Is Australia a Christian country?

Today’s anti-Muslim movements, here and in other overseas western countries, always seem to use the same war cry as the

Today’s anti-Muslim movements, here and in other overseas western countries, always seem to use the same war cry as the ultimate checkmate when pushed into a corner: “This is a Christian country!” They used it in Australia years ago when Asians and Aboriginals were blamed for the country’s imagined ills and the slogan serves the same purpose now.

This begs the question: Is Australia a Christian country? Christianity and Islam are both offshoots of Judaism, so to be more accurate should we call ourselves a Jewish country? The combination of Jews, Christians and Muslims, fortunately all worshipping the same God, would appear to be more appropriate.

The results of the current census are going to be very interesting (if we ever get them), but let’s take a look at the religion results in Australia taken from the last census in 2011.

Christians (Catholic 25.3%, Anglican 17.1% and ‘other Christian’ 18.7%) comprised 61.1% of the Australian population; other religions (including the two largest, Buddhists 2.5% and Islamic 2.2%) totalled 7.2%; and the remaining 31.7% consisted of 22.3% of people who professed no religion and 9.4% whose response was either unclear or not stated (these were mostly Jedi, I suspect).

I am an atheist, so I am one of the 38.9% – incidentally the fastest growing segment between 2006 and 2011 – of the people in this country who are excluded when the ‘Christian country’ claim is used. And I don’t like it. I have no objection to, “this is a country with Christians comprising a majority of the population” or “this is a 61% Christian country,’ but I recognise those are not slogan-like or nationalistic enough. My point is that declaring Australia a Christian country is both divisive and misleading.

I also question those raw statistics on a fundamental – if you will excuse the expression – basis. How many of the 61.1% are actually practising Christians? How many are children who have no say in how they are classified by their parents? How many have a lip-service connection to their religion and state ‘Christian’ because they were brought up that way and have never bothered to question it?

And how many, like Pauline Hanson, profess to be Christian yet behave in the most un-Christian and hateful way possible by racially vilifying Aboriginals, Asians, Muslims and anyone else who doesn’t comply with their dream of a White Australia. They are counted in that 61.1%, too, whether you like it or not.

Australia is a secular country. State and religion are separated, as they should be. The country does not belong to any one religion, particularly when almost (and now possibly more than) a third of the population doesn’t have one.

Perhaps, if a label really is required, we can change the description to, “Australia is a welcoming country” – I’m a migrant as well as an atheist, so I like that one and can vouch for its authenticity – or, “Australia is a multicultural country.” Both of those are more accurate than a religious claim which is offensive when used in such a negative and exclusive way.

It’s a great shame when religion – which is merely a personal preference, just like non-belief – is hijacked and used in a way that goes directly against the tenets of that faith. We see it with Islamic extremists, which results in murder and anarchy, and we see it with Christian extremists who display and encourage racism and vilification of minorities.

Australia is a wonderful country. It’s not perfect, but it gets a lot right and it can keep improving if everyone is on the same page. But if enough people are so motivated by irrational fear and hate that they turn on their fellow Australians, their actions will actually create the very division and conflict they are cowering from.

It’s up to all Australians to resist racism, religious intolerance, discrimination, fear-mongering and other un-Australian activities and ensure we continue on the positive path toward inclusion, unity and equality for everyone. We have one of the most diverse national populations in the world and live in one of the most peaceful countries. Let’s keep it that way and make it even better.

Australia is not a Christian country. It is a country of Australians. Where we live is so very much more important than where we are from or what we believe.

Share your thoughts below.

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  1. Anne Wolski  

    We may proclaim to be Christian but our actions say otherwise

  2. As an athiest, I agree with this piece. I am also an immigrant so would welcome the phrase ‘a multicultural country” .

    • Not multicultural…that implies many cultures all acting separately. Why not multi-ethnic? That is inclusive and describes Australia much better. We are many ethnicities, but we are all Australians.

  3. Dianne Evans  

    We are a mixed lot and people should be happy we are. We should be accepting of all people as we are mungerls dumped here from the jails of Britian plus all who have arrived since plus our native Aussies.

  4. Anne Pitkin  

    The majority of Australians have been brought up in a country who’s basic tenets of democracy, equality, justice, law, tolerance and and a fair go owe its origins to Judeo Christianity. Therefore we can say that Australia is a Christian Country even if 38% of its occupants are not Christians.

    • Marg  

      I agree our law is thus based it is not muslims that i am afraid of it is Sharia law

  5. Marilyn E  

    Great article, really makes you think, I would say we are a Christian country in the way we live our lives by trying to be good and honest and loving our way of life and trying to be fair and happy and free, but the word Christian does refer to religion, can we think of another word to describe the average Australisn values??

  6. Pamela  

    Christians and Jews do NOT worship the same God as islamics do. They worship satanic allah.

    God says love your enemy; moslems’ allah says cut their heads off and their fingertips, marry children, rape women, cause terror – ad nauseum!

    • Wiso  

      Absolutely correct !! Islam does not worship the same God that Christians and Jews worship.

      I do wish people would get their facts correct before writing such inflammatory comment.

  7. R green  

    Muslims DO NOT worship the same God as the Jews and Christians. Allah is the name of a minor middle eastern god worshipped alongside Baal. His sign was the crescent moon.

    Allah was an angry vengeful destructive god, and these characteristics were imported by the mad pedophile into his invented religio/political system.

    So, please, for once, you leftard authors of Muslim apologetics do your research and understand that their aim is to establish this devil gods supremacy over all the world firstly by lies and deceipt then all out slaughter of every non arab in the world. The best we can hope for is enslavement and rape of our females and the slaughter of our men and boys.

    We should resist any further incursion of this religio/political system into Australia as fervently as we resisted other enemy ideologies in the past.

    And no, I am not a racist. I would welcome any person of any Colour who wants to come and work and build Australia. For the middle easterner this would involve a public renunciation of Islam and its devil God.

    • Wiso  

      Absolutely correct !! Islam does not worship the same God that Christians and Jews worship.

      I do wish people would get their facts correct before writing such inflammatory comment such as this in SAS.

      You only have to look at the countries identifying as Christian and the relative peace they enjoy compared to the turmoil and hatred in Muslim countries to realise that they have very different belief systems.

    • Patrick  

      Obviously, many commenters’ here haven’t studied History, or they’d know about the evil CULT that is Islam.
      And of the heathen idols’ they worship.

  8. Carol Homann  

    Islam is growing more rapidly than any other religion in the world, according to a new report by the Pew Research Center that says the religion will nearly equal Christianity by 2050 before eclipsing it around 2070, if current trends continue.
    Perhaps we should practice kneeling with our head down and bum up. This clearly shows what we think of the person behind us.

    • Danielle  

      Islam is a CULT, not a religion!

  9. Don Lerwiis  

    Maybe we should be asking do Australians live a lifestyle based on Christian standards. I believe the answer is a definate yes. This is where we have a major conflict of belief with Islamists who have a high number of contradictions to our way of life, especially the value of life and the equal value and freedoms of women and complete lack of tolerance to other religions and lifestyles.

  10. Australia is a secular country as the author says. He erred when he linked racism and Islam as Islam involves many races and aims to dominate the world. That’s why people like ms Hanson are endeavouring to keep the number of Moslems in Australia to a minimum.

    • Diane  

      …….and I hope she succeeds!

      Pauline ‘foretold’ of the problems with Islamists years’ ago, but nobody believed her!
      Now it’s all come to be!

  11. Philip Stevens  

    Being a Christian country is a misnomer to some degree. As a theocracy is not possible in a world that is imperfect. Since history has shown that mankind by themselves cannot live by the teachings of any belief or nonbelief system. However, Jesus has shown that God has reached out to us despite our flaws by stating that God so loved us and gave his Son so that we can have a relationship with him based on faith or trust. This offer of relationship can be rejected. But my personal experience has shown it to be wonderful and has allowed me to meet the challenges of life such as coping with loss, depression and recognising the joys and giving thanks.

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