Religious Makeup Shifts with Growing Number of Pagans, Immigrant Religious Traditions

October 16, 2005

Source: The Age

On October 16, 2005 The Age reported, "[Caroline] Tully [a witch in Melbourne] is part of an Australian trend in which witches and charismatic Christians are leading religious growth. Many women are turning to witchcraft or paganism as a reaction to the patriarchal nature of traditional Christianity. Academic Dr Philip Hughes, of the Christian Research Association, told a Melbourne seminar on spirituality that 'nature' religions rose by 140 per cent between 1996 and 2001. Agnostics are on the rise, too. For many, the nature religions were seen as environmentally friendly and empowering. Dr Hughes said numbers remained small, with fewer than 25,000 adherents in Australia... Changes in immigration meant religion in Australia was now more diverse, he said. Between 1996 and 2001, Buddhist numbers grew by 79 per cent, Hindu by 42 per cent and Muslim by 40 per cent. But these groups combined still totalled less than 5 per cent of the population. Those claiming no religion fell slightly in the 2001 census, partly because 70,000 people responded to an internet joke and described their religion as Jedi (from Star Wars), which the Australian Bureau of Statistics rejected, he said."