Religious leaders have used their Easter sermons and messages to condemn the rise of atheism, with Sydney Anglican Archbishop Peter Jensen describing the philosophy as an "assault on God".
A day after Sydney Catholic Archbishop Cardinal George Pell criticised non-believers, Dr Jensen said in his Good Friday sermon at the city's St Andrew's Cathedral that atheism was a form of idolatry.
"As we can see by the sheer passion and virulence of the atheist - they seem to hate the Christian God - we are not dealing here with cool philosophy up against faith without a brain," Dr Jensen told worshippers.
Atheism 'is like a religion'
"Atheism is every bit of a religious commitment as Christianity itself.
"It represents the latest version of the human assault on God, born out of resentment that we do not in fact rule the world and that God calls on us to submit our lives to him.
"It is a form of idolatry in which we worship ourselves."
Cardinal Pell of St Mary's Cathedral delivered a similar attack on atheism in his Easter message on Thursday.
He praised government organisations "paid for by the Christian majority" for helping make the Australian way of life the envy of the world, but noted that atheists sponsored no community services.
Atheism 'lead to Nazism'
The new Catholic Archbishop of Parramatta, in Sydney's west, Anthony Fisher, continued the attack in his Easter message.
"Last century we tried godlessness on a grand scale and the effects were devastating: Nazism, Stalinism, Pol Pot-ery, mass murder, abortion and broken relationships - all promoted by state-imposed atheism," he said.
A spokesman for Dr Jensen denied it was a co-ordinated attack by the churchmen.
But he said the comments were likely to have been spurred by the recent Rise of Atheism conference held in Melbourne, which attracted 2500 non-believers and featured renowned figurehead Richard Dawkins.
Religion 'can be dangerous too'
Dr Jensen went on to say in his sermon that religion can be an "even more dangerous" form of idolatry than atheism if incorrectly
"Here, too, religion can simply be the power game under a different guise ... Atheist or religious person - we all need to be
reconciled to God and give him our lives," he added.