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Friday, February 11th, 2011

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    Secular, Secularism and Secularisation
    I've added some clearer definitions of key terms to the beginning of my page on secularisation:

    Secular means without religion. Non-religious people lead secular lives. Secular government runs along rational and humanistic lines. 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].

    Secularism, promoted by secularists, is the belief that religion should be a private, personal, voluntary affair that does not impose upon other people. Political secularism ensures that religions, and non-religious, people are treated fairly, without bias being given towards one religion or against others. It is the only democratic way to proceed in a globalized world.

    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. Religion, because it causes issues, retreats from the public sphere as people prefer to meet on neutral terms, in peace.

    Secularisation Theory is the theory in sociology that as society advances in modernity, religion retreats. Intellectual and scientific developments have undermined the spiritual, supernatural, superstitious and paranormal ideas on which religion relies for its legitimacy. Therefore, religion becomes more and more "hollow", surviving for a while on empty until loss of active membership forces them into obscurity. The evidences and shortcomings of this theory are discussed later in this text.

    Some take the process of secularisation as a personal affront, and think that mere lack of bias from government implies an active attack. They see any reduction in (their own) public religion to be bad, and apparently they do not understand the causes or reasons behind the secularisation of officialdom. Hopefully this page will address this.

    On "Secularisation Theory: Will Modern Society Reject Religion? What is Secularism?" by Vexen Crabtree (2006)

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