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The Religions of Canadians

The Religions of Canadians

Copyright Date: 2012
Pages: 480
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  • Book Info
    The Religions of Canadians
    Book Description:

    The Religions of Canadiansdraws on the expert knowledge and personal insights of scholars in history, the social sciences, and the phenomenology of religion to introduce the beliefs and practices of nine religious traditions.

    eISBN: 978-1-4426-0517-6
    Subjects: Religion, Sociology

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-viii)
  3. Acknowledgements
    (pp. ix-x)
    Jamie S. Scott
  4. INTRODUCTION Religions and the Making of Canada
    (pp. xi-xxviii)

    Some years ago, T. Sher Singh, an occasional columnist for theToronto Starfrom Guelph, Ontario, wrote an “op-ed” piece on the coincidence of several sacred festivals occurring over a two-week period in the spring—the birthday of Hindu Lord Rama; Christian Easter; the Muslim Feast of Sacrifice; the birthday of Jain Lord Mahavira; Jewish Passover; Sikh Baisakhi; and Saka, the Buddhist New Year. This coincidence of sacred festivals may not be all that unusual. But a more searching set of questions underlies the prominence given to Singh’s piece in the opinion and editorial pages of the newspaper: why did...

  5. ONE Aboriginals
    (pp. 1-32)

    Traditionally, the sacred permeated every aspect of everyday life for the Aboriginal peoples of the Americas. The coming of Europeans, however, entailed severe challenges to traditional Aboriginal ways. Invading North America from the sixteenth to eighteenth centuries, Spanish, French, English, and other colonizers brought disease and warfare, eventually forcing the indigenous inhabitants onto reserves. The threat of starvation compelled most Aboriginal people on reserves to become Christians, while their traditional religious rituals were criminalized. In Canada, Aboriginal children were removed from their homes to residential schools where many were physically and some sexually abused by Christian clergy. Still, large numbers...

  6. TWO Catholic Christians
    (pp. 33-74)

    In the age of European exploration, Catholic nations took early control of the North American continent. Spain colonized the southern regions of what are now Mexico, Arizona, New Mexico, California, Louisiana, and Florida, and converted the Aboriginal peoples of those areas to the Catholic faith. Spanish-Dominican, Franciscan, and Jesuit missionaries in great numbers landed in the south to spread the Catholic faith. With Spain firmly in control of the southern regions, Jacques Cartier (1491–1557) and Samuel de Champlain (ca.1567–1635) landed in the northern regions of the continent and claimed them for the French flag and for the...

  7. THREE Protestant Christians
    (pp. 75-130)

    Protestants are a variety of Christians who, like all Christians, attach themselves to Jesus Christ, the one whom they confess died, was buried, and rose again according to the scriptures. They trace their roots for the most part to what is often called the European Reformation of the sixteenth century, a movement marked above all by the rejection of the papacy, the affirmation of the primacy of the Bible in matters of faith, and the assertion of the priesthood of all believers.

    In Canada, Protestants represent by far the most diverse and complex religious group. During the nineteenth century and...

  8. FOUR Jews
    (pp. 131-166)

    Jews constitute the first non-Christian, non-Aboriginal religious group to come to Canada. As such, their presence opened a debate among Canadians with respect to the proper place of religious and cultural diversity in Canada, which persists to this day. Jews have established significant communities in Canada, some of which have a history spanning two centuries. Today, they are a presence in most major Canadian population centres, but are especially concentrated in Toronto and Montreal, where the Jewish community is a discernable cultural and social presence. They number approximately 350,000 and express a wide variety of religious and cultural positions that...

  9. FIVE Muslims
    (pp. 167-218)

    Islam is the second-largest religious tradition in the world. Sunnis comprise 80–85 per cent of the community, Shi’ites 15–20 per cent. With over 700,000 members, Islam is also the second-largest religious group in Canada. In the late nineteenth century, the handful of Muslims in Canada traced their roots to Scottish ancestors. By the end of the next century, Canada’s Muslim population clearly reflected the ethnic variety of the country as a whole. Since World War II, immigration has created large Muslim communities in major urban centres, notably Toronto, Montreal, Vancouver, Ottawa, Calgary, and Edmonton. By some counts, the...

  10. SIX Hindus
    (pp. 219-260)

    Though Hindus first came to Canada in the early decades of the twentieth century, it is only recently that the Hindu community has become a significant feature of the Canadian religious mosaic. The community began to develop rapidly in the 1960s, almost doubling in size between the 1991 and 2001 census, with new immigration accounting for about half of this increase. By the end of the millennium, nearly 300,000 Canadians were identifying themselves as Hindus, with nearly two-thirds living in Ontario’s metropolitan Toronto region. The vitality of Hindu religious life in Canada is reflected in the fact that within this...

  11. SEVEN Buddhists
    (pp. 261-306)

    Chinese and Japanese immigrant workers brought Buddhism to Canada in the second half of the nineteenth century. In sectors ranging from communications through to natural resources and the hospitality industry, these newcomers were essential to the development of the new province of British Columbia. Chinese and Japanese families migrated eastwards across Canada over the following decades, forming Buddhist communities in most urban centres. By the 1960s, Buddhist temples had become a colourful feature of Canada’s religious landscape, counting among their members not just Chinese and Japanese Canadians, but immigrants from elsewhere in East, Southeast, and Central Asia, as well as...

  12. EIGHT Sikhs
    (pp. 307-350)

    Punjabi immigrant workers brought Sikhism to Canada from India at the beginning of the twentieth century. Resolute, resilient, and resourceful, these pioneers played a significant role in the development of the province of British Columbia, quickly establishing a reputation as dependable and diligent employees at logging camps and lumber mills, tobacco plantations and farms. Members of the community were soon prosperous enough to start their own businesses, and by the 1920s these new settlers had established a network of Sikh places of worship, known asgurdwaras—a term that literally means “doors of the Guru” and invokes Guru Nanak (1469...

  13. NINE Bahá’is
    (pp. 351-386)

    The Bahá’ís in Canada form part of the worldwide Bahá’í community. The religion originated in nineteenth-century Persia (now called Iran) when Bahá’u’lláh (1817–92) proclaimed to be a Messenger of God and announced the fulfillment of the millennial visions of previously revealed religions. The Bahá’í tenets address matters related to both personal conduct and social issues. While mystical in nature, the tenets include a system calling for the structural reorganization of human society. This system envisions a planetary society with a common script and language, universal education, the elimination of racial discrimination, the equality of women and men, the harmony...

  14. AFTERWORD New Religious Movements and the Religions of Canadians Going Forward
    (pp. 387-406)

    In many respects, the chapters inThe Religions of Canadiansrepresent fresh research on the history and current status of world religions domesticated within Canada’s social and cultural landscape. We close each chapter with an afterword in an effort to offer summary insights into the present situation of each religious community we have visited, and to suggest some of the opportunities and challenges facing its adherents going forward. In many instances, the decades since World War II have proved pivotal for particular communities, leading variously to expressions of religious resurgence, reform, or retrenchment. In some cases, these trends result more...

  15. APPENDIX A: 2001 Census Tables: Selected Religions
    (pp. 407-422)
  16. APPENDIX B: 2001 Census Tables: Selected Religions by Immigrant Status and Immigration Period
    (pp. 423-438)
  17. Contributors
    (pp. 439-440)
  18. Index
    (pp. 441-468)