Adelaide Chapter

Why is Australian spirituality in fashion? – by John Hannaford

September 13, 2018

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Date(s) - 13/09/2018
7:00 pm - 8:45 pm

Classroom 3, Ground floor, Tabor College


Over the past few years there has been a decline in religious affiliation on one hand and an upsurge in “spirituality” on the other. In the 2011 to 2016 census, half a million Anglicans were lost somewhere between Woolworths and the Cathedral, and now gather at Bunnings on a Sunday, but, according to Hugh MacKay, if there was a category of “Spiritual but not Religious” (SBNR), much of the population would tick that and this would come from both the non-attending Christian sector and the no religion grouping. Religion usually has a formal outer framework, but inner spirituality is the search for meaning.

Certainly, we are a post-Church nation, and have been for many years, but what if Australians are spiritual in an odd sort of way? Generally, Australians have many beliefs that are somewhat parallel to the Bible and have some sort of ‘roll your own faith’, which supposedly means that you don’t have to go to church to be a good ‘Christian type’ of person. So, every day Australians often express their spirituality by making significant cultural journeys, such as the Bourke and Wills Dig Tree, the explorers’ tree in the Blue Mountains, avenues of honour, journeys to battlefields, POW sites, Gallipoli, or the Eureka Stockade. Two unique Australian invented pilgrimages are Carols by Candlelight & Anzac Dawn services.

So, from a Christian point of view, we should have a look at natural religion, folk religion, Australian identity and Australian spirituality, and perhaps find a way forward for apologetics, including having a cultural critique of some these spiritual alternatives.

John Hannaford has taught apologetics at Tabor College and has qualifications in anthropology.

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