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Because the concept of the secular is normally conceived as standing in opposition to religion many people may not realize that it originally developed within a religious context. This may also come as quite a surprise to religious fundamentalists who decry the growth of secularism in the modern world. Rather than an atheistic conspiracy to undermine Christian civilization, secularism was originally developed within a Christian context and for the sake of preserving peace among Christians.


Read Article: Religious Origins of Secularism: Secularism is Not an Atheist Conspiracy

April 19, 2010 at 1:21 pm
(1) Alex says:

I’m reading “Freethinkers: A History of American Secularism” by Susan Jacoby right now, which is chock full of information on this very topic. Her book does show that early in the founding of America some believers strongly supported the separation of church and state for all the reasons we know so well – to protect both from the overreaching influence of the other. But others saw secularism as a dirty word, a shorthand for the evil that stood in the way of the establishment of a proper Christian nation.
One thing Jacoby’s book shows clearly is that all the arguments, justifications, and the anecdotal evidence trotted out proudly by both sides (all sides?) in the arguments for and against a secular approach to government in America have all been used extensively in the past. There really is not a single new thought on the subject, just new people unfamiliar with them. Jacoby makes me simultaneously proud and tired. Proud that there have been freethinking individuals fighting the good fight from day one. And tired, that it still has to be fought.

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