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Religious/Spiritual Identity among Younger Adults in Canada: A Complex Portrait

  • Peter BeyerEmail author
  • Alyshea Cummins
  • Scott Craig
Chapter
Part of the Boundaries of Religious Freedom: Regulating Religion in Diverse Societies book series (BOREFRRERE)

Abstract

Various perspectives in the recent social scientific study of religion posit major transformations in the importance and forms of religion in contemporary society. The research reported here seeks to assess some of these assertions by examining religious identity constructions among younger adults (18 to 45-year-olds) in Canada. Most research that measures religious identity has centred on whether persons identify with and conform to the orthodox beliefs and practices of a (an Abrahamic) religion. As such, it is not well suited to finding religious identity constructions that do not conform to this model. Using an online survey instrument specifically developed to make as few such assumptions as possible, this research analyses patterns of religious identity construction among a sample of about 800 Canadians. From a point of departure that asks how ‘religious’ or ‘spiritual’ respondents think they are, it analyses three major groupings which differ mainly in the degree to which they conform to the ‘standard’ model. One grouping conforms strongly to this model. Two groupings do not and include significant numbers of people who would be ‘religious nones’ if received ways of measuring were used. The analysis also identifies a further group of strong ‘religious nones’ that have little to no religious or spiritual identity.

Keywords

Religious identity Spiritual identity Younger adults Canada 

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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Classics and Religious StudiesUniversity of OttawaOttawaCanada

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