Australia Is a Christian Country

“Australia is a Christian country”. Analyse this statement with reference to Christianity and the changing religious landscape in Australia since 1945.

The Australian religious landscape is forever changing and more so since 1945. The country focused on ‘The Mother Country’ for its international view, and was therefore mono-religious, mono-ethnic and mono-cultural. Today we live in a society considered to be multifaith, multiethnic and multicultural. A number of factors contribute to the changing religious profile. One factor is the large variety of countries and cultures from where people have immigrated. Another factor is society’s more relaxed view of religion as well as the societal trends in multifaith, secularism, ecumenism and interfaith dialogue. Furthermore, government and migration policies including the White Australia Policy, as well as the end of World War II (WWII), contribute to change in Australian religious landscape. These factors will be discussed further in order to analyse the statement “Australia is a Christian country”.
Since the first fleet’s arrival in 1788, Christianity has been the dominant religion in Australia as Aboriginal’s and their spirituality were not recognised at that time. Europeans brought their traditional churches including the Church of England, Roman Catholic, Presbyterian and Methodist. Immigration has had significant effects on the changing religious pattern in Australia since 1945 primarily due to post war migration. After WWII, migrants were seeking refuge from warfare areas looking for safe havens to work, live and raise children. Some migration was based on formal government agreements with countries such as Greece, Italy, Austria, West Germany and others. A large number of these migrants were Roman Catholics or Orthodox Christians, and Jewish parishes also came to be on Australian soil. Immediately after WWII, 88 per cent of Australia’s population of 7.5 million were Christian (1947 Australian Census). Wars and...