by Greg Spearritt
It’s often lamented that the under 40s demographic in Australia seems to have little interest in religious participation. Increasing secularisation plus factors such as family breakdown mean that membership of religious groups, and especially of the mainstream Christian churches, is inexorably aging.
Gens X, Y and Z have often had only a cursory contact with religion. To boot, this has largely been through the naïve Sunday-school lens of conservative-evangelical religious instruction at school or cuddly-Jesus Christmas Carol theology in the park. No wonder they’re just not that interested.
It’s not only Australian Christianity that’s affected: Buddhist monks in Japan are apparently resorting to manga images and rap music to be heard amidst the ‘buzz’ of life.
So what’s happening? ‘Cult’ groups like Hillsong may be filling the gap to a small extent, but what other organised social options do our young people have to be engaged in wrestling with the great issues and building character?
Involvement in that great Aussie obsession, sport, may be one answer, but failing a resurgence of religion in mainstream Australian life where else are young folk to go? Melbourne will host the Global Atheist Convention in 2010, but where in Oz are the secular/humanist successors to the churches?
Must we face the fact that communal activity will die with organised religion?
Dick Gross in his article 'A Disaster for Atheism' alludes to the same issue: http://www.smh.com.au/opinion/blogs/godless-gross/a-disaster-for-atheism/20091210-klfp.html
Posted by Greg Spearritt