Secularity


Secularity

Secularity (adjective form secular) is the state of being separate from religion. ["The American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition." "Secularity". ("1. The condition or quality of being secular. 2. Something secular.")] For instance, eating and bathing may be regarded as examples of secular activities, because there is nothing inherently religious about them. (Note, however, that both eating and bathing are regarded as sacraments by some religious organizations, and therefore would be religious activities in their worldview.) Saying a prayer derived from religious text or doctrine, worshipping through the context of religion, and attending Sunday School are examples of religious (non-secular) activities. However prayer and meditation are not necessarily non-secular being that the concept of spirituality and higher consciousness are not married solely to any religion but are practiced and arose indepedently across a continuum of cultures.

Most businesses and corporations are secular organizations. All state universities in the United States are secular organizations, while some private universities are church-related; among many, four church-related examples are Brigham Young University, University of Notre Dame, Baylor University, and The Catholic University of America. The public university system in the United Kingdom is also secular, although many primary and secondary schools are religiously aligned.

One approximate synonym for secular is "worldly"; another could be phrased as "neutral in religious matters". Approximate antonyms for secular are "religious" and "devout".

Despite occasional confusion, secularity is synonymous neither with atheism nor agnosticism.

Origin of term

This word derives from a Latin word meaning "of the age". The Christian doctrine that God exists outside of time led medieval Western culture to use "secular" to indicate separation from religious affairs and involvement in worldly (or time-related) ones. This meaning has been extended to apply to separation from any religion, regardless of whether it has a similar doctrine.

Modern usage

Examples of "secular" used in this way include:
*"Secular authority", which involves legal and military authority as opposed to clerical authority, or matters the church controls.
*"Secular clergy" in the Roman Catholic Church, who, traditionally, do not live the monastic lives of the regular clergy and are therefore, in a sense, less religious and more worldly. For a related Roman Catholic reference, see Secular institute.
*"Secular education", schools that are not affiliated with churches or other religious organizations.
*"Secular governments", which follow civil laws as opposed to religious authorities like the Islamic Shariah, Catholic Canon law, or Jewish Halakha, and which do not favor any particular religion.
*"Secular Jewish culture", cultural manifestations of Jewishness that are not specifically religious.
*"Secular music", composed for general use, as opposed to Sacred music which is composed for church use. "Secular sonatas", in the 17th century, were those which were not composed to be used in church services.
*"Secular Organizations for Sobriety", a secular alternative to Alcoholics Anonymous, AA being a loosely religious organization although nondenominational.
*"Secular society" refers to aspects of society that are not (mosque, church, synagogue)-affiliated.
*"Secular spirituality", the pursuit of spirituality without a formal affiliation with a church, or other religious organization.
*"Secular state", a nation that has a secular government.

Related concepts

*Laïcité is a French concept related to the separation of state and religion, sometimes rendered by the English cognate neologism "laicity" and also translated by the words "secularity" and "secularization". The word "laïcité" is sometimes characterized as having no exact English equivalent; it is similar to the more moderate definition of secularism, but is not as ambiguous as that word.
*Secularism is an assertion or belief that religious issues should not be the basis of politics, a movement that promotes those ideas or (in the extreme) an ideology that holds that religion has no place in public life. "Secularist" organizations are distinguished from merely "secular" ones by their political advocacy of such positions.

*Laïcisme is the French word that most resembles secularism, especially in the latter's extreme definition, as it is understood by the Catholic Church, which sets "laïcisme" in opposition to the allegedly far milder concept of laïcité. The correspondent word "laicism" (also spelled "laïcism") is sometimes used in English as a synonym for secularism.

ee also

* Separation of church and state
* Anticlericalism

External links

* [http://www.sisr2007.de Conference: Secularity and Religious Vitality]
* [http://www.secularstudents.org Secular Student Alliance]

Notes


Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

Synonyms:

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Secularity — Sec u*lar i*ty, n. [Cf.F. s[ e]cularit[ e], LL. saecularitas.] Supreme attention to the things of the present life; worldliness. [1913 Webster] A secularity of character which makes Christianity and its principal doctrines distasteful or… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • secularity — [sek΄yə ler′ə tē] n. [ME seculerte < ML saecularitas] 1. the state or quality of being secular 2. SECULARISM 3. pl. secularities a secular concern, matter, etc …   English World dictionary

  • secularity — secular ► ADJECTIVE 1) not religious, sacred, or spiritual. 2) (of clergy) not subject to or bound by religious rule. 3) Astronomy denoting slow changes in the motion of the sun or planets. 4) Economics (of a fluctuation or trend) occurring or… …   English terms dictionary

  • secularity — ˌsekyəˈlarəd.ē, rətē, i also ˈler noun ( es) Etymology: Medieval Latin saecularitat , saecularitas, from Late Latin saecularis secular, worldly, pagan + Latin tat , tas ty more at secular 1. : something secular shunning all secularities on the… …   Useful english dictionary

  • secularity — noun see secular I …   New Collegiate Dictionary

  • secularity — /sek yeuh lar i tee/, n., pl. secularities. 1. secular views or beliefs; secularism. 2. the state of being devoted to the affairs of the world; worldliness. 3. a secular matter. [1350 1400; ME. See SECULAR, ITY] * * * …   Universalium

  • secularity — noun The state of being secular …   Wiktionary

  • secularity — sec·u·lar·i·ty || ‚sekjÉ™ lærÉ™tɪ / jÊŠ n. belief in the separation of religious and civil affairs …   English contemporary dictionary

  • secularity — n. Worldliness, secularism, secularness, worldly mindedness …   New dictionary of synonyms

  • secularity — sec·u·lar·i·ty …   English syllables


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