SoFiA Religion Poll - Toowoomba 2009
At the 2009 Queensland SoFiA Conference in Toowoomba, a survey of attendees was conducted to gain a snapshot of their views on various questions related to religion.
SoFiA members tend to inhabit the liberal/radical end of the religious spectrum, perhaps because the idea of ‘openly exploring faith, religion and meaning’ is not so popular at the conservative end. Nonetheless, the poll shows some interesting variation in views.
SoFiA 2009 Religion Poll (pdf, 2Mb)
Answers for the question on church attendance are listed below.
Question 18: Why do you, or do you not, attend church?
There were 65 respondents to this question. 35% reported attending regularly, 25% occasionally and 40% reported never or seldom attending. Responses are given here verbatim.
Reasons given for attending Church
· It recharges me as I am aware of the presence of God/Spirit – being at one with what is!
· To associate with those who assign importance to Christian faith, and to cooperate with church action in the world.
· Because I’m committed to singing in the choir.
· Most times it sits well with me.
· I have found a church with a real sense of community where my vision for myself receives encouragement and inspiration and where I find nourishment for my spirit and a sense of peace.
· I believe as humans we function best in community and the church is still the best available to me.
· Occasional impulse, curiosity or particular speaker
· For social justice, ethical living and caring service and removing religion from world conflict
· Share community and social action
· I am challenged each week by the message
· It’s my vocation
· Community, others discussing issues I’m interested in
· Community, belief
· Connection with like-minded people, community
· Family support and occasional nostalgia
· Quaker meditation provides me with an opportunity to be still and I like that. The UUs provide challenges to my life.
· Attend St Mary’s Sth Brisbane when possible – not only real community but a totally inclusive liturgy
· I have to – I’m in charge!
· Singing and thinking
· Tradition and gathering of friends
· Habit from childhood
· I see church as a place of worship and thanksgiving. Especially with regard to understanding of the parables of Jesus which could revolutionise the disparity between the ‘haves’ and ‘have nots’.
· I attend when the liturgy speaks about and celebrates the essence of human struggle to be the best we can be.
· Community; base for individual and social betterment; habit
· Fellowship; supportive local community; music. Not for the sermons! Have problems with the liturgy.
· To find out the psychology and why people believe and whether it’s doing them and the world good or harm
· Habit (I am terminally Anglican); culture; fellowship; liberal priest; pluralist congregation; ‘the music there’ (Alex. Pope)
· The rituals can be nurturing at certain times
· I attend St Mary’s in Exile for spiritual enrichment and fellowship with like-minded people
· Because St Michael’s Melbourne is a church of the future
· Fellowship and ritual pleases me and enhances my life
· Commitment to music group; tradition
· Social; tradition
· A place of faith and a place for me as a follower of Jesus
Reasons given for not attending Church
· Not interested!!
· Too far away
· I can no longer relate to the stories and interpretations
· Church has become too fundamentalist and judgemental
· I am having a break from formal liturgy
· What is on offer seems so ludicrous
· Not compatible with my beliefs
· Do not agree with concepts expressed
· I’m tired of being branded a ‘sinner’ at every service; I don’t conceive/perceive/feel that’s what I am; redemption is an alien construct to me
· Too hypocritical
· Irrelevant to me
· It’s all addressed to a non-existent God
· Not central to the Jesus vision