Faithless in Douglas at all-time high
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.
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