There is a wealth of research into the social factors shaping Australian religious life and the impact of that life on other aspects of life. Bouma and Dixon (1996) and Bentley and Hughes (1997) provide systematic assessments of the role of religious identity, belief and practice in Australian life. Through their analyses of the National Social Science Survey, Evans and Kelley provide continuing insight into the role of religion (for example, Evans and Kelley 2000). Other studies include religion and politics (Reynolds 1988; Bean 1999), religion and the environment (Black 1997; Daniels 1988), religion and social change (Bouma 1998; Cusack and Oldmeadow 2001), religion and behaviour (Moore and Weiss 1992; Lovat 1997), religion and health (Day 1986; Najman et al. 1988; Meddin 1998; Singleton 2001), religion and work (Niles 1999), religion and gender (De Vaus and McAllister 1987; Lehman 1994; Mubarak 1997; Manville 1997; Grimshaw 1998; Howell 1998; Macdonald et al. 1999; O'Brien 2000), religion and language use (Tamis 1990; Bouma and Clyne 1995), religion and education (Graetz 1990; Jones 1990; Anderson 1988; Smolicz 1994), and religion and social policy (Bouma 1999a, 1999b, 1999c; Stratton 1996; Sheen 1996; Black and Hughes 1999).
While many studies inquire into the impact of religious practice, several examine factors shaping changes in belief – changes in images of God (Blombery 1989; Bouma 1996) and secularisation (McCallum 1987; McAllister 1988; Bouma and Mason 1995).
Australia's religious and spiritual life has been studied from diverse standpoints. This research describes a vital and changing aspect of Australian society – one that shows no sign of disappearing. Religious identification has been consistently found to be a useful predictor of consumer, political, ethical and other behaviours. As religious life becomes more diverse, mapping these connections will become more challenging but no less important. The way Australia continues to manage religious diversity needs to be studied so that what we have learned may be made available to others and continue to influence Australian social policy just when there are serious challenges to the freedom of religious and spiritual expression.
Adam, E., and P. Hughes. 1996. The Buddhists in Australia. Canberra: AGPS.
Allen, K., and W. Omar. 1996. The Muslims in Australia. Canberra: AGPS.
Anderson, D. 1988. Denomination and type of school attended: The transmission of an error. Journal of Australian Studies 22:30–9.
Ata, A.(I.)W. (ed.). 1988. Religion and Ethnic Identity:An Australian Study. Vol. 1. Melbourne: Spectrum.
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Ballis, P. 1999. Leaving the Adventist Ministry:A Study of the Process of Exiting. Westport, CT: Praeger Publishers.