Wednesday, February 15, 2012
Secularism is not bad for people of faith, but for the undecided middle..
*Now with daft autocorrects fixed*
There is a lot of stuff around about militant secularism just now. The banning of prayers in Bideford, the threat to chaplaincy in prison, there are plenty of other examples where faith is seen to be being pushed from the public sphere.
We are told that this is a threat to people of faith. We are told that it is an affront to believers. That is sort of true, but for those of us who profess to follow Christ in Christian faith and practice, persecution is to be expected. Moreover, persecution seems to be a spawning ground for Christian faith. In places of persecution the church has thrived.
So- I'm not sure I agree with David Lammy, Baroness Warsi and others who say the threat is to people of faith per se.
But militant secularism is a threat to the glorious undecided. By the glorious undecided I mean the folks who don't belong to a faith community but do pray. The people who shop on a Sunday but would like a Christian minister to conduct their funeral. The people (maybe 70% of the population) who haven't firmly signed up to any one religion (including secularism).
These glorious undecided are being threatened by militant secularism: because it is removing the nebulous ground on which they stand, sit, sleep and live. Secularism is removing the permission to explore at leisure. The loud voices of this brash new faith are ignoring thousands of years of people's connection to some kind of divine and are telling us all too loudly that all we have is what is now.
I can't help but feel that that is dangerous- not for established faiths, we have enough inherited experience, real experience of the divine and sheer dogma to cope. But for people who are sort of patching together a set of beliefs, the removal of any sense of connection to the 'out there other' will cause damage. Anyone who takes funerals will see how people have a hotch potch of belief that the secularists would deride. But those beliefs are important to make life safe and doable.. Secularists remove them at their peril..
Posted by Jude at 6:59 AM