Cool. 2011 Census results are out! I love Census data – it’s always so interesting.
As a militant atheist, though, the first thing I checked out was the religious affiliation breakdown. Great news: we’re continuing our advance.
Self-identified Christians still dominate – at 61.1% of the population. I do wonder how many of these are “cultural Christians”, though, as opposed to active believers. Certainly church attendance even on the high holidays of Christmas and Easter doesn’t approach anywhere near 13 million people.
But – self-identifying “no-religion” types (out-of-the-clost atheists and agnostics) are now the second largest identifying group. 22% of the population self-identifies as having no religion – almost one in four. There are now more no-religion types than Anglicans and Uniting Church members combined! That’s huge!
On top of that, the largest statistical group remains people who don’t answer the question – 6,334 million people, or 29.4%. Now, call me cynical, but very people with strong religious views hesitate to identify as such. It’s reasonable to assume that very few of these people would be Christian, but if as few as a third of them are non-religious (which seems likely to me) “in-the-closest” atheists or agnostics, then the no-religion group would be the largest group by far.
So – given that nearly 40% of the country self identifies as non-Christian, and the bulk of Christians are merely “cultural Christians” without strong religious beliefs, why the hell do we allow things like chaplains in the public school system??? I mean, look at the main provider of chaplains – Scripture Union Australia. They’re a Pentecostal group, mostly, but they also represent Baptists, and have a primary focus on evangelism. And those two Christian sects account for just 2.7% of the population. Even if you lump all Christians together (and a Pentecostal isn’t going to want to be grouped with a Catholic), a chaplain can’t provide “spiritual guidance’ to 40% of students – at least. What a waste of funds.