Friday, November 30, 2007

What Secularism has meant

reposted from: NSS Newsline 30th November 2007
Chris Street comments are in bright green;
highlights in yellow blockquotes.

Bruce Pitt (Nov 16) says .. We may all find different definitions of secularism using different dictionaries. Reader's Digest (1964) gives primacy to the root meaning (it comes from Latin, saecularis: a lifetime) and notes that it is concerned with this world, before getting to: "sceptical of religious truth or opposed to religious education." Chambers (1972) does similar before getting to "the belief that the state, morals, education, etc, should be independent of religion." Oxford (1998) puts this world first but goes on to imply neutrality towards religion in other matters. (A Catholic dictionary would probably define it as Satanism.) It would seem that secular has lost its age old meaning and may be losing its statutory element. "Challenging religious privilege" (or, perhaps: "Promoting freedom from religion") already reclaims the devoutly-worldly meaning.

Let us not do anything that would encourage believers in socially-sanctioned superstition to join the NSS and destroy it from within.

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