Tonight is census night for Australia.
I received an email a few weeks back, instructing me to write “Mormon” as my religion and to pass the email on to other members. Mormon is not the official name of the church I belong to, but rather the nickname that seems to be better known. Although we members were asked several years back to promote the correct name of the church, we are now embracing the nickname to avoid confusion, and to ensure we are correctly counted on tonight’s census. [So remember to say ‘Mormon’ tonight!]
I came across an interesting article about the religion question in tonight’s census: Don’t tick the religion box unless you really mean it. There is an obvious trend (and Australia is not alone, I am sure) to attend a church service on Easter Sunday and then count yourself as a church-goer. My guess is that a fair few Catholics and Christians alike say they are religious, tick the box, but don’t attend regular services and – dare I say it – not live the principles taught. My other guess is the other main religions (Judaism; Muslim) do not have this issue. Is there a relationship, then, between strong religions with sufferings and torment and their survival over generations? There must be. On the whole, Jews and Muslims can usually found living in close proximity to each other, and definitely take their faith seriously – both in attendance, tradition, and belief. The same applies to Mormons, I know, as we strive to live our religion every day of the week and attend all Sunday meetings. So who is ticking the religion box without being religious? What about the majority of mainstream Christianity – the congregations that teach such relaxed teachings that has changed over time and from parish-to-parish? Some tick the Christian box because their parents were Christian. Some tick the Christian box for the sake of it. And some write ‘Jedi’ because they are silly.
What I find interesting is this: the question in the census is not framed to be terribly accurate. In the article, a census commentator was quoted as actually saying the following: I ticked ‘catholic’ on my census form, as I was raised a
catholic by my parents, but do no[t] necessary subscribe to Catholic views, nor attend church. So, as the author writes, what is the census saying? Will a Catholic church be built where he lives if he has no intention of using it?
What is your religion? Do you really mean it?