Christianity is no longer an integral part of Australian life, and this is evidenced by the necessity to remind people about the biblical significance of Easter celebrations, freelance writer and Rationalist Society of Australia member Hugh Harris has observed.
In an op-ed posted by the Courier Mail on April 17, Harris bemoaned how most Australians still need to be reminded about the importance of the Bible through Easter festivities. He pointed out that 9 out of 10 Australians have stopped attending church services regularly, a trend that cannot be simply attributed to short-term memory loss.
Harris also warned that non-belief will soon surpass the Catholic faith in Australia and become the country's largest belief demographic. These trends, he said, point to the conclusion that Christianity is no longer an important part of Australian life and that no reminder will be able to bring it back to its previous significance.
While Harris laments the fading away of Christianity from Australian life, Australian Catholic University senior research fellow Dr. Kevin Donnelly calls on the people to celebrate the role of that faith in their culture. He points out in a Herald Sun article that their concept of morality and their legal and political systems draw influence from the Christian faith.
Legal academic Augusto Zimmerman of Perth argued that Australia's foundations can be traced back to Christianity, and this is the reason why their Preamble to the Australian Constitution contains the phrase "humbly relying on the blessing of Almighty God."
The English language is also replete with biblical references including being a "good Samaritan" and the practice of "turning the other cheek." Western art, including that of Michelangelo and Leonardo da Vinci's, cannot also be fully appreciated without Biblical references.
For Dr. Donnelly, the influence of Christianity on Australia's liberal democracy is the main reason why there are a lot of people who wish to immigrate to the country. Yet, he also said the Australians themselves are the ones that take their coveted freedoms for granted.