11/6/2007--Today I finished the first draft of the book, Hallowed Secularism: A Guide to the Non-Believer. I thought you would like to see the Conclusion.
There is a sense in which I am not the one who should have written this book. I was raised in a fully religious home and community. I went to religious schools. You could say that God has intervened in my life. I speak to God even now. My journey to secularism has been long and twisting.
My children, in contrast, and their children and the next generations, will be secularists as second nature. Their secularism will not be difficult or a change. And they may not know religion at all.
They will have lost something, certainly. But they will also have gained. For they will come to religion as a source of something more in life than materialism and humanism can offer them. For them, religion will be filled with promise. It will not be a source of conflict and limitation. It will not be implausible.
All this may have been inevitable. We may have to have become secular. We needed to come to religion as truth, “without a supreme authority” as Sarah Blumenthal put it in City of God. We needed to have our science and our rights and then to see that something more was necessary. We needed to feel the incompleteness of our lives without the transcendent. We needed to feel the power of history beyond man. We needed to see our own evil without having to bow down to men in religious costumes. In short, we needed Hallowed Secularism, so that we could truly be religious.
But, then, how could such secularism have ever known to return? So, perhaps, in the end, the hint would have to have been dropped, as it was in Sarah’s case, by a person who had been a part of the religious tradition and who now saw that its particular day was done. Not to end the glory of God, but to see that glory anew.