New report from McCrindle reveals Australians are increasingly open to religious and spiritual matters.
The new research report, Changing Faith Landscape in Australia, which this year surveyed over 2,000 Australians has found almost half Australians are extremely or very open to a spiritual conversation that involves a differing perspective to that of their own, and almost half of Gen Z (46%) are engaging with TikTok at least weekly to help them in their spiritual life.
Further than just engaging in a conversation, if presented with the right circumstances and evidence, almost two in three Australians (58%) are at least slightly open to changing their current religious views.
Sophie Renton, Managing Driector of McCrindle Research says, “The research suggests that the religious landscape of Australia is not as negative towards Christianity as it has often been presented. While the proportion of Christians may be declining, those who are cold to Christianity is not growing and if anything, the proportion of those neutral to Christianity but who believe in creating space for religious freedoms is growing.”
The report found that younger Australian’s are more likely to believe that all spaces in society are appropriate to talk about religion with more than three in four Gen Z, those born from 1995 to 2009, (77%) believing social media is an appropriate space to talk about spirituality and religion, compared to just over half of Baby Boomers (53%).
Gen Z are also 6.5 times as likely as baby Boomers to be prompted by social media to consider matters of spirituality and religion with the younger generations turning to social platforms such as TikTok, Instagram, YouTube and Facebook for spiritual guidance.
Renton continues, “In an increasingly polarised society, where it can seem like the ability to have conversations where you can agree to disagree is decreasing, our research shows Australian’s are open to having a spiritual conversation that may involve different views to their own with over half of Australians indicating that social media is an appropriate and safe space to talk about religion and their spirituality.”
According to the report, most Australians believe that the local church is having a positive effect upon their community (35% positive – 21% neutral – 5% negative), but the Church has an opportunity for better communicating the work of the Church, particularly with one in five Australians (22%) knowing nothing at all about the Church in Australia.
The report also found that 68% of Australians would be at least slightly likely to attend a Christian church service or event if they were personally invited by a friend or family member. Those who do attend church are also significantly more likely than non-religious people to be satisfied in their relationships (64% - 54%), with churchgoers also valuing the sense of intergenerational connectedness that a church community offers more than ever.
Renton continues, “The past few years have been a time of global upheaval and uncertainty, which paints a very different landscape and context for churches to be operating in. Positively, however, public sentiment towards the local church (63%), Christians (61%) and the Church (55%) have largely stayed the same over the past three years. In fact, for one in five Australians, trust in the local church (21%), Christians (20%) and the Church more broadly (19%) has increased, which presents a wonderful opportunity for our Churches and faith-based organisations.”
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About this research and for further commentary
The Changing Faith Landscape of Australia report is the collation of quantitative data collected in a nationally representative survey of Australians ages 18+. The survey was in field from the 19th to the 30th of August and collected over 2,000 responses.
McCrindle is an Australian based social research, demographics and data analytics firm. Their research methodologies include national surveys, population modelling and qualitative research.