The recent 2016 Census results show a decline in the number of people in Australia identifying as “Christian”; just 52% of the population, compared with over 80% only forty years ago.
This result was contrived to a certain extent; the ABS set the questions on religious affiliation in a completely different order this census. For the first time, “no religion” was the first option listed, followed by various Christian denominations and other religious affiliations. Thus, the “donkey vote”, those ticking the first option listed, favoured the “no religion” option. It is difficult to avoid the conclusion that this was the intended result of those devising the census form.
But the 2016 Census points to a decline in faith, which would be no secret to those who look at the corruption of the true gospel of Christ that has infected the Church during the last forty years.
The Church, no doubt, would blame the government for declining standards in public morality, but God would hold the Church responsible. It is the Church that is meant to be salt and light to the nation; salt purifiers and preserves, while light illuminates and enlightens. Can the Church claim that this has been the result of its work during the last four decades?
What is becoming increasingly clear is that Christian faith is dying out in Australia, at least in terms of quantity. But, at the same time, I believe that the Christian faith is growing in quality amongst those few who have chosen to “go to Him outside the camp”, there “to worship Him in spirit and in truth”.
But for the future of Australia as an independent nation of individuals enjoying liberty, there is little cause for confidence and one of the principal problems is that people do not understand the term “liberty”.
Liberty is freedom balanced and constrained by responsibility; without responsibility freedom is a destructive force, as the western world is finding out in these times. And responsibility means the moral dimension supplied by Christianity; liberty and democracy only work where the people are moral enough to police themselves. George Washington said that “virtue or morality is a necessary spring of popular government”.
Thus, freedom necessitates religion; they are inextricably linked; you cannot have freedom without religion. Secular government is based upon a foundation of its citizens’ faith and its moral consequences.
Benjamin Franklin wrote that “nothing brings more pain than too much pleasure; nothing more bondage than too much freedom”.
It is a rule of life that liberty is not just the ability to do what one wants; it comes with moral demands and boundaries. The absolute enemy of liberty is freedom that is absolute and unrestrained; that is, without moral boundaries, and the only restraint is faith in God. We are witnessing in these days the destruction of western democratic civilization as a result of freedom unrestrained by moral responsibility.
The only foundation of a society in which the citizens have true liberty is faith; our Constitution was made only for a moral people; “we the people…..relying on the blessings of Almighty God” (Constitutional Preamble). Our Constitution is wholly inadequate, and even dangerous, to the government of a people without belief on God.
The Psalmist said; “If the foundations are destroyed, what can the righteous do”?. Thomas Jefferson paraphrased this when he wrote; “Can the liberties of a nation be thought secure when we remove their only foundation”? The foundation he was speaking of was the conviction in the hearts and minds of the people that the liberties they enjoy are the gifts of God.
The violent, chaotic, anti-religious force unleashed by atheistic revolutionary movements, such as the French, Nazi and Russian revolutions, annihilates the foundations of social order and true liberty, confounds all moral distinctions and substitutes for the mild and beneficent faith of the gospel, a gloomy, persecuting and desolate atheism; surely history teaches one thing very clearly; a free society divorced from true faith cannot work and cannot survive; witness those nations that have officially renounced faith in God, and also those nations that have officially embraced faith in a false god.
The 2016 Census will encourage the forces of godless atheism to seek an amendment to the Constitutional Preamble to get rid of the words that so offend them; “relying on the blessings of Almighty God”.
There are irreconcilable differences in the views of constitutional government between those of faith and those who hate the very notion of a transcendent God. Atheists believe that it is the role of government to give certain rights to the people; denying God is to deny that we have natural rights endowed by God, which are common to all men; the only rights we have are those granted by governments. This, of course, is fascist tyranny and is reflected in regimes such as North Korea, Soviet Russia, Nazi Germany, Stalinist Cuba, Communist China and most Muslim states.
The truth, that is reflected in our Constitution, is that the purpose of government is not to bestow rights, but to protect those rights already bestowed upon us by Almighty God.
These two opposing views are the battle lines of the immediate future. If the Constitutional Preamble is altered so as to renounce reliance on God, then the tattered remnant of constitutional government in Australia will disappear altogether.