Census points to non-religious NZ

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Kiwis are turning their backs on God in record numbers, instead opting for a life without religion.

Christianity has shed hundreds of thousand of devotees in the past seven years, while the number of non-religious has risen strongly.

Four out 10 Kiwis now declare themselves non-religious, putting us firmly among the most secular countries in the world.

Census 2013 figures released yesterday show any claim to a Christian majority in New Zealand is shaky, with fewer than 1.9 million people affiliated with a church, down from more than 2 million in 2006.

Victoria University professor Paul Morris, who specialises in religious studies, said the country was in "new territory", with Christianity losing its central position in society.

"For the first time since 1901, Christians are not the clear majority."

The shift even raised questions about the appropriateness of Christian public holidays, such as Christmas, and the place of the church in schools.

Written By: Ben Heather
continue to source article at stuff.co.nz

31 COMMENTS

      • In reply to #4 by LogieBear:

        In reply to #1 by Alternative Carpark:

        And yet you can be jailed for up to a year for “blasphemy” there.

        In our defense that law has never resulted in a single conviction here

        A law which is never enforced should be repealed. It’s dangerous to allow unenforced laws to languish on the statute books. At the whim of an unprincipled police commissioner they can easily be reactivated in order to prosecute a political or religious agenda, and thousands can find themselves in breach of a law they didn’t know existed. Laws against blasphemy should not be tolerated anywhere.

        • In reply to #6 by Macropus:

          A law which is never enforced should be repealed. It’s dangerous to allow unenforced laws…

          That’s a very important remark. And it’s not just that a dormant law may revived but that, in itself, the threat of its implementation can encourage the religious and, just by mentioning its existence, can inhibit debate. It’s also a sign that religion is over-valued in general. Islam is growing in New Zealand and the protected status of religion is going to be exploited by zealots to claim special privileges.

        • In reply to #6 by Macropus:

          In reply to #4 by LogieBear:

          In reply to #1 by Alternative Carpark:

          And yet you can be jailed for up to a year for “blasphemy” there.

          In our defense that law has never resulted in a single conviction here

          A law which is never enforced should be repealed. It’s dangerous to allow unenforced laws…

          The UK is littered with such Laws. There was a case about 25 years ago in Scotland where two gangster type characters were up in the High Court and had discovered that the right to “Trial by Combat” was actually still on the books. Now back in the day they would of had to fight the Monarch’s champion, the Lord Lyon of Scotland, who would probably of been one of the most nails bastards in the Kingdom.
          Of course in the Eighties it was some old guy in his late seventies.
          Needless to say the Law was struck off pretty damn quick, request denied!

          • In reply to #16 by Big Gus:

            In reply to #6 by Macropus:

            In reply to #4 by LogieBear:

            In reply to #1 by Alternative Carpark:

            And yet you can be jailed for up to a year for “blasphemy” there.

            In our defense that law has never resulted in a single conviction here

            A law which is never enforced should be repealed. It’s danger…

            In December 2002, a 60-year-old mechanic named Leon Humphreys was fined £25 for failing to notify the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency that he had removed his Suzuki motorcycle from road usage. He refused to pay and claimed that he had the right, under medieval law, to choose a trial by combat with a “champion” nominated by the DVLA. This claim was denied by a court of magistrates in Bury St Edmunds, and he was further fined.[18]

          • In reply to #16 by Big Gus:

            The UK is littered with such Laws.

            Last I heard it was still legal to shoot a Scotsman on a Sunday, from the walls of the city of York.

          • In reply to #30 by OHooligan:

            In reply to #16 by Big Gus:

            The UK is littered with such Laws.

            Last I heard it was still legal to shoot a Scotsman on a Sunday, from the walls of the city of York.

            I think you have it the wrong way round! It excludes Sundays and involves bows and arrows, but the answers about this ancient legislation from the time of invading Scots armies are unclear!

            In York, it is perfectly legal to shoot a Scotsman with a bow and arrow
            >

            Dear City of York Council,

            In York, excluding Sundays, it is perfectly legal to shoot a
            Scotsman with a bow and arrow. As such, please tell me the number
            of Scots who have been shot in the last ten years by those taking
            advantaged of this law.

            My wife is Scottish, so my sons are half Scottish! That will probably confuse issues even more!

  1. Amazing! His name is the same as He-who-must-never-be-depicted, yet he started out as an Anglican. What a coincidence. He still has on the Anglican PJs, though.

    Srsly, why not show a godless family, since it would be more relevant to the article’s title?

    Steve

  2. The family photo is ridiculously inappropriate, in that it goes against the very theme of the article. I suspect that Ben Heather may not have been the ideal person to tackle this interesting subject.

    • In reply to #5 by SkyWilliam:

      The family photo is ridiculously inappropriate, in that it goes against the very theme of the article. I suspect that Ben Heather may not have been the ideal person to tackle this interesting subject.

      Loving families disgust me too.

  3. Those who are not religious need to make sure they prevent religions like islam that become dominant religions from influencing public policy. Religious groups should be treated as clubs like any other clubs eg sports clubs, car clubs, book clubs etc and should have no special political or tax rights. Britain is a major problem as far as its confused non secular politics and tax is concerned with bishops in the house of Lords and many tax concessions, visa concessions etc for religions. Unfortunately, as a bastion of modern democracy, the example that Britain sets gives religions world wide credibilty that is very undesireable for those of us who detest them. We want no religious influence at all over our lives.

  4. that morgan character in the photo might well be in love with his now wife but they would never have been permitted to marry had he not converted to islam and taken on that ridiculous first name. and the poor daughter – and that garb! is this 21st century NZ?

    • In reply to #8 by Net:

      …they would never have been permitted to marry had he not converted to islam …

      That’s interesting — and shocking.

      *In Malaysia a non-Muslim must convert to Islam in order to marry a Muslim. The offspring of such unions are automatically Muslims and all Malaysian Muslims are legally prohibited from leaving Islam (Riddah). *Wikipedia

    • In reply to #8 by Net:

      That Morgan character in the photo might well be in love with his now wife but they would never have been permitted to marry had he not converted to Islam and taken on that ridiculous first name…

      Why is the word love italicized in your post? Are you suggesting that this union is some sort of travesty?

      …and the poor daughter

      What about the poor daughter? She wouldn’t exist at all if these people hadn’t come together. Is an existence born from a union you disapprove of worse than not existing at all. Kid looks happy enough to me.

      …and that garb! is this 21st century NZ?

      It’s 21st century planet Earth, baby. Get used to it.

  5. Non-religious does not equal “secular”. Secularism essentially just means “separation”; it’s quite possible for non-religious people to be anti-secular.

    This is part of the reason secularism gets such a bad press among the religious, they don’t understand what it means.

    • In reply to #11 by Jabarkis:

      Non-religious does not equal “secular”.

      ‘Secular’ does mean ‘non-religious’. The difference is whether it’s applied to individuals or the state. A secular state is one where there is no discrimination in favour of one particular religion, or religion in general. It is the state which is non-religious, as is not the case in the UK, for example, although many Brits are non-religious, i.e. secular, in their outlook. Individuals, who are themselves secular, are likely to be in favour of a secular state. That does not mean that religious people, although not secular themselves, cannot be in favour of a secular state, especially when the religion which is favoured by state is not their own. More often, as we see in the UK, the demand from the religious is that all religions should be privileged and the non-religious discriminated against.

  6. If Christianity is losing its central place in NZ, I would not be surprised if Islam becomes the major religion. Then they’ll be up Shit Creek. Given a choice, I’d rather go with the second most loathsome montheisitic religion.

    • In reply to #17 by Graham1:

      If Christianity is losing its central place in NZ, I would not be surprised if Islam becomes the major religion. Then they’ll be up Shit Creek. Given a choice, I’d rather go with the second most loathsome montheisitic religion.

      492,000 Catholics, 459,000 Anglicans, 89,000 Hindus, 45,000 Muslims. I wouldn’t worry to much. More likely to be invaded by Muslims that taken over internally.

      Michael

      • Thanks for the stats Michael but do note this man has 4 kids!

        In reply to #18 by mmurray:

        In reply to #17 by Graham1:

        If Christianity is losing its central place in NZ, I would not be surprised if Islam becomes the major religion. Then they’ll be up Shit Creek. Given a choice, I’d rather go with the second most loathsome montheisitic religion.

        492,000 Catholics, 459,000 Anglicans, 89,0…

        • In reply to #19 by Graham1:

          Thanks for the stats Michael but do note this man has 4 kids!

          It’s a good point. But I doubt it will continued to double. That would assume the kids all stick with the religion, marry other Muslims, etc. I’m also inclined to think that our global response to climate change is so pathetic that what’s coming in 100 years will make worrying about home grown Islam kind of irrelevant. If the 200 million Muslim’s in Indonesia move south NZ will be invaded by Australian refugees !

          Michael

          • In reply to #21 by mmurray:

            It’s a good point. But I doubt it will continued to double. That would assume the kids all stick with the religion, marry other Muslims, etc…

            Which is in itself unlikely in Western society such as ours. The peer pressure from other teenagers and the natural inclination of kids to blend in is very strong. The last thing kids want is to be so unpopular that they end up alone and isolated. The only thing that can counter this is an abusive father who imposes “Muslim only” education and schooling on his kids.

            But on some rebellious and/or smart kids, this can backfire big time. Especially in a society where information is easy to come by: those kids are aware that they’re missing out on life. I just hope western society grows some gonads and adopts decisive legal measures to protect those kids from abusive religious parents. IMO, the ball’s in our court, not theirs.

  7. There are a few things that need clarifying. As someone said, the photo accompanying the article is somewhat inappropriate as that man is definitely an outlier.
    The latest census shows that 25% of New Zealanders have been born outside the country. Many of the newer immigrants are religious which bolsters the numbers of the faithful. When I go to the catholic church with my elderly mother, (Yes, I do. So shoot me! I do it because she’s very old and it makes her happy) I notice that the congregation is made up of large numbers of immigrants as well as old people. Take those two groups away and there would be very small numbers.
    Of the 75% of people born in New Zealand, I’m guessing that over half would put themselves down as having no religion and many of those would have no faith of any kind. In other words, atheism is growing very quickly in NZ. The present PM and the previous one have both been up front about having no faith. So for the last 14 years the NZ population have been happy to vote for atheists as PM.

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