A great article in the WEEKEND AUSTRALIAN by Greg Sheridan 23rd July 2022
Lost in the Secular Desert: Christianity Under Siege
We are on the way to becoming, for the first time, an avowedly anti-Christian nation. Not just non-Christian, but anti-Christian. The census tells us. The culture tells us. The law tells us.
The 2021 census represents an explosive dam burst, with a flood of biblical proportions to follow. For the first time in the modern nation’s history, only a minority of Australians identify as Christians.
This is not a gentle decline. It is a bus hurtling over a cliff. As recently as 25 years ago, nearly three-quarters of Australians called themselves Christians. In 2011, 61 percent was still a solid majority; five years later it was 52 percent, and last year just 44 percent and still falling.
That’s a staggering 17 percent fewer of the population who are Christian in 10 years. Nothing as dramatic and consequential has happened in Australian belief and outlook since 1788.
To be sure, there are nuances in the census. “No religion” does not equate directly to formal atheism. The National Church Life Survey suggests a small majority of Australians believe in God. That’s consistent with the census. Non-Christian religions – Islam, Hinduism, Buddhism, Sikhism, Judaism, and others – take total religious affiliation above 50 percent.
The census also has some surprises. Sydney, Sin City, is the most God-loving part of Australia, just as London is the most religious part of Britain.
But difficult as it may be for some Christians to accept, and much as some secular commentators may want to play it down, claiming that Christian affiliation was formerly overstated or to avert the public gaze from the radical wave engulfing us, Christians must understand they are a minority. That should free them to become a creative, dynamic minority, offering something magnificent to society. They also should get the same rights as other minorities, but that’s another story.
In his brilliant 2021 book, Being the Bad Guys, Perth evangelical pastor Stephen McAlpine presents the dramatic transformation in Christianity’s standing: “Wasn’t it only yesterday Christianity was regarded as a societal good? Now? It’s not only unpalatable; it’s positively toxic.”
In a justly famous blog post a few years ago, McAlpine suggested most Christians accept that Christendom – with all its virtues and all its villainies – is over and they are now in exile. They envisaged this exile in a metaphorical Athens, debating their beliefs in polite and interested company. That was Stage One Exile. Now, Stage Two Exile is in a much more hostile Babylon, where they confront a state and culture uninterested in their ideas, determined instead to bludgeon them into submission.
This should not take us by surprise as Biblical prophecy tells us what will happen prior to Jesus’ return to this planet to put things right.
“Then they will deliver you up to tribulation and put you to death, and you will be hated by all nations for my name’s sake. And then many will fall away and betray one another and hate one another. And many false prophets will arise and lead many astray. And because lawlessness will be increased, the love of many will grow cold. But the one who endures to the end will be saved. And this gospel of the kingdom will be proclaimed throughout the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come.” Matthew 24:9-14