Barker, Renae: Australians have an increasingly complex, yet relatively peaceful, relationship with religion

Renae Barker

Australians have an increasingly complex, yet relatively peaceful, relationship with religion‘, The Conversation, 21 December 2016

A good subject for a time of year in Australia when those who were nominally Christian in their youth (or perhaps a generation back) lapse into received behaviour patterns – ‘I’m not religious but Christmas has some nice songs’, as a cousin of mine said once – and those who have never been Christian politely go along with it all – or do something else altogether. There is still some religion beneath the tinsel.

When it comes to religion, Australia is a nation of contrasts. We are a secular nation, yet acknowledge god in our Constitution. We are becoming less religious yet more religiously diverse. Our parliament contains those of many faiths and those who would ban people from coming to Australia based on their faith. We are a country of contrasts – and that is a good thing.

The article looks at religion from constitutional, demographic, church attendance and community harmony perspectives. (Anzac, as we have said often, has been called a ‘secular religion’, so perhaps its persistence has some connection with vestigial Christianity, too. Catholic Father Paul Collins once linked the survival of Anzac with Australians’ desire for liturgy.)

There is some basic factual material here on religion in Australia, though it is a little dated.

David Stephens

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