Faith­less in Dou­glas at all-time high

Port Douglas & Mossman Gazette - - NEWS - ANGELIQUE PAT­TER­SON

LESS than half of Port Dou­glas res­i­dents iden­tify as Chris­tians for the first time on record.

Ac­cord­ing to the lat­est Cen­sus fig­ures, peo­ple iden­ti­fy­ing them­selves as Chris­tians in Port Dou­glas dropped more than seven per­cent­age points from 2006 to 2011, down to 46.7 per cent.

Moss­man res­i­dents iden­ti­fy­ing them­selves as Chris­tians dropped slightly from 60.1 per cent to 58.9 per cent.

Far North Angli­can Bishop Bill Ray said he can­not make a broad com­ment but in the Angli­can Church their num­bers are on the in­crease, which has a lot to do with “the pas­toral care of the clergy and their teach­ing”.

“Our num­bers have im­proved but we still have a long way to go par­tic­u­larly with the youth and young peo­ple, I don’t deny that but we are mak­ing some good in­roads,” he said.

“My per­sonal view is while there is an in­creased in­ter­est in Chris­tian­ity, there’s not an in­creased in­ter­est of the in­sti­tu­tion of church.

“I think there’s a gen­eral dis­trust of in­sti­tu­tions in so­ci­ety, be they the banks or the church or what­ever.”

Bishop Ray said the num­ber of peo­ple who ask him about Chris­tian­ity has in­creased over the years from peo­ple of all ages but said there is still a lot of work to do to ad­dress so­ci­ety’s dis­trust in in­sti­tu­tions.

“Peo­ple have the right to put no re­li­gion and that is on the in­crease and whether or not peo­ple are be­ing more hon­est, I think the Cen­sus forms are a bit too com­pli­cated, but that’s a per­sonal beef of mine,” he said.

“Aus­tralia is a mul­ti­cul­tural so­ci­ety and I’m very con­scious of that, I came from Mel­bourne and the greater city of Dan­de­nong still has 61 dif­fer­ent world reli­gions, which is a di­rect re­sponse to the Gov­ern­ment’s im­mi­gra­tion pol­icy.

“So you ex­pect a de­cline in the pre­dom­i­nance of Chris­tian­ity and it’s not nec­es­sar­ily an in­di­ca­tor that Chris­tian­ity is not func­tion­ing ef­fec­tively.”

Around 30 per cent of peo­ple ticked no re­li­gion and Ju­daism, Hin­duism, Is­lam, Bud­dhism and other reli­gions were fol­lowed by less than 5 per cent of the pop­u­la­tion locally.

Com­ing down: the Water­front pon­toons

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