Secularism In Australia

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Contemporary Australia may be considered a secular society theoretically. Though, the continuity of religious influence in Australia has rather shifted into a new form with the rise of new religions and spiritualties more so than it has declined in power (Holmes, Hughes & Julian, 2015, p. 279). Australia is a secularised society on an organisational level; however this does not conclude that the individuals of this society lack religious consciousness. In Australia, secularism could be a result of pluralism, individualism and scientific progress, generally associated with rationalization. Additionally, the religious continuity and change in society are a source of ‘social cohesion’ but also of conflict and inequality (Van Krieken, Habibis,…show more content…
It does not remove religious belief as a ‘rhetorical public expression’ or personal preference but removes religion as the ‘determent of social action,’ (Hammond, 1985, p. 19). In fact, religion has not declined entirely. The Australian Bureau of Statistics reports growth in individuals marking ‘no religion,’ rising from 15 per cent in 2001 to 25 per cent in 2011. Also, a slight decline in Christian religions was marked, reducing from 68 per cent in 2001 to 61 per cent in 2011, however still remaining the most common religion in Australia. However, a rise in non-Christian religions is evident with Islam comprising of 2.2 per cent of the population, Buddhism of 2.5 per cent and Hinduism of 1.3 per cent 2011 with Hinduism presenting as the most rapidly growing religion in Australia (Australian Bureau of Statistics, 2012). The rise in Eastern non-Christian religions in Australia are said to be a result of immigration (Cahill, Bouma, Hass & Leahy, 2004 as cited in Holmes et al., 2015, p. 288). Even though individuals are not converting to Buddhism en masse, it has become a recently more explored religion within the organisational research and educational context for a better understanding of Buddhism in western society and the betterment of Eastern communities, (Halafoff, Fitzpatrick & Lam, 2012, pp. 12-15). There is no hard evidence on why Buddhism so popular in western society. The Chief Monk of the…show more content…
During the early years of the British colonising Australia, Indigenous Australians were immediately overpowered and taken advantage of. While the context of the following example is of a religious context, it is not limited only to that of the religious power of the state. Read (1981, p. 37) accounts for the 6000 Indigenous children in New South Whales alone who were forcefully removed from their families by the state between the years of 1883 and 1969, which Barker describes as government authority perceiving one group “more civilised” than the other. Similarly, Barker also points out the ineffectiveness of religious authority as an influence or control over individual lives in modernised western societies – societies in which removal of Indigenous children by the state, for example, is illegal and does not take place in a modern society that lacks the power it previously had, (2003, pp. 296-299). While this is only one example of how the church and state could be separate in modern Australia alongside separation of law and religion in the commonwealth constitution (Innes, 2009), Wallace (2005) notes that there was no mention of the church and state in this constitution – confirming the ambiguity of this legislation (Bouma, et al., 2011, p. 47). While extreme and unfortunate cases such as the stolen generation depict the power of the state, it is difficult to conclude the present correlation
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