Secularism

Powerful Essays
Topics: Religion
Also see:
"Anti-Religious Forces: Specific Factors Fuelling Secularisation" by Vexen Crabtree (2003) 1. What do Secular, Secularisation, and Secularisation Theory Mean? 2. Secularisation Theory 1. The Dalai Lama Defends Secularism as a Way to Respect All Religion 2. S. Bruce Defends Secularisation Theory (1996) 3. Religion in Europe 4. The Defiers of Secularisation

1. What do Secular, Secularisation, and Secularisation Theory Mean?
“...the ongoing, growing, and powerful movement called secularism, a way of understanding and living that is indifferent to religion -- in fact, not even concerned enough to pay it any attention, much less oppose it.”
National Council of Churches1
The word secular denotes something that is not religious in nature. So, many people are not religious so they lead secular lives. But belief and practice aren't synonymous, so many things can be secular in nature even though the individuals involved are religious. You can therefore have a secular government, whose activities are not religious and who does not codify or represent a particular religion. This is the norm in democratic countries. The individuals that make up the government are rightly free to have whatever religion they want, as are the populace. Because of this freedom, in a multicultural world, there is a requirement for governments not to cause resentment or divisions by identifying itself with a particular religion. The most well-known phrase proposing secular democracy as an ideal is Jefferson's "wall of separation between church and state" [paraphrased]. Secularisation is the process of things becoming more secular. Most of the Western world has seen this paradigm come to dominate politics and civil life, starting from the time of the Enlightenment.
Secularisation Theory is the theory in sociology that as society advances, religion retreats. Intellectual and scientific developments have undermined the spiritual, supernatural,

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