Religion in Australia
According to Jupp (2009), religion is the structured way of living that humans use to identify the cause of nature and the purpose of existence. It comprises a well-structured system that a specific group of people who shares similar beliefs and faith. Most religions are associated with symbols, rituals, and sacred history that are mainly meant to explain the origin of life and the meaning of life. Religion is a fundamental societal pillar as it guides people’s lifestyles, beliefs, ethics, and morality in guidance with the religion in which they follow. Some aspects such as the existence of God, religion versus rationality and science, prehistoric benefits of religion, miracles, the origin of God and universe, atheism, and equivocation of atheism and deism influence people’s beliefs. In light of this, Australia is a commonwealth republic found in the Australian continent. The country has a rich history in terms of religion and its beliefs in religion. Therefore, this paper presents a chronological flow of events in relation to religion in Australia since 1945.
Maddox (2005) asserts that most of the Australian population was Aglo-Celticin 1947 with over 88% being Christians, 0.5% belonging to other religions and 0.3% were non-religious. The huge number of Christians was made of Catholics, 20.9%, and Anglicans, 39.0%. During this time, Australia was dominated by Christians, but some externalities started changing the situation drastically. This is because religion and belief system has a huge and imposing influence on individuals and societies. There are various religions that have a great influence on the Australian population, most notably the contemporary Aboriginal spiritualities (Jupp, 2009). The social spectrum made a huge impact in diversifying the Australian religion composure after 1947. The end of the Second World War brought an influx of people from the entire European continent who had different beliefs from the ones found in Australia.
Some religions and belief systems in Australia were a result of immigration. Initially, Jews and other orthodox Christians were not found in Australia in the mid-20th century. In the late 20th century, Christianity figures started changing in a decreasing trend as other religions became infused in the country. For example, the Middle East residents discovered Australia and they brought Buddhism and Islamic religions to the country. According to the 2001 census, the Anglicans were largely affected by denominational switching since they dropped from 39% in 1947 to 20.7% in 2001. Pagans or people without religion increased from 0.5% to a significant 15%. However, Catholic faithful increased from 20.9% in 1947 to 27.1 in 1991 but declined slightly to 26.1% in 2001. As observed by Jupp (2009), non-Christian religions gained popularity at the end of the 20th century while Presbyterian lost a significant number of faithful. Islam and Hindu popularity in Australia can be attributed to the effects of the world war. Australia is a good vacation country and war veterans went to the country for holidays making it a permanent residence.
The influence of religion and traditions is seen in the way they keenly observe and maintain their traditions and rituals. This mainly from the post-colonial times most traditions and rituals are still very much observed and followed to date. There is keen observation of the traditions such as male initiations, female initiations, burials among other traditions (Maddox, 2005). Aboriginal spirituality and traditions are the most common religious terminology in Australia post-1945. Aboriginal spirituality is the land that owns the aboriginal people. It is a way in which these Aboriginal people can identify themselves and show where they came from and how far they have come (Jupp, 2009). Aboriginal spirituality can have some adaptation of other religions or even everyday subjects as observed in Australia.
Jupp, J. (Ed.). (2009). The encyclopedia of religion in Australia. Cambridge University Press.
Maddox, M. (2005). God Under Howard: The rise of the religious right in Australia. Allen &Unwin, Sydney.