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Losing My Religion: Unbelief in Australia

By Tom Frame, UNSW Press (Sydney), 2009, RRP $34.95

Winner 2010 Australian Christian Book of the Year

Reviewed by Peter Harvey, Flinders Patrol Minister for Frontier Services and former Anglican Defence Force Chaplain

Tom Frame, former Australian Defence Force Anglican Bishop and current Director of St Mark’s National Theological Centre, writes that this book (which he stresses is not autobiographical) comes out of his personal interest in our national cultural and spiritual mood, as well as a personal need to understand why so many of his fellow Australians find religious belief impossible.

After setting a clear platform for the language he uses, Mr Frame examines the context of the Australian spiritual mood.

He explores and evaluates the transition made within our society from Christendom to the present secularised civil institutions, with broad brush strokes largely based on census data and personal observation, and assesses the extent of the loss of religious belief in Australia.

He then seeks to examine the causes of unbelief in general and applies them to the Australian context.

The issues raised by science and philosophy are examined, and Mr Frame writes that, alongside many of the internal conflict issues of religious bodies, they have been the major contributing factors in the growing disregard for religion in our society.

He also explores the rise of alternate spiritualities as substitutes for institutional traditional religion.

In the third and possibly the most contentious part of the book Mr Frame seeks to understand the consequences of unbelief in a society which has its basis in a theistic world view.
The rise of secularism and the increasing marginalisation of religious communities are painted as the logical outcomes in a society which increasingly bases itself on an atheistic world view.

The text is unashamedly academic in nature, but Mr Frame displays an unwavering determination in his journey to understand the world we live in and the changing religious