Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Hallowed Secularism and Christianity and Judaism

6/19/2007—What is the relationship of hallowed secularism to our religions, especially Christianity and Judaism? Secularism must ask deeper questions about the nature of reality than it has until now. We must ask what is real? What is true? How can human beings live abundantly? The secularist may find answers to these questions that are similar to those of our religions. In fact, I think that will be the case. This is not a matter of believing something to be true, but of investigating to find out what is true. Secularism must be empirical in that it asks what is reality, really? Christianity and Judaism say they do this as well. And sometimes they do. Certainly the authors of the Bible were describing the fundamental truth of reality as they saw it. What if the issue for faith is not belief in anything at all, but instead is trust? The temptation of unbelief for Jesus was not that he might not believe in God, but was his cry, Why have you forsaken me? On the cross, Jesus was tempted not to trust reality. The secularist could be tempted in a similar way. The believer is tempted to deny that behind reality there is the loving power of God always intending my good. The secularist is tempted to deny that existence is meaningful. Dogmatically these are very different. But I am not sure they are different in a fundamental sense. Some Christians say that there are preconditions to salvation that the secularist does not fulfill. If so, the secularist is damned. But we will not know this until after death or on the last day. There is no reason to begin at that point, with dogmatic differences, when we can begin with shared commitments.

All this may sound like hallowed secularism is a way station on the road to one of our religions. It could that for some. Or, it may sound like hallowed secularism is a kind of reinterpretation of biblical religion for a scientific/naturalist age. It is that in part for me. But what hallowed secularism is most basically is the answer to the question, what next?, after one says “I don’t believe in God”.

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