SPIRITUALITY

The Australian constitution forbids a state religion and guarantees religious freedom for all. More than 75% of Australians are Christian. Protestants are the largest Christian group, followed by Roman Catholics. Protestant denominations include the Uniting Church, Anglicans, Presbyterians, Lutherans, Baptists and Pentecostalists. The Uniting Church was formed in 1977 when the Methodist Church of Australia amalgamated with the country's Congregationalist and most of its Presbyterian churches. 

Many Roman Catholics are the descendants of immigrants from Ireland, Italy and other Catholic countries. Australia also has small Jewish and Muslim minorities. Most Jewish families came to Australia from Europe. The Muslims or their ancestors migrated chiefly from the Middle East and from southern and southeastern Asia.

Aboriginal spirituality recognizes the power and sacredness of the natural world. Aborigines believe that everything in nature has a spirit, including fire, rocks and trees. From time to time, Aborigines hold a celebration known as a corroboree, which incorporates singing and dancing. Corroborees are held to mark Aboriginal baptisms and teeth-pulling. The Aborigines believe that a child has not been spiritually born until it is baptized. Tooth extraction is performed to release a spirit. Corroborees may also be held to ensure a supply of food and rain, to promote fertility, or to punish violators of tribal law. These rituals may last for weeks. Elders are responsible for passing along culture and often use these times of celebration to teach cultural matters to younger Aborigines.
 
 
  Did you know?

According to the Aborigines, the world was originally flat, featureless and grey. Then huge creatures awoke and wandered the earth. As they hunted for food and dug for water, they created mountains, valleys and rivers. This period is known as the Dreamtime. Aboriginal life began in the Dreamtime. Once creation was complete, the creatures disappeared.