The Stats Guy: Why for more and more Australians, Easter is just about chocolate

Australia may soon be a majority atheist nation. This means that faith is all but useless for social cohesion on a national level.

Australia may soon be a majority atheist nation. This means that faith is all but useless for social cohesion on a national level.

Happy Easter Sunday everyone.

The kids are on a sugar high, Cadbury and Lindt are enjoying their most lucrative day of the year, and you are on a long weekend away from work.

Wait, was there something else that mattered on Easter?

The truth is, for more and more Australians there really isn’t more to Easter Sunday.

If you are a Christian believer, the resurrection of the Son of God is as important as it gets. If you don’t believe, this is pretty much just some story kept alive by a ‘power-hungry church’.

Do religious holidays still make sense in this day and age?

The chart below shows the astonishingly fast decline of religion over a short 15-year period. I am pretty sure I know where the 2026 line will be placed.

Australia may soon be a majority atheist nation. The remaining believers are adhering to large variety of faiths. This means that faith is all but useless for social cohesion on a national level.

Even the biggest Christian holiday will not encourage a majority of people to reflect about life in a structured way and create a collectively shared experience.

Sure, a subgroup of Christians will. Faith is still great in providing a sense of group belonging.

Many Christians will feel deeply connected to their fellow churchgoers and strengthen their religious convictions. A niche group experiencing something is different to a vast majority of a nation experiencing something.

So, religion can’t provide social glue and as, I described before, neither can the middle class. This leaves sport as the last remaining bastion of social cohesion in this country, just to add some additional pressure on our athletes.

As atheists become the majority (they already are in the 20-33 age group), religious freedom and peaceful religious coexistence might be at risk. For the Atheist 2.0 movement, any religious belief is a ‘dumb belief’.

If the majority of a nation views any belief as fundamentally untrue and looks down on believers, it might not go through massive efforts to protect rights of religious expression.

In modern history this is a new phenomenon, and we don’t yet know how majority atheistic Western nations treat believers.

What we’ve seen in communist states isn’t promising. Broad-scale discrimination and prosecution of believers were commonplace.

I am not suggesting a future majority atheist Australia will prosecute believers, I merely point out the direction that some challenges might take.

Fighting for religious freedom simply is easier if you are a believer yourself. Fighting for religious freedom when you are a non-believer is no less important for a functioning society.

The openly hostile ridiculing of religious beliefs within the broader Atheist 2.0 movement might be intended to guide people to the right ‘non-belief’ where in fact it is further driving Australians apart.

Here’s to hoping that young atheists stand up for the rights of all believers. What better day could there be for a message of hope than Easter Sunday?

Demographer Simon Kuestenmacher is a co-founder of The Demographics Group. His columns, media commentary and public speaking focus on current socio-demographic trends and how these impact Australia. His latest book aims to awaken the love of maps and data in young readers. Follow Simon on Twitter (X), Facebook, LinkedIn for daily data insights in short format.

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