Religious and Belief Systems in Australia
Q1. Outline the changing patterns of religious adherence in Australia from 1945 to the present.
There has been a lot of change in religious adherence since the end of the Second World War. At the end of the war many Australians still had British ancestors and so most people were Christian. With immigrants arriving in Australia after the war we started to see new religions grow. Orthodox Christians came from places like Greece, for example. The Catholics have continued to grow in numbers while some other Christian faiths have decreased in size. One reason why the Catholic Church is growing is because of the arrival of immigrants from places like Africa and the Philippines.
With the arrival of immigrants from places like India and other parts of Asia since the 1970s there has been an increase in the number of followers of non-Christian religions. Hinduism has grown as a religion due to the increased immigration of people from places like India. Buddhism has also grown. It is now the biggest non-Christian religion in Australia. Of the other religions, Islam continues to grow while the number of people following Judaism has been pretty constant. So ethnic background continues to effect how people view religion in Australia today. However, ( Andrew West and Professor Des Cahill, 2012 ) argue that Australia is becoming more religious but religious in different ways, particularly through non-religious choices. More people chose the "No Religion" option in the 2011 census than in past censuses.
It is predicted that in the 21st century there will be a jump in the number of people identifying themselves as Muslims, Buddhists and Hindus. At the same time, in recent years, there has been a decline in the Anglican, Presbyterian and Uniting Church. ( Andrew West and Professor Gary Bouma, 2012 ) also talk about the practices of people in Australia today. "No religion" has risen by 29%. Some of these people are trying out new styles of religion such as new- age religions and so they are still religious but don't worship in traditional ways.
Q2. Account for the present religious landscape in Australia in relation to:
Christianity is still the major religion in Australia. In the 2011 census (Australian Bureau of Statistics, 2011, census, Australia) four of the five main religious affiliations were Christian denominations.The reasons for this are historical, as most of the first settlers were Christian, and they also have to do with immigration especially after the Second World War. The number of Christians in Australia grew after World War 1 when more British citizens were encouraged to settle in Australia, although a small number of Jewish people also arrived. At the end of World War 2 many Europeans gained assisted passage to Australia. The majority of these people came from Christian cultures including British and Italian citizens. Because of the White Australia Policy many other immigrants came from...