Fast facts about Australian spirituality

• 61% identify with the Christian religion in the 2011 National Census.
• 69% believe in God, or some kind of higher power
• 57% pray
• 38% say religious faith or spirituality is important in shaping their life’s decisions.

Australian church attenders
• 60% female
• 34% have a university degree
• 44% have a leadership role in their church
• 67% strongly agree their church is always ready to try new things
• 75% agree their leaders are focused on future directions

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18 thoughts on “Fast facts about Australian spirituality

  1. Wait a minute there, Bryan.
    Dont these stats contradict what you quoted in the blog about ‘Twilight of atheism???” if (in Australia at least) 69% believe in God (sic – see my previous posting) or some higher power, then the percentage and number of atheists must be absolutely huge, since the definition of atheists is essentially those who have no belief in a god.
    Rian.

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    • Yep. Even taking those numbers at face value (and assuming the ‘higher power’ is in fact some form of god) it’s plain that ‘atheism’ has a large ‘congregation’ of adherents.
      31% of the population ~ and increasing dramatically ~ is rather more than elsewhere claimed.

      However, I still don’t think it’s that simple. By definition ‘atheists’ are counted among non-human species too; on that level ‘believers’ are in tiny, tiny minority.
      …and decreasing.

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  2. Does spirituality automatically mean one needs to be religious? I always thought spirituality is independent of religion. In fact I believe they mutually incompatible. Sometimes an atheist is more spiritual than a church goer.
    From my past experience with church and religion people were anything but open to spirituality. It was generally considered the work of evil. To me spirituality is to know oneself. We are spirit and to know oneself means we realize that and become spiritual. Praying to some deity does not make one spiritual, but dependent on someone else. We are created in the image of god, children of god. That means we are spirits. We might be temporarily blinded by our physical form, but it can not change our heritage. This includes everyone on the planet and in fact in the whole of Universe. It is the reason Jesus never rejected anyone. He might rejected a deed of a person, but he never rejected a person.
    I say again pick up your cross and follow me as he said. You too can claim your inheritance of god. Just dare. Churches will never indorse such thing if you waiting for church approval you wait forever. y church have vested interest in keeping you dimly lighted. I know god from personal experiences, not just one or two, but many. I faced death few times. I lived in communism and was prosecuted just as early Christians were. I am not one to buy anyone’s theories, I require my own experience. And if you think for a moment I don’t know the “bible,” I do. I read it many times over. I learned Hebrew to better understand, I read all the other books now discovered that were part of the bible before they were removed by the church. And I read many, thousands of books on this subject. I spent lifetime discovering god. I too started looking for god out there, only realizing later it is not out there but in there. I am part of the greater god as everyone else is. We and god co-create every moment of our lives. That applies first of all to our own life, but our life affects everyone and everything else at the same time. There is no moment where we not affecting the Universe in it wholeness and every person here on the planet. Every word, every thought and action creates. You like to see change in your life? Change the way you think, speak and act. You will be surprised how your life will change.

    I wish you all a new fruitful year ahead. May you see yourself worth god’s parenthood. It is your parent and you are it’s child. All the premisses are true that god made to us, just have faith. Sometimes that is all you need to have. I pray that god inspire you to here it, to perceive its message sent to you every moment of your life. You didn’t hear? Not god’s fault but yours. You need to stop knowing it all already and tune into the still small voice in your heart. Feel what it says, feel the feeling of your heart. Disregard the objections of the mind. Contrary to most believe your mind will lead you astray. Heart never will.
    Namaste, god bless Paul

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    • quite agree Dabbles,

      On my shelf I have one book dealing with atheist spirituality. You dont really have to believe in a god of any sort to experience spirituality.

      I must admit though that I have often found that Evangelical Christians carry a strong objection to the word ‘spiritual’, as in their eyes it doesnt necessarily specify Christian faith.
      Rian.

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      • Yeah.
        I could never see the legitimacy of proprietary claims made by all and sundry; but it’s an academic question in any case, since I have yet to see ANYTHING that supports even the concept of any such entity.

        And I have problems with accepting the suggestion that any non-physical entities are able to have any connection to or relationship with (ie control over or be controlled by) physical matter. At most it’d be a feeble, and insignificant, entity whose relationship with a physical body could be severed by an executioner’s axe.

        That’s to say I don’t accept that ‘spirits’ of any kind, including gods, exist.
        However, they can be usefully employed as symbolic tools in the pursuit of human thought and debate, so I don’t object to their usage in terms of literature or semantics.

        …..but I do shudder as such comments as:- ‘The spirit of Collingwood shone out in the last quarter’ !

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      • But there are various types of atheists, many believe only in the physical, and what science has discovered or seems likely to investigate. They don’t count investigation of the paranormal, which they say has prodced nothing

        Churches, except the Spiritualists Church, do reject spiritual-ISM, but most believe (I think) in a spiritual world, warning us to steer clear of it. But most would concede (again, think) that people can be materialistic or spiritual. ‘Spiritual’ seems to have double connotations, but ‘spiritualism’ is ‘bad’.

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      • hmmmm…. “We’ve heard it all before Rol.”

        Unlike the biblical burble and the wailing and gnashing of teeth about the poor old jews, do you mean, Mon.

        Splinters and beams, what? (Matthew 7:3,Luke,Thomas, etc.)

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      • “Unlike the biblical burble and the wailing and gnashing of teeth about the poor old jews, do you mean, Mon. Splinters and beams, what? (Matthew 7:3,Luke,Thomas, etc.)”

        As per usual, you misunderstand my motive for putting their incredible stories on the blog Dabs.

        I had those stories set aside for the right opportunity to put on the blog. Bryan said OPEN FORUM, so I was able to go ahead and share their stories here, thinking that some folk would be as blessed as I was to get an insight into their hard lives.

        We have an uncle in our family who is now 93 years of age, who was a prisoner of war in Ambon. He came back a different person; an emotional and psychological wreck, as well as a physical one. It took him years to recover from his ordeal, and to this day he has never spoken a word of what he went through. This saddens me, especially because he is someone I love and care about and has carried that wound and burden all his life. And his story, a story which I feel should be told, is now going to die with him.

        But then that’s just me Dabs. I love people. And I love to hear, or read about their stories.

        And about the Jews, well I love them too Dabs. I love them enough to hate anti-Semitism in all its forms. But in any case, I was just taking care of unfinished business.

        Anyway, today is New Year’s Day—- HAPPY NEW YEAR EVERYONE!

        May God richly bless you all!

        May the road you walk be a smooth one
        May your troubles be few – if any
        May the days and years that lie ahead,
        Be healthy, happy, and many.
        May you have friends in abundance
        May the sun shine bright around you
        May the world be a wonderful place to live,
        And may God’s love always surround you.

        I am hanging up my blogging boots. Loved being here. And thank you for putting up with me all these many years. I leave a changed person.

        Love you!

        Mon xxoo

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  3. Thanks, Mon, A lot of it was new, but if you’ve heard it all somewhere else before then you have probably prevented yourself from taking in the points. Christianity and all religions fail the tests of logic and/or probability at every claim they make. Anybody who applied critical thinking to their religious claims before accepting them just never would accept them.

    But, having accepted them on feelings, they then apply some of their logic, usually circular,but only to support them. The feelings of certainty they feel are completely unreliable unless the claims are logically unassailable. The certainty is merely an entrenched wishful thinking background making more wishful thinking feel right..

    Faith supports the opposite of Truth and Light because it is only used to support the unlikely, and it discourages inquiry.

    Somebody wiser than I said:- Error only, never Truth, fears inquiry.

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    • But you are the very same Rol who will not come with me to my old Charismatic Prayer Meeting, to meet the guy that God used to raise an old nun from the dead, and to meet the Holy Spirit, are you not? What else can I say? 😉

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      • Not to be unduly critical, Mon, but “What else can I say?” is an irresistible bait!
        You could say why god KILLED the “old nun” in the first place if he didn’t want her dead. (or was she just being a nuisance in heaven and he wanted to evict her?)
        ….and you could also say why the god who created entire universes with a word should need (or bother) to “use” the guy to raise said old nun.

        ….incidentally, did anyone ever ASK the old dear if she WANTED to be resurrected ~ or was her Free Will just ignored and/or overruled by the busybodies? 😯

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  4. Mon, I don’t bother with stage hypnotists any more either. Not that I’ve seen any for yonks. They all seem to have gravitated to the charismatic churches.

    It always amazes me just how much believers DON’T want to know if their faith is true or not. You’d think if they were going to base their lives on it and expend so much time and energy, that they’d be only too keen to look at any evidence or discussion which might show it up as it really is. But no.

    They have “faith” in it, but not enough faith to actually examine it critically themselves. They never look for alternative possibilities for the so-called miracles of the bible, and there are many possible and natural explanations. But, no, they go for the supernatural (i.e. imaginary and highly unlikely) explanation every time.

    A scientific theory (like evolution or gravity) is put out there and thrives on ANY criticism or attack that can be thrown at it. Only if you know your theory has survived every attempt to demolish its integrity can you rely on it as truth.. Even then, if even one slight error was shown, it would have to be re-examined and adjusted to fit with all of the known acts. Scientific theories are self-correcting. They want to get things RIGHT.

    In a sense, religion is slightly self-correcting too. Science and secular pressures have caused the attitudes of believers to change from murdering innocent old ladies for “witchcraft”, to putting up with the abolition of slavery though it is nowhere condemned in the bible and was even quoted to justify slavery by the southern states of America.

    The other way it is self-correcting is that people tend to ignore what they don’t agree with, such as stoning people to death for picking up sticks on the sabbath. Unfortunately, they don’t seem to have enough sense to actually delete such rubbish from their holy books, so others still have the option to be swayed by it. I do think that claiming to be commanded by God to do the most evil wickednesses known to mankind is actually the worst blasphemy possible. Don’t you?

    If you don’t know what I mean, check up on Moses and Mohammed.

    I think the most powerful arguments to be made against the legitimacy of religion ( in this case, Christianity) are those made by ex pastors and missionaries. They are compelling and thorough. They have been there, where you are, in every way. They know what they’re talking about. I don’t imagine you will read any of them, but “Why I Believed”, by Ken Daniels is excellent, as is “Why I became an Atheist” by John Loftus.

    By the way, I have been in and out of the Anglican Church, the Church of Christ and the Catholic Church in my time. with varying motivations. I gave it all a pretty good shot before actually starting to investigate why I couldn’t believe it. Now I just fail to see how anyone could.

    Actually, not true. I do see how they believe. They WANT to. They prefer feel-good over truth. They put feelings before logic.They fear the oblivion of death and hope to survive it, so much so that they will believe anything that promises everlasting life.
    The whole point about death is that you DON’T survive it.

    But its worth considering the fact that when your brain is dead you won’t know you are dead, so as far as YOU are concerned you will always be alive.

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    • Roi, I don’t know you and all I know about you is what you post here. So it is a shot in dark to have discussion with you, but I give it a go.
      First I can assure you, you are for surprise when you “die/” You will find yourself bit confused to find you not dead. The mind and spirit survives the “death.” By the way I am not making this claim as a expression of faith. I actually died few times and came back. We call it Near Death Experience, but let me assure you there was nothing near about it.
      Secondly I agree, that someone making claims about something should be able to have it put under microscope of others and let them be critical about any claims. On the other hand, God will never be proven. It is simply impossible to prove existence of something which is included in all things. Which would we pick? Lets say there is an intelligent design behind everything, which is the matrix of everything and it all gradually evolved in the physical universe to what we see today. And it will carry on evolving unless we terminate the life on this planet. That of course does not terminate evolution of the universe, just affects a very small part of it.
      Religions, without exception are dogmatic by nature.As is any institution we know of. An institution becomes a entity in its own right and will do anything to survive. Use the name of god for the worst behavour possible, what ever to stay in existence. No different to politics. If you expect religions to get you answers for life, you for very long wait. I am not sarcastic here, just practical.
      As far as you is concerned, you react a lot to criticism yourself Roi. If you expect something from others, you can’t be exception from that rule. Others will see things differently and will tell you. Just accept we all have different points of view.

      Paul

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  5. Yes, we all have different points of view, but we shouldn’t claim them as Truth unless there is very good evidence for them. The mind is simply the function of the brain. It is part of what the brain does, including consciousness. If you damage a particular area of the brain, specialists can tell you exactly which part of your mind functions will be affected. There is absolutely no evidence whatsoever that any mind can exist without a brain. Anything to the contrary is simply positing imaginary stuff as fact.

    People like to imagine that when you die, because the body looks and feels different and the life has “disappeared, it has somehow gone as an entity “somewhere else”.
    When you car engine stops, do you think the spirit of the car has gone “somewhere else”? Or when an insect dies?

    Of course you can still picture the person and their personality and remember them as they were. That’s as far as “spirit” or “soul” extends. People who are well and truly brain dead, with decay starting, never come back to life. Certainly those who lose consciousness can experience a “tunnel” effect with white light. I experienced the same when I fainted after an unaccustomed long sprint at the age of 14.

    Yes, we all have different points of view but “faith” will allow us to believe in anything at all, including things diametrically opposed to each other, which makes it pretty clear that faith is no guide to truth.

    We cannot trust our feelings to lead us to truth either. Yes, they can lead us to a decision that FEELS right, but that is very different. Feelings can become distorted by events and therefore mislead you. Truth is “that which can be verified” (independently). You hear people talking about your truth, or your own truth. They are simply distorting the term. There are many people, probably most, who simply cannot tell the difference between what “feels”true” to them and what is the actual truth. And they are people who have very few critical thinking skills. They have no “anti-virus mindware” and so are prey to every emotive account and every wacky theory. As Dabbles might say, they have no bullsh** meter. The more wishful thinking people use in their everyday mental processes, the more it feels right (or true)to them when they come across another lot.

    And the more they are losing touch with reality. Psychiatrists know of no clear dividing line between religiosity and mental illness. Those on the outside can probably spot it better then other believers.I t has been considered that there even exists a psychotic subculture of the religious. Certainly when you see people prepared to blow themselves up while massacring hundreds of innocent people, then the derangement is clear.
    They do it because they have been promised everlasting life in Paradise and they believe it. Fossall, do you accept that their belief is guiding them to truth? They have at least as much faith as you do.

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