The nature and form of religion in Australia have changed significantly over the past 50 years. This story told in a variety of ways, including secularization and religious decline. However, it is becoming increasingly unsatisfying.
Religion is not disappearing, and it has not retreated into private life as expected, even though more people declare that they are no religious. These changes have significant implications for research and social policy.
The news is always about religion. It said to be a catalyst for global events, terrorizes politicians and influences the voting process on moral issues.
Australia’s 2011 Census revealed that it was simultaneously less religious and more religious. While 22% more people declared that they had no religion, the percentage of those who have declared a religion has increased by 22%. This is partly due to 17% less people choosing not to respond.
Young people, the so-called millennials, are increasingly declaring that they have no religion. Nearly 30% of Australians aged between 25-34 declared no religion in the 2011 Census.
According to research in the UK, many young people are abandoning formally organized religious communities that appear incapable of giving women full dignity or celebrating LGBTIQ love.
Increasing Australia Number Of Children
An increasing number of children are being raise by parents who claim to have no religious beliefs. The UK has a 50% chance of their children being raise by religious parents. However, those who are raise in non-religious homes are less likely to become religious. Similar numbers are expect for Australia.
Recent research in Australia and overseas has shown that there are three types of religious orientations. These are not the two predictions by secularisation theory. There has been an over-emphasis on the religious/secular divide, and a failure to recognize the variety of religious beliefs.
First, those who are influence by formally organized religion find that it enriches their lives and drives them to serve others. This is what they are open about, as well as their efforts to practice faith. They consider religion important and use it to guide their efforts to shape and remake society.
Recent focus groups with millennials revealed that some religious people are very exclusive, believing they know the truth and that everyone should hold the same beliefs. Most millennials are comfortable with their religion and can accept others as they are religious or not.
Lower Percentage Than 50 Years
Although this is a lower percentage than 50 years ago, it cannot be overlook that people are taking their faith seriously in today’s world. The National Church Life Survey (NCLS), which was conducted recently, revealed that 14% of Australians consider religion very important. 11% also attend worship every week.
This group is however very diverse. This group includes Christians of all faiths as well as Buddhists, Muslims, Hindus and Sikhs. There are many ways to be a member of a particular faith. One billboard proclaims that there are 1.6 billion ways to be a Muslim. Diversity within religious groups. There are at least two types of nones. There are two types of people. They find it meaningless and pointless.
Some people may be anti-religious but most don’t care. Others might follow a religion. According to the NCLS, 36% of Australians thought religion was not important and 25% believed it was of little importance. Similar results found by 68% who said they attend no religious services or less than once per year.
The second group of people who are not religious include those who practice spirituality, meditate, ask questions about life and seek ethical ways to live.
The NCLS reports that 28% of Australians have claimed to have had (and 25% believe it is possible) a mystical, or supernatural experience. They have no doubts about the reality of this experience. According to the NCLS, 11% of Australians claim to have attended religious services at least once per week and 7% once per month. These supernatural experiences do not only apply to religious organizations.
Further Research To Understand Australia
The second group, sometimes called SBNRs (spiritual and not religious), requires further research to understand how people engage with meaning and seek to improve their lives and the world around them.
They not privatized simply because they aren’t associated with existing organizations. They are just differently organize and network.
There are many ways that Australians can be and don’t practice religion or spirituality. This has a significant impact on education and social policy.
First, diversity does not exist in a heightened number of monolithic identities. One cannot speak for all Christians, Muslims, Buddhists, Hindus, or Jews. People with the same religious identity may have more difficulty forming intrareligious relationships. People from different religions will form alliances over issues, even if they are internally divided.
Although census categories show a level of diversity, they do not reflect the diversity within each category. They also do not reflect the fact that more Australians will claim more than one category if given the opportunity. It is easy to overlook the diversity of religions, both religious and non-religious.