Losing my religion

Australians are walking out of churches and getting on with life without God.

Figures from last year’s census have been released today and accroding to this article from News.com.au Aussies are losing their religion.

The figures, released today, revealed that 3,706,557 Australians – or 19 per
cent – said they had no religion on Census night last year, which was 3 per
cent more than the 2001 figure of 2,905,993.

Christians still make up the majority of Australians who claim a religion but other religions are growing in popularity.

Christianity is still the dominant religion, with 12.7 million
followers nationwide. But as a proportion of the population, Christianity
dipped from 71 per cent to 64 per cent.

The number of Buddhists has doubled to nearly 2 per cent of the
population, while Hinduism has also doubled in popularity since 1996 to now
account for 0.7 per cent.

Do people no longer feel a need for connection with God? Are our churches failing to impact the nation? Does the decline in those who claim to follow a religion mean that there’s less interest in spirtuality or simply less interest in what some would see as a rigid set of beliefs?

I’d really enjoy hearing your thoughts on the census information. Feel free to leave your thoughts in the comments section of this post.

Posted by Rodney Olsen

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About the author

Rodney Olsen

Rodney is a husband, father, cyclist, blogger and podcaster from Perth Western Australia.

He previously worked in radio for about 25 years but these days he spends his time at Compassion Australia, working towards releasing children from poverty in Jesus' name.

The views he expresses here are his own.

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  • I think it’s a sign of both people looking for God but the Church’s lessening influence in people’s lives.
    People I talk to with some Church involvement who are looking elsewhere don’t see the Church as relevant.
    I think the Church has been focussed in the past (and maybe today) on preaching morality to the expense of love and we are seeing the price of that.

  • I’m usually of the mind that “losing my religion” might be the first step to finding the real thing. If “my religion” isn’t compelling enough to keep my attention, then it’s probably best to scrap it and start over. The problem comes in us not wanting to start over, wanting to go it alone – but that’s another “my religion” that will hopefully be scrapped in the future as well.

  • Christianity is failing, because people are afraid they might have to give up some worldly pleasures…and they are right….If you haven’t got peace, or faith, or you do not know what truth really is. Then what do you have??

  • I think there are certain areas of the church which have been preaching morality, and are becoming increasingly irrelevant, but I also think there are increasing numbers of churches that are incredibly relevant, churches that would leave a big hole in the wider community if they stopped exisiting.

    I also think that statistics can be twisted, and never, ever, tell the true story.

  • What I have found difficult is immigrating. I grew up going to church every Sunday and my parents were very involved. Here I had no idea which church to join that would be similar, I tried Anglican and Uniting, but the services was so different than mine. I just could not be comfortable. I grew up attending Sunday school and wished the same for my kids but could hardly found any here, maybe I didn’t search hard enough.
    My religion has become something very personal now, I believe and pray in private. And then why do the Australians belief sports should be played on Sundays? That’s church day as far as I was concerned, but now the dilemma is my son has soccer match every Sunday morning, in SA we had Saturdays as sporting days, Sundays are rest days.
    So I don’t know, maybe it is becoming all to hard and people are just giving up?
    I try to teach my kids that at least if you have nothing in life you still have your faith and no one can take it away from you. It’s also hard for them to be in a public school and not a private religious school. Our school were very religious base, here it’s not.
    Just my 2c worth.

  • These results deserve closer scrutiny before concluding Aussie’s are increasingly atheist. For one thing, the census doesn’t measure the “spiritual not religious” category too well. For another, all the non-Christian religions are on the rise. I have been blogging on the Aussie census results over at http://mattstone.blogs.com for anyone who is interested.

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