Tweed is losing its religion

Annette Bishop, of Bilambil Heights, is one of many who don't believe in any religion.
Annette Bishop, of Bilambil Heights, is one of many who don't believe in any religion. John Gass

A GROWING number of Tweed residents are losing faith, according to the latest Australian Bureau of Statistics census figures.

The figures show that in the past decade the number of people who said they had no religion had risen from 10,188 to 18,525 on the Tweed.

In fact, more people were added to the "no religion" category than to all the other religious groups combined.

Bilambil Heights resident Annette Bishop used to identify as an Anglican, but is now part of this growing group.

"I put down Anglican when my children were born but now I put down atheist," Mrs Bishop explained.

"I have read so much and when you go to receive religious instruction they are always changing what they say.

"Is there some great being out there who would just sit back and watch us destroy ourselves?"

Mrs Bishop said knowledge and scientific discovery gave her the conviction of her beliefs and were the reason why people were disconnected from religion.

"I don't need a metaphysical crutch," she said.

The Catholic faith was one of the only Christian groups to see a significant increase in numbers.

The 2011 census showed that the number of Catholics on the Tweed had grown from 18,406 to 20,147 in the past decade.

St Joseph's Catholic priest John Darbyshire said the number of Catholics on the Tweed had shown consistent growth.

"It's mainly due to the increase in population and family tradition," Father Darbyshire said.

He said there were also a number of people coming to and joining the church

"We have evangelisation that is done through the parishes and missionaries," he said.

"I think most of the increase in the Tweed is from Irish immigrants who moved from Sydney and Melbourne later in life.

"The number of Catholics always seems to remain high compared to other faiths."

According to the statistics, the number of Anglicans in the Tweed had increased from 20,929 in 2001 to 21,374 in 2011.

Presbyterian and Reformed believers had decreased from 4348 to 4295.

The total number of Christians had increased from 53,852 to 57,302.

The number of followers of Islam had increased from 74 in 2001 to 107 in 2011.

Topics:  australian bureau of statistics census church faith religion tweed

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