A Short History of Secularism by Graeme Smith

By Graeme Smith

What does it suggest to name Western society 'secular'? what's secularism? and the way should still we comprehend the the concept that of 'secularism' in diplomacy, really the conflict among radical Islam and the West? The be aware 'secular' has come to intend that which belongs to this lifestyles, to the right here and now, during this global. it really is wide-spread as a shorthand for the ideology which shapes modern society regardless of the divine. in spite of the fact that, in keeping with Graeme Smith, 'secularism' represents very much extra. He bargains an intensive reappraisal of the proposal of secularism and its background, starting with the Greeks and continuing to modernity and the modern interval. the belief that the West is changing into more and more secular is frequently unquestioned. in contrast, Dr Smith discerns a unique type of society: one expert by means of a historic legacy which is sensible in simple terms whilst it truly is favored that it's non secular. Secularism used to be born of Christianity. Daringly - and intensely initially - Smith argues that it's most unlikely to appreciate the belief of the secular with no appreciating that, at root, it truly is Christian. a brief heritage of Secularism will essentially reshape discussions of western tradition, faith and politics, and may have robust attract scholars of faith, political philosophy and the heritage of principles.

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Freud was a committed scientist. As the founding father of a new discipline, his scientific credibility was viewed sceptically by established scholars. 9 But this did not prevent Freud from extolling his own approach as scientific. The fear of derision probably encouraged Freud to be something of the arch-scientist. Freud believed that science could explain and, more impressively, allow humanity to control the natural order. He wrote: ‘We believe that it is possible for scientific work to gain some knowledge about the reality of the world, by means of which we can increase our power and in accordance with which we 02c Secularism_020-041:02 32 8/10/07 10:47 Page 32 A Short History of Secularism can arrange our life.

Prior to science, Christianity was the most effective medical remedy for illness and disease. It had replaced paganism as the most effective source of medical cures. Professor Peter Brown, in his monumental biography of Augustine of Hippo, sums up the technological function of religion, in particular Christianity, in ancient medicine. Of the religious culture of fourth century CE, he writes: Augustine grew up in an age where men thought that they shared the physical world with malevolent demons.

Again the working classes would congregate together in vast urban slums, whilst the wealthier either moved out of the city altogether or moved away from the centre to the edges. As suburban housing developed it was populated by the middle classes. These social changes affected the mindsets of populations. Industrialization led to the breakdown of the feudal system and thereby introduced a greater sense of egalitarianism and democracy. Bruce argues that this impacts on the Church, which finds it harder to defend the feudal notion of episcopal hierarchy.

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