Identity. One word. Four syllables. What is it?

For so long humans have questioned their identity and have sought to understand what the essence of their soul and mind are. They have used it as a tool to explore relationships to determine the core of society. What is the common thread that binds us together?

For thousands of years, the answer has always been – faith and religion, a shared purpose in the supernatural deity that transcends the earth. While I think religion continues to be a source of stability that provides us with purpose, I think we need to also change our focus.

The Australian census is due to be published in just over 6 months’ time. While it reveals many important issues like the condition of the economy and levels of unemployment, the most pressing concern is the growth of religious groups.

The 2016 census revealed, that despite being an overwhelmingly Christian nation, no religion was the fastest-growing category, with only 30% of citizens identifying themselves as not believing in a particular faith.

Recently, I attended an interfaith event, where the discussion was centred around undertaking actions to create a more accepting and tolerant society.

One of the speakers stated, that to build a more harmonious society, it was necessary to shift our identity from one that is based on religion to one that is founded on our status as Australians, or to take it one step further, our position as global citizens.

While I am not suggesting that we forget about religion completely, as it still plays a significant role within society, there needs to be a shift in the foundation of our identity.

Since the birth of organised religion, our conflicts and division have centred around our faith. These divisions have transcended our national borders and have been used as mechanisms to instigate and enable geopolitical conflict.

Until this day, the manipulation of religion is still being used both politically and socially to ostracise communities and prevent them from accessing opportunities.

What binds us together, should not depend on whether we believe in a God or a supernatural being, rather, it should come down to our status as global citizens who want to impart positivity.

While I am not naïve enough to believe that everyone believes in this cause and know there are some who remain indifferent to this view, I still believe that the large majority want to succeed and empower others to do the same.

We all want to be accepted and respected for who we are, and while our faith plays a strong role in that, it shouldn’t form the basis of this belief.

Our acceptance in society should not be conditional on our religious or spiritual affiliations. It should be contingent on us being humans who are worthy of respect and equality for that reason, and that reason alone.

Identity. One word. Four syllables. What is it again?