The first results from the 2018 New Zealand Census have just been released and there’s a bombshell when it comes to God: Nearly half the population has no religious affiliation whatsoever.
Based on the raw data made available to the public, there are 2,264,601 people who checked a box marked “No religion.” That’s in a nation of 4,699,755 people. Doing that simple math, more than 48% of New Zealand has no religion. The last time the census was taken, in 2013, that number was just under 42%. In 2001, it was under 30%.
Christianity, as a whole, is headed in the other direction. As a percentage of the population, it’s gone from 54% in 2006, to 48% in 2013, to 37% today.
In addition to that, there are 7,068 atheists, 6,516 agnostics, 663 Humanists, and 4,248 people who said they belong to the Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster. Pastafarianism is officially larger than Lutheranism (3,585) in the nation.
None of this is surprising to anyone who’s seen the shifting landscape in the country. In recent months, researchers have found that evangelical Christians were the least trustworthy religious group, a political party was launched by evangelicals who blamed earthquakes on gay people, and a prominent megachurch pastor denounced an Islamic prayer offered in honor of the Christchurch massacre victims. Why would any decent person want to be associated with any faith that produces such terrible people?
It also helps that Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern is openly agnostic, having left the Mormon Church in large part due to their anti-gay bigotry.
(Image via Shutterstock. Thanks to Bobby for the link)