Not that many years ago, I had some Chinese high school students tell me that Australia was a Christian nation. I told them that historically that was the case, but that their understanding of the currently reality was a little flawed.
Sure, compared to where they had come from, it seemed Christian to them. They’d read it in a textbook and then possibly seen churches in the streets when they arrived in Australia. So compared to what they knew, it was a more Christian nation.
Or is it?
Whilst there might not be spires on Churches, there are millions of Christians in China. In fact, quite possibly millions more than anyone realises, or can research – for obvious reasons.
The reality is that, potentially, ‘the east’ is more Christian than ‘the west’.
In fact, not just the east; looking around the globe there are a number of countries where the percentage of Christians is staggeringly high compared to the 43.9% currently in Australia (2021 Census). Sure, that’s still two-fifths, but it’s almost a 10% drop since the previous census in 2016.
So the data is in: my country is no longer to be considered a Christian nation.
What does that mean for me?
Well, on a day to day level, I can expect fewer people to have a genuine understanding of who I am and how I make decisions in life. I can also expect fewer people to have read The Bible or to have gained their understanding of Christianity through something other than a random media comment.
Which may or may not have been informed by some other random media comment.
AKA: total misinformation.
So, on the downside I can expect to be more frequently misunderstood.
As for the upside, well it’s not as though God has changed. Nor has he changed the offer of his love and forgiveness to Australia. It’s still very much on the table. We as a nation only need to reach out to Him.
God says the same to Australia as he said to the ancient Jews. In fact, I’m sure he’s saying the same thing to all the western world that many would consider to now be ‘post-Christian’:
“Even now,” declares the Lord, “return to me with all your heart, with fasting and weeping and mourning.” Rend your heart and not your garments. Return to the Lord your God, for he is gracious and compassionate, slow to anger and abounding in love, and he relents from sending calamity.
The data doesn’t have to continue with the same trend in four years’ time. There is an opportunity to return. And it also may be well worth our while.
Who knows? He may turn and relent and leave behind a blessing—grain offerings and drink offerings for the Lord your God.
Yours in prayerful projections,