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Spiritual complexity in Australia: Wellbeing and risks
journal contributionposted on 2023-05-15, 03:09 authored by Anna HalafoffAnna Halafoff, Andrew SingletonAndrew Singleton, Ruth Fitzpatrick
The turn of the twenty-first century was characterised by ‘spiritual revolution’, with claims that interest in New Age spirituality was eclipsing religion and would continue to do so in the future. Since then, scholars of religion have been more focused on religious diversity and the rise of the non-religious. While interest in spirituality, uptake of spiritual practices, and identification as ‘spiritual but not religious’ have continued to grow, spirituality is typically not taken as seriously as religion, at least in political spheres or by academia. This article examines the history and contemporary dynamics of spiritual complexity in Australia, drawing on the findings of two Australian Research Council–funded studies ‘The Worldviews of Australia’s Generation Z’ and ‘Religious Diversity in Australia’ and on a recent project ‘(Con)spirituality, Science and COVID-19 in Australia’. It argues that it is certainly time for spirituality to be taken more seriously in this country and globally, given spirituality’s concern with personal and planetary wellbeing, and also the potential risks spirituality can pose due to its association with dis/misinformation, neoliberalism, and violence.