Faith: What Australians believe in

A picture of Pisgah Baptist Church in Four Oak...Image via Wikipedia

NEXT weekend the nation's churches will be filled to overflowing. But then, Christmas and Easter are the exceptions to the great Australian indifference to worship. Belief for most Australians is about values far more than devotion. It's belief without belonging.


I read this article in the The Age this morning and was surprised at the findings. In actual fact I'm sceptical given my own experience of life here, and let's face it, surveys and polls like this are easily skewed depending on the sample of the population surveyed and the way the question is phrased.

That said I belong to the demographic probably least likely to be deemed as 'believers'. Certainly if I glance around my circle of friends and acquaintances I can pick out 2 out of about 50 who are church goers, and not many more than that I would consider as being spiritual, let alone religious.

In any case, let me respond:

Do I believe in a god? No.
Life after death? I waver on this, largely because I'd like to believe it is true. And there is enough in stories of odd near-death experiences and discussions to believe it may not be black and white. On balance probably no, but I'll keep my options open.
Heaven? No.
Hell? No.
Devil? Would be interesting, but no.
Angels? Are you kidding me?
Witches? Depends on your definition of this. Do I believe there are crooked nosed women casting spells? No.
Astrology? Not really. I certainly don't believe in horoscopes, but I think there is some fact to support the belief that personality can be influenced by the time of year one is born. I don't think it's anything magic though, and whether it has anything to do with the planets I would have no idea.
Psychic powers? Strangely yes, to some degree.
Miracles? No, not as they are commonly thought to be anyway. Extraordinary things can and will be achieved sometimes, but that isn't magic either.
The Bible? As a good read and a rough history, yes. As the word of god? No.
Literally true? No.
The un-ambiguity of religious teaching?No.
Evolution? Yes. Shocked at this result, and very sceptical of it.Ultimately I agree

Ultimately I agree that for most Australians religion is a very casual belief. Pressed to answer they may come down one side or the other of the question, but for most I think it plays only a remote role in their daily life. You can question the good of that, but for me I am glad that we are free from the narrow focus religion often brings with it, and true to nature are anything but dogmatic when it comes to belief in higher matters.

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