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Religious Affiliation 1947 & 2001


Anglica n Catholi c Other Christia n Total Christia n Other Religion s No Religio n Not stated / inadequatel y described Censu s Year 1947 2001 39.0 20.7 20.9 26.6 28.1 20.7 88.0 68.0 0.5 4.9 0.3 15.5 11.1 11.7 7,579.4 18,769.2 % % % % % % % 0 Total Populatio n

Source: Australian Bureau of Statistics Australia Now: Year Book Australia 2005: Culture and Recreation: Religious Affiliation

N.B. From its beginnings in 1901 to 1954 the census was taken each decade. From 1961 onwards the census has been taken at regular five year intervals. A new census will be carried out in 2006 but the information on religious affiliation may not be tabulated and published for a couple of years. Overview of the changing patterns of religious adherence In 1947 Australia was predominantly Anglo-Celtic, with 88% of the population identifying itself as Christian, 0.5% as belonging to a religion other than Christianity, and 0.3% as non-religious. (The census states that answering the question on religious affiliation is voluntary; this accounts for the relatively large 11.1% in the "Not stated/Inadequately described" category.) Over subsequent decades immigration has helped to reshape the profile of Australia's religious affiliations. Following World War II came increasing migration from Europe which led to growing numbers of Orthodox Christians, the establishment of new Protestant groups, and growth in the number and diversity of Catholics. Jewish immigration from Europe has kept the proportion of Jews in Australia fairly constant at around 0.4%. More recently, immigration from Asia and the Middle East has expanded Buddhist, Hindu and Muslim numbers considerably, and increased the ethnic diversity of existing Christian denominations. Denominational switching, the rise of Pentecostalism and the New Age Movement have also contributed to the changes in religious affiliation over this time. The most significant changes in affiliation from 1947 to 2001 are the decline in proportion of Christians (down by 20.0%) and the increase in the category of 'No Religion' (up by 15.2%). Decline in Anglican figures The 2001 census figures record a decline of Christianity, the largest religious grouping in Australia, as a percentage of the population. Anglicans were the

most dramatically affected Christian denomination, dropping from 39.0% of the Australian population in 1947 to just 20.7% in 2001. Only around 5% of people identifying themselves as Anglicans are at church each week. Numerical increase in Catholic figures Catholics have increased from 20.9% of the Australian population in 1947 to remain stable at around 25-27% of the population since the 1960s. Catholicism has benefited greatly from immigration making it Australia's largest and most multicultural denomination. The proportion of Catholics peaked in 1991 at 27.3% but in 2001 was down to 26.6%. Despite the recent decline as a percentage of the population, they have continued to increase numerically from 4,606,644 in 1991 to 5,001,624 in 2001. However these apparently healthy figures mask the growing issue of nominal Catholics - who were baptised Catholic and still identify themselves as such - but who for various reasons do not participate in the faith life of the Catholic community. Less than 20% of Australian Catholics attend mass each weekend. Decline in Presbyterian and Uniting Church figures The Presbyterian Church dropped from 9.8% in 1947 to 3.4% in 2001. This is due in part to many of its members taking part in the merger between Presbyterians, Methodists and Congregationalists to form the Uniting Church in 1977. While the Methodist and Congregationalist Churches no longer exist in Australia a number of Presbyterians withdrew from the merger and continue to exist today. The Uniting Church (formed in 1977) dropped from 7.6% in 1986 to 6.7% in 2001. These churches have faced not only a decrease in the percentage of those adhering to that denomination as a percentage of the population but also a decline in actual numbers over the past 10 years. Numerical increase in Orthodox figures In 1947 only 0.2% of the population were Orthodox Christian, but following a dramatic growth after World War II, the proportion of adherents to Orthodox denominations has remained fairly constant since the 1970s at about 2.7-2.8%. In 1996 Orthodox Christians constituted 2.82% of the population; this figure has dropped slightly to 2.8% in 2001, but this actually indicates a growth in actual numbers due to the population growth of Australia. Steady growth in Pentecostal figures The figures for Pentecostals record a steady growth since they first appeared in the census in the 1960s (when it was just 0.2% of the population) both as a percentage of the population and in actual numbers. In 1996 Pentecostals constituted 0.98% which only increased to 1.0% in 2001. This was a much lower growth than anticipated considering the growing visibility of Pentecostalism in Australia. However, in 2000 Pentecostal leaders congregated together to form the Australian Christian Churches. These leaders then encouraged their members to write in Australian Christian Churches rather than Pentecostal so the census may not reflect the actual growth of Pentecostalism. Despite the low proportion of Pentecostals in the

population, they show the greatest fidelity of any denomination in attending weekly church services, coming second only to Catholics in the numbers actually at church each week. Rise of secularism The rise of secularism has led to both a drop in the numbers of people regularly attending religious services should along with the significant increase in the "No Religion" category. In 1947 only 0.3% of the population classified themselves as having "No Religion". However, in 1971 the instruction "if no religion, write none" was introduced into the census. This saw a seven-fold increase from the previous census year in the percentage of persons stating they had no religion (0.8% in 1966 to 6.7% in 1971). Thus many people who would have previously fallen under the "Not Stated" category were now included. Since 1971 this percentage has progressively increased to about 16.5% in 1996, with a dip to 15.5% in 2001. Jewish figures have remained steady Jewish figures have remained quite steady since the beginning of the census with the proportion of Jews in Australia fairly constant at around 0.4%. The number of Jews migrating following the Second World War doubled the numbers of Jews in Australia, but as the general population also doubled the proportion remained the same. It is likely, however, that the Jewish population is larger than reflected in the census. Many Jewish migrants have suffered religious persecution before coming to Australia and are wary of disclosing their religious identity for fear of further persecution. Steady increase in Hindu, Muslim and Buddhist figures The numbers of people who subscribe to Buddhism, Hinduism and Islam are steadily increasing largely due to immigration. In 1947 adherents of Buddhism, Hinduism and Islam were too few in number to show up as a proportion on the census (each less than 0.1%). Buddhism has shown rapid growth in recent decades, recently overtaking Islam to become the largest religion other than Christianity in Australia. In 1986 Buddhists comprised 0.5% of the population; by 2001 they made up 1.9%. Hindus increased from comprising 0.1% of the Australian population in 1986 to 0.5% in 2001. The numbers of Muslims in Australia have also increased dramatically from just 2,704 in 1947 to 281,500 people in 2001. Islam first showed up on the census in 1976 (0.3%) but now accounts for 1.5% of the population.

Content Description
Christianity as the major religious tradition
Historical background By 1947 Christianity had long been established as the major religious tradition in Australia. This was due to the European settlers of the 18th and 19th centuries who

brought to Australia their traditional Christian churches - predominately the Church of England and the Roman Catholic, Methodist, Presbyterian, Congregationalist, Lutheran and Baptist churches. Traditional Indigenous religions were not recognised or even banned and missionary efforts were made to convert the natives. Despite sectarianism between different denominations, the tradition of Christianity was dominant in Australia and to some extent shaped the nation's identity. By allowing in only people from certain European countries the 'White Australia' Policy (enshrined in the Immigration Restriction Act of 1901) effectively also kept out religious traditions other than Christianity. Consequently in 1947: 88.0% of Australians considered themselves Christian, 0.4% Jewish, 0.2% had no religion, and less than 0.1% acknowledged belonging to another religious tradition. Factors contributing to the decline of Christianity The 2001 census figures reveal that Christianity is still the numerically largest religious tradition in Australia accounting for 68.0% of the population. However, there has been a significant decline in the percentage of people affiliated with Christianity. Furthermore, of those claiming affiliation there has been a decline in the regular attendance of religious services. The ongoing decline in most Christian groups as a percentage of the population is due to increasing secularisation, dissatisfaction with traditional religious movements, aging membership, and a lack of migrant intake. Of all the Christian denominations the Anglican, Uniting and Presbyterian churches have been most acutely affected by this decline in the numbers of those regularly attending church. There are a number of factors that need to be considered in attempting to draw conclusions from this data. Firstly, it needs to be noted that up until recently the churches themselves collected the only detailed information available on regular church attendance. Researchers now consider these figures to be overstated. Thus the slumps in religious observance may not have decreased as drastically as some may suggest. Secondly, new and emerging forms of religious practice are often not acknowledged in statistics on church attendance. This means that the plethora of small informal groupings and individual spiritual pursuits are not acknowledged as religious practice. Reasons for the increase in the Catholic figures In contrast to the general trend of significant decreases in the number of people affiliated to Christian denominations Catholicism has continued to increase both numerically and proportionally (from 20.9% in 1947 to 26.6% in 2001) making it the largest religious group in Australia. Catholicism has been insulated from the effect of the decline in religious affiliation because of its substantial migrant intake and slightly higher birth rate. Also, people who are baptised Catholic tend to identify themselves as Catholic even if they do not practice the religion, whereas those brought up Protestant who no longer practice would more often no longer consider themselves affiliated with that denomination. Reasons for the increase in the Pentecostal figures

The Pentecostal figures also display a resistance to the general trend of decline in religious affiliation, by continuing to show an increase both numerically and as a percentage of the population. The increase in the 2001 census was however below expectations rather than the steep increases of previous years. One possible reason for this slow down is the so called "revolving door syndrome" which recognises that large numbers of Pentecostals remain with the church for a relatively short period of time, often between eighteen months and two years. Another reason for the apparent slowing in growth of the 2001 figures is because in 2000 Pentecostal leaders congregated together to form the Australian Christian Churches. These leaders then encouraged their members to write in Australian Christian Churches rather than Pentecostal in the 2001 census.

Immigration
Reasons for immigration following World War II The most significant reason for the increase in the diversity of the religious character in Australia is immigration. The large number of immigrants since the Second World War can be attributed to various factors. Firstly, in the aftermath of the war many Europeans (and some non-European refugees) whose families and homes had been devastated sought to start a new life in a safer and more secure environment. Secondly, the Australian government during this time actively sought immigration in the belief the nation's security and economic prosperity was dependant upon a significant increase to its population. To achieve this, the Australian government offered assisted passage to migrants hoping to entice them to come to Australia. Thirdly, the decline of the 'White Australia' policy up to its final demise in 1973 meant that the migration of people from a greater variety of ethnic groups became easier. Fourthly, overseas wars and persecution have led to waves of immigration from affected areas - e.g. Vietnam (1970s); Lebanon (1980s); Afghanistan, Bosnia and Herzegovina (1990s). Immigration has changed Australia into a multifaith society Immigration has greatly increased the number of people affiliated with religious traditions other than Christianity. Two-thirds of Australia's Muslim community were born overseas, coming from over 70 different countries. The main sources of Islamic immigration are the Middle East (particularly Lebanon, Iraq and Iran), Europe ( Turkey, Bosnia and Herzegovina) and Asia ( Malaysia and Indonesia). The growth of Buddhism is the result of immigration from troubled areas of the Indo-Chinese Peninsula - that is from Laos, Cambodia and Vietnam. In recent years, Buddhist figures have further increased as a result of immigration from Malaysia, Thailand, Hong Kong and China. Significant numbers of Jews have also migrated from a variety of European origins. Hindu figures in Australia have also been increased as a result of immigration from India and Fiji. Impact of immigration on Christian membership in Australia As a result of immigration there has been a significant change to the previously predominantly Anglo-Celtic membership of the Christian tradition. Many migrants from

Eastern Europe have brought their Orthodox denomination of Christianity to Australia and this is particularly evident in Sydney and Melbourne. The increase in the number of Catholics in Australia in the post World War Two period is largely the result of immigration from Mediterranean countries (especially Italy and Malta) as well as some from Eastern Europe ( Poland and the Ukraine). More recently, Roman Catholic figures have increased as a result of immigration from Asia ( Vietnam and the Philippines), Latin America and Africa. In addition to the Roman Catholic population, Eastern Catholics (Maronite, Melkite and Ukrainian rite Catholics) have also immigrated. There is a significant population of Maronite Catholics who have mostly come from Lebanon in the Middle East. These successive waves of immigration have significantly altered the ethnic mix of Catholicism - from being predominantly Irish to becoming the most multicultural of faiths in Australia - while at the same time contributing to its growth in comparison to other Christian denominations such as the Anglicanism.

Denominational switching
Reasons for denominational switching Denominational switching refers to the transfer of followers from one Christian denomination to another. This phenomenon is far more common in Protestant denominations than in Catholic or Orthodox groups. Catholic and Orthodox Christians tend to have a higher level of denominational loyalty based on their appreciation of their own distinctive histories, traditions and liturgies. Protestants, especially younger ones, will more often 'shop around' for a new denomination based on factors such as liking the minister, style of worship and music, proximity to home, sense of community and activities (such as prayer groups, Bible studies and youth groups) provided by a particular congregation. People no longer remain in a particular denomination simply because their parents and grand-parents belonged to it or because they share the same ethnic background with other church members. In contemporary society loyalty to a particular community has to be earned. With the contemporary ethos of individualism people focus on their personal needs rather than the needs of their traditional communities. People are looking around for the 'right' congregation in which to get involved - one that meets their needs, expresses their faith in culturally appropriate ways and addresses their concerns in meaningful ways. Characteristics of Pentecostalism The ongoing growth of Pentecostalism is largely based on denominational switching from other non-Pentecostal Protestant churches. Pentecostalism is an evangelical and charismatic strand of the Christian tradition. Evangelical Christians place great emphasis on personal conversion, a fundamentalist/literal approach to the Bible and downplays the importance of liturgy and ritual, focusing rather on dynamic preaching of the scripture. Charismatic Christians place a strong emphasis on the gifts of the Holy Spirit such as 'speaking in tongues', prophecy and faith healing. The 1996 census reported a massive increase of 60% in the Pentecostal figures over the

past 10 years. This is partly due to the fact that Pentecostal groups attract many people who have been disaffected by other Christian communities. Pentecostalism is well known for its emphasis on music (e.g. Hillsong), especially contemporary music with sophisticated production and presentation. This is particularly appealing to the younger generation who often express dissatisfaction with the staid nature of worship in traditional churches. Many people also chose to join Pentecostal denominations because of the strong sense of community and charismatic leaders. However, research indicates that many people leave Pentecostalism after about two years - indicating that for many it is exciting and involving in the short term but unfulfilling in the long run. This phenomenon is known as the 'revolving door syndrome'. Historically , Pentecostalism has seen increases in membership during times of uncertainty and anxiety. Many believe that the economic uncertainty and pessimism, which has characterised much of the past two decades, has contributed greatly to the attraction of a religious way of life, which offers clear cut and definite answers to complex and often troubling circumstances.

Rise of New age religions


Definition It is difficult to define precisely what a new age religion is, because new age religions are extremely diverse in nature. The term "new age" should be understood as a kind of umbrella term to cover a range of spiritual beliefs and practices aiming to foster individual fulfilment in the form of personal happiness, health and meaning in life. New age religions can be followed as an alternative to, or in conjunction with, other more traditional religious practices. Characteristics of new age religion Despite the diversity there are some characteristics that are common across many new age religions. New age religions tend to be individualistic and search oriented rather than focused on an established tradition that has an established community, official doctrine and structures of authority. They often involve a focus upon the development of the self and the exploration of individual spirituality, and the notion that the divine exists within each person. Mystical experiences or higher states of consciousness are often important. New age religions often seek wisdom in ancient and Eastern traditions, such as Buddhism, Hinduism and Sufism, but only accept the teachings that suit them rather than the whole integrated worldview. Many new age religions are attracted by indigenous spirituality and may chose to pick out elements of the belief systems of indigenous religions including Celtic, Native American, African and Australian Aboriginal. Consequently, new age religions generally favour a creation centred spirituality - the belief that the transcendent is found through the natural world.

Many followers of new age religions would reject monotheism, the belief in a single transcendent God, but might accept a Goddess (often called "Gaia" or the "Earth Mother"), many gods (polytheism), worship of nature (pantheism) and/or the belief that everything is one (monism). These inclinations suggest a rejection of traditional Western Christianity which is blamed for many of the current world problems. Reasons for the popularity of new age religion The popularity of new age religions can be attributed to various factors. One significant reason for their popularity is that new age religions are individualistic and liberal in the sense that it is the type of spirituality in which a person can pick and choose which beliefs and practices to follow and hence tailor a 'religion' to suit their individual preferences. Many people supplement traditional religion with aspects of new age spiritualities. It is not uncommon for a person practising a traditional religion such as Christianity or Islam to also take up a practice associated with new age spiritualities such as feng shui or numerology. Another significant reason why new age religions are increasingly popular is because despite general dissatisfaction at mainstream religions there is still a longing for a spiritual dimension to life. It can be said that the new age movement developed as a reaction against what some perceived as the failure of Christianity and the failure of secular humanism to provide spiritual and ethical guidance in the contemporary world. The idea of straying away from one's own cultural and spiritual traditions to find personal fulfilment and discover one's own spirituality can be traced back to the social revolution which took place in the 1960s. A critical part of this reaction against traditional Western Christianity, which many saw as rigid and staid, is a shift away from external means of salvation and a re-emphasis on creation centred spirituality, which uses nature mysticism to promote personal, social and ecological harmony. A final reason as to why some new age religions are so popular is some of their practices claim to be a supernatural means of curing sickness, predicting the future, or gaining personal wealth. Various forms of new age religion New age religions come in many forms. Some new age religions include beliefs about the power of certain physical designs and objects. Other new age movements centre on animals or other parts of creation as being the key to harmony and wellbeing. Examples of new age spiritualities include: 1. Numerology, which is belief that certain numbers and patterns of numbers hold the key to understanding human existence. Astrology, which is based on the principal that the reading of the stars in conjunction with the time of birth to predict a person's individual traits and

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anticipate the future course of their lives. The instrument used to determine these predictions is called a horoscope. 3. Yoga and tai chi, which are used by people as forms of gentle exercise, meditation and relaxation. It is believed that such use of yoga and tai chi will lead to a healthier more peaceful life. Yoga and tai chi however, in their pure forms are part of the Hindu and Tao religions; many people however practice them without reference to their broader religious context. Feng shui, which is the belief that the strategic placement of furniture and possessions can lead to greater harmony and well being in life. It originated in Taoism. Transcendental meditation is a technique of mediation that is believed to enable a person to move beyond or transcend their present existence to make contact with another plane of existence. Paganism, which is a collection of diverse contemporary spiritualities rooted in ancient indigenous traditions, deriving inspiration from them, drawing upon their myths and symbols and often invoking their many gods. It is characterised by a belief in the interconnection of all life, personal autonomy, and immanent divinities. It is nature-centred and supportive of gender equity. Wicca, or Witchcraft, is a type of paganism that practices magick as a tool for personal and global transformation.

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Secularism
Definition Secularism is the belief that religion should not interfere with or be integrated into the public affairs of a society. Philosophically secularism refers to the belief that human ethics and the universe should be understood without reference to religion or the supernatural. Politically secularism refers to the belief that religion should not interfere with the political running of the state. Thus, secularism promotes the idea that society would be better off by not being controlled by religion. Reasons for secularisation Secularisation is the process of a society becoming more secular, i.e. less religious. Secularisation can be seen in the diminishing relevance of religious values for the integration and legitimation of everyday life in society. The declines in religious affiliation, church attendance, prayer, numbers of clergy and religious orders are all signs of secularisation. Reasons for secularisation include: increasing pluralism (diversity of beliefs and cultures) in Australia means that no single religious belief system is dominant; increasing individualism means that people do not look to traditional communities for meaning in their lives; increasing materialism means that spirituality is often ignored in favour of possessions, power, looks and fame; increasing disillusionment with traditional religions for hypocrisy, abuse of power and/or irrelevance means

that religions have lost moral authority and respect; and increasing scepticism towards the supernatural due to scientific progress that means that there are more atheists and agnostics in society. Secularisation of society indicates that more and more people are comfortable to live their lives without reference to religion or God. Significant increase in the number of people writing "No religion" The most telling evidence of this trend of secularisation is the significant increase in the number of people responding "No Religion" in the census. In 1947 there were only 0.3% of the population that stated they followed "No Religion". This increased significantly to 16.1% in 1996, but has dropped slightly to 15.5% in 2001. The increase in "No Religion" is particularly pronounced in the younger age categories. The increases in the number of people responded "No Religion" should be read along with the decreasing proportions of Australians claiming religious affiliation and the decline in church attendance. What these figures reveal is that it has become increasing acceptable in contemporary Australian society to have no religious affiliation or to not participate in one's nominal religion.

Content Description
Definition Ecumenism refers to the movement towards religious unity amongst Christian denominations. Unity does not mean uniformity. It is not about combining all denominations into one, but rather an acknowledgement that their unity in Christ outweighs their diversity in practice and beliefs. In contrast to the historical conflict between Christian denominations, ecumenism is leading them to work, worship and dialogue together. Ecumenism began as a grass roots movement, driven largely by the experiences of individual believers who recognised that what Christians have in common is more significant than the things that divide them. The leadership of various denominations have also come to recognise the 'scandal of Christian disunity' - that while Christians are divided among themselves they fail to be effective witnesses of Christ's message of love to the world. Ecumenism is the opposite of sectarianism, which refers to division and conflict between groups within the same religion. The ecumenical progress in Australia is even more remarkable in light of the sectarian history of Christianity both here and overseas. Nature of ecumenical initiatives There are various levels of ecumenical developments. At the highest level there are joint commissions: formal ecumenical bodies that work to find official agreement on issues that have often divided denominations. For example the Anglican Roman Catholic International Commission (ARCIC) has held discussions on Baptism, Eucharist, Ministry, Authority and Mary. The Lutheran and Roman Catholic churches have signed a Joint Declaration on the Doctrine of Justification (1998), now finding

theological agreement on 'faith and works, which was one of the key reasons for the Reformation split between the two. On a practical level: various Christian denominations cooperate on social justice issues and during times of crisis. Examples of this action based ecumenical approach include the welfare agency Christian World Services, the Palm Sunday Peace March, the Drop the Debt campaign, and the response to the Boxing Day Tsunami of 2004. At a local parish level: various grass roots initiatives have been undertaken to implement ecumenism within the community, such as having inter-denominational prayer services and dialogues. On an educational level: there are initiatives such as the Sydney College of Divinity, which is an ecumenical federation of theological colleges working together to provide education in theology and ministry.

Uniting Church - www.uca.org.au


Uniting Church A great success of the ecumenical movement in Australia is the formation of the Uniting Church. The Uniting Church is the 3 rd largest Christian denomination in Australia and is the only notable religious denomination of Australian origin. It was founded in 1977 through a merger of all Methodists, 65% of Presbyterians and 95% of Congregationalists. The Basis of Union, the foundational document for the Uniting Church, states that the reason for this merger is their "seeking to bear witness to that unity which is both Christ's gift and will for the Church." T he Uniting Church is thus notable for the fact that it has ecumenism as one of its primary aims. The name "Uniting" was specifically chosen (rather than "United") to indicate this ongoing commitment to promote ecumenism among the churches of Australia.

National Council of Churches in Australia - www.ncca.org.au/ home_page


Ecumenical initiatives undertaken by NCCA The National Council of Churches in Australia (NCCA) is an ecumenical body that aims to deepen the relationship of member churches "in order to express more visibly the unity willed by Christ" and strengthen the cause of Christian unity in Australia by leading different denominations to work, pray and grow together. It comprises of 15 member Christian churches that dialogue and collaborate in a range of ways. For example , the NCCA has an aid and development agency called the Christian World Service that works to develop a better future for people suffering from injustice and poverty. Aid and development is delivered through overseas ecumenical partners in Africa, Asia, Middle East and the Pacific. In Australia, the Christian World Service supports refugees and displaced people through advocacy, education and the work of ecumenical state council networks. The NCCA also provides resources for the annual Week of Prayer for Christian Unity, supports the National Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander Ecumenical Commission, has a Youth Network, a Social Justice Network, and a Gender Commission to promote inclusivity within member churches.

Historical development of NCCA The ecumenical movement in Australia was initially an Anglican and Protestant affair with the Australian Council of Churches formed after World War II. Eastern and Oriental Orthodox churches joined during the 1960s and 70s. For Catholics, the 2nd Vatican Council opened up fresh possibilities for relationships with other churches. The existing structure of the Australian Council of Churches was found to be unsuitable to include the Catholic Church because its sheer size would have overwhelmed the other churches which had smaller memberships. Thus , in 1994 it was decided to disband the Australian Council of Churches and form a new organization called the National Council of Churches in Australia. The NCCA works in collaboration with state ecumenical councils around Australia and is an associate council of the World Council of Churches

NSW Ecumenical Council - www.nswec.org.au/


Ecumenical initiatives undertaken by the NSW Ecumenical Council The NSW Ecumenical Council, which was formed in 1982, consists of 16 churches throughout NSW and the Australian Capital Territory. The NSW Ecumenical Council is one of seven state/territory ecumenical councils in Australia, and all of which are affiliated to the National Council of Churches. In the 1990s the NSW Ecumenical Council expanded to accommodate the 11 dioceses of the Roman Catholic Church in NSW and the Australian Capital Territory. The NSW Ecumenical Council seeks to promote ecumenism through four major types of initiatives. Firstly, it seeks to allow the different churches to reflect upon theology in a united way. Secondly, it seeks to provide local initiatives which promote ecumenism on a grass roots level. Thirdly, it seeks to unite the different denominations by providing a platform for different churches to address social justice issues, for example by setting up the House of Welcome to assist refugees. Finally, it recognises that in order to maintain a constant spirit of ecumenism especially through to the next generation, educational initiatives need to be undertaken to advocate ecumenism.

Content Description
Definition Interfaith dialogue is formal discussion aimed towards developing greater mutual understanding between different religious traditions. It rejects the belief that all religions are the same, and is not an attempt to unify different religious traditions, but while respecting the diversity of beliefs it allows different religions to come to a better appreciation of the uniqueness of each other. Interfaith dialogue is not a forum for debate or evangelisation, fundamental disagreements about beliefs are accepted, and no attempt is made to try and prove the superiority of one belief system over another. However, from such discussions some common grounds may be found between religions. Through building such

relationships, different religions may choose to work together on common projects, have interfaith prayer services, and stand publicly united on significant issues. Range of interfaith initiatives Interfaith dialogue occurs across a range of different levels. In 1996 Pope John Paul II held an interfaith prayer service in the Domain in Sydney. In 2001 churches, synagogues and mosques in Sydney held reciprocal visits to pray for peace and express unity. Other examples of coming together include interfaith prayer services commemorating the Bali bombing and the Boxing Day Tsunami. Similarly, different religious traditions work together on a range of social issues as a testament to many of the shared values underlying major religious traditions. Different religious traditions cooperate on issues such as poverty, unemployment, industrial rights, indigenous rights, land mines, nuclear testing and asylum seekers. Interfaith dialogue also takes place regularly on a local or grass roots level. Specific examples of interfaith dialogue The NSW Council of Christians and Jews was started in 1989. Activities include an annual Passover demonstration directed to non-Jewish audiences; panel discussions and seminars on current topics of relevance and evenings of multi-denominational poetry and music; Holocaust education; and an annual Christian commemorative service for the Holocaust held in the crypt of St Mary's Roman Catholic Cathedral. The Columban Centre for Christian-Muslim Relations was established in Sydney in 1997. It has two main objectives: to foster relationships with the Muslim community; and to address the misconceptions, lack of understanding and stereotyping, which exist in the Christian community. The Centre organises dialogues between Christians and Muslims in order for them to meet and learn about each others beliefs and practices, functions as a resource for information, provides Muslim and Christian speakers for different groups, organizes seminars, and publishes a newsletter. Importance of interfaith dialogue Australia is an increasingly pluralistic society in the sense that it is multi-cultural and multi-faith. Interfaith dialogue creates respect and appreciation for religious diversity which is essential for harmony and peace. Historical and ongoing religious conflicts and persecution have often led to prejudice between religions that if not addressed can lead to division within the Australian community. Examples of such inter-religious conflict, that have affected ethnic communities within Australia, include Muslims versus Jews (e.g. Palestine-Israel), Jews versus Christians (Pogroms in Russia), Christians versus Muslims (the Crusades & the Gulf Wars), Muslims versus Hindus (Pakistan-India), Hindus versus Buddhists (Sri Lanka), Buddhist versus Christian (Vietnam). Following the terrorist attacks of September 11, the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, and the ongoing 'War on Terror', the Muslim community in Australia has been subjected to suspicion and persecution. Interfaith dialogue has been an important method of working to break down the stereotypes and prejudice towards Muslims.

Interfaith dialogue is also important to build relationships between different religions so they can more often and more effectively speak out on common issues and uphold shared values such as the dignity of the person, the sanctity of human life, care for those in need, justice and peace. In an increasingly secularised society interfaith dialogue can help different religions to stand together in proclaiming the importance of faith, spirituality and the transcendent aspects of life. Interfaith dialogue is also important in helping religions support one another, for when the rights of one religious group are challenged all others are ultimately in danger as well.

Content Description
In recent decades different religious traditions in Australia have had a growing appreciation of Aboriginal spirituality and have become involved in supporting the movement for reconciliation. Historical role of Christian groups in the reconciliation process A wide variety of Christian groups are a part of the reconciliation movement and in support of issues such as land rights, native title and a formal apology to the Stolen Generation. In fact many Christian denominations have designated committees to ensure that they maintain a close working relationship with Aboriginal people. Historically Christian groups were one of the first advocates of Aboriginal rights. In 1967 the Catholic Church and representatives of the Australian Council of Churches were among the most prominent leaders of the campaign for the referendum to grant Aboriginal Australians citizenship. In 1975 various church groups supported and applauded the passing of the first land rights legislation by the Whitlam Government. In 1992 the Mabo decision was publicly welcomed by many church groups. When conservative political factions and various media groups began a fear campaign, churches made strong statements affirming that the Mabo decision was just. Similarly in 1998, in spite of opposition from various political groups, farmers and miners, churches adamantly opposed the Ten Point Plan, which they saw as a severe and unjust reduction on the rights of Aboriginal people to make native title claims. ANTaR During this time ANTaR, which stands for Australians for Native Title and Reconciliation, was formed. This church supported community based organisation is one of the most prominent community groups advocating indigenous rights and organised the Sea of Hands display promoting reconciliation and justice. Phil Glendenning, the director of the Christian Brother's Edmund Rice Centre for Justice and Community Education, is also the national president of ANTaR. Formal apology to Stolen Generation Whilst the campaign for native title and land rights is a central platform for church groups advocating Aboriginal rights, church groups are also involved in a range of

issues to assist the ongoing process of reconciliation. For example, in 1997 following the publication of the Human Rights and Equal Opportunities Commission's (HREOC) report Bringing Them Home church groups offered formal apologies regarding the role of missionaries in the abuse of Aboriginal people. They also strongly urged the Government to make a public apology for their role in implementing the protection and assimilation policies, and to implement the recommendations made by HREOC. Interfaith support for reconciliation Reconciliation is an issue for which there is interfaith support from different religious traditions. Jewish groups for example hold a week of prayer for reconciliation every year. In 1998 the Australian and New Zealand Union for Progressive Judaism voiced their support for the Wik decision and opposed the Ten Point Plan. In 2000 the Executive Council of the Australian Jewry also urged the Australian Government to implement the recommendations made by the National Inquiry into the Separation of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Children and Their Families. The Australian Federation of Islamic Councils and the Buddhist Peace Fellowship have also made statements in support of indigenous rights and reconciliation.

Summary Points
Students learn about:
The religious landscape from 1945 to the present in relation to: Changing patterns of religious adherence

Students learn to:


Outline changing patterns of religious adherence from 1945 to the present using census data There have been significant declines in the number of Christians regularly attending religious services. This decline is most evident in the Anglican Church, the Presbyterian Church and the Uniting Church. The drop in the figures for these three denominations represents both a decrease in the percentage of those who are affiliated with that denomination as well as a decline in actual numbers over the last decade. The proportion of Orthodox Christians in Australia grew rapidly after the Second World War and has remained quite constant over the past decade. Roman Catholics have continued to increase both numerically and as a percentage of the population, and have overtaken Anglicans as the largest denomination in Australia. Pentecostal figures have demonstrated strong growth both numerically and as a percentage of the population since the 1960s. In the last ten years however, this steep ascent appears to have slowed down and reached a plateau. The significant drop in the numbers of people regularly attending religious services should be read in conjunction with the substantial trend in the increasing numbers of people writing "No Religion" or "Religion Not Stated" in the census. The figure for religions other than Christianity, on the whole, appears to be steadily increasing from a fairly small base. Buddhist figures have grown at a steady rate from 1972 onwards and is now the largest religion other than Christianity in Australia. Hinduism has maintained steady growth. The numbers of Muslims in Australia have also increased dramatically since 1945. In 2001 the proportion of Jews was similar to that recorded in 1947.

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The religious landscape from 1945 to the present in relation to: The current religious landscape

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Account for the present religious landscape in Australia in relation to: Christianity as a major religious tradition

Immigration Denominational switching Rise of New Age religions Secularism

Christianity as the major religious tradition


The significant decline in the number of Christians regularly attending religious services, especially in the Anglican, Uniting Church and Presbyterian denominations, can be attributed to the aging population, the lack of migrant intake and the general dissatisfaction impacting on other mainstream Christian groups. Roman Catholics are continuing to increase numerically, though not at the rate of the population because of its younger membership and substantial migrant intake. The significant increases in the Pentecostal figures can be attributed to factors such as the lively nature of its worship, its emphasis on contemporary music, the strong sense of community and spiritual support it provides, the charismatic leaders which lead the congregation and the clear cut answers it provides for times of uncertainty. Pentecostalism is an evangelical (fundamentalist and focused on conversion) and charismatic (a strong emphasis on the gifts of the Holy Spirit) strand of the Christian religion. The slow down in the increase of Pentecostal figures in the last 10 years can be attributed to the 'revolving door syndrome' which recognises that large numbers of Pentecostals remain with the Church for a relatively short period of time and because many Pentecostals were encouraged by their leaders to write "Australian Christian Church" rather than "Pentecostal" on the 2001 census.

Immigration
Changed Australia from being mono-cultural, mono-faith to multi-cultural, multi-faith. Since World War 2 and the lifting of the White Australia policy there has been much more diversity in migration and an accompanying increase in the diversity of religious groupings. Migration after World War 2 led to increased number of Catholics from countries such as Italy, Malta etc. This also increased numbers of Orthodox Christians from Greece and Eastern Europe. After the ending of the White Australian policy in 1972 migration developed from a larger range of countries bringing a wider range of religions. Migration has led to significant increases in the numbers of people who are Buddhist, Muslims, Hindus and Jews. Buddhists came from Indo-Chinese countries - Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia - and in more recent times Malaysia, Hong Kong and China. Muslims came from countries such as Indonesia, Lebanon, Iran and Iraq, Bosnia. Increases have also occurred in Christian denominations where there is a large non-Anglo population - Orthodox (Eastern Europe) and Catholic churches (from

predominantly Irish to include Mediterranean, Eastern European, Asian, South American, African members). Increased presence of a variety of religious groups has also led to a greater appreciation of this diversity.

Denominational switching
The vast majority of people affiliated with religious groups in Australia were born into that religion. The phenomena of swapping between denominations or groups of the same religious tradition is known as denominational switching. Denominational switching is more common in Protestant Churches than in the Catholic Church. The majority of Pentecostals have moved from another Protestant denomination to join the Pentecostal group. Pentecostal is the term used to describe Christian denominations which have a strong emphasis on the gifts of the Holy Spirit (speaking in tongues, healing, prophecy etc). They are often relatively small groups which provides for more personal interaction, they also have lively worship. Pentecostalism is the fastest growing Christian group. Most Pentecostals have switched to the group from another Christian denomination. Many leave again after about 2 years - this is known as the 'revolving door syndrome'.

Rise of New Age religions


Census figures show a considerable level of dissatisfaction with traditional religious groups. Alongside this dissatisfaction is an indication of a strong and growing longing for a spiritual dimension to life. "New Age" is an umbrella term which refers to a range of alternative and/or pseudo-religious groups that people are attracted to. New Age religions are characterised by their adoption of elements of Eastern religions and their subsequent rejection of traditional Western views, and the fact that it favours creation centred spirituality. Some examples of new age religions are feng shui, yoga, tai chi, astrology, tarot cards, numerology etc. Many people uphold traditional religious beliefs and practices but supplement them with new age elements.

Secularism
Secularism is the belief that religion should not interfere with or be integrated into the public affairs of a society. There are multiple factors which have contributed to the decline of religion's relevance for the integration and legitimation of modern life. The increasing pluralism and materialism of society alongside society's increasing individualism and dissatisfaction with traditional religions are major reasons for secularisation.

This trend is most evident in the significant increase in the number of people responding "No religion" in the census alongside an overall decline in the Christian figures recorded in the census.

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Religious dialogue in multi-faith Australia Ecumenical movements within Christianity

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Describe the impact of Christian ecumenical movements in Australia The National Council of Churches NSW Ecumenical Council Ecumenism refers to the movement towards religious unity amongst Christian denominations. Ecumenical movements have made an impact on various levels. At the highest level, joint commissions such as the Anglican Roman Catholic International Commission (ARCIC) make statements about official church teachings. Cooperation on social/political issues and in times of crisis or tragedy. Theological initiatives such as Sydney College of Divinity. Grass roots initiatives such as parish prayer groups etc. The formation of the Uniting Church in 1977, through a merger of three existing Churches - Methodist, Presbyterian and Congregational. The reorganisation of the Australian Council of Churches in 1994 to become the National Council of Churches in Australia. The reorganisation of the structure of the NSW Ecumenical Council to accommodate the Catholic dioceses within NSW and the Australian Capital Territory.

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Religious dialogue in multi-faith Australia Interfaith dialogue

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Evaluate the importance of interfaith dialogue in multi-faith Australia Interfaith dialogue is a movement aimed towards promoting understanding between different religious traditions. In the current political environment the need for religious leaders around the world to express the commonalities which bind the religious world views have become even more important in light of these cultural and political divisions. The dignity of the human person and the sanctity of human life is a prime example of one fundamental element which runs throughout all world religions. In response to tragedies such as the Boxing Day Tsunami, the Bali Bombings, etc religious groups provided support through inter-faith memorials. Cooperation on social justice issues such as indigenous rights, opposition to GST, unemployment, poverty, land mines, nuclear testing and asylum seekers.

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Religious dialogue in multi-faith Australia The relationship between Aboriginal spiritualities and religious traditions in the process of Reconciliation

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Examine the relationship between Aboriginal spiritualities and religious traditions in the process of Reconciliation Many Christian groups strongly support reconciliation, and the issues. associated with it such as land rights, native title and the need for a formal apology to the Stolen Generation. Historically, Christian groups have been intimately involved with the process of reconciliation for example by advocating Aboriginal land rights and citizenship, supporting the Mabo and Wik decisions and opposing the Ten Point Plan. Australians for Native Title and Reconciliation (ANTaR) is an example of a prominent church based organisation advocating indigenous rights. There is interfaith support for the process of reconciliation. Various Jewish groups also opposed the Ten Point Plan and every year they hold a week of prayer for reconciliation. Islamic and Buddhist groups have also made public statements supporting reconciliation, and issues such as native title, a formal apology to the Stolen Generation and land rights. The support that traditions other than Christianity lend to reconciliation is less noticeable compared to the work of Christian groups because of their smaller affiliation.