Christian Cultural Heritage

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Secularism and Christianity

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A Term Paper

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As a Requirement in

Course BI 3411

Christian Cultural Heritage

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by

4/8/13
Do we as Christians really believe that secularism is prevalent in our society?  Do we understand its impact and the negative effect is has wrought on U. S. culture?  Before we can answer these questions or provide solutions to overcoming challenges in regard to this topic, we must understand what secularism is. Most of us might feel like Robert Coles as he tells his story of how he heard the phrase “a secular mind” over and over, yet he “wasn’t quite sure what [someone] had in their mind with respect to that kind of mind; nor did they seem interested in defining the phrase” (3). Christianity, Islam, Hinduism, Buddhism, Judaism, Baha’i Faith, Confucianism, Jainism, Shinto, Mormonism, Scientology, and Gnosticism are just a handful of the religions that are in our world today. All of these contain their own belief systems and religious practices. Secularism claims to be a neutral site for all of the numerous religions in the world. Merriam-Webster’s dictionary defines secularism as “indifference to or rejection or exclusion of religion and religious considerations.” In other words, a secular society runs on a nonreligious basis, “therefore in a purely secular state there would be no preferential treatment given to any religious viewpoint, indeed in both local and national affairs there would be no place given to religious convictions” (Phillips 1). There are specific elements to secularism that must be acknowledged in order to address the deeper influence that secularism has had on our society and culture. As a result of the influence, we in the twenty-first century face many challenges of secular beliefs. Christians must meet these challenges in loving and caring ways as we work to return to a solid foundation on which to build our future lives in this country. Although secularism primarily refers to the desire to exclude religion from public life, especially as it pertains to the government, David Phillips makes the point that, “for many people secularism is itself an ideology and as such can perhaps be better defined as secular humanism. This is the belief that religion is irrelevant and unnecessary and the genuine secular humanist will therefore be seeking to eradicate all religion” (3). This way of thinking falls under the umbrella of a secular worldview. We can see how secular humanism has a strong secular set of beliefs from understanding that it is possible to be a “Christian humanist.” Packard and Howard support this by describing that the “Christian humanist” would encourage humans to look to Christ for ultimate fulfillment in life. In so doing, the Christian would point out that “all secular attempts to find a way by which we mortals may live fully and freely seem to end finally in inward desolation, or at best in a stoic refusal to succumb in face of what must horrify us beyond all else, namely the end of our own being” (52). Specific elements that are considered in a secular worldview include, but are not limited to theology, philosophy, ethics, science, psychology, and politics. Secular theology puts man in the place of God. Manifesto II, which is the bible of secular humanism, states: “We find insufficient evidence for belief in the existence of a supernatural; it is either meaningless or irrelevant to the question of the survival and fulfillment of the human race. As non-theists, we begin with humans not God, nature not deity” (Kurtz 16). Although secularism cannot be used synonymously with atheism, it is evident that the secularists’ views parallels with atheism in many areas such as theology. In regard to secular theology this sums up the beliefs of most secularists. The secular...
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