Dictionary.com offers five definitions, but this is supposedly what is meant by the word “secular”.
of or pertaining to worldly things or to things that are not regarded as religious, spiritual, or sacred; temporal: secular interests.
Despite the definition, “becoming secular” is in fact a religious choice. Don’t think so? Then explain these lines from different news articles.
- “America is becoming more secular; Europe is becoming more religious.” — Crises of Faith (www.theatlantic.com)
- “Gallup found that, even though 15 percent claim no religious affiliation, just 9 percent of those respondents don’t believe in God. Despite cries from the New Atheists who say America is becoming more secular, the reverse is true.” — Public Opinion Of Jesus On Easter 2014 Reveals A Still-Majority Christian Nation (www.peoplespunditdaily.com)
- “When it comes to measures like church attendance and belief in God, Cox doesn’t think we’re going to turn into Western Europe any time soon. But these findings do show that we are becoming a more secular nation than previously assumed.” — Americans lie about how much they go to church, even if they don’t belong to one (www.washingtonpost.com)
Do Americans lie about how much they go to church, even if they don’t belong to one? Do people lie when they ask us to take the results of polls too seriously? Do we have satisfactory answers for all our questions?
What should matter to each of us is our own personal choices and the example we set for others, particularly our children. Becoming secular, ignoring God, is a choice. Becoming secular is a choice that says the belief in God simply does not matter, that the subject of God is unimportant. That’s a fool’s choice. If eternity awaits us — eternal life or damnation — then lazily choosing damnation is a fool’s choice.
Consider this passage.
Matthew 25:31-46 English Standard Version (ESV)
The Final Judgment
31 “When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, then he will sit on his glorious throne. 32 Before him will be gathered all the nations, and he will separate people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. 33 And he will place the sheep on his right, but the goats on the left. 34 Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world. 35 For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, 36 I was naked and you clothed me, I was sick and you visited me, I was in prison and you came to me.’ 37 Then the righteous will answer him, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you drink? 38 And when did we see you a stranger and welcome you, or naked and clothe you? 39 And when did we see you sick or in prison and visit you?’ 40 And the King will answer them, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me.’
41 “Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. 42 For I was hungry and you gave me no food, I was thirsty and you gave me no drink, 43 I was a stranger and you did not welcome me, naked and you did not clothe me, sick and in prison and you did not visit me.’ 44 Then they also will answer, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or sick or in prison, and did not minister to you?’ 45 Then he will answer them, saying, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did not do it to one of the least of these, you did not do it to me.’ 46 And these will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life.”
Observe why the Son of Man, the King, condemns the goats. Was it because of anything they did wrong? No. He condemns them because they did not care about His brothers and sisters. He condemns them for a sin of omission. He condemns them for indifference, their indifference to the suffering of others.
Indifference to God: is that what it means to become secular? Isn’t the point of secularism indifference to the existence of God? Doesn’t that choice have profound religious significance? If God does not matter us, if we cannot see evidence of His handiwork in Creation, feel Him at work in our hearts, hear His voice in the Holy Bible, then what could possibly arouse us to love and care for one His brothers and sisters? If God does not matter to us, if through indifference we allow ourselves to become secular, doesn’t that make us one of the goats?