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There will be an increase in Muslim students in both government and independent schools over the coming years. AAP/Alan Porritt

Australian census: schools will struggle with religion changes

AUSTRALIA BY NUMBERS: The Australian Bureau of Statistics has released the first batch of its census data. We’ve asked some of the country’s top demographers and statisticians to crunch the numbers on…
More than 21 million people were counted in the 2011 Census. Australian Bureau of Statistics

Portrait of a population: what the Australian Census found

AUSTRALIA BY NUMBERS: The Australian Bureau of Statistics has released the first batch of its 2011 census data. We’ve asked some of the country’s top demographers and statisticians to crunch the numbers…
The High Court landmark decision in the school chaplaincy case is an opportunity for reform. Flickr/petelawley

School chaplaincy case: a missed opportunity for secular education

The historic majority Australian High Court ruling that the National School Chaplaincy Program (NSCP) is “invalid” is a gift to the argument for secular public education. Secular statutes (for example…
For the first time Mandarin has become the most widely spoken non-English language, as the number of Australians born overseas continues to rise. AAP/Sergio Dionisio

Ethnic diversity continues to rise as Christianity wanes

One in four Australians was born overseas, almost half have at least one parent who migrated here, and more are speaking…
The Pope’s decision to allow Anglicans into the Catholic Church may be the first step on the way to a unified church. EPA/Alessandro Di Meo

A unified Church? Pope gives hope to Anglo-Catholics

In his first message on becoming Pope, Benedict XVI said the impelling duty of the successor of Peter was “to work tirelessly to rebuild the full and visible unity of all Christ’s followers”. “Concrete…
Questions of cuckoldry and fidelity have always existed – and comfort has come from religious customs. More Good Foundation

In the name of the father: the links between religion and paternity

Religious leaders and holy texts share deep preoccupations with sex and reproduction. From Islamic purdah to Jewish menstrual purity laws, to Vatican neuroses about everything from contraception to masturbating…
Romney’s faith leaves him open to political attacks. EPA/Kamil Krzsczynski

Will Obama use Romney’s mormonism against him?

Five months before the American presidential election, one thing is clear: Obama wants this to be a referendum on venture capitalism. Last week the Obama camp sharpened its attack on the business record…

Online prayers more self-centred

People who submit prayers online are more likely to pray for themselves as opposed to those who pray in church. A study conducted…

Faith in God increases with age

Belief in god is higher among the elderly regardless of where they live, according to a new international study. The research…
Cardinal George Pell needs to sharpen his ideas if he’s going to take on science populist Richard Dawkins. Mark Coggins/AAP/Dean Lewins

Bloody Pell! Q&A stoush with Dawkins fails to bridge the gap between faith and science

Watching the Q&A “debate” between Richard Dawkins and Cardinal George Pell made me realise, for the first time, why Professor Dawkins has become so impatient and intolerant when expressing his atheism…
There are many different religions, but are there different types of atheism? EPA/Andy Rain

Mad, glad or sad: what type of atheist are you?

This weekend thousands of so-called “New Atheists” will converge on Melbourne for the second Global Atheist Convention. Last month Alain de Botton, a European popular philosopher, received copious coverage…
Many groups have called for sharia, or Islamic law in Australia, but is it workable? EPA/Andy Rain

Sharia: why a dual legal system will not work in Australia

A major Australian Islamic group recently argued for a formal recognition of sharia or Muslim law in the Australian legal system. According to the Australian Federation of Islamic Councils, Australia should…
The AFL is throwing everything is has at Greater Western Sydney. AAP/Paul Millar

Bridging codes: football and Islam in western Sydney

The 2012 AFL debut of the GWS Giants is the culmination of efforts by the powerful, cashed up body that administers Aussie Rules to make inroads into the rugby league-obsessed, poor and predominantly refugee…
The findings of the study don’t suggest that religion should be adopted as a tool for promoting health. Gauri Ma

Does religious faith make people healthier and happier?

As immigrants from around the world have joined Australia’s cultural mix, an inevitable rise in religious diversity has followed. But has this made for a healthier society? A recent VicHealth study showed…
We may not be a “Christian country” but we’re certainly not secular. AAP/Paul Miller

This Christmas, the real myth is that Australia isn’t religious

It’s a debate we have every year. A school changes the words of a Christmas carol, or a council puts up a banner saying “Happy Holidays” instead of “Merry Christmas”, sparking debate on all sides. Are…

Chronically ill benefit from religion

Religious and spiritual support improves health outcomes for both men and women who face chronic health conditions, psychology…

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