Secularism and Religion
Ashley L. Cooledge
HIS104: World History Civilization II (AFH1246A)
December 3, 2012
Secularism comes from the European Enlightenment that transformed the way we view things globally; politically and religiously originating from causes of European society back in the Middle-Ages. My paper will highlight some of Europe’s historical events particularly: the Protestant Reformation of Christianity, Wars of religion in the sixteenth century and early periods, the French Revolution and also the Enlightenment. Secularism can be defined as the solution to the bloody and irresolvable wars of religion that fallowed the Reformation. It is the separation of religion and state and understood as the Enlightenment situation. It is a concept that brings together certain behaviors, knowledge’s and sensibilities in modern life. Secularism is an important movement in history. In the sixteenth and seventeenth century the Protestant Reformation was a major European movement that aimed at reforming the beliefs and practices of the Roman Catholic Church. It symbolically shifted the direction of Christian thought which emerged a new worldview of the relationship of the Church to its people and redefined what it means to be a Christian, Martin Luther a German Priest was the influence of why the Protestant Reformation first began to form due to the Catholic Church abusing their status and selling indulgences of salvation to the common people (Getsz & Brook). In the seventeenth century secularism emphasized the complete exclusion of religion from every aspect of public life. The Reformation was thrown into political, military and economic upheaval as nations descended into wars of religion over doctrinal and theological disputes. The war was an international religious conflict and a German civil war involving Lutheran, Reformed, and Catholic regions and nations that lasted for thirty years. Religion plays a unique part in modern society. Religious experience and practice are not declining but religious authority all over the world seem to be, however it has become a commonplace to recognize the vitality of some forms of religion (Chaves. M). The idea of secularism has its roots in Western experience and intellectual traditions, but has nevertheless travelled widely. It has sometimes travelled with colonialists but often by virtue of being a good idea. Its success as a global concept masked empirical complexities that would help us understand the relationship between religion and modernity in general. In Europe the most secularized continent birthplace of the secularization thesis are more complicated. The Protestantism has thrived in modernity and has helped propel its course. It has been involved with generation of new forms of cultural materialization and scholars are beginning to emphasize how important such movements have been as a motor behind the development of modern communications methods and technologies. People are increasingly discussing the various things that a secularist framework projects on to religion with the concern being how false understandings impinge upon religion. More importantly is the possibility that false ideas of religion associated with local notions and experiences of secularism are what our secular apparatus is built upon. If we are designing secularist law, policy, community practice and so on based upon a false notion of religion we may end up with an empty secularism because the focus has gone from religion to secularism to non-religion. Secularism is often found in France back dating in the 1700’s and the French Revolution. Article ten of the 1789 Declaration of the Rights of Man and Citizen states “No one may be disturbed on account of his opinions, even religious ones, as long as the manifestation of such opinions does not interfere with the established Law and Order”. In France today reporter Sevillia acknowledges and...
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