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Canadian Christians' Beliefs Often Defy Traditional Teachings

Eye-opening study exposes clash of beliefs and generation gap among Canadian Christians


7 May, 2024

OTTAWA, ON – Canadian Christians’ beliefs don’t necessarily match what their churches teach. That’s one of the key findings in a major new study by Cardus, Still Christian(?): What Canadian Christians Actually Believe. The survey of Canadian Christians found some significant inconsistencies between personal beliefs and historic church teachings:

  • When asked whether “There is one true God in three persons: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit,” 89% of Evangelicals agreed, 51% of Catholics agreed, and 57% of mainline Protestants agreed.
  • Belief in the resurrection of Jesus Christ as a historical event is held by 81% of Evangelicals, 48% of Catholics, and 55% of mainline Protestants.
  • Belief that Jesus Christ was not God ranges from 26% of Evangelicals, to 54% of Catholics, to 58% of mainline Protestants.
  • When asked whether all religions are equally true, 20% of Evangelicals agreed, compared to 54% of Catholics and 57% of mainline Protestants.
  • 65% of Evangelicals disagreed that “Christian moral teachings should evolve with changes in society’s attitudes,” whereas 72% of Catholics and 61% of mainline Protestants agreed.

Interpreting the Survey Results

“You could say there’s a real problem in the pews,” says Rev. Dr. Bennett, Cardus Faith Communities Program Director. “While Evangelicals largely mirror their denomination’s doctrines, there still some level of incoherence there. Catholics often diverge, presenting both a challenge and an opportunity for the Church to reconcile its members with its teachings. Meanwhile, the diverse landscape of Mainline Protestant beliefs is complicated, but hints at deep fractures within those denominations.”

Still Christian(?) also found that younger Canadian Christians display a stronger commitment to the teachings and practices of their faith compared to older generations.

“In an era where Christianity is no longer a given in society, young Christians may be making deliberate, counter-cultural choices to adhere to the beliefs and devotional life of historical Christianity,” says Rev. Dr. Bennett.

Background to the Survey of Canadian Christians

Cardus conducted a survey of Canadian Christians in partnership with the Angus Reid Institute and with support from the Canadian Bible Society in February 2024. This allowed Rev. Dr. Andrew Bennett to compare and contrast respondents’ beliefs with teachings that have historically been affirmed within Christianity and that continue to be officially endorsed by some Christian churches.

Still Christian(?): What Canadian Christians Actually Believe is freely available online.

To learn more about Cardus’s previous surveys with the Angus Reid Institute, visit the Cardus home page. Cardus has also worked previously with the Canadian Bible Society to study Canadian Christians’ engagement with and knowledge of their own scriptures.


Daniel Proussalidis
Cardus – Director of Communications

Cardus – Imagination toward a thriving society
Cardus is a non-partisan think tank dedicated to clarifying and strengthening, through research and dialogue, the ways in which society’s institutions can work together for the common good.