Australia was once considered to be a bastion of Christianity, but it seems that this is no longer the case based on the latest Census report for the country. What was once a place where convicts from the U.K. were sent over to begin a new life, is now a country where there were more people who identified with having “no religion” compared to Catholicism. This is clearly an unprecedented feat that will have its ramifications felt in the country’s history.
In fact, the total number of people who reported not having any kind of religion saw a massive jump from 22.6 percent to 29.6 percent within a matter of five years. This figure is close to double the number of what was reported in 2001 at a mere 16 percent back then. The Catholic faith has also seen a decline in its “market share”, shedding a few percentage points from 25.3 percent to 22.6 percent, which would make it the second most popular religion in Australia.
Based on the report, it seems that 52 percent of Australians do identify with a certain level of Christian religion, and there were only 8 percent who claimed to be non-Christian. Islam has started to see a rise in popularity among the so-called Western or Christian nations, rose from 2.2 percent to 2.6 percent to end up as the most popular non-Christian religion. Adherents of the Buddhist faith stood at 2.4 percent.
Kylie Sturgess, who happens to be the president of the Atheist Foundation of Australia, claims that this particular Census report ought to be taken seriously by leaders who are touted to undermine opinions of the non-religious. Sturgess mentioned, “Politicians, business leaders and influencers take heed: this is an important milestone in Australia’s history. Those who marked down ‘No religion’ deserve much more recognition. We will be making our opinions known, and there’s power in numbers.”
Once again, it must be noted that being the majority does not necessarily make one right. Without absolute moral values, moral relativity will ensure that a nation will move forward in a downward spiral with no way of redeeming itself unless things are set straight again. It is a dangerous path to think that there is “power in numbers” and freedom is absolute.
While it is noted that the “no religion” option happened to be extremely popular amongst Australians, there were some controversies attached to it as identified in the 2016 mass email scare. Christian ethics group Salt Shakers claimed that the emails asked Australians to not mark the “no religion” box where the report is concerned, so that Australia will instead be declared to be a “Muslim country.”
In that alleged email, it claimed to state, “Bear in mind that although many Australians have no religion these days, the Muslim population in Australia will all declare that they are Muslim and this fact will be counted to ascertain what type of country we are in regard to religion.”
Michael Boyd, who is the vice president of the Atheist Foundation of Australia, did mention that such claims were simply outrageous, “ridiculous” and fabricated. He mentioned that, “It’s really been driven by racist, far-right wing groups. They’ll take any position to scare people about Muslims”.
It is not too long before the natural birth rate of Muslims will continue to make them the majority in due time, and with the inability to leave the Muslim faith without any kind of shaming or more serious repercussions such as deaths and honor killings, it would not be surprising if indeed, Australia ends up as a Muslim majority country one day.