Thursday, October 2, 2008

Secularism and Secularization

Do not be
conformed
to this world,
but be
transformed
by the
renewal of your mind,
that by testing you may
discern
what is
the will of God,
what is
good and acceptable and perfect.
Romans 12:2-3


I recently learned about a man named Os Guiness. His family can be traced back to Hudson Taylor—the famous missionary to China. His grandparents and parents were all missionaries. Os was born in China during World War II and survived the 1949 Communist Revolution. Os remembers living through the house arrest of his missionary parents and a widespread famine that took the lives of five million people.

Here is what Os says about secularism/secularization.
Please take the time to read this....

"Secularism is a philosophy, the idea that there are no gods, no supernatural: atheism, naturalism, and science. That is secularism: a philosophy. Secularization is a process, and it should be distinguished [from secularism]. It is the idea that as the world gets more modern, it gets less religious. Now the theory of secularization was actually grossly overstated for the first 200 years, and it has collapsed. It used to be thought [that] the world inevitably gets less religious as it gets more modern. So Europe was the model and the United States was the exception for the moment, but the whole world would eventually go the way of Europe. That’s now being seen to have the bias of a secular philosophy behind it. It is wrong. Empirically it is wrong. Philosophically it is biased. So the secularization theory is under heavy assault today. But there is some effect of secularization. For instance, in our modern world, most of us, even as Christians, have a tendency to be atheists unawares in the sense [that, like] the modern world, [we put] all the premium on the five senses—what you can touch, taste, see, calculate, measure, weigh, and so on. So [in] many churches the whole understanding is this side of the feeling. You know, I have rarely been in churches in the United States where sometimes in the sermon or worship the ceiling was punctured and you knew you were in the presence of the transcendent. I have rarely experienced that over here, because it is all this side of the ceiling. And you look at, say, much of the church growth movement: They know everything about parking lot theory, the color that your tie has to be, and all sorts of things to grow the perfect church. The church could operationally go on for 50 years if the Holy Spirit withdrew altogether, because it is all this side of the ceiling, it’s all worldly operational procedures. We have actually been much more secularized than we realize. That is why brothers and sisters from Africa or Asia, they know the power of Spirit…for healing or other areas, which many of us in the West simply don’t know. We have words like prayer or the supernatural, but a direct living experience of them we often don’t have.…"

1 comment:

Rajjilicious said...

He's also where you get Guinness beer from.

Thanks for that post. I was trying to understand the distinction between secularism and secularization. One is a -ism, and the other is a -zation. A ideology/philosophy vs. a social process.