Jesus Christ "better known as a profanity than a deity"
A researcher with Australia's National Church Life Survey has highlighted implications arising from the fact that the current generation of school-aged children is likely to be the first where the majority has had no experience of church.
Dr Ruth Powell related the story of a religious education teacher who was greeted by smirks when she asked her class what comes to mind when she mentions Christmas and Jesus Christ in the one sentence. She explained that the smirks indicated that Jesus Christ is "better known by her class as a profanity than a deity".
She predicts this scenario will become "increasingly common" as parents depart from the traditional instinct of looking to the churches to help them provide values and belief frameworks for their young children.
"While fewer parents currently do this, the need for personal and moral foundations that can provide direction for living remains," said a statement from NCLS Research. "This can be an opportunity for churches to, once again, make connections."
NCLS Research focuses on couples with dependent children in its latest release, Profiling Australians. The findings reveal a context that is overwhelmingly multicultural and diverse. But among all Australians living in families, 61% still fit the traditional description of 'mum, dad and the kids'.
NCLS Research is sponsored by the Uniting Church Board of Mission (NSW), ANGLICARE (NSW) and the Australian Catholic Bishops Conference.
NCLS offers clues for reaching a generation where majority will not attend church (National Church Life Survey)
National Church Life Survey
10 Nov 2003