show 69 per cent of Quebecers hold an unfavourable view of the Muslim religion, while about as many (66%) view Christianity favourably.

More than half of the rest of Canadians (54%) view Islam unfavourably, while almost three quarters (73%) hold a favourable opinion of Christianity.

Outside Quebec, favourable opinions of other religions vary, with Buddhism (56%) and Judaism (51%) coming second and third to Christianity, followed by Hinduism (44%) and the Sikh faith (29%).

Quebecers have generally lower favourable opinions of those religions: Buddhism (56%) Hinduism (39%) Judaism (35%) Sikhism (18%).

“We put the same questions to Canadians across the country four years ago,” says Shachi Kurl, Vice President, Angus Reid Global. “Since 2009, favourable views towards all religions have dropped outside Quebec. In that province, favourable views towards Hinduism, Sikhism and Buddhism have climbed, but are still lower than in the rest of Canada. Only perceptions of Christianity remain unchanged.”

Outside Quebec, people living in Atlantic Canada have more favourable opinions towards religions, while people living in Saskatchewan and Manitoba are less favourable towards religions.

Demographics tell another story, with younger and university educated Canadian adults holding more favourable opinions of non-Judeo-Christian religions. The same trend emerges when Canadians were asked whether it would be acceptable or unacceptable if their children married people from non-Judeo-Christian religions. Canadian adults aged 18-34 and those with a university education were most accepting of this scenario. Scenarios where children were to marry a Christian partner were the only ones to garner widespread acceptance across regional, age and educational lines.

“The Charter of Rights and Freedoms guarantees our ability to practice the religions of our choice in Canada,” says Kurl. “However, how much we choose to educate our neighbours about our faiths may be one factor in the deep disconnect between how we perceive different religions in this country.”

Full demographic and regional results are found in the tables at the end of this document.