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Faith and belief in australia infographic mccrindle 2017


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More than two in three Australians (68%) follow a religion or have spiritual beliefs. Of those that do, almost half (47%) remain committed to the religion of their upbringing. The number of Australians who do not identify with a religion or spiritual belief, however, is on the rise with almost one in three (32%) not identifying with a religion. This study replicated the ABS Census question, but added in an option for ‘spiritual but not religious’. This had a response rate of 14% among Australians nationally, and the Christianity grouping was 45% (down from 61% in the 2011 Census).

More than half of Australians (52%) are open to changing their religious views given the right circumstances and evidence. Younger Australians are more open to changing their current religious views than older generations.

Religion and spirituality a popular topic of conversation
When gathering with friends, more than half of Australians (55%) often or occasionally talk about religion or spirituality. Generation Z (65%) are the most comfortable talking the topic, while the Baby Boomers are the least with 51% never talking about it with their friends.

A genuine faith the greatest attraction to a religion or spirituality
Observing people with genuine faith is the greatest attraction to investigating spirituality. Second is experiencing personal trauma or a significant life change. On the inverse, the top repellent to Australians investigating is public figures or celebrities who are examples of that faith. This is followed by miraculous stories of healings or supernatural occurrences.

Perceptions of Christianity
Australians most value Christian organisations for their work with those in need, specifically looking after people who are homeless, offering financial assistance/food relief programs and providing disaster relief (74%, 72% and 69% respectively). 8% of Australian adults (1.5 million) do not know any Christians, while for Generation Y this is almost one in ten. One in 29 Australians has never heard of Jesus.

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Faith and belief in australia infographic mccrindle 2017

  1. 1. ALL OTHER N O RELIGION SPIRITUAL NOT RELIGIOUS 15% 14 % RELIGIONS 7 % CHRISTIANITY45% 32% 9% FAITH & BELIEF IN AUSTRALIA DEFINED CHRISTIANITY Less Spirituality 2016 CENSUS RESULTS WHAT DO THE SPIRITUAL BUT NOT RELIGIOUS BELIEVE? (TOP 3) 36%1 ‘There is an ultimate purpose and meaning’ 26%2 Inward journey of self-discovery 3 Mixture of religious beliefs 22% WHY NO RELIGION? (TOP 3) 1 Prefer science and ‘evidence-based’ approach 49% 2 ‘Religion is a crutch for the weak’ 18% 3 ‘Religion is outdated & traditional’ 14% 0% AUSTRALIANS IDENTIFYING WITH NO RELIGION IS GROWING From 0.4% in 1911 to 30.1% in 2016 CENSUS YEARS:CHRISTIANITY NO RELIGION ISLAM BUDDHISM OTHER NOT STATED 1911 1921 1933 1947 1954 1961 1971 1981 1991 2001 2011 2016 5% 10% 15% 20% 25% 30% CHURCH GOER At least monthly ACTIVE PRACTISERS Extremely involved 52.1% 30.1% 2.6% 2.4% 3.2% 9.6% AUSTRALIA’S RELIGIOUS IDENTITY Full report at
  2. 2. THE JOURNEY TO (AND FROM) BELIEF OF AUSTRALIANS TALK ABOUT SPIRITUALITY OR RELIGION AT LEAST OCCASIONALLY55% AUSTRALIAN ATTITUDES TOWARDS CHRISTIANITY +1 -1 -2 -3 -4 -5 -6 -7 Modified Engels Scale 1 in 4 cool (26%) 1 in 8 neutral (12%) Almost 1 in 4 warm (24%) 9%OFTEN 46%OCCASIONALLY NON-CHRISTIANS’ OPENNESS TO EXPLORING RELIGION Religion gives hope but causes friction. Internet & social is #3 for Gen Z (24% compared to 14% overall) 1995EST. GEN Z GREATEST INFLUENCES ON OPINIONS OF CHRISTIANS & CHRISTIANITY 1. PARENTS & FAMILY 57% 2. FRIENDS & NETWORKS 25% 3. BOOKS & ARTICLES 22% 4. THE MEDIA 21% OUTGROWING RELIGION? CONVERTER switched from a different religion 7% CONTINUER committed to religion brought up in SYNTHESIZER set of beliefs not fitting any one religion 47% NO LONGER RELIGIOUS 17% NEVER BEEN RELIGIOUS 10% 14% ADOPTER non-religious prior to choosing current religion 5% Analysis of all ‘religious’ and ‘spiritual but not religious’ (n=669) I consider myself a Christian (38%) I believe in Christianity, but don’t consider myself a Christian I believe much of Christianity, but still have some significant doubts I believe in the ethics and values of Christianity, but I don’t pratice Christianity in any way I believe Christianity and churches should have religious freedoms, but I don’t want to be involved I have some issues with Christianity and it isn’t for me I have strong reservations about Christianity and have no interest in it I am passionately opposed to Christianity 10% 13% 77% VERY INTERESTED/QUITE OPEN WOULD CONSIDER UNLIKELY/WOULD NOT CONSIDER 45%NEVER (n=565)
  3. 3. EXPLORING PERCEPTIONS OF RELIGION AND CHRISTIANITY Almost 1.5 million Australian adults do not know any Christians (8%) TOP 10 PERCEPTIONS OF CHRISTIANS of Australians know at least one Christian (n=932). They see Christians as:92% TOP ATTRACTORS TO RELIGION & SPIRITUALITY (% who are strongly attracted) TOP REPELLENTS TO RELIGION & SPIRITUALITY (% who are strongly repelled) Seeing people who live out a genuine faith Experiencing a personal trauma or life event Stories or testimonies from people who have changed due to their faith Philosophical discussion and debating ideas Miraculous stories Hearing from public figures and celebrities who are examples of that faith 16% 19% 13% 26% 12% 27% BELIEF BLOCKERS Behaviours that are most likely to prevent ‘Non Christians’ who are ‘open to change’ from exploring Christianity (n=266) (% Massive negative influence) 57% CHURCH ABUSE 47% HYPOCRISY 45% RELIGIOUS WARS 43% JUDGING OTHERS 40% ISSUES AROUND MONEY 1 T P5 BEHAVIOUR BLOCKERS ISSUE BLOCKERS 2 3 4 5 Almost 1 in 10 Gen Y do not know any Christians 1980EST. GEN Y 33% HOMOSEXUALITY 23% SUPERNATURAL ELEMENTS 21% ROLE OF WOMEN 20% THE BIBLE 24% HELL AND CONDEMNATION 24% SUFFERING 18% SCIENCE AND EVOLUTION Issues that are most likely to prevent ‘Non-Christians’ who are ‘open to change’ from exploring Christianity (n=266) (% Block completely) 41% CARING 35% LOVING KIND35% FAITHFUL32% HONEST31% TRADITIONAL25% JUDGEMENTAL20% OLD-FASHIONED18% OPINIONATED18% HYPOCRITICAL17%
  4. 4. THE CHURCH IN AUSTRALIA PERCEPTIONS OF JESUS HOW MUCH DO YOU KNOW ABOUT THE CHURCH GENERALLY? HOW WELL DO YOU KNOW YOUR LOCAL CHURCH? PERCEIVED IMPACT OF CHURCHES IN YOUR AREA METHODOLOGY: A national survey of Australians n=1024. Responses reflect full sample except where otherwise stated. Research conducted January 2017. Australian public data is sourced from the Australian Bureau of Statistics. McCrindle conducted three focus groups (Baby Boomers, Generation X and Generation Y) during March 2017. Full report at HOW IMPORTANT WAS JESUS’ LIFE TO... THE HISTORY AND CULTURE OF THE WORLD? YOU PERSONALLY? THE POSITIVE ATTRIBUTES OF JESUS’ LIFE HOW MUCH DO AUSTRALIANS KNOW ABOUT JESUS’ LIFE? I don’t have that religious support system. There must be a lot of comfort in that. I envy that. There is nothing negative about him, he was a very moral person. So many good traits there, if he does exist. When all else fails the church will be there. Research & report by: Commissioned by: 1 in 29 Australians have never heard of Jesus Negative 9% Neither positive or negative 47% Positive 44% Very little or nothing A significant amount A moderate amount Quotes provided in this infographic are from focus groups conducted with non-Christians. Nothing at all 18% ? ? 28% Not well at all 56% ? Moderate/ a little 60% !?! !?! 24% Moderate/ slightly well 26% !?! A great deal/ a lot 22% !!!! !!!! 45% Extremely/ very well 18% !!!! Extremely/ very 53% Extremely/ very 31% Slightly/ somewhat 33% Slightly/ somewhat 32% Not at all 14% Not at all 37% LOVE HOPE CARE TRUTH STRENGTH 50% 39% 34% 34% 30% WISDOM NON-VIOLENT SALVATION GRACE FREEDOM 29% 29% 27% 25% 25%