Archive for February 25th, 2008

Living in a small circle

Monday, February 25th, 2008

Canada truly is a a country of diverse people, in terms not only of ethnicity but religious faith or lack thereof. My small part of Canada is probably less diverse than many, yet between my work, my faith community, and other facets of my life, I know people of a variety of religious views, including Christians of Catholic (conservative and liberal) and Protestant (conservative and liberal, mainline and evangelical) denominations, as well as atheists, agnostics, etc. Some of them prefer to keep their faith private, while others believe that public discourse on faith is as valid as on any other topic.

I thought this was a fairly normal environment.

Imagine my surprise therefore when I came across this statement in a recent opinion piece by a well-known CBC opinion columnist:

I’m an atheist. So is everyone I know, or maybe they’re being Canadian and refraining from mentioning their religion.

As of the 2001 Census, 16% of Canadians self-identified as having no religion. Assuming an approximate 50/50 split between atheists and agnostics, it appears that the writer only knows representatives from 8% of Canada’s faith mosaic. I find that somewhat sad, especially considering the strength of conviction with which she writes about people of faith and who should and should not be allowed to participate in public discourse.