The Meaning of Secular October 7, 2007

The Meaning of Secular

Nullifidian explains the proper use of the word “secular”:


That is to say, “secular” isn’t the same as “atheism” or “anti-religion.”

When we have “secular schools” or we advocate a secular government, we’re not pushing to indoctrinate people with atheism.

We’re simply saying religious views (and non-religious views) should be kept out of the areas. Not for or against either one.

Granted the common usage of the term is a lot more prevalent than the correct usage… (Hell, I’m the chair of the “Secular Student Alliance.”)

The picture explains the formal, proper use pretty well, though.

[tags]atheist, atheism. humanism[/tags]

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  • Mriana

    This is true and I really think if the religious thought about this long enough, they could very well come to the conclusion there are far too many different beliefs to be pushing Catholism, Protestantism, Islam, Judaism, or one of many other beliefs in the U.S. in which one group or the other would balk about if that happened. Catholics were get upset about Protestantism and vise versa, yet they are both Christian. Episcopalians would get upset about evangelical fundamentalism, yet they are both Protestant.

    Like I said, if people would think it through long enough, no religion in the general public is better than one religion. As you said, it’s not anti-religion, but rather it is considerate of eveyone involved.

  • Kate

    I’m going to print that diagram, make copies, and distribute accordingly whenever I hear moronic statements.

  • Maria

    that’s a great picture. I wish more people would get it b/c I’ve seen some people on both sides use the picture on the left to represent secularism, and it’s stupid and wrong to do that. I’m going to use that picture!

  • Darryl

    In the present state of affairs here in the U.S. that explanation is insufficient. If all sides agreed to keep their religion out of the public space, we could have your view of secularity–but they don’t, and we can’t. It is necessary to publish the reasons for our pro-secular stance, and those reasons include a critique of the damage that religion does to a liberal democracy when it intrudes into the public sphere. Since the political Christian and Islamic fundamentalists consider such a critique an attack, then despite our intentions, these fundamentalists will see secularism as an attack on religion and on them in particular.

    So, “secular” means religious views are private, and theocracy is forbidden.

  • Tim

    Hey, that thing on the left side is the Bad Religion Crossbuster Logo! Sweet!

  • Darryl

    When they’re passing laws
    In Jesus’ name
    Who ya’ gonna’ call: CrossBusters!

    When they hide their flaws
    And have no shame
    Who ya’ gonna’ call: CrossBusters!

  • I’m baaaaaack!

    Thanks for the graphic! I’ve said this for years — that American government is ~not supposed to have an opinion~ on which religion is the correct one. I think some fundies understand this which is why they work very hard to couch evolution as the product of a religion that they call “Science”.

    But Science, like good government, has no opinion which infuriates those who seek insight strictly through emotion (and never testing the validity of the emotion). Damn, I could go on, but I’d be preaching to the choir — secularists do sing, right?

  • Tim wrote:

    Hey, that thing on the left side is the Bad Religion Crossbuster Logo! Sweet!

    Actually, this was just a quick thing I threw together. Any resemblance to same is purely coïncidental, but I guess there can’t be too many variations on an upright tailed cross with a “no” sign overlaid. 🙂

  • Why my previous comment has been attributed to “Bad Religion Crossbuster”, I have no idea…

  • Jamie Gossett

    Jesus (God, son, ect) said you are either with me or against me. Since undecided is neither against nor with, then God considers it against. He does not ackknoledge secularism. being neutral, or indifferent, is an insult to God. It is like saying he isn’t even worth thinking about and that is even worse than being against him. Atheism at least has the conviction to say that they are against God. Christians have the conviction of being for God. Secularism doesn’t have any conviction and therefore doesn’t stand for or against morality/God/ect. The thing about Secularism is that it doesn’t have any foundation or anything to back it up. Atheism is at least something you have strong beleifs saying there is no God because of science, lack of physical evidence, ect. Christianity/other religeons have history and prophets, traditions, ect. to back their claims. Secularism is just not bothering to have any claims at all. If you don’t stand for something, you will fall for anything. Well, those who claim secularism have fallen for everything…materialism, sexual immorality, rumors and gossip, political scandals, investing scams, New Age related nonsense, cults, feminism, and the list goes on and on. If you don’t have strong conviction for something or against something, you are easy pray for someone looking to abuse, exploit, manipulate, harass, con, and everything else. that’s the big problem with secularism. It is like a grab bag, you don’t know what’s in it till it’s too late, and there might not even be anything at all, just packing material. trick or treat, anyone?

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