Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Religious Decline (or Stability) in the West Island

"Down Under" is an amorphous term. It includes the large-ish island to the west of NZ, especially when fighting against a common foe as the ANZACs. But it means nothing much when it is NZ v Aussie in some sporting competition, such as yesterday when our women's Rugby Sevens' team lost in the Olympics final to the Australian team. Grrr. More grrr and sinking feelings in my stomach waking up this morning to one Olympics blow after another, and I am not referring to the boxing. NZ men's Sevens lose to Japan. Japan!? SBW out of Olympics with injury. Men's Hockey team lose in last minute to Spain. Equestrian eventing team in silver medal position going into last round of show jumping and four rails later are out of the medals. Top women's rowing duo fail to make final.

By comparison, news out of the West Island about church and belief census statistics, a mix of decline and stability, is quite cheerful :)

UPDATE: Note now these maps (and note the colours of NZ)


John Sandeman said...

meanwhile thousands of West islanders have come to Christ recently
or text version

Father Ron said...

Peter, in sport, just like religion, wishful thinking is no substitute for reality.

Andrew Reid said...

Hi Peter,
Given our e-census was a complete failure we're not sure if we'll get meaningful statistics out of it or not!!
Regardless, the issue I always think deserves more analysis is not just "What are the religious demographics of our country now?", but "What are the religious principles that provide the foundation for our country?".
So while traditional Christianity may be declining in terms of formal affiliation, does that mean our underlying values will change?
Someone like Rev Garry Bouma (interviewed in that article) argues elsewhere that it means more of our public space should be multi-faith and generically spiritual, despite him being an ordained Anglican minister!
Others of us believe that the Christian heritage of our country is worth preserving even as our society changes. This ought to be seen in areas like working hours, marriage, caring for the elderly and dying, caring for the poor locally and globally, truth telling in public life, etc.
No doubt the decline in Christian faith is eroding these values already. Quite interestingly, the rise in other religous groups is increasing the resistance against the anti-religious agenda in areas like euthanasia and abortion.