The ISSP asked “Which philosophy of life has had most impact on how you live today?” The response options were:
- Christian religion
- Non-Christian religion
- Secular/humanist philosophy
- Other philosophy
- Don’t know/nothing
Overall, 39% of Australians say Christianity is the philosophy that has had the most impact on the way they live. And a staggering 32% say they don’t know what philosophy has had an impact, or that they think no philosophy has had an impact on their life. This provides a fascinating place to start asking questions:
- Is this proportion of the population just badly trained in being able to name different philosophies that impact our lives?
- Do they simply not care to think things through in an active way?
- Does this proportion of the population think that by turning their backs on religion, they somehow have freedom from any kind of framework that shapes how they understand the world and make decisions in it?
What other questions does it raise for you?
NCLS Research provide a couple of different cross-tabulation of the data (comparisons by gender, age etc.). The one I’m interested in is between those born in Australia and those born overseas.
People who live in Australia but were born overseas are more likely than the Australian born to agree:
- that Christian religion impacts how they live (45% compared to 38%);
- that non-Christian religion impacts how they live (9% compared to 4%); and
- that secular or humanist philosophy impacts how they live (10% compared to 8%).
Other philosophies and the don’t know/nothing option are both much lower in the overseas-born population than the Australian born population (9 vs 17% and 27 vs 33% respectively). Now, I’m not sure which of those differences are statistically significant, but they’re fascinating, don’t you think? It just raises even more questions:
- Are the overseas-born just better educated about philosophy and more self aware about what impacts their lives?
- Are the overseas born more reflective about decision-making?