Three out of five Australians identify as Christian in the national census, but a recent survey commissioned by Olive Tree Media suggests that those with an active interest in spirituality are just 40 per cent of the population, and only eight per cent indicate they are involved in practicing their religion or worship as part of a group.
So what blocks Australians from becoming Christian? The key issue is church scandals and abuse , with 55 per cent of respondents saying this had a massive negative influence on their perception of Christianity.
Australians don’t like the idea of hell and damnation, and many reject the church’s traditional stance on homosexuality, with 29 per cent saying this completely turned them off the church.
Other issues include hypocrisy, judging others, religious wars, suffering, and problems of money and exclusivity.
There’s a lot of work ahead for Christians and churches keen to share their faith with unbelieving Australians.
Broadcast on 2CH Sydney, 13 November 2011.
Theologian, researcher, teacher, writer, foodie, husband, dad. Works at Moore Theological College.