Religion is heading for the dustbin of history in ENZED… Oct 3, 2019 13:53:50 GMT 10
Post by KTJ on Oct 3, 2019 13:53:50 GMT 10
Census 2018: New Zealand is more secular than ever before
By HARRISON CHRISTIAN | 3:58PM — Wednesday, September 25, 2019
Religious history expert Peter Lineham says education is needed as the number of non-believers increases alongside followers
of world religions like Hinduism. — Photograph: Chris Skelton.
A “STRIKING” PERCENTAGE of New Zealanders now have no religion, and Scientology's Kiwi following has gained just three new members in several years.
The 2018 census showed the percentage of non-believers had risen to 49 percent, from 38.5 percent in 2013.
That was a much higher percentage of people declaring “no religion” compared with countries like Australia, which had 30 percent non-believers in its 2016 census. In the UK it was 25 percent, and surveys usually put the US percentage in the low 20s.
In the course of 18 years, we've gone from being a quarter non-religious to half non-religious.
Religious history expert Peter Lineham said in terms of other Western countries, New Zealand was at “really quite a striking level of being secular”.
“Since the 1960s, religion has carried little social or cultural value in most Western societies,” Lineham said. “Historically, for some people it was quite an advantage to belong to a religious group, but that isn't true any more.”
Christianity is still the most popular religion in New Zealand, but it's been in steady decline for decades. The percentage of Christians has fallen from 46 per cent in 2013, to 38 per cent in 2018.
The Church of Scientology's opening of a $16 million base in Auckland in 2017 appears to have translated into just three new followers. The census recorded 321 Scientologists in 2018, up from 318 in 2013.
The 2017 opening of Scientology's new digs in Auckland.
But other world religions are on the rise in New Zealand, because of immigration from countries like India and Pakistan. Hindus now account for 2.6 per cent of the population, compared with 2.1 per cent in 2013.
The number of Sikhs — followers of a monotheistic religion originating in northern India — has doubled every census since 2001. It's now at more than 40,000.
Muslims increased from 46,000 to 61,000 and now account for 1.3 per cent of the population.
Lineham said the rise of world religions alongside non-believers could pose challenges for New Zealand society.
“I'd be in favour of religious studies in schools. Half of New Zealanders are going to be raised with no religion at all, and the other half are going to have a broad variety of religions,” he said.
“All tensions in society are produced when we don't understand our neighbours.”