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Religious Landscape in Australia Post 1945

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St Mary's Cathedral College HSC Course Studies of Religion II Research Assignment: Religious Landscape in Australia Post 1945 The religious landscape in Australia is diverse and changing. Many aspects of this landscape have changed since 1945 through to the present, some of these include: denominational switching, the rise of new age religions and secularism. In addition to this, the notion of non-religion has been a growing reality for many Australians; this can be explored through an observation of humanism. Each of these aspects has helped to shape Australia's present religious landscape. Denominational switching is a phenomenon that has occurred largely in the Christian religious tradition. It involves people (usually young people) moving to another denomination under the same umbrella of a single religious tradition (for example, a Catholic believer joining the Assemblies of God). 'Switchers' usually move over to more modern, Pentecostal denominations, such as Hillsong (an Australian branch of Assemblies of God). The vast majority of people that change denominations are young people between the ages of 15 and 24. This trend has increased over that last ten years, as shown in the 1996, 2001 and 2006 census data. ...read more.


In Australia, as in many other Western countries, the expression of new age religion or spirituality is personal and relatively small (in comparison to major religions) however it does offer an alternative that is being more readily sought by those dissatisfied with traditional religions. It is interesting to note that aspects of the new age have infiltrated secular society (horoscopes - astrology - for example). The rise of new age religions runs parallel to a rise in secularism. Both these facts show that Australia is becoming tired of traditional religions and that traditional religions, while still existent, are not being practiced as readily. It is because of this that Australia's religious landscape is ever changing. An important part of Australia's religious landscape is, in fact, the opposition to religion itself. The movement away from religion has led to a rise in secularism in the Australian community. Australia, as a nation and system of government, is a secular country although, like many Western countries, it holds basic Judeo-Christian values. The rise in secularism is linked with a decrease in church attendance (as indicated in the National Church Life Survey) and an increase of 'No Religion' responses in the Australian Census in the past three decades (in particular). ...read more.


Scientific humanism focuses on morality and ethics as a human responsibility. Its ethics are very similar to modern Christian ethics, with an emphasis ('faith') on the progression of science and technology. In Australia, humanism has been a small presence since European settlement in 1788 (never exceeding more than a few hundred). Since the 1960s, humanism has been a more prominent presence, with the starting up of Humanist Societies in New South Wales (1960), Victoria (1961), South Australia (1962), Western Australia (1965) and Queensland (1967). In 1965, The Council Of Australian Humanist Societies (CAHS) was started, as the national head of the Member Societies (in each state). Today, the CAHS are responsible for organizing the Annual Australian Humanist Convention (where philosophy and different issues are openly discussed by humanists); writing the quarterly magazine: The Australian Humanist; awarding Australian Humanist of the Year; monitoring legislation (for human rights); promoting ethics in communities and governments and participating as a member of the International Humanist and Ethical Union. The religious landscape in Australia is ever changing and sensitive to shifts in philosophy and ideology. As the world continues to change, so will the religious landscape. Denominational switching, new age religions, secularism and humanism are all aspects of our religious (and non-religious) landscape that have changed in recent times (since 1945) and that are important in defining religion in Australia in the present day. ...read more.

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