I expect tomorrow night’s census will send Christianity into minority status for the first time in our nation’s history.
Is that the end of the world?
Some people might think so, but I don’t.
However, I’d be lying if I said I’m not disappointed.
That’s because the more people who follow God’s rules for life – there are ten (sorry Jordan Petersen) – the better individuals and the nation will be.
Deep in their hearts, a good proportion – perhaps even a majority – of Australians would agree with that.
People living in community following Jesus is not only a guarantee of eternal life (everyone wants to live forever), but it is also the best pathway to human flourishing.
History has shown this time and time again.
Sadly many of us Christians have not always set a good example and we have given our fellow citizens reasons to disbelieve.
But it is not just Christians behaving badly (very badly given the child sex scandals of recent decades) that has led to the number of Christians identified in the census falling off a cliff in the past 50 years.
Peter Hitchens, the Christian brother of the renown atheist the late Christopher, pointed out that the 20th century where “Christian” nations tore each other apart in war, not once but twice, in the name of “God King and Country” was a recipe for mass disillusionment.
After all, it was Lutheran and Catholic Germany which invented the Final Solution. Sadly the German churches had allowed liberal theology to creep in and didn’t have the will or courage to take a principled stand, except for a handful of notable exceptions like Dietrich Bonhoeffer.
The post war years saw unrivalled economic prosperity in the West culminating in the sexual revolution of the 1960s and the march of postmodernism.
People felt like they didn’t need God and Time Magazine famously declared him dead, 200 years after Nietzsche first made the assertion. (God is hard to keep down, something to do with resurrections, perhaps.)
The junking of truth for relativism in the bedroom, boardroom, lecture room and the political party room has not been without societal-wide consequences.
The Christian ethic is a moral guide allowing people to govern themselves but these days we need more laws and regulations because too many people don’t know right from wrong anymore.
In 1971, Australians calling themselves Christians on census night exceeded a whopping 86 per cent of the population.
This was down only by around 10pc from our founding in 1900.
Four years ago, it had crashed to 52.2 per cent.
Whether at 90pc or below 50pc, I would never argue that everyone who ticks a Christian box on census night is a completely devoted follower of Christ.
But what the number tells us is that a large proportion of Australians identify with the belief system which is the well-spring of everything that is good, true and beautiful about western nations like Australia.
We have a rich cultural inheritance and deep-down people know it. They are not afraid to identify with it, despite being caught up in the Zeitgeist.
Apart from wishing with our Lord “that none should perish”, we should otherwise not be concerned about declining numbers.
The Bible tells us one can put a thousand to flight, that Gideon’s army was too big and that God would spare cities from getting what they deserved for the sake of just 10 righteous people.
God plus one is a majority.
But we should be mindful of cultural trends and the agendas behind them.
Secularists and atheists have moved past relativism (at least it had a veneer of tolerance) and now want to impose a woke agenda.
Christianity and its rules for life (aka God’s laws) are obstacles.
To give their agenda purchase, secularists have run aggressive evangelistic campaigns over the past two censuses urging people to tick the “no religion” box.
In 2016 this worked with almost 9pc more Australians no longer calling themselves Christian – the biggest drop between censuses since federation.
Very few people are atheists but many are agnostics. However, it is the atheists, under the guise of the so-called rationalist society, urging a “no religion” result.
Their aim is to marginalise and extinguish the influence of Christianity in Australia.
But rather than being rational and reasonable, they praised the principles of Satanism as “fantastic”, “progressive” and “sensible”, according to the Australian.
“The Satanism (social media) pages are also pushing for No Religion – Yay. Terrific,” said Rationalist Australia president Meredith Doig.
Satan isn’t just some fun guy who is benign. He is the embodiment of unspeakable evil and horror.
At least all Australians can now see who is behind the attack on Christianity.
Lyle Shelton is Director of Campaigns and Communications for the Christian Democratic Party. The Reverend Honourable Fred Nile MLC has nominated Lyle to succeed him in the NSW Parliament when he retires in November. To keep in touch with Lyle and the CDP, sign up here.