We may not be losing our religion: Census
THE Census results concerning religion in Australia are concerning.
However I consider the question about religion on the Census form was incorrectly phrased and would have resulted in an incorrect picture of the place of religion in Australia today.
The five main world religions - in alphabetical order - are Buddhism, Christianity, Hinduism, Islam and Judaism.
On the Census form, the first option was 'No religion'. (Why the 'No religion' option came first makes interesting speculation.)
Then came the choice of Catholic, Anglican, Uniting, and Presbyterian.
These are not religions. They are Christian denominations/traditions.
Examples for 'Other' included Salvation Army and Lutheran. These also are different Christian denominations.
Surely it would have been more accurate to have 'Christianity' as the main option, with sub-headings for the various denominations if individual information was required about these.
The fact that the word 'Christianity' was not available as an option is, I think, quite puzzling.
If the word 'Christian' had been used, I think many people who espouse Christian ideals (even if not regular church goers) would have identified with this and a more accurate reflection of Australia's religious leanings would have resulted.
I presume the ABS is responsible for the questions on the Census, in consultation with government.
In my opinion, future Census forms should have this question altered to that outlined above.
- Claire Munro, Hervey Bay.
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