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Losing My Religion: Unbelief in Australia av…
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Losing My Religion: Unbelief in Australia (utgåvan 2010)

av Tom Frame

MedlemmarRecensionerPopularitetGenomsnittligt betygDiskussioner
372532,821 (3.5)Ingen/inga
Considering the consequences of changing religious attitudes, this compelling account examines diminishing theological belief and denominational affiliation in Australia. This study argues that Australia has never been a particularly religious nation and that few Australians have deliberately rejected belief--while most simply cannot see why they need to bother with religion at all. Furthermore, it contends that vehement campaigning against theistic belief is the product of growing disdain for religious fundamentalism and a vigorous commitment to personal autonomy. Dealing extensively with census data and offering clear, concise interpretations of Australia's religious life, this treatise is sure to provoke debate about what matters to Australians.… (mer)
Medlem:Randle
Titel:Losing My Religion: Unbelief in Australia
Författare:Tom Frame
Info:University of New South Wales Press (2010), Paperback, 304 pages
Samlingar:Ditt bibliotek
Betyg:
Taggar:Christianity, Unbelief, Australia, Culture

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Losing My Religion: Unbelief in Australia av Tom Frame

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LOSING MY RELIGION BY TOM FRAME

TOM : Anglican from Sydney, presently head of theological college Canberra, Bishop to Military Forces of Australia; did special services for Bali Bombings
Preface
This is a book about unbelief in Australia. I think he is trying to establish a framework for dialogue between believers and others, as Australia becomes increasingly secularised. Quoting from the story by Columbian novelist Gabriel Marquez “A very old man with enormous wings”… ‘ they had lost their religion, and with it the potential to access realms of understanding and aspects of truth that would have made sense of an otherwise pitiful and ultimately pointless existence.’
1. Believing, behaving, belonging.
Religious convictions shape moral vision and give substance to ethical conduct. Religion is persuasive, pervasive and powerful. People with strong religious beliefs are unwilling to compromise, divest or abandon those beliefs, even in the face of coercion or intimidation, because their denial is essentially the denial of self.
Though the influence of Christianity is at an historic low, there is escalating antagonism to religious influence in Australian culture. The apparent resurgence of fundamentalism adds to the fire. Most people have quietly abandoned and gently become indifferent to religious claims.
Frame contends that those without religious belief do not have a clearly articulated vision of what a godless world will be like.
P15: Religion is not ignored willfully or otherwise, it just doesn’t mean much to a lot of people. In my judgment , the culturally compliant strain of Christianity promoted in Australia does not compel people to grapple with ideas that will expand their horizons, nor does it oblige them to embrace lifestyle choices that might involve discomfort… form of religious therapy whose aim is to make people feel better about themselves or help them gain more enjoyment out of life.
2. Why unbelief?
Belief is a positive affirmation, as is disbelief, while non-belief is neutral. Unbelief is a default position, an uncertain position, between belief and disbelief.

In the late C18th theology and ethics were captured by secular thought and reason. Spirituality has aspects of personal religion, reacting against the formalised belief systems of established churches.
Positive atheism => god does not exist. p 28 most atheists are negative atheists. = without the belief that God exists => agnostic; positive atheist believes that God does not exist, an argument that requires refuting that God exists and proving that he does not exist.
Negative atheism is devoid of positive content, it is a perspective not a philosophy, and a negative position can never serve as a satisfactory foundation for a philosophical system.
Agnosticism is the worst position – not committed to any content-rich position and fails to give any guidance on morals or ethics. Atheists and theists are brothers in faith, they have both leaped, moved on.. agnostics are immoblised by doubt.
3. A Colony of Heaven? (1788 – 1900).
The first clergyman was Reverend Richard Johnson, returned to England in 1800 a disappointed and tired man. There was a general lack of interest in religion of the new colony. Reverend Samuel Marsden made a greater impact, but more as enforcer of establishment values and built resentment of the Anglican establishment. In 1836 Governor Bourke enacted the Church Act which ensured a pluralistic church by subsidizing all denominations, though the Baptists declined assistance to avoid any hint of worldly compromise or government control.

As society became more established, churches became more common as part of a veneer of prosperity and respectability. The rise of rationalism in England in the 1860’s onwards reached Australia. The spirited opposition to Christianity obliged the church to argue rather than simple assert the case for God. The general adoption of a pluralist Christian society culminated in the establishment of the Commonwealth on the basis that though there was freedom of religion (Sec 116), and separation of church and state, with the only reference to God being in the preamble of the Constitution. Nevertheless, the great majority of Australians accepted the Christian worldview and any dissenters viewed as threats to public order. The influence of church on state and society was at its peak in 1900.
4. Christian or secular state? (1900 – 2008)
With the usual concerns of indifference, ignorance and immorality church attendance continued strongly till the aftermath of the First World War. Resentment at the churches complicity with the war effort damaged their influence , but still over half the country attended church regularly. The golden era began after WWII from 1945 to 1956. Climaxing with a spectacular Billy Graham Crusade in 1959, 3.2 million Australians attended meetings and 142,000 decisions recorded. Billy went home and church attendance began to decline imperceptively but consistently to the present day. Reasons for the decline are hard to define but include the traditional intransience of the church practice, the growth of rationalism, material prosperity, the decline of migrants from Christian countries (who flock to churches as a way of integrating into a new society), suburbanization breaking down the sense of community. Australia is now one of the most secular countries in the western world.
Unbelief is defined in three catagories:
The anomic apostate: one let down by religious faith, resentful and hostile, scarred by religious education based on fear of hell.
Egoistic apostate: is confused by religious faith, does not explain suffering and injustice, failed to deliver up to expectations.
Post-modern-apostate: neither angry nor sad, more indifferent or un-attracted. Seen as a more mature position and opening up a whole new world of thought.

Unbelief is not only a state of mind, but also of heart and needs to be sensitively addressed, which institutions are handicapped in doing. Have to reassess the tenants of believing, belonging and behaving to understand the loss of belief better. ( )
  bfrost | Nov 28, 2010 |
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Considering the consequences of changing religious attitudes, this compelling account examines diminishing theological belief and denominational affiliation in Australia. This study argues that Australia has never been a particularly religious nation and that few Australians have deliberately rejected belief--while most simply cannot see why they need to bother with religion at all. Furthermore, it contends that vehement campaigning against theistic belief is the product of growing disdain for religious fundamentalism and a vigorous commitment to personal autonomy. Dealing extensively with census data and offering clear, concise interpretations of Australia's religious life, this treatise is sure to provoke debate about what matters to Australians.

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