History, Evolution, and The Darwin Debate

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Attacks on secularism

August 25th, 2009 · 3 Comments

UD cites a new book, Hunter Baker’s The End Of Secularism

It is not clear who has harmed the term ‘secularism’ more, the Darwin faithful, the New Atheists, or the ID-ists.
The result is a shift in the meaning of the term ‘secular’ which is destructive to all discussion.
So, let’s be clear: the secular is a temporal boundary emerging in sixteenth, then seventeenth century, in the emergence of a new modernity. Secularism is not therefore a belief system, as such, nor is it equatable with Darwinism, or atheism, or even the Enlightenment. Secularism includes Protestantism, and/or its critics/successors, etc…

The abuse of the term secular by those nervously fanatic about Darwinism as secularism have given ammunition to right-wing anti-modernists who wish to make the attack on the secular a restoration of religious traditionalism.

It is all futile. The secular is quite secure, short of a renewal of the thirty years war and the reactionary or fascist destruction of modern libreral pluralism….

Tags: liberalism · Science & Religion · secularism

3 responses so far ↓

  • 1 Hunter Baker // Aug 25, 2009 at 3:58 pm

    The book makes very clear what kind of secularism it is that I think is terminal. I identify secularism as a public philosophy of community life without God. Religion becomes private. This secularism accompanies the theory of secularization which holds that human beings are actively outgrowing religion.

    You are correct that there is a perfectly good meaning of the word secular. It means “in the world”. Indeed, the Catholics often referred to the secular clergy. They are the clergy who operate in the world.

    The problem is that the correct meaning of the term usually doesn’t apply and the meaning I’ve identified is taking over as the accepted usage. Secular is like the word liberal. It is losing its original meaning.

  • 2 nemo // Aug 26, 2009 at 4:57 pm

    It might help to study the text of your book, therefore, and you are right that the term ‘secular’ can have a confusing usage.
    More on this later.
    Thanks for your comment

  • 3 Darwiniana » Confusions of ’secularism’ // Aug 27, 2009 at 2:13 pm

    […] Comment on Attacks on Secularism by the author of the book. […]

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