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Australians are experiencing a spiritual awakening with 30% more prayers since the pandemic, a new report has revealed.
Long regarded as a largely secular society, religion has been on the front lines as Australians grapple with COVID, with the latest research revealing a renewed number of commitments with their faith.
McCrindle’s research, called Australia’s Changing Spiritual Climate, found that about a third of Australians experienced a renewed appreciation for religion due to the latest lockdown, with a third more thinking of God (33%) and praying more (28 %) while nearly half of Australians thought more about the meaning of life (47%) or their own mortality (47%).
COVID has also resulted in a return to the focus on community, with over 50% of Australians enjoying it more than three years ago, and a key part of the community is the local church, with 76% d agreement with the church makes a positive difference.
The study of 1,000 Australians also found that 65% are likely to attend a church service online or in person if they are personally invited by a friend or family member.
“Times of uncertainty and anxiety cause people to reflect on their own mortality and be more open to examining questions of faith.”
Interestingly, religion is far from being reserved for older Australians, Gen Z (45%) are twice as likely as Baby Boomers (21%) to be extremely or very likely to attend a service religious online if they are personally invited by a friend or family member.
Mark McCrindle, founder and director of McCrindle Research, said the findings showed Australians were undoubtedly seeking deeper spiritual significance due to COVID.
“These data deserve to be thought about a little longer: in this seemingly secular era, where the church is seen by many commentators as declining and culturally outdated, nearly half of all young adults invited to service religious by a friend or family member would most likely be present, ”he said.
“Times of uncertainty and anxiety cause people to reflect on their own mortality and be more open to examining questions of faith.
“In this case, we saw very clearly that our own money, our expertise and our skills could not save us from this little virus. “
Sydney Evangelism Center director Daniel Ang said the latest research confirms that religion continues to be an integral dimension of Australian life and highlights the opportunity for parishes to use this period as a springboard for renewal.
“The COVID pandemic and associated lockdowns have changed people’s priorities and lifestyles, forced this search for deeper sources of self that churches have something to offer,” he told Catholic Weekly .
“In a climate where people are reassessing what is important to them and perhaps uniquely feeling their own subjectivity and vulnerability, this can be a critical time for Christians to share the reason for their hope and even to hold them back. invite to shared prayer and the spiritual companionship that this community brings.
The detailed report also found that we accept the religious views of others, with nine in ten (90%) agreeing that in Australia people should have the freedom to share their religious beliefs, if done peacefully. even though these beliefs are different from traditional views of the community.
There is, however, uncertain support for religious symbolism in public life.
“In a climate where people are reassessing what is important to them… this can be a critical time for Christians to share the reason for their hope and even invite them to shared prayer…”
Almost two in five Australians (39%) agree that Christian practices such as opening parliament in prayer, taking oaths in Bible courts or Christian chaplains in hospitals or prisons should be stopped.
However, three in five (61%) disagree and are therefore open to pursuing Christian practices in public life.
Interestingly, religious discrimination is a real problem in Australia, with almost three in ten (29%) having experienced it. Australians who identify with a non-Christian religion are more likely to have experienced discrimination (54%) than Catholics (32%) or Protestants (27%).
Religious discrimination is also more likely to be experienced by young Australians who are four times more likely than their older counterparts to have experienced religious discrimination (51% of Gen Z and 13% of Baby Boomers).