“In 2016 Census, the first box was for “no religion”. This was not a secularist plot, but an acknowledgement that those declaring they had “no religion” were very likely to be the most numerous category, followed by Catholics”.
In the last census in Australia, 30% of people reported having no religious affiliation, which is a 5 % rise, compared to 22.3% in 2011. Although, Christianity still remains the most common religion. People reporting no religious affiliation rose sharply from 19 per cent in 2006 to 30% in 2016. The years between 2011 and 2016 saw the largest change where 2.2 million people were added to the nones.
This trend can be seen in other Western countries as well, interestingly though the decline in affiliation with religious institution coincides with the rise in spirituality. What is even more interesting is that a large number of people who report as Nones were raised religious before they decided to leave the religion. Some of the reasons these people gave where, Science, lack of evidence and one in five expressed opposition to organised religion in general.
Religious affiliation has been declining in western countries for decades, Christians and religious people helped accelerate the decline even further. For example, currently, the Catholic church is rippled with scandal after scandal of sexual abuse. The loss of credibility has been accelerated by the church’s lack of transparency and coverup in dealing with sexual abuse cases.
For example, Ireland has had a massive cultural change with regards to religion and social issues, especially issues to do with abortion and the definition of marriage. Within one generation Ireland went from being 67% of the population being Catholic and conservative. To Ireland voting for the legalisation of gay marriage. According to Liam Stack of the New York Times, the change can be attributed to technological changes and accelerated with the unfolding of abuse scandals in the Roman Catholic church. Any institution with that much power and access to people should be held to higher standards of accountability.
Another reason is the rise of militant Christian evangelicals in the 90s’. Megachurches where being belt one after another everywhere, with pastors driving fancy cars and preaching while sitting in golden chairs. The rise in militant evangelicalism and mainline Protestantism was then followed by sexual scandals within the church’s hierarchy. For example, the Jim Bakker.
Also, the decline in religious affiliation, in my opinion, can be traced back to the sexual moral revolution of the sixties and the years after. In the years after people had, had enough of institutional structures partly because they were seen as responsible for the bloodiest wars in history. Christians further helped the decline in instructional by trying to influence culture through politics. Christians forgot that it is the culture that influences politics. When Christians stopped doing Christianity, spirituality took over.
Religious people do not seem to behave differently from non-religious people. For example, the rates of divorce are just as high in religious people compared to people without any religious affiliation. This, in my opinion, is the reason there has been a significant shift in people’s attitudes towards gay marriage. If the model marriage is not working, what is wrong with the alternative and if what you believe in is not being shown in how you act then why would people want to believe in what you believe?
Finally, Globally Peoples affiliation to religious institutions have declined, but this coincides with the rise in spirituality. This raises two questions, is the decline just a general revolt of the people towards power structure and people see religion as just another power structure? If so why turn to spirituality?