BARtalk #8: The Future of the Christian Church

Design by Arianna Mao/AMS and Jessica Mann/Terry Project

Design by Arianna Mao/AMS and Jessica Mann/Terry Project

Is the Christian Church declining? RSVP Facebook.

According to a recent poll by the Pew Research Centre, Canada’s religious landscape is changing at a rapid phase. While Catholics and Protestants are seeing decreasing levels of church attendance and interest, more people are identifying themselves as having no religion at all. Many more are turning to spirituality as an alternative to organized religion, while still maintaining their belief in God.

At the same time, a new wave of Charismatic Christianity is spreading across the country, with evangelical sects such as the Pentecostal church becoming increasingly popular in certain demographics, especially among youth. With a heavy focus on worship music, and manifestations of the “Holy Spirit,” the church focuses on creating an emotionally charged atmosphere that separates it from the traditional denominations. Indeed, while many Canadians are choosing to leave organized religion, many more are changing how their religious beliefs and values are expressed. In the last two decades alone, the Pentecostal church has experienced steady growth in British Columbia, attracting a younger and a more diverse follower base.

Are we seeing a decline of the traditional church? What causes the Charismatic Christianity movement to succeed where the traditional Christian denominations have failed? And most importantly, what does it say about faith and life in Canada?

Come to our next BARtalk and chat with our expert panel:

  • Douglas Todd is a Vancouver-based journalist, speaker and an author. He writes on spirituality, ethics and diversity for the Vancouver Sun. He’s also behind the popular blog, the Search, which takes on controversial topics such as race, sex, and religion. (@DouglasTodd)
  • John G. Stackhouse, a professor of theology and culture at Regent College, draws on history, sociology, theology, and philosophy to explore the intersection of Christian faith and contemporary culture. He is an advisory editor to Christianity Today and a contributor to the National Post. (@jgsphd)
  • Ara Norenzayan is a social psychologist at the University of British Columbia. His current research interests include evolutionary and cognitive approaches to religious thought and behavior, issues of cultural variability, and universality in human psychology. He’s also the author of the book, “Big Gods: How Religion Transformed Cooperation and Conflict.”
  • and hosted by Gordon Katic (@gord_katic)

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Gordon Katic (@gordonkatic) has been student coordinator for the Terry Project for over two years, and in that time started BARtalk, and the Terry Project on CiTR 101.9FM. A former Ubyssey columnist, and now a student at the UBC Graduate School of Journalism, Gordon is trying to use journalism to tell important stories about global issues.