“Make religion more vibrant, attractive and engaging if you want to keep your folks in God’s fold”; distinguished religious statesman Rajan Zed suggested Australia’s religious leaders and organizations in view of Census 2016 reports pointing that 30.1% Australians belonged to “No Religion” category.
According to information from Australian Bureau of Statistics release sourced from Census 2016 and dated June 27; “No Religion” is now the largest group in Australia at 30.1% of the population, followed by Catholics at 22.6% and Anglicans at 13.3%. Young adults (aged 18-34 years) were more likely to report not having a religion. Men were more likely than women to say they had no religion. Tasmania had the highest proportion of people (38.2%) stating that they did not have a religion.
Zed, who is president of Universal Society of Hinduism, in a statement in Nevada (USA) today, said that people with “no religion” were increasing and we (religious leaders and organizations) were responsible for their alienation. Our efforts at social control, judgmentalism, stagnant approach, etc., might be turning them away resulting in many of them questioning belief in God, equating religion with fear, etc.
Rajan Zed indicated that some of them, who still believed in God, apparently seemed to be bypassing religion to reach God, questioning the linkage between “man made religions” and God. “If I ‘just do good’, I should be fine”, many of them argued.
Zed pointed out that life was getting complex and distractions were increasing, so religion was slipping away from the priority list of many. Conventional style of dealing with spirituality and religion did not appear to be effectively working, especially with today’s youth. Make it more exciting and challenging, Zed recommended Australia’s religious leaders and organizations.
We as religious leaders should live exemplary lives to add credibility to our preaching. Give them fresh answers without any religious stigma attached. Listen to what the people have to say before giving your opinion to them. Accept the people who and as they are. Make religion lively and not stagnant, Rajan Zed says.
If religious leaders and organizations do not attend to this challenge more effectively in this consumerist society, we can lose our youth to the other marketplace players, which are more powerful, attractive and vocal than religion and spirituality. Many youth appear to be bored from religion. Serving God does not have to be dull. For youth, make religion “cool” and do not force anything on them, Zed states.
Rajan Zed stresses that youth is not hostile to religion. Religious leaders and organizations need rethinking and reflection and come up with creative and new practices, norms, and ideas to make their product more competitive.
A spiritual Australia and world will be a better place to live than a non-spiritual Australia and world, Zed adds.