9/15/2009--For all of you who just could not get enough of the church/state debate at the netroots nation convention, the online magazine religion dispatches has continued the conversation today at Religion Dispatches. Take a look.
Welcome There is a man in America who was taken to church as a child. When he went to a local college Sam spent most of his time with friends, studying, playing games and with nice girls. When holidays came around he went to church with his parents where he liked the preacher's stories but Sam did not believe the parts that insisted that God was the all powerful.
When he took his first job as an accountant Sam was able to live in a nice house and enjoy life around town with his friends. He became engaged to a woman he loved and they had plans for a secure life. As time went on Sam made plans for getting a better job and living a better life.
He moved with his family to a new city where there was a well paying job. When Sam was alone he occasionally had feelings of depression and loneliness even though he loved his family and they loved him. He tried many things like taking his family on vacations and spending more time entertaining his friends but the uplifting benefits of these things would fade quickly.
Sam was very protective of what he had and was very sad when his first child went off to a university. His children visited on occasion, he moved to better jobs and bought nice things to live with. Until the day Sam died he worked to get that better life that America had promised but there was always more that was needed. ****************
Now there is another man in America who was also taken to church as a child. When he went to a local college Pat spent most of his time with friends, studying, playing games and with nice girls. When holidays came around he went to church with his parents where he liked the preacher's stories but Pat did not believe the parts that insisted that God was the all powerful.
When he took his first job as an accountant Pat was able to live in a nice house and enjoy life around town with his friends. He became engaged to a woman he loved and they had plans for an abundant life. As time went on Pat made plans for ensuring that his family would have what they needed.
He moved a few times between jobs looking for one that would pay the bills and was a fulfilling place to work. When Pat was alone he thought about who he was and what the right way was to raise a family. He took his family on vacations, entertained friends and reminded himself constantly that he was lucky to have these things he loved.
Pat had high hopes for his children and encouraged them to take risks while being conscious to do the right thing. He and his wife stayed in the same house and his children came back to visit on occasion. Until the day Pat died he pursued a good life, he love America for providing him the opportunities he had and was fulfilled with his life.
The difference between Sam and Pat is not some psychological difference; it is that Pat believed that there was a universal good within a world of randomness and Sam believed that relationships and objects could make his life good. Sam was a Secularist, Pat was a Hallowed Secularist.
This blog will track the progress of a new way of life in this society, a way of life that may come to be known as Hallowed Secularism. In the short run, I will be writing a book that describes this way of life, at least as I see its future. But in the longer run, others will decide the future of Hallowed Secularism by living it.
A group of self-announced atheists, such as Christopher Hitchens, is currently trying to push secularism toward atheism and away from religion. But secularism need not be atheism. The secularist rejects many things the religious person holds dear: a traditional God, life after death, miracles and so forth. But the secularist can still have a conception of God or Godhead. The secularist may see a deep pattern in history and may feel a profound connection to all that is. Secularism can be holy. You and I will live that possibility.
Author of Church, State, and the Crisis in American Secularism (Indiana University Press 2011), Hallowed Secularism: Theory, Practice, Belief (Palgrave Macmillan 2009) and American Religious Democracy: Coming to Terms with the End of Secular Politics (Praeger 2007)