Aussie Soul Alive and Kicking, Academic Discovers

November 29, 2006

Source: Catholic News Service

In a newly published book analysing Australia's spiritual and religious trends, Monash University Professor Gary Bouma argues that, contrary to assumptions that the nation is becoming increasingly secular, religion is in fact growing and increasingly popular.

In the book described by the publishers as "the most comprehensive and up-to-date analysis of Australian religion available", Professor Bouman says that "while it's long been assumed that religion is giving way to more scientific beliefs, Australia's soul is alive and kicking".

Professor Bouma, who also chairs a UNESCO committee on Interreligious and Intercultural Relations, reported his findings in a new book, "Australian Soul: Religion and Spirituality in the Twenty-First Century", published by Cambridge University Press Australia.

"In fact, religion in Australia is growing and increasingly popular," the professor says.

Amongst those religions on the rise are Buddhism (up 79% since 1996), Islam (up 40%), Hinduism (up 42%), Pentecostalism (up 11%), "nature religions" including Paganism and Wicca/witchcraft, (up 130%), and Scientology (up 37%).