Australia has seen a dramatic rise in Christian converts over the past few years.
But a new survey has found that most are not converting to Buddhism.
Read moreChristians are increasingly turning to the country’s traditional faith, Buddhism, as a way of living out their faith.
The survey by the Australia Institute found that nearly two-thirds of Australian Christians say they have converted to Buddhism, while almost half of them have done so as part of a relationship with a Buddhist.
“Our survey shows that there is a large and growing Christian population who are in a religious relationship with their Buddhist neighbours,” the Australia National Religion Survey (ANRS) director, Dr Michael Murphy, said.
“While it is a great blessing to be part of this growing community, it is also a great challenge for our society.”
Mr Murphy said he expected the number of Australians converted to Buddhist would grow over time.
He said Buddhism was “more popular among Australians than any other religion in Australia”.
“So what we have is a very significant proportion of people who are religious, and that religion is Christianity,” he said.
“That religion is a significant part of the Australian Christian community.”
Mr Higginson said while he did not believe the rise in conversion to Buddhism was driven by the rise of Christianity in Australia, the phenomenon was not unique.
“Buddhism is not a religion,” he told ABC Radio National’s Today program.
“It is a belief system.
And it’s been very much embraced by the mainstream of Australian society for a long time.”
So in many ways it is just an extension of what we already have in Australia.
“The survey also found that Australians were not necessarily religious in their local community.
In the first half of the year, the ANRS found that 41 per cent of respondents were not religious in the local community, compared with 23 per cent in the year before.
The survey found that 56 per cent were religious in Canberra, compared to 29 per cent across the country.
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