Australians most likely to go online or to friends and family for answers to questions of faith

28 Jul 2022

By Contributor

Cottesloe parishioners standing in the pews at the Cottesloe church.
Cottesloe parishioners listen during the Mass with Archbishop Costelloe, celebrating the opening of the new columbarium, Sunday 30 January. Photo: Jamie O’Brien

Australians are most likely to go to friends and family (52 per cent) or online (48 per cent) to find answers to the questions they have about faith, beliefs, and spirituality a study from 2021 study found.

The poll, conducted by McCrindle Research on behalf of Alpha Australia also found that 1 in 9 Australians have wanted a conversation about Christianity, but have not been engaged.
The study, which surveyed 1,000 Australian adults, found that as well as approaching family and friends for answers, online communities (18 per cent) and online content such as videos, talks, and sermons (30 per cent) were a key source of insight in their spiritual journey.

National Director of Alpha Australia Melinda Dwight said they have known for many years the important role close relationships, such as friends and family have played in spiritual formation.

Ellenbrook parishioners listen to Archbishop Costelloe’s homily during the Blessing and Opening of the new Columbarium, Sunday 27 March 2022. Photo: Michelle Tan

“To see more than half of Australians would reach out to those close to them, is a significant reminder,” Ms Dwight said.

“In these past 12 months when connection has often moved online, as our lives have been disrupted, we have seen that the exploration of faith has continued through online connection,” she said.
The survey also found that almost half of Australians (45 per cent) had had a conversation about faith and beliefs with a Christian in the past 12 months.

Young people praying at the closing Mass of the 2019 Australian Catholic Youth Festival, Tuesday 8 December 2019. Photo: Iceberg Media

One in 9 Australians said they had wanted to have a conversation about Christianity but had not engaged with someone (11 per cent).
Izzy Marshall, who in 2021 won Young Australian of the Year is an advocate for Alpha and has seen how it’s led to honest discussions about her faith and faith in general in today’s society.

“You just need to host an Alpha and start a conversation. You don’t need an outcome, it just sparks an intellectual conversation, in a non-judgemental space,” Ms Marshall said.

“When I have hosted Alpha sessions with my friends, I have always been surprised at just how open they have been to hear and discuss issues of faith.

“It has never been about converting them, it was more about sharing why Christianity and faith is so important to me and the difference it has made in my life.”