Christian Cyclopedia

About the Cyclopedia


(from Lat. saeculum, “race; generation; age; spirit of the age; world”). View based on the premise that this-worldly concepts are a sufficient framework and that religion and religious considerations may be ignored. Secularism is found in ancient (e.g., Lucretius*) and modern (e.g., F. Bacon*) philosophers and in various movements (e.g., Enlightenment,* naturalism,* romanticism,* modern technology, nationalism). When D. Bonhoeffer* spoke of a world that has come of age (“ 'mündig' gewordene Welt”) he doubtless had in mind the fact that modern methods and insights have solved many problems formerly assigned to religious areas. The secularist feels that he no longer needs God, or at least lives as though there were no God.

Cleavage bet. secular and sacred leads to partial secularism. People worship God at fixed times and in fixed ways but live in their business, professional, educ., nat., and soc. world as though there were no God.

The term “secularism” is also applied to a system of ethics which holds that norms should be determined exclusively with reference to this world, i. e., atheistically. EL

See also Bradlaugh, Charles; Holyoake, George Jacob; Ultramontanism.

Edited by: Erwin L. Lueker, Luther Poellot, Paul Jackson
©Concordia Publishing House, 2000, All rights Reserved. Reproduced with Permission

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Content Reproduced with Permission

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