The intent behind this book is to provide grist for the mill for research students and other interested readers. Chapter one, by author Allan Savage, presents an understanding of the social construction of religious activity, which maintains that social construction of religion arises from a dialectical engagement within the world from a phenomenological philosophical point of view. Co-author Peter Stuart presents a classical and traditional point of view, and readers expecting academic accord between the authors will be disappointed.
A further rationale for writing this book is that both Savage and Stuart desire to express their personal convictions in the public forum. Both have interests in the ebb and flow of civilization, especially as it pertains to the place of faith, religion, politics, and a variety of social phenomena, including economics, culture, gender, ethnicity, and the family, as well as the ebb and flow of money, power, property, and prestige, as articulated throughout history. They believe that writing about the place of faith and religion in French Canada is crucial if one is to understand the place that this 'keystone' civilization occupies within confederation and its enduring ambivalence regarding its belonging, or not, to Canada.