The Future of Christian Faith in Australia. “Updated”

Christian faith

Author’s note. This article was first published in July 2012. Updated comments from the ABS appear at the end further confirming the thrust of my thesis.

In his book “Losing My Religion” Bishop Tom Frame (he is the Priest that conducted the services after the Bali bombings) concludes that “Unless there is a turnaround in the fortunes of all community organizations by 2025 the Christian Church will be a marginal player in Australian life with a few remaining remnants. When the Christian affiliation of the population drops below 50 per cent, projected to happen around 2030, those identifying as Christians will be found in four main clusters. The Roman Catholic Church will continue to exercise sufficient discipline among its people to resist the mutating of popular culture. The Pentecostal/Charismatic churches will flourish in the larger cities, form communities within communities and become more sect like.”

He goes on to say that: “Those churches that do not present an attractive and credible alternative to popular culture will disappear. Left leaning cause driven liberal Protestant Churches that lack doctrinal rigor and are preoccupied with the promotion of social justice and cultural inclusion will be the first to go.”

Conclusions

The conclusions he draws would appear to be backed up by the results of the recent five yearly Australian census, which showed a remarkable increase of 30% in unbelief. In fact, five of the eight states and territories now have more unbelievers than believers. In country areas, Christian churches are closing at a rapid rate and this is attributable to a number of factors including an ageing population. Much research has been done over many years into the decline of belief and church attendance in Australia.

Reasons

Early on, the motor car was thought to be a cause because it opened society to other forms of recreation. Later television and the advent of the Sunday night movie were blamed for the demise of Sunday evening services. Today only around 7% of the population regularly attends Sunday services. Of these many are what I call culture or recreational church goers who don’t have a particularly strong belief,but attend because it forms part of their social circle or they play (or sing) in a band where they get opportunities they would not otherwise. Therefore, when these people are deducted from the 7% there is very little real belief.

However, the main reason for the decline in belief I would suggest is the fact that children are now better educated than their parents. Today’s generation questions everything. Coupled with a simple access to information on the internet it is now easy too reason and question traditional problematic belief. Young people are able to type any question about biblical belief into Google and then apply with an inquiring mind their own reason and logic.

Enlightened Young

In addition, the problem for the enlightened young in a technology driven society is the lack of demonstrably hard evidence to corroborate the existence of a personal God. For example, if you were to type in “virgin birth” then do some research, you are likely after considering the evidence conclude that no such event took place or at best, it is highly unlikely that it did. Alternatively, you could type in “contradictions of the bible” and if you are a reasoned person, you could only conclude that the book is unreliable as history and is lacking in factual content. That is not to say that it is not an important work in terms of literature or philosophy.

The young have also become impatient with religions inability or failure to remedy human suffering and put an end to social equality. If anything, it tends to exacerbate these problems. Moreover, of course the young find it difficult to fathom how the moral problems of today can be solved by refereeing to a moral landscape thousands of a year old, which was written by humans with intellectually inferior brains than the advanced minds of today. They are being asked to accept a set of rules that assume that the world they live in has never progressed scientifically or socially. They conclude that religion (and its God) is a man- made concept and it has been an historical monumental failure.

So in Australia given that the census (taken every five years) continues on its downward spiral and Bishop Frame is correct in his assumptions we could expect that within 15 or 20 years the Christian church will no longer exist.

Although this piece focuses on Australian faith it is worth noting that recent surveys in the US see for the first time a decline in belief in people under 30. This also backs up my reasoning on the impact of education outside of traditional sources.

The demarcation between Church and state.

In Australia, we have always taken secularism seriously and although Catholics were once aligned with the left of politics, that association no longer exists. If religion puts its nose, too far into the political arena it is gently told to but out. However, with the likelihood next year of the election of Tony Abbott we will have a Prime Minister unafraid to inflict his Catholic beliefs upon an unwary electorate.

He takes his Catholicism seriously. His past spontaneous outbursts about his daughters virginity, his fear of homosexuality, his opposition to abortion, his veto (as Health Minister) of the RU486 drug, his views on euthanasia, his opposition to same sex marriage and stem cell research all give confirmation to a dogma more attune to Rome than the changing moral landscape of Australia.

Andrew Robb, Malcolm Turnbull, Joe Hockey, Kevin Andrews and other Catholics will constitute a distinctive and coherent group in an Abbott ministry and to quote former PM Malcolm Fraser “Well, they are different. They are not Australians; they owe their loyalty to the Pope”. Abbott has personified church ties with politics through his relationship with the man he has called his confessor, Cardinal George Pell. Pell is of average intellect with an almost obsessive relationship to Rome. He sees the upholding of Church tradition and its survival as being more important than his flock and his protection of the church in cases of child abuse is offensive to most people.

What then comes into question is Abbott’s inability to distinguish between faith, politics, and the rapid decline in belief. As a democracy, we respect the right of organizations including the church to hold views that represent their beliefs and to promote their ideas. However, these views should always be in proportion to the influence and size of the organization it seeks to represent because primarily we are a secular democracy and no one should forget it.

Survey on religion. Some recent research.

AUSTRALIANS see spirituality as quite separate from religion, with the former much more widely accepted, according to the results of a national survey to be released in Melbourne today.

What they really dislike is celebrities endorsing religion, stories of healing and miracles, and doctrines about homosexuality and hell.

Commissioned by Olive Tree media, the survey of 1094 people shows that while Australians are generally open to spirituality, they feel they are unlikely to find it in church.

Read more here.

Olive Tree director Karl Faase, who is releasing the report at a forum of 70 religious leaders, said the survey sought to identify the ”blocker issues” that turned people off faith.

The obstacle that annoys Australians most is the celebrity endorsements of religion so common in the United States – 70 per cent said they were repelled by it, questioning the motives behind it. Claims of miraculous stories (58 per cent) also repelled non-believers.

The biggest problems Australians have with the church is abuse by the clergy (cited by 91 per cent), hypocrisy and judging others (both 88 per cent) religious wars (83 per cent) and issues around money (87 per cent).

When it comes to church teachings, the main objections are its ideas about homosexuality (69 per cent), hell and condemnation (66 per cent), and the role of women and suffering (both 60 per cent). But 52 per cent were open to philosophical discussion and debating ideas; 54 per cent were impressed by people who lived out a genuine faith, and 60 per cent acknowledged a personal trauma or significant life change might change their attitude to religion.

About 40 per cent of Australians consider themselves Christian, compared with the 2006 census response of 64 per cent, the survey shows. Another 10 per cent identify with other religions; 19 per cent call themselves spiritual but not religious, and 31 per cent identify as having no religion or spiritual belief. Of those who identify with a religion, about half say they don’t actively practise it.

Read more here.

The 2011census showed the following breakdown .
Catholics 5,439,268
No religion 4,796,787
Anglican 3,679,907
Uniting Church 1,065,795
Presbyterian and Reformed 599,515
Hindu 275,535
People professing to have no religion have moved past Anglicans to become the second-largest grouping after Catholics in the 2011 Census.

Almost 4.8 million people said they had no religion, up 29 per cent from 2006, but the number of people not answering the question dropped by 2 per cent. This suggested that more people were claiming a religious identity (including no religion), said Monash University sociology professor Gary Bouma.

The total Christian population is 13.2 million, or 61 per cent, down three percentage points. Catholics have dropped half a percentage point to 25.3 or 5.4 million, Anglicans are down 1.6 percentage points to 3.7 million, while the Uniting Church is down to 5 per cent, or 1.1 million people.

Minority religions all showed strong growth, particularly Hindus, whose numbers nearly doubled to 276,000, from 0.7% to 1.3%. Buddhists have risen from 2.1 per cent to 2.5 per cent, Muslims from 1.7 per cent to 2.2 per cent. Professor Bouma said Hindu growth was due to migration, and the recent Muslim growth was due to continued migration from south Asia and a high birth rate.

‘‘The rise in ‘no religion’ continues its historic trend, even in the face of an apparent small rise in claiming a religious identity. So polarisation is increasing,’’ Professor Bouma said.

In five of eight states and territories, no religion provides the largest group. In Victoria and Queensland it is second, behind Catholics, and in NSW it is third, also behind Anglicans.

An interesting development is in the groups coming next in each state and capital city. In Sydney, Muslims have passed Eastern Orthodox into fourth place with 4.7 per cent, but for the state of NSW Islam is fifth, following the Uniting Church.

In Melbourne the Eastern Orthodox are fourth (5.5 per cent) and Buddhists fifth (4 per cent), while statewide in Victoria the Uniting Church leapfrogs the Orthodox into fourth.

In all other states and capital cities the Uniting Church is fourth. In Queensland and Brisbane, Presbyterians take fifth spot. In Western Australia undefined Christians have replaced Presbyterians in fifth position but in both Perth and Canberra it is Buddhists who have displaced Presbyterians. Presbyterians keep fifth place in Tasmania, including Hobart.

In Adelaide Orthodox Christians take fifth spot, while for the whole state Lutherans are fifth, as they are in Darwin and the Northern Territory.

UPDATED COMMENTS DECEMBER 2013

In the past 100 years, the number of Australians reporting on the national census that they have “no religion” has jumped from one in 250 in 1911 to more than one in five in 2011.

In addition, many of those who nominate a religious affiliation do not actively participate in religious activities.

The latest Australian ¬Bureau of Statistics social trends report provides the first in-depth look at the 2011 census data on religion.

“Rates of reporting no religion have been steadily rising, and Australia is not alone in this – rates are also rising for countries like New Zealand, England and Wales, Canada, the United States and Ireland,” said ABS Director of Social and Progress Reporting Fiona Dowsley.

While 4.8 million, or 22 per cent, of Australians reported “no religion” in the 2011 census, 25 per cent nominated as Catholic, and 17 per cent as ¬Anglicans.

On present trends, “no religion” will be the most popular response by the next census.

About half of those reporting no religious belief are less than 30 years old.

Almost a third of 22 to 24- year-olds reported no religion, and about one in five children under 15 live in a home where one or both parents reported no religion.

The ranks of non-believers also increases with higher education, with almost a third of those older than 19 with postgraduate qualifications reporting no religion compared with one in five of those with only a school education.

Since the specific instruction of writing “none” if a ¬person has no religion was added to the census in 1971, the number of people reporting no religion has increased an average of four percentage points a decade, with the sharpest rise – 6.8 percentage points – taking place in the past decade.

The Atheist Foundation of Australia encouraged people to report “no religion” on their 2011 census forms.

But Australia’s rising rate of non-believers also reflects ¬global trends.

The ABS report found that the rising numbers of non-¬believers mirrors a steady decline in people reporting Christian beliefs, while those professing other beliefs, including Hinduism, Islam and Buddhism, were on the rise.

The fall in Christian beliefs has driven an increase in civil marriages, with seven in 10 marriages now conducted by a civil celebrant.

The report found non-¬believers are slightly less likely to do volunteer work (17 per cent) than people with Christian beliefs (20 per cent) but more likely than those with other beliefs (14 per cent).

The 2010 General Social Survey found that only 15 per cent of men and 22 per cent of women had actively participated in a religious or spiritual group.

peter.mickelburough@news.com.au



Categories: Social Justice

41 replies

  1. Raised as a Catholic, I’ve been an atheist for a very long time; and I find Abbott’s devotion repulsive – but then, I find him repulsive, too. Like everything else he does, his allowing his personal beliefs to affect his position is abhorrent. Sorry for allowing myself to wander off-topic … Speaking to my own beliefs, I’ll be happy if we ever do get to be a country without religion; but I fear it will only be without christianity, for the others will have increased beyond imagining.

  2. Also raised a strict Catholic but have been an atheist for a long time.

    Some statistics from the US on how religious belief distorts reality and science.

    Pew Research: Religion & Public Life Project – Public’s Views on Human Evolution

  3. Just a thought on the access to information by the young; while what you say is correct in terms of religious belief, it also affects their belief in other issues. As an example, neither of my children would be vaccinated against the H1N1 virus, the flu or, in my daughter’s case, cervical cancer. This was a result of what they had read on the internet by ill-informed, and blatantly stupid, scare-mongers.

    I attend my local Catholic church most Sundays, but more because it is a source of comfort to my octogenarian parents than anything else.

  4. What a load of shit – you try to get around the fact that 78% of Aussies believe in a God, but you fail dismally. Pax Domine tecum !!!!!!!

  5. “If you could reason with religious people, there would be no religious people.”

  6. “Imagine, sang John Lennon, a world with no religion. Imagine no suicide bombers, no 9/11, no 7/7, no Crusades, no witch-hunts, no Gunpowder Plot, no Kashmir dispute, no Indo/Pakistan partition, no Israel/Palestine wars, no Serb/Croat/Muslim massacres, no Northern Ireland ‘troubles’. Imagine no Taliban blowing up ancient statues, lashing women for showing an inch of skin, or publicly beheading blasphemers and apostates. Imagine no persecutions of the Jews” – Richard Dawkins.

  7. Fax mentis incendium gloriae

  8. Telling your children that the world was made by a guy with a beard and if you are not a good boy / girl you will burn in the pits of hell is child abuse!

  9. Christianity: The belief that some cosmic Jewish zombie can make you live forever if you symbolically eat his flesh and telepathically tell him you accept him as your master, so he can remove an evil force from your ‘soul’ that is present in humanity because a rib-woman was convinced by a talking snake to eat a apple from a magic tree…
    Makes perfect sense.

  10. @FSM is coming.

    The IPCC 5th Assessment Report has more shonky crap in it than the Bible !!!!!

  11. Really palmer, do you even READ these articles before spouting on? John doesn’t mention the beard in the sky once in the entire article, nor is it about belief in said mythalogical figure. The article is about the Christian faith, and ……actually, I have no idea why I’m bothering. And I think you’ll find it’s Pax Domini tecum, although my Latin is pretty rusty and am happy to be proven wrong on that 🙂

  12. I was raised almost religion-free. We did not attend church, my parents never spoke about it. Like everyone I’ve been inside churches for weddings and funerals. I’ve spoken about religion to my kids a few times, told them the bible stories of Christmas and Easter. Not in a preachy way, but to inform them about the characters involved and the general narratives. I believe kids need to know these things for “cultural literacy”. Proud to say they are more interested in science, questioning and rational thinking than accepting pre-digested belief structures.

  13. @cuppa – glad the kids are interested in science, I highly recommend Ian Plimer’s book “How to get expelled from school”. A very accurate statement on the global warming scam.

  14. This has to be one of my favourite moments from the classic series – Father Ted.

  15. Dear “FSM is coming”. You don’t need to image a society without religion as we already have seen communist Russia and China. These are no doubt the examples that you should promote as the alternative to religion.

  16. palmersaurus could I suggest you read this about your hero Ian Plimer

    http://theaimn.com/2013/12/26/tonys-tame-expert/

    Professor Michael Ashley, a professor of Astrophysics at the University of New South Wales, wrote:

    “It is not ‘merely’ atmospheric scientists that would have to be wrong for Plimer to be right. It would require a rewriting of biology, geology, physics, oceanography, astronomy and statistics.”

    Professor Kurt Lambeck, an earth scientist and president of the Australian Academy of Science, said of Heaven and Earth:

    “If this had been written by an honours student, I would have failed it with the comment: You have obviously trawled through a lot of material but the critical analysis is missing.”

  17. Ian Plimer? Really? Show me one single point Plimer makes anywhere that stands up to scrutiny. Just one will do.

  18. For a long time i ticked christian on the census even though I had not been to church since i was a very small boy and certainly was smart enough to question religion at a very early age. I had no idea that actually affected the funding etc of religion in Australia. i was younger and a lot more naive.
    I know I was not alone in ticking the religious denomination i was born as and not actually religious.
    I wish I could have those 2-3 census forms back…

  19. Fred said:

    You don’t need to image (perhaps imagine?) a society without religion as we already have seen communist Russia and China.

    Remarkably ignorant. Even Putin goes to church. Become informed.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Religion_in_Russia

  20. Thanks John for another essay deserving of more consideration than I can give right now.

    @Kaye Lee – may your mind continue to blaze brightly.

    @palmersaurus – you said something reasonable to the very reasonable cuppa. Miracles do happen.

    @anomander – Father Ted – simply brilliant British comedy and very apt segment.

    To all, Christianity like all religions continues to be misused by those who desire or want to keep power. The best we can do is ensure Christianity and all religions are held accountable for their actions – they claim to act for humanity we must ensure they do.

    To quote the Unitarian Motto (paraphrased, Dan):

    Seek the Truth and Help all creatures; great and small.

  21. Hi Fred! I’m not sure i can see how Communism is an alternative to religion. If anything religion is a lot like communism. keep the masses afraid and stupid.

    I admit I don’t have any fantastic solution or answers. But really, it’s 2014 and we still believe in fairies.
    it’s time to move on.
    If only we believed in each other as much as people believed in who made us.

  22. Rational thinking suggests that the likelihood of anthropogenic climate change occurring is very high.

    Fossils are a form of sequestered carbon. Millions of years worth of stored carbon laying beneath the land and sea.

    Since the advent of the Industrial Revolution, a twinkling of an eye in geologic time, we’ve been systematically extracting and combusting these materials.

    The byproducts go to the atmosphere where they have been piling up all these years. Interfering with the “normal” process whereby a sustainable proportion of the sun’s rays are reflected back into space.

    So the world warms up, the climate changes, and the situation continues to worsen while we continue to pollute the atmosphere.

    Big polluting and other vested industries are bankrolling the denialist spin factories, while big-money conservative mass media do the propaganda job of hoodwinking the gullible masses. Not very difficult to hoodwink some, it seems, they are only too keen to swallow bullshit.

  23. Great article!

    There are more gods now than there has ever been. One only has to listen to Cricket, football and tennis commentors and they all refer to their specific God. Yes, we have tennis, football and cricket gods. And since the advent of the gramophone and radio, have seen the creation of more gods than you could poke a stick at and I’m referring to people like Elvis Presley et al.

    And it’s all a huge money making enterprise which is no different now to biblical times.

    However, Christians were not at all tolerant of other peoples religions in biblical times as they are today.

    People were accused of worshipping false gods and undoubtedly paying good money for an Icon of their God. And the Christians converted the non-believers and destroyed their false Gods into believing in the Christian false God and to extend their hands into their pockets. Not unlike any corporation of today the Christians went out and destroyed their competition.

  24. cuppa

    Like you I remain gobsmacked at the actions of a small minority of climate change deniers – that they would place their immediate interests above the future interests of their own families and friends…

    While you were writing the above, I was reading this (synchronicity?), thought you may find it interesting, in that what people will persist in believing despite evidence to the contrary:

    http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2013/dec/20/conservative-groups-1bn-against-climate-change

    The capacity for humans to believe regardless of evidence to the contrary needs to be constantly kept in check.

  25. Guess who said this…..

    “Sometimes the very learned and clever can be brilliantly foolish, especially when seized by an apparently good cause. My request is for common sense and what the medievals, following Aristotle, called prudence.

    The appeal must be to the evidence. First of all we need adequate scientific explanations as a basis for our economic estimates. We also need history, philosophy, even theology and many will use, perhaps create, mythologies. But most importantly we need to distinguish which is which.”

    This was said by Cardinal Pell in a climate change denial speech delivered at Westminster’s Cathedral Hall in 2011. Anyone else see the irony?

    http://www.crikey.com.au/2011/10/28/climate-scientists-slam-george-pells-utter-rubbish-claims/

  26. A very inaccurate statement using falsehoods to denigrate the valid theory of global warming.

    There fixed it for you to now make your statement accurate.

    Why do right wingers use terms such as accurate and fact for things that are proven neither accurate nor fact?

  27. If Ian Pilmer can find ANY child who’s ever been expelled from school for arguing against global warming, I’ll dance naked in Collins Street. Even the title is inaccurate.

  28. John, an interesting article though I’d suggest it contains more than one instance of the common error of confusing correlation with cause and effect, as well as making claims for which there is no evidence. However, what I’d really like to know is: what is your point?

    … and for those commentators who will immediately assume that I am a “believer” and a “climate change denier”, I am neither. I am a nullifidian and have long argues that to use the term “climate change” is a misnomer for climate change happens all the time whereas what we’re actually talking about is global warming – so why not call it what it is and give it the importance it deserves? Why not? Because even those who most criticise the mainstream media are stubborn enough or conditioned enough to follow the pack.

  29. Diannaart,

    Like you I remain gobsmacked at the actions of a small minority of climate change deniers – that they would place their immediate interests above the future interests of their own families and friends…

    They’re the ultimate in suckers, in my opinion.

    Vested interests with enormous money and ability to influence the ‘conversation’ have, for their own interests, hoodwinked them into “overlooking” the damage the vested interests are doing to the atmosphere.

    Worse than merely overlooking the problem, many actively deny it exists. They ascribe grand conspiracy theories to it, such as, it’s a communist plot, a global scam by scientists, NGOs, the UN and bankers (whatever) to tax industrialised nations into the poorhouse and so on. We’ve all heard their crap. There’s a whole subset of the media (talkback radio, the Blots et al) that is devoted to propagating this hoodwinking propaganda.

    For some, perhaps most, denialists, it is fundamentally political and partisan. In their determination to “Get the Left!” they swallow the most egregious bullshit put out by the conservative vested interests, then regurgitate it to taunt lefties, as though to do so is an exercise in intellectual superiority. You’ve gotta laugh.

    And as you say, the real losers are themselves and their descendants, born and yet to come. Like everyone, they rely on a sustainable atmosphere. At the same time as the atmosphere is being trashed by the vested interests, the hoodwinked nitwits have been fired up, and are out there loudly denying, making themselves look foolish (they ARE foolish, let’s not beat about the bush) and trying to stymie responsible moves to slow the pollution. While the vested interests are having a great laugh at their expense, the success of the hoodwinking enterprise, while continuing to sully the environment.

  30. ‘Today only around 7% of the population regularly attends Sunday services.’

    No way it’s that high.

  31. The name wasn’t changed mikisdad, one is a subset of the other. Worth copying and pasting from this source: http://www.skepticalscience.com/climate-change-global-warming-basic.html

    The terms have been used interchangeably for many decades.

    ‘Global warming’ is the temperature increase produced by adding greenhouse gases to the atmosphere. Energy arrives from the sun in the form of visible light and ultraviolet radiation. The Earth then emits some of this energy as infrared radiation, which is prevented from radiating into space by greenhouse gases (GHGs). Just a tiny amount of GHGs – less than 1% of the atmosphere – keep the Earth around 33°C (59.4°F) warmer than it would be without them.

    ‘Climate change’ is a consequence of global warming. As the temperature goes up, the extra energy changes all the patterns we are familiar with. Global warming destabilises the weather, the seasons, rainfall, humidity, and of course the ice at the poles. This destabilisation is called ‘climate change’. (The term is also used to describe the long-term effects of global warming).

    The term ‘global warming’ was first used in a 1975 Science article by geochemist Wallace Broecker of Columbia University. He wrote a paper called “Climatic Change: Are We on the Brink of a Pronounced Global Warming”.

    The term ‘climate change’ has its origins further back in time. In 1956, the physicist Gilbert Plass published a seminal study called “The Carbon Dioxide Theory of Climatic Change”. In 1977 the journal Climatic Change made its first appearance. Within another decade, the term ‘climate change’ was in common use, and embedded in the name of the International Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), which was formed in 1988.

    UK Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher gave a speech to the UN in which she used the term ‘climate change’ a year later in 1989. It’s worth quoting, since the paragraph in which it appears is as relevant today as it was then:

    “In some areas, the action required is primarily for individual nations or groups of nations to take. But the problem of global climate change is one that affects us all and action will only be effective if it is taken at the international level. It is no good squabbling over who is responsible or who should pay. We have to look forward not backward, and we shall only succeed in dealing with the problems through a vast international, co-operative effort”.

  32. no mention of the percentage of people who are JEWISH .Or have i misread ?

  33. As I said, “climate chane” happens everyday and there are no inherent connations in the use of this term that suggest any need for action. “Gobal Warming”, on the other hand, is an incrementally increasing phenomena that most scientists agree is due to human causes. It is what we have to tackle, not climate change. Climate change we can find by changing country, hemisphere or indeed, in Australia, by moving a few miles down the road.

    However, as I said, I know that for various reasons, mainly stubborness and indoctrination, people will continue to play into the hands of the skeptics and the deniers by using a term which belies the gravity of the need for action.

  34. I personally believe after and abstence from church over 10 years due to heal.. it was not my faith that went wanting but the actuall church itself.. I went to 5 diffrent denominations. the anglican’s preacher was teaching us as if we were children his skills in preaching sadly lacking depth, the baptist very outgoing very exciting but wryth with fundementalishm and self interest, so far infact they set a woman out of her home, told me I could not sing loudly as was my joy at being able to share my faith, another not an established religion but more of a peoples church basicly a duplication of the USA Fundementalist church preaching to leave your heathen partners, the unequal yoke etc… the catholic was ok but I didn’t give them much of a chance they were the same as always hardly changed, the day I visited was a school festival so it was full of children, so maybe there is hope there and with their new pope a transportation to a more easier time. there was one I didnt visit because the website had nothing on it a all about religion, sure they did lots of outreach but I would have at least put in that their work was for the lord, so.. disgusted with the over run of american fanatisim to some of the churches and the lack of depth in others, there was one shining light the uniting church seemed to accept me warts and all. I embarised myself by my paranoia, a symption of my illness, so it will be a while before I return, so my faith is still here, I am a believer, but the churches have changed I do not feel as if God is in there as much as he was in my childhood. it reminds me of my trip to USA in 1985 we went to three churches there, the Crystal cathederal. a small baptist church and a catholic church, the crystal cathederal was sadly lacking God, not even mentioned in the sermon, oh it had a fantatic fountains.. ( in the church and outside the place reeked of clorine ) and a great choir but God was not there. the catholic church was ok with me there but very few aproaced me to welcome me, it was the small baptist church in yosemite on the dark side of the valley that saw light only for one hour in the summer. It was that church were our people outnumbered the people in the church (24 of us 6 of them including the preacher. ) God was there. the preacher asked us where we were from we told him Australia .. so on the spot he changed his sermon to all the aussies and his trip to australia that inspired him in his faith in God.
    As I see it. the bad parts of the US religeon has been adopted by Australia though the media. ( islamics worship not the god of Israel like I was led to believe but the moon god. at least that is what the baptist preacher told us in one sermon one sunday. I always believed that they worshiped the same god but he informed us that the very imagery of the islamics was the moon. no discussing with him made him believe otherwise. I left that church, I do not need ill informed preachers preaching hate to me.
    so.. I await till God sends me to another church one I may call home at the moment he says stay at home.. so I do .

  35. I was raised catholic and continued to practice up to the age of 52. That was when I began to subject it to critical analysis. That analysis concluded that I should stop listening to theologians and anyone else for that matter. There is not ONE person on this planet who KNOWS anymore about God than I do. AND I KNOW NOTHING! That is why I don’t believe. If God existed, I would know. It would not be something that was reduced to the paltry level of secular debate or spiritual awareness. We would all KNOW! Therefore, all religions are false. All religions are pious or fraudulent constructs. It is so simple, I don’t understand why the human mind continues to wrestle with it.

  36. “If God existed, I would know.” – Would you? Why would you?
    “It (sic – “God” or religion?”) would not be something that was reduced to the paltry level of secular debate or spiritual awareness” – What are you trying to say here?
    Spiritual awareness is not “paltry” and neither need “secular debate” be.
    “There is not ONE person on this planet who KNOWS anymore about God than I do.” – You cannot know that. It is an arrogant assertion that you can not possibly substantiate.
    “We would all KNOW!” – This is an assumption that you can not possibly verify.
    “Therefore, all religions are false. All religions are pious or fraudulent constructs” – What is your evidence for this wild assertion?

    No, John, It is not so “simple”. Our existence; a reason for it; the aim of it; and how it came about, among other things, have been significant questions that have occupied the human mind for all of recorded history and probably longer. Human beings have given homage to over 4000 gods over time and, I would suggest, didn’t do this because they were stupid or because life was simple but, on the contrary, because they sought to understand their world, their feelings, and the mystery of all that occurred in life.

    Your statements are spurious and although I empathise with your depth of feeling and personally can see no rationality nor evidence to suggest that there is a God or gods, it is a misuse of intellect to dismiss religion and belief, let alone spirituality, so cursorily.

    I would suggest you read C.S. Lewis’s “God in the dock” for commentary relevant to your opinion much more erudite than any I can give. I have to admit that I didn’t agree with the authors conclusion but his arguments certainly caused me to be far more considered and analytical in my approach to such topics as religion.

  37. Depending on what it is for which you are looking, the sites listed below may be of interest. Some of them are discussion sites or blogs and some of them articles that I have found interesting in this area. There are, of course, many, many more. If you have a particular topical interest I may be able to recommend more specific sites and/or books that may fit the bill. Please feel welcome to ask.

    Hufffington Post – Religion:
    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/religion/

    ABC Religion & Ethics:
    http://www.abc.net.au/religion/

    Atheist Foundation:
    http://www.atheistfoundation.org.au/forums/

    Reddit – Atheism
    http://www.reddit.com/r/atheism/

    Eureka Street – Article on Australian context – Religion or Atheism
    http://www.eurekastreet.com.au/article.aspx?aeid=38788#.U0SAcS8u61s

    The IQ Squared debate – Athests are wrong
    http://www.abc.net.au/religion/articles/2011/09/13/3316970.htm

    The Mulsim Debate Initiative
    http://thedebateinitiative.com/

    Hamzat Zortis Blog
    http://www.hamzatzortzis.com/my-blog/

    How religious is the World?
    http://www.thinkatheist.com/forum/topics/how-religious-is-the-world-the-answer-may-surprise-you

    Evidence of God from science
    http://discussions.godandscience.org/index.php?sid=a6a4699fe337554eb500f997be48be42

  38. Internet Explorer has myriad issues. No aware and sensible person would use it as a browser. It has been ridden with problems from its inception and has not got better over time. It is notorious for allowing malware and other problems through and for not rendering properly what other browsers seem able to do without issue.Although, ideally, the blog would display in the same way on all browsers, the fact is that IE creates probems which exist with none of the other major browsers such as Firefox, Opera, or Chrome. While I agree with you reporting this for it is always good for the developer to have such feedback, I’d be urging users to change their browser rather than urging the developer to spend much more than minimal time investigating the issue and attempting to fix it.

    Just my opinion and not meaning any ill will or anything … 🙂

Trackbacks

  1. The Future of Christian Faith in Australia. ‘’Updated ’’ | OzHouse
  2. The first night I stayed in Australia I might have wet the bed. | David Duff's Brain's Stuff

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