Religion of Australian Aborigines Term Paper

Pages: 7 (1910 words)  ·  Style: MLA  ·  Bibliography Sources: 7  ·  File: .docx  ·  Topic: Mythology - Religion

Religion of Australian Aborigines

A Brother?

An Impossible Task?

Fully Human Beings

Uncivilized 3 Christians?

Angry Indigenous Men


A Brother?

An Impossible Task?

Religion differs from magic in that it is not concerned with control or manipulation of the powers confronted.

Rather it means submission to, trust in, and adoration of, what is apprehended as the divine nature of ultimate reality.


I am I not a man and a brother?" (Windschuttle) was the slogan a black slave presented during the time the Enlightenment secularized Christian concepts produce the perception of a common human nature, along with universal human rights. Reconciling Christian morality with the rapacity of imperialism has reportedly been noted, however, to be "an impossible task." Christianity was initially presented to Australia's Aborigines two centuries ago when missionaries arrived with the convict fleets. Amidst Christians trying to implement "an impossible task, the Aborigines, frequently were deemed.".. As subhuman beings who, if troublesome, should be shot like animals," Windschuttle notes. Christian missionaries arrived with the Europeans in Australia. "In 1821 the Wesleyan Missionary Society established the first missionary presence among the aborigines." Following this time, missionaries began to spread their gospel.Get full Download Microsoft Word File access
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Term Paper on Religion of Australian Aborigines Assignment

By mid 19th century, new church settlements virtually spread throughout Australia. Initially, some resistance to missionary was displayed to teaching, evangelical Christianity, nevertheless were widely accepted among the aborigines. "Today over two thirds of Australian aborigines would identify themselves as Christians."("Australian Aboriginal..." During the late eighteenth century, Australian colonies, founded during the Church of England's Evangelical revival, attempted to preserve their contemporary social hierarchy, which included, in 1807, the transport of slaves. In 1883, however, slavery in the British empire was abolished, in part due to the Evangelical movement's demand for the abolition of slavery in the British empire. Evangelicalism, with its attitude to the indigenous people, was consistent with secular English and Scottish Enlightenment thought, which: (Windschuttle)

Supported mankind's unity

Belief that all humans experienced a common origin.

The Australian Enlightenment beliefs, as in the United States, did not contradict Christianity but were dispersed through churches and through their campaigns for social reform.

Fully Human Beings

In 1788, Evangelical and Enlightenment thought agreed on one principal reason Australian colonies' governors were instructed to treat the Aborigines as fully human beings. These colonies attracted Evangelicals, who perceived the opportunity to commit to the world in vital areas; one... A converted Aboriginal race. (Windschuttle) George Augustus Robinson ultimately transported Aborigines from the wild, relocating them in a sanctuary on Flinders Island and made a point to take them the Gospel. Robinson frequently shared the current Evangelical/Enlightenment attitude that men were created equal: "I looked upon them [the Aborigines] as brethren not, as they have been maligned, savages." Instead of trying to conquer this group of individuals, Robinson noted he considered the Aborigines as brothers. (Windschuttle) Many others, nevertheless, did Robinson's, while some others slandered and labeled the Aborigines as "savages."

While some individuals, on the other hand admonished readers to accept Aborigines as fellow human beings, this frequently proved to be an endeavor to counter an "untheoretical" popular racism which "equated indigenous peoples with the monkey or animal kingdom." (Windschuttle) Today, Minogue states three groups of people who populate Australia. One, the majority of individuals who rarely meet an Aborigine. Until recently, these individuals who could be deemed as perhaps a bit prejudiced and/or "rednecks" have seldom considered the Aborigine. The second group, Minogue contends, consists of intellectuals, individuals with power in the media and in universities. When international changes in moral sensibility occur, these particular people are reported to be markedly sensitive. Minogue Some of the third group, the Aborigines, approximately two per cent of the Australian population, live ambiguously with other Australians, while numerous other Aborigines continue to live in a traditional, nomadic manner. "In Aboriginal politics, the running is made by those covered by special government programs, and the community activists who claim to speak for them." Minogue

II. Uncivilized


Seneviratne reports about concerns in 1996 when Aborigines demanded the government compensate them for white Australians taking away the indigenous earlier this century. The Stolen Generation (SG) is challenging the Australian federal government regarding the Northern Territory Aboriginal Ordinance of 1918-57's validity. This policy which permitted "half-caste" aboriginal children to be removed from families, affected approximately 100,000 people. The director of Link-Up (helps reunite separated aboriginal families, Caroll Kendall, is reportedly disturb by the churches' attitude relating to these concerns. According to Kendall, "The churches had a very big part in the removal of our children." Kendall notes Christian's efforts to convert the aborigines. The aborigines, however, practice their own religion. When Link-Up requested access to files to help trace separated aborigines' families, only two churches responded. Numerous individuals contend that churches "were accomplices in the removal of children." (Seneviratne) Lindel Robb, NCC's Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Commission's administrator says individuals seeking lost children have to look into the missions' history. Robb argue that through Christianity, churches have helped numerous aboriginal people express self-determination. Churches also actively campaign to help right wrongs on indigenous concerns. (Seneviratne) While Social Darwinism perpetuated the concept Aborigines were dying out, that full-blooded ones would die away, that mixed blood could be absorbed by society, Christian enthusiasm, on the other hand, maintained the colonizer's role was to aid native people perceived as uncivilized. In the process, aboriginal children disappeared from missions and reserves the church actively set up and managed. (Seneviratne) The dream portrays a primary aspect of the Australian aboriginal belief. The "heart" of Aborigine "religion" contends powerful beings arising out of the land,.".. created or gave birth to people, plant life and animal life, and connected particular groups of people with particular regions and languages." ("Australian Aboriginal...") According to this belief, dreaming presents spirits to individuals. During their childhood, children go through numerous rites of passage to initiate them into adulthood. Practices for boys would include "circumcision, sub-incision into the urethra, blood letting or tooth pulling." Girls on the other hand, would be decorated and subjected food taboos or limited seclusion. According to Aborigine "religion," even now the dreaming beings control the natural world. If the people continue to perform particular rituals, the dreaming beings will reportedly be willing to release the fertility powers. ("Australian Aboriginal...") Christian missionaries arrived with the Europeans in Australia. "In 1821 the Wesleyan Missionary Society established the first missionary presence among the aborigines." Following this time, missionaries began to spread their gospel.

By mid 19th century, new church settlements virtually spread throughout Australia. Initially, some resistance to missionary was displayed to teaching, evangelical Christianity, nevertheless were widely accepted among the aborigines. "Today over two thirds of Australian aborigines would identify themselves as Christians."("Australian Aboriginal.) Not until after the 1950s did anthropologists comprehend that the core of Aboriginal society, religion and the Dreamtime myths are paramount. Their basis consists of.".. An essential unity and harmony between humans, the land and the Dreamtime. The arid climate made a close bond with the land essential." (AIPR Fact sheet) An Aborigine's birth place is considered his/her essential link with his/her inner self, also known as the spirit world. Aborigines are particularly attached to their sacred sites and do not like to be dislocated. During 1986, Spencer and Gillen used a rough translation of the Aranda term "alcheringa" to refer to Dreamtime. "Aborigines later adopted 'Dreamtime' as their own word. The Dreamtime represents: "A sacred heroic time long ago when spirit beings set the sun, moon and stars in their courses, and created the earth, material life and spiritual life." This "religion" also contends the spirits created laws (rituals) as well to give life meaning and continue this way of life. (AIPR Fact sheet)

The four following photos are from OZ CITY AUSTRALIA Web site.


Seneviratne [2] relates details of the Indigenous Australians' impassioned debate regarding spiritual grounds.".. believed to protect women's traditional ancestral spirits." Aboriginals assert the Goolwa channel on a South Australian island possesses spiritual significance, which consequently prompted the federal government to halt development of a tourist playground. For the last 200 years, reports that non-indigenous people have either been ignored or someone has tried to destroy the aborigines' culture and religious beliefs. (Seneviratne [2])

III. Since 911

Angry Indigenous Men

They need spiritual guidance," Karander Seyit, Australian Muslim News editor, said, referring to Australia's aborigines..".. and, if Christianity is not willing to treat them like human beings, I know Islam would." (Marks)

Angry indigenous men, Marks reports, who find Islam empowering, have attracted authorities' attention.

A which have been closely monitoring radical Muslims in Australia since the 11 September attacks and last year's bomb in Bali. (Marks) While a number of these rebellious young Aborigines increasingly convert to Islam, some are also on the verge of embracing theologies that contribute to terrorism. The United States brought 911 on itself, is the message Anthony Mundine, Australia's most famous Aboriginal Muslim, also a boxer, reportedly charged. Approximately 1,000 indigenous Muslims live in Australia. Currently, some of this number of… [END OF PREVIEW] . . . READ MORE

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How to Cite "Religion of Australian Aborigines" Term Paper in a Bibliography:

APA Style

Religion of Australian Aborigines.  (2006, December 8).  Retrieved October 23, 2020, from

MLA Format

"Religion of Australian Aborigines."  8 December 2006.  Web.  23 October 2020. <>.

Chicago Style

"Religion of Australian Aborigines."  December 8, 2006.  Accessed October 23, 2020.