Australia and Religion – Let Us Pray…

It’s been a pretty good weekend here in Australia, most of Sunday was taken up with gardening. Not much fun to do, but quite gratifying when it’s all finished.

And on Saturday, among other things, I filtered 38 litres of homebrew and started brewing another 38 in the fermentation bucket. Not much fun to do, but great fun drinking it.

But Saturday evening we (me, Mrs BobinOz and Elizabeth) were guests round our friend’s house where the food was excellent and the conversation pretty good too. I don’t know how, but that conversation at one point turned to religion in Australia.

I said “Australia is not a very religious country though, is it?” And with that, the debate began.

I appeared to be in the minority with my statement, it was pointed out to me that I drive past about 12 churches on the way to our nearest major shopping centre in Indooroopilly, a mere 14 kilometres from my house.

Now, I hadn’t really noticed that there were that many churches around, but I suppose off the top of my head I can think of at least six along that journey. There are at least three churches within 5 minutes of my house.

a cute church
A cute church
a church I can't see from here
A Catholic church behind this sign, somewhere
An unusual looking church
An unusual looking modern church

There may even be four, with the interesting sounding “Assemblies of God”, a church that appears to operate from a private house, just around the corner from me.

But maybe I hadn’t noticed all these churches because I’m just not a religious man. Although there have been a couple of times of great despair in the past, when the lives of loved ones were literally in the balance, that I have turned to God and prayed for his help.

But that doesn’t make me religious. You see, I believe in God, but I don’t believe in religion. In the same way that it’s perfectly possible to believe in having friends, but to make those friends without using Facebook. You don’t have to go through a third-party (who will surely try to control you and make money out of you) to make friends or to talk to God.

Anyway, enough of my ramblings….

Is Australia a Religious Country?

According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics, in 2006, Australia was

  • 64% Christian. Of those Christians….
  • 26% said they were Roman Catholic and….
  • 19% Anglican. Then there were…
  • 5% who followed non Christian religions.
  • 19% said they were not religious and
  • 12% failed to properly answer the question.

But for all of this, only about 7.5% regularly attended church.

So, I’m sticking with my original thought, Australia isn’t overly religious. Nobody has tried to convert me since I’ve been here and no Jehovah’s Witnesses (0.4%) have knocked on my door.

If you live here, what do you think of Australia and religion? Are you religious? Please feel free to comment below…


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{ 19 comments… add one }
  • Dinkumphil July 18, 2013, 6:56 am |

    I am VERY impressed with your website Bob I have been on your mailing list for over a year now. I live in Perth but I’m currently enjoying 2 months of northern summer in Portland Oregon..I enjoy the open discussion on this blog. This topic is very dear to me. You see, I was raised Roman Catholic in the 1950s’ in central west NSW. An idylic time to live in a western democracy in post WW11.I was instructed in the Roman Catholic church doctrines however when a broken marriage and financial troubles together with a deep sense of personal loneliness started to build up in my life (aged 33) I began to search for the God “I thought” of my childhood, BUT the “religious” stuff presented just was NOT meeting my personal needs and the questions of my own heart. Through a series of different events and talking with a few different people who were sharing a REALITY of Salvation I had not known,nor did not know, I “finally” took a step of faith and allowed two young men on friday night outreach meeting from a local church in the Midland Town Hall in Perth, to PRAY with/for me. I was touched in such a personal way that I walked out of that small Christian Meeting with a strong feeling “I would never be lonely again” I accepted JESUS CHRIST as my personal Saviour and Lord. Its’ been 30 years now, and The Lord Jesus is even MORE REAL to me now than,that first tentative prayer all those years ago. Not long after, I was FILLED with THE Holy Spirit ( with evidence of speaking in biblical tongues (just ONE of 9 gifts of the Spirit of God) listed in the Holy Bible). I am very glad to have this opportunity to share with you and also to say you might like to look up the website of Victorylife Perth, whose Senior Pastor, is Margaret Court, the well know successful Wimbeldon Champion,she recently was invited to celebrate 50 years since winning Wimbeldon for the first time.I commend the wonderfull job YOU Bob, are doing through this website,and might I say an even better job than most Aussies could do, to share accurately and unbiasedly as you do, to an international audience about our most richly blessed country.Oh!by the way you may be interested to discover OZ was actually named ” The Great South Land of the Holy Spirit by Ferdnand DeQuiros in 1606 ( the SAME year that the Pilgrim Father landed in America) and that Matthew Flinders ( a committed Christian ) named Australia “Australia” after his circumnavigation 1801/02..Gov Macquarie agreed to name Australia ” Australia” after he saw Flinders had put that name on his Map !.May you and your readers be BLESSED in Jesus Holy Name.

    • BobinOz July 18, 2013, 4:42 pm |

      Thank you Dinkumphil,

      Glad to hear you have found Jesus and happiness. I’ve not yet been to Perth, but it is on my list to do. One day.

      Thanks also for the awesome comments about my website, really pleased to hear that you have enjoyed reading some of my stuff. God bless you 🙂



  • Collins May 28, 2013, 11:21 am |

    I am a religious person, although I already knew Australia is not a religious country I have a lot of friends who believe in god but don’t believe in religion. Unlike Jake I am not offend.
    And your relationship with god shouldn’t be measured in attendance of going to church.

  • Hugo May 18, 2013, 4:17 pm |

    I believe Australia is not a religious country but they are spiritual. There is a big difference between being religious and spiritual and our society is spiritual through sport and culture.

  • Salomo Jhuan December 8, 2012, 4:38 pm |

    I’m Christian and Indonesian. I’ve been searching for religiosity issues in most western countries and found an interesting fact that religiosity in one country has everything to do with how developed your country is. The more developed your country is, the less religious people you will find there. But this fact does not apply to several modern countries i.e. USA, Greece and Italy. USA is interesting one, with almost 50% of the people attend church regularly, and almost 70% people pray for at least once a week.

    During election period, the religion of the candidates is one of the major issue concerned by voters. As for example, mitt romney’s mormon faith is one of the major reasons why americans did not vote for him. This also happened to Barrack Obama in his first election, where american started to believe for president after barrack said that he is a committed christian.

    In Australia (CMIIW), Julian Gillard has stated that she is an atheist, but she respects religions and church.

    Why USA is different with most EU countries and Australia? In my opinion, maybe its because USA, from the beginning, put Christianity as it fundamental base of the country. As you can see from their constitution, currency, how USA inaugurates it presidents, any other examples.

    I rarely hear Australians say “God bless Australia” or the prime minister says “May God help me”.

    Just my 2 cents

    • BobinOz December 10, 2012, 7:46 pm |

      It is an interesting question Salomo, I’m not really sure why the people in the USA are as religious as they are, but I think you are probably right. Religion seems to have been important to that country throughout its history and seems to still play a fairly big part in politics today.

      The “God bless America” quote is often used by the president, I can’t remember a president that didn’t use it.

      Strangely, since Julia Gillard became leader of this country, Australians have become more religious. “God help us” is muttered far more often since she’s been in charge. Just kidding on that one, honest 🙂



  • LPT July 12, 2012, 2:00 pm |

    I’m from Australia and am religious although I don’t attend a place of worship but thats cause of my life style and not being able to find one suitable for me

    • BobinOz July 12, 2012, 9:55 pm |

      I think that’s probably how most people do it, LPT. Nothing wrong with that.

  • Jake May 25, 2012, 2:39 pm |

    Im really religious and this offends me

    • John May 25, 2012, 2:40 pm |

      Well you should not have read it

      • BobinOz May 25, 2012, 9:14 pm |

        Then you must be offended very easily Jake, there’s nothing offensive here. I’d stay clear of the Internet if I were you.

  • Gordon April 19, 2011, 9:50 pm |

    A lot of people worldwide are questioning religious doctrine these days , and rightly so. I would say that Australia is becoming less religious ( as in following a structured religion ) but still believe or want to believe in a higher order .

    Just looking at history , the conflicts fought in the name of religion and even within are many and continue today . Christian vs. Muslim , Shiite vs Sunni , Catholic vs. Protestant et al.

    I know people I count as close friends who are deeply religious , I know many more who are not but may have a belief system of undefined type , even in their own mind , as I do.

    Religion is a man made device which taps into the spiritual core of the unwary and can be used for social control .

    When small children are “schooled” to believe in this or that religion and it becomes integral to society , they are at risk of becoming “pavlovs’ dogs” . In other words , it becomes indoctrination , nothing to do with spirituality .

    Suicide bombers are one example .
    The Hindu belief in India that suffering now will lead to a better life in the next incarnation is another.

    Religion is a man made artifice , more and more people recognise that as well as the hypocricy of church owned corporations that pay no tax and child molesting priests we all hear too much of.

    We are supposed to have a separation of the powers in our society , i.e. parliament , church , courts , yet parliament stands “before God” , we swear an oath to God to tell the truth.

    Personally , I will defend anyones right to hold any belief they like , providing it hurts no-one else . I will also question the motives of parents and schools who drill a belief system into children ,at the exclusion of all other possibilities , during their formative years.

    I was fortunate in that my parents encouraged me to think and question and form opinions at a young age .

    Australia most certainly has a ( multi ) religious component , however it is not evangelical or over zealous for the most part.

    Islam is a concern to many Australians . The radicals that is.

    That’s my thoughts ( or least some of them 😉 )

    • BobinOz April 20, 2011, 4:40 pm |

      Most worthy thoughts they are too Gordon, and thought provoking.

      Personally, I think way too many people throughout history have died because of religion. Seems to me that happens because of different interpretations of God’s word. It’s a shame people can’t let others interpret God’s word, whichever way they want, in peace.

      And you are right, the world is changing. We’ve come a long way since the Middle Ages and “the fear of God”. In today’s world, people have learned to think for themselves. It’s not so easy these days to dictate to the masses, whether it’s religion or politics. The carbon tax springs to mind here, sorry pollies, we’re just not buying it.

      Your parents did well to encourage you as a youngster, today it seems most people are learning to “think and question and form opinions’ for themselves. That has to be a good thing.



  • BobinOz April 19, 2011, 12:42 am |

    Hi Julie

    Nice theory, I like! and I do agree with you fully, Australia doesn’t seem overly religious to me, yet America did.

    Hope you are enjoying Brisbane as much as I do.



  • Julie April 18, 2011, 12:54 pm |

    Husband and I live in the Brisbane area and are Americans. I tend to agree with you that Americans attend church in much higher percentages than Australians. Pilgrims–>America–>Religious Freedom versus English–>AU–>Penal Colony perhaps?

  • BobinOz April 13, 2011, 9:10 pm |

    Yes, that’s what I thought. Unreliable online research suggests to me that around 10% of people in the UK go to church and apparently it’s over 40% in North America.

    Can that be true?

    • Nicky April 15, 2011, 3:34 am |

      Apparently the Big Guy’s all forgiving so he won’t mind either way x 😉

      • BobinOz April 15, 2011, 7:50 pm |

        That’s good to hear, I only ever go for weddings, christenings and funerals.

  • Nicky April 12, 2011, 5:11 pm |

    Only 7.5% going to church but most people recommending Catholic schools for your children when you ask about education on the forums…..sounds a bit like the UK to me 😉

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