This chapter presents selected results of a qualitative research study on Quebec adolescents and their relation to religion and spirituality. Through individual, semi-directed interviews, 17 Montreal adolescents (nine girls and eight boys) between the ages of 14 and 19 (m = 16.05) were asked about their views on religion, spirituality, beliefs, religious diversity, and their appreciation of the province of Quebec’s (Canada) newly implemented Ethics and Religious Culture (erc) Program. Given Quebec’s unique religious and linguistic position in North America, the main historical and socioal elements that led to the development of the erc program are also discussed in order to contextualize the data.
The results show that the participants had a secular and even anti-clerical worldview, evidenced by a distrust of religious institutions and an absence of religious beliefs and practices. However, they were open to the concept of spirituality, which they saw as different from religion: they described the former as fluid, authentic, and based on individual choices, and the latter as rigid and dogmatic or a form of social control. The majority of participants also displayed an interest for learning about religious culture and ethical questions, evidenced by a generally positive evaluation of the Ethics and Religious Culture Program, which was mediated by the interest and preparation of the teachers in charge of this subject.