Thursday, December 07, 2006

religion in the census


Results of the census are now out and one particular blogger has done an analysis of religion in the census, and wrongly concludes that because 35 percent of the population stated " no religion" that means that they are all godless - ie have no Christian or religious belief.

That is simply rubbish.

In terms of the census, religious belief is framed in denominational adherence - which is an entirely different matter to Christian or religious belief. Some, paticularly Catholic, will say they are Catholic and attend church - and are probably more godless than those who say they are Penticostal and have dropped out of church, and have not said what their belief is because they dont want to be put down as " other".

Religious affiliation is the self-identified association of a person with a religion, denomination or sub-denominational religious group. Many religious people do not identify with a religious group but do subscribe to some of their Christian and religious beliefs.

All it means that 35 percent of the population didnt attend church in the previous four weeks or so of the census - or decided to state that their beliefs - Christian or otherwise - were not associated with a religion - and a proportion of the 35 percent are godless. It is significant that 100,000 people refused to answer the question because they believe the state has no interest in knowing their religious or Christian belief - or lack of it. Some of those are Christian, others hold a non-Christian religious belief and some are pagan, some go to church or to religious groups, some dont and and there is no way of knowing the split.

In terms of the census, religious belief is framed in denominational adherence - which is an entirely different matter to Christian or religious belief. Some, paticularly Catholic, will say they are Catholic and attend church weekly - and are probably more godless in terms of their belief system than those who were Penticostal and have dropped out of church and have declined to state their belief because they have no religious adherance.

One of the fastest growing sections of the church at the moment is the Christians who are leaving - ie still hanging on to their Christian belief but not attending church. They are Christian but not religious and dont want the state to know.

However, there is an increase in the growth of non christian religion - not because more of us are changing our religious adherance, but because the increasing amount of immigrants are affecting the religious mix and many of them have a religious adherance, its just that they are not Christians.

UPDATE It may also be worth noting that the increase in just one of the Christian denominations (Catholicism) is only 5000 less than the combined increase in Buddhism and the Muslim population, which have increased 26 percent and 53 percent respectively.

2 comments:

rebelBodhi said...

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Anonymous said...

Which is great. Buddhists tend to be more laidback and quietist, except the militant nationalist Sri Lankan variety.

And diminishing numbers of identifiable Christians too. Great.

Craig Y.