Tuesday, July 3, 2007

Religion losing its allure in Australia

"Since 2001, the number of people [in Australia] saying they have no religious conviction has risen from 2.9 million, or 15.5 per cent of the population to 3.7 million, or 19 per cent.

So, over a period during which the total population has grown by just under a million, the number of non-believers has risen by 800,000. Which means the percentage increase of non-believers is close to 30 per cent.

Conversely, the percentage affirming commitment to some form of Christianity has hardly fallen – from 54 per cent to 53.2. In numerical terms, the overall number of Christians has declined from 10,768,000 to 10,577,000 – hardly cause for the bishops to sweat.

However, when the population is increasing, it's difficult to deny the emergence of a trend towards decline – and if the trend were to continue, as it has over the past three census periods, Christians will a minority very soon.

Those who fear that as Christianity declines, other religions will gain new adherents need not do so. In the past five years, the percentage of Australians claiming belief in "other" religions – Islam, Judaism, Hinduism, Buddhism and so on – has also slipped – from 30.5 per cent to 28.1 per cent.


So it seems beyond dispute that, rather than cleaving to "new" religions offering new alleged truths and insights and rather than falling back on the age-old shibboleths of "traditional" Abrahamic religions, increasing numbers of Australians are rejecting religion altogether."

Daily Telegraph (Australia), July 03, 2007

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