Secularism

Secularism

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Secularism is the principle of separation between government institutions and the persons mandated to represent the State from religious institutions
Theocracy
Theocracy is a form of organization in which the official policy is to be governed by immediate divine guidance or by officials who are regarded as divinely guided, or simply pursuant to the doctrine of a particular religious sect or religion....

 and religious dignitaries
Clergy
Clergy is the generic term used to describe the formal religious leadership within a given religion. A clergyman, churchman or cleric is a member of the clergy, especially one who is a priest, preacher, pastor, or other religious professional....

. In one sense, secularism may assert the right to be free from religious rule and teachings, and the right to freedom from governmental imposition of religion upon the people within a state that is neutral on matters of belief. (See also Separation of church and state
Separation of church and state
The concept of the separation of church and state refers to the distance in the relationship between organized religion and the nation state....

 and Laïcité
Laïcité
French secularism, in French, laïcité is a concept denoting the absence of religious involvement in government affairs as well as absence of government involvement in religious affairs. French secularism has a long history but the current regime is based on the 1905 French law on the Separation of...

.) In another sense, it refers to the view that human activities and decisions, especially political ones, should be unbiased by religious influence. (See also public reason
Public reason
Public reason refers to a common mode of deliberation that individuals may use for issues of public concern. The concept implicitly excludes certain assumptions or motivations that are considered improper as a basis for public decision making, even as a person may apply them in personal decisions...

.) Some scholars are now arguing that the very idea of secularism will change.
Secularism draws its intellectual roots from Greek and Roman philosophers such as Marcus Aurelius and Epicurus
Epicurus
Epicurus was an ancient Greek philosopher and the founder of the school of philosophy called Epicureanism.Only a few fragments and letters remain of Epicurus's 300 written works...

, medieval Muslim
Islamic Golden Age
During the Islamic Golden Age philosophers, scientists and engineers of the Islamic world contributed enormously to technology and culture, both by preserving earlier traditions and by adding their own inventions and innovations...

 polymath
Polymath
A polymath is a person whose expertise spans a significant number of different subject areas. In less formal terms, a polymath may simply be someone who is very knowledgeable...

s such as Ibn Rushd, Enlightenment
Age of Enlightenment
The Age of Enlightenment was an elite cultural movement of intellectuals in 18th century Europe that sought to mobilize the power of reason in order to reform society and advance knowledge. It promoted intellectual interchange and opposed intolerance and abuses in church and state...

 thinkers like Denis Diderot
Denis Diderot
Denis Diderot was a French philosopher, art critic, and writer. He was a prominent person during the Enlightenment and is best known for serving as co-founder and chief editor of and contributor to the Encyclopédie....

, Voltaire
Voltaire
François-Marie Arouet , better known by the pen name Voltaire , was a French Enlightenment writer, historian and philosopher famous for his wit and for his advocacy of civil liberties, including freedom of religion, free trade and separation of church and state...

, Benedict Spinoza, John Locke
John Locke
John Locke FRS , widely known as the Father of Liberalism, was an English philosopher and physician regarded as one of the most influential of Enlightenment thinkers. Considered one of the first of the British empiricists, following the tradition of Francis Bacon, he is equally important to social...

, James Madison
James Madison
James Madison, Jr. was an American statesman and political theorist. He was the fourth President of the United States and is hailed as the “Father of the Constitution” for being the primary author of the United States Constitution and at first an opponent of, and then a key author of the United...

, Thomas Jefferson
Thomas Jefferson
Thomas Jefferson was the principal author of the United States Declaration of Independence and the Statute of Virginia for Religious Freedom , the third President of the United States and founder of the University of Virginia...

, and Thomas Paine
Thomas Paine
Thomas "Tom" Paine was an English author, pamphleteer, radical, inventor, intellectual, revolutionary, and one of the Founding Fathers of the United States...

, and modern freethinkers
Freethought
Freethought is a philosophical viewpoint that holds that opinions should be formed on the basis of science, logic, and reason, and should not be influenced by authority, tradition, or other dogmas...

, agnostics
Agnosticism
Agnosticism is the view that the truth value of certain claims—especially claims about the existence or non-existence of any deity, but also other religious and metaphysical claims—is unknown or unknowable....

 and atheists
Atheism
Atheism is, in a broad sense, the rejection of belief in the existence of deities. In a narrower sense, atheism is specifically the position that there are no deities...

 such as Bertrand Russell
Bertrand Russell
Bertrand Arthur William Russell, 3rd Earl Russell, OM, FRS was a British philosopher, logician, mathematician, historian, and social critic. At various points in his life he considered himself a liberal, a socialist, and a pacifist, but he also admitted that he had never been any of these things...

 and Robert Ingersoll
Robert G. Ingersoll
Robert Green "Bob" Ingersoll was a Civil War veteran, American political leader, and orator during the Golden Age of Freethought, noted for his broad range of culture and his defense of agnosticism. He was nicknamed "The Great Agnostic."-Life and career:Robert Ingersoll was born in Dresden, New York...

.

The purposes and arguments in support of secularism vary widely. In European laicism, it has been argued that secularism is a movement toward modernization
Modernization
In the social sciences, modernization or modernisation refers to a model of an evolutionary transition from a 'pre-modern' or 'traditional' to a 'modern' society. The teleology of modernization is described in social evolutionism theories, existing as a template that has been generally followed by...

, and away from traditional religious values (also known as "secularisation"). This type of secularism, on a social or philosophical level, has often occurred while maintaining an official state church
State church
State churches are organizational bodies within a Christian denomination which are given official status or operated by a state.State churches are not necessarily national churches in the ethnic sense of the term, but the two concepts may overlap in the case of a nation state where the state...

 or other state support of religion. In the United States
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

, some argue that state secularism has served to a greater extent to protect religion from governmental interference, while secularism on a social level is less prevalent. Within countries as well, differing political movements support secularism for varying reasons.

Overview


The term "secularism" was first used by the British
United Kingdom
The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern IrelandIn the United Kingdom and Dependencies, other languages have been officially recognised as legitimate autochthonous languages under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages...

 writer George Holyoake
George Holyoake
George Jacob Holyoake , English secularist and co-operator, was born in Birmingham, England. He coined the term "secularism" in 1851 and the term "jingoism" in 1878.-Owenism:...

 in 1851. Although the term was new, the general notions of freethought
Freethought
Freethought is a philosophical viewpoint that holds that opinions should be formed on the basis of science, logic, and reason, and should not be influenced by authority, tradition, or other dogmas...

 on which it was based had existed throughout history
History
History is the discovery, collection, organization, and presentation of information about past events. History can also mean the period of time after writing was invented. Scholars who write about history are called historians...

. In particular, early secular ideas involving the separation of philosophy
Philosophy
Philosophy is the study of general and fundamental problems, such as those connected with existence, knowledge, values, reason, mind, and language. Philosophy is distinguished from other ways of addressing such problems by its critical, generally systematic approach and its reliance on rational...

 and religion
Religion
Religion is a collection of cultural systems, belief systems, and worldviews that establishes symbols that relate humanity to spirituality and, sometimes, to moral values. Many religions have narratives, symbols, traditions and sacred histories that are intended to give meaning to life or to...

 can be traced back to Ibn Rushd
Averroes
' , better known just as Ibn Rushd , and in European literature as Averroes , was a Muslim polymath; a master of Aristotelian philosophy, Islamic philosophy, Islamic theology, Maliki law and jurisprudence, logic, psychology, politics, Arabic music theory, and the sciences of medicine, astronomy,...

 (Averroes) and the Averroism
Averroism
Averroism is the term applied to either of two philosophical trends among scholastics in the late 13th century: the Arab philosopher Averroës or Ibn Rushd's interpretations of Aristotle and his reconciliation of Aristotelianism with Islamic faith; and the application of these ideas in the Latin...

 school of philosophy. Holyoake invented the term "secularism" to describe his views of promoting a social order separate from religion, without actively dismissing or criticizing religious belief. An agnostic himself, Holyoake argued that "Secularism is not an argument against Christianity, it is one independent of it. It does not question the pretensions of Christianity; it advances others. Secularism does not say there is no light or guidance elsewhere, but maintains that there is light and guidance in secular truth, whose conditions and sanctions exist independently, and act forever. Secular knowledge is manifestly that kind of knowledge which is founded in this life, which relates to the conduct of this life, conduces to the welfare of this life, and is capable of being tested by the experience of this life."

Barry Kosmin of the Institute for the Study of Secularism in Society and Culture
Institute for the Study of Secularism in Society and Culture
The Institute for the Study of Secularism in Society and Culture is located at Trinity College in Hartford, Connecticut. ISSSC was established in 2005 to advance the understanding of the role of secular values and the process of secularization in contemporary society and culture...

 breaks modern secularism into two types: hard and soft secularism. According to Kosmin, "the hard secularist considers religious propositions to be epistemologically illegitimate, warranted by neither reason nor experience." However, in the view of soft secularism, "the attainment of absolute truth was impossible and therefore skepticism and tolerance should be the principle and overriding values in the discussion of science and religion."

State secularism




In political terms, secularism is a movement towards the separation of religion and government (often termed the separation of church and state
Separation of church and state
The concept of the separation of church and state refers to the distance in the relationship between organized religion and the nation state....

). This can refer to reducing ties between a government and a state religion
State religion
A state religion is a religious body or creed officially endorsed by the state...

, replacing laws based on scripture (such as the Torah
Torah
Torah- A scroll containing the first five books of the BibleThe Torah , is name given by Jews to the first five books of the bible—Genesis , Exodus , Leviticus , Numbers and Deuteronomy Torah- A scroll containing the first five books of the BibleThe Torah , is name given by Jews to the first five...

 and Sharia
Sharia
Sharia law, is the moral code and religious law of Islam. Sharia is derived from two primary sources of Islamic law: the precepts set forth in the Quran, and the example set by the Islamic prophet Muhammad in the Sunnah. Fiqh jurisprudence interprets and extends the application of sharia to...

 law) with civil laws, and eliminating discrimination on the basis of religion. This is said to add to democracy by protecting the rights of religious minorities.

Secularism is often associated with the Age of Enlightenment
Age of Enlightenment
The Age of Enlightenment was an elite cultural movement of intellectuals in 18th century Europe that sought to mobilize the power of reason in order to reform society and advance knowledge. It promoted intellectual interchange and opposed intolerance and abuses in church and state...

 in Europe and plays a major role in Western society
Western culture
Western culture, sometimes equated with Western civilization or European civilization, refers to cultures of European origin and is used very broadly to refer to a heritage of social norms, ethical values, traditional customs, religious beliefs, political systems, and specific artifacts and...

. The principles, but not necessarily practices, of separation of church and state in the United States
Separation of church and state in the United States
The phrase "separation of church and state" , attributed to Thomas Jefferson and others, and since quoted by the Supreme Court of the United States, expresses an understanding of the intent and function of the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment to the Constitution of the United States...

 and Laïcité
Laïcité
French secularism, in French, laïcité is a concept denoting the absence of religious involvement in government affairs as well as absence of government involvement in religious affairs. French secularism has a long history but the current regime is based on the 1905 French law on the Separation of...

in France
France
The French Republic , The French Republic , The French Republic , (commonly known as France , is a unitary semi-presidential republic in Western Europe with several overseas territories and islands located on other continents and in the Indian, Pacific, and Atlantic oceans. Metropolitan France...

 draw heavily on secularism. Secular states also existed in the Islamic world
Islamic Golden Age
During the Islamic Golden Age philosophers, scientists and engineers of the Islamic world contributed enormously to technology and culture, both by preserving earlier traditions and by adding their own inventions and innovations...

 during the Middle Ages
Middle Ages
The Middle Ages is a periodization of European history from the 5th century to the 15th century. The Middle Ages follows the fall of the Western Roman Empire in 476 and precedes the Early Modern Era. It is the middle period of a three-period division of Western history: Classic, Medieval and Modern...

 (see Islam and secularism
Islam and secularism
The idea of secularism in Islam means favoring a modern secular democracy with separation of mosque and state, as opposed to Islam as a political movement. Secularism in the Muslim countries refers to the ideology of promoting the secular as opposed to the religion. It is often used to describe...

).

Due in part to the belief in the separation of church and state, secularists tend to prefer that politicians make decisions for secular rather than religious reasons. In this respect, policy decisions pertaining to topics like abortion
Abortion
Abortion is defined as the termination of pregnancy by the removal or expulsion from the uterus of a fetus or embryo prior to viability. An abortion can occur spontaneously, in which case it is usually called a miscarriage, or it can be purposely induced...

, contraception
Contraception
Contraception is the prevention of the fusion of gametes during or after sexual activity. The term contraception is a contraction of contra, which means against, and the word conception, meaning fertilization...

, embryonic stem cell
Embryonic stem cell
Embryonic stem cells are pluripotent stem cells derived from the inner cell mass of the blastocyst, an early-stage embryo. Human embryos reach the blastocyst stage 4–5 days post fertilization, at which time they consist of 50–150 cells...

 research, same-sex marriage
Same-sex marriage
Same-sex marriage is marriage between two persons of the same biological sex or social gender. Supporters of legal recognition for same-sex marriage typically refer to such recognition as marriage equality....

, and sex education
Sex education
Sex education refers to formal programs of instruction on a wide range of issues relating to human sexuality, including human sexual anatomy, sexual reproduction, sexual intercourse, reproductive health, emotional relations, reproductive rights and responsibilities, abstinence, contraception, and...

 are prominently focused upon by American secularist organizations such as the Center for Inquiry
Center for Inquiry
The Center for Inquiry is a non-profit educational organization with headquarters in the United States whose primary mission is to encourage evidence-based inquiry into paranormal and fringe science claims, alternative medicine and mental health practices, religion, secular ethics, and society...

.

Most major religions accept the primacy of the rules of secular, democratic society but may still seek to influence political decisions or achieve specific privileges or influence through church-state agreements such as a concordat
Concordat
A concordat is an agreement between the Holy See of the Catholic Church and a sovereign state on religious matters. Legally, they are international treaties. They often includes both recognition and privileges for the Catholic Church in a particular country...

. Many Christians support a secular state, and may acknowledge that the conception has support in Biblical teachings, particularly Jesus' statement, "Then give to Caesar what is Caesar's, and to God what is God's." (See article
Render unto Caesar...
"Render unto Caesar…" is the beginning of a phrase attributed to Jesus in the synoptic gospels, which reads in full, "Render unto Caesar the things which are Caesar's, and unto God the things that are God's" ....

). However, some Christian fundamentalists (notably in the United States) oppose secularism, often claiming that there is a "radical secularist" ideology being adopted in current days and see secularism as a threat to "Christian rights" and national security. The most significant forces of religious fundamentalism in the contemporary world are Fundamentalist Christianity
Fundamentalist Christianity
Christian fundamentalism, also known as Fundamentalist Christianity, or Fundamentalism, arose out of British and American Protestantism in the late 19th century and early 20th century among evangelical Christians...

 and Fundamentalist Islam. At the same time, one significant stream of secularism has come from religious minorities who see governmental and political secularism as integral to preserving equal rights.

Some of the well known states that are often considered "constitution
Constitution
A constitution is a set of fundamental principles or established precedents according to which a state or other organization is governed. These rules together make up, i.e. constitute, what the entity is...

ally secular" are USA, France
France
The French Republic , The French Republic , The French Republic , (commonly known as France , is a unitary semi-presidential republic in Western Europe with several overseas territories and islands located on other continents and in the Indian, Pacific, and Atlantic oceans. Metropolitan France...

, India
India
India , officially the Republic of India , is a country in South Asia. It is the seventh-largest country by geographical area, the second-most populous country with over 1.2 billion people, and the most populous democracy in the world...

, Mexico
Mexico
The United Mexican States , commonly known as Mexico , is a federal constitutional republic in North America. It is bordered on the north by the United States; on the south and west by the Pacific Ocean; on the southeast by Guatemala, Belize, and the Caribbean Sea; and on the east by the Gulf of...

  South Korea
South Korea
The Republic of Korea , , is a sovereign state in East Asia, located on the southern portion of the Korean Peninsula. It is neighbored by the People's Republic of China to the west, Japan to the east, North Korea to the north, and the East China Sea and Republic of China to the south...

, and Turkey
Turkey
Turkey , known officially as the Republic of Turkey , is a Eurasian country located in Western Asia and in East Thrace in Southeastern Europe...

 although none of these nations have identical forms of governance.

Secular society


In studies of religion, modern Western societies
Western culture
Western culture, sometimes equated with Western civilization or European civilization, refers to cultures of European origin and is used very broadly to refer to a heritage of social norms, ethical values, traditional customs, religious beliefs, political systems, and specific artifacts and...

 are generally recognized as secular. This is due to the near-complete freedom of religion
Freedom of religion
Freedom of religion is a principle that supports the freedom of an individual or community, in public or private, to manifest religion or belief in teaching, practice, worship, and observance; the concept is generally recognized also to include the freedom to change religion or not to follow any...

 (beliefs on religion generally are not subject to legal or social sanctions), and the lack of authority of religious leaders over political decisions. Nevertheless, religious beliefs are widely considered a relevant part of the political discourse in many of these countries. This contrasts with other Western countries where religious references are generally considered out-of-place in mainstream politics.

The nature of a secular society could characterize a secular society as one which:
  1. Refuses to commit itself as a whole to any one view of the nature of the universe and the role of man in it.
  2. Is not homogenous, but is pluralistic.
  3. Is tolerant. It widens the sphere of private decision-making.
  4. While every society must have some common aims, which implies there must be agreed on methods of problem-solving, and a common framework of law; in a secular society these are as limited as possible.
  5. Problem solving
    Problem solving
    Problem solving is a mental process and is part of the larger problem process that includes problem finding and problem shaping. Consideredthe most complex of all intellectual functions, problem solving has been defined as higher-order cognitive process that requires the modulation and control of...

     is approached rationally, through examination of the facts. While the secular society does not set any overall aim, it helps its members realize their aims.
  6. Is a society without any official images. Nor is there a common ideal type of behavior with universal application.


Positive Ideals behind the secular society
  1. Deep respect for individuals and the small groups of which they are a part.
  2. Equality of all people.
  3. Each person should be helped to realize their particular excellence.
  4. Breaking down of the barriers of class and caste.


Modern sociology
Sociology
Sociology is the study of society. It is a social science—a term with which it is sometimes synonymous—which uses various methods of empirical investigation and critical analysis to develop a body of knowledge about human social activity...

 has, since Max Weber
Max Weber
Karl Emil Maximilian "Max" Weber was a German sociologist and political economist who profoundly influenced social theory, social research, and the discipline of sociology itself...

, often been preoccupied with the problem of authority
Authority
The word Authority is derived mainly from the Latin word auctoritas, meaning invention, advice, opinion, influence, or command. In English, the word 'authority' can be used to mean power given by the state or by academic knowledge of an area .-Authority in Philosophy:In...

 in secularized societies and with secularization
Secularization
Secularization is the transformation of a society from close identification with religious values and institutions toward non-religious values and secular institutions...

 as a sociological or historical process. Twentieth-century scholars whose work has contributed to the understanding of these matters include Carl L. Becker
Carl L. Becker
Carl Lotus Becker was an American historian.-Life:He was born in Waterloo, Iowa. He studied at the University of Wisconsin–Madison. Frederick Jackson Turner was his doctoral advisor there. Becker got his Ph.D. in 1907. He was John Wendell Anderson Professor of History in the Department of History...

, Karl Löwith
Karl Löwith
Karl Löwith , was a German philosopher, a student of Heidegger.Löwith was born in Munich. Though he was himself Protestant, his family was of Jewish descent and he therefore had to emigrate Germany in 1934 because of the National Socialist regime. He went to Italy and in 1936 he went to Japan...

, Hans Blumenberg
Hans Blumenberg
Hans Blumenberg was a German philosopher.He studied philosophy, Germanistics and classics and is considered to be one of the most important German philosophers of recent decades...

, M.H. Abrams, Peter L. Berger
Peter L. Berger
Peter Ludwig Berger is an Austrian-born American sociologist well known for his work, co-authored with Thomas Luckmann, The Social Construction of Reality: A Treatise in the Sociology of Knowledge .-Biography:...

, Paul Bénichou
Paul Bénichou
Paul Bénichou, was a French writer, intellectual, critic, and literary historian.Bénichou first achieved prominence in 1948 with Morales du grand siècle, his work on the social context of the French seventeenth-century classics...

 and D. L. Munby, among others.

Some societies become increasingly secular as the result of social processes, rather than through the actions of a dedicated secular movement; this process is known as secularization
Secularization
Secularization is the transformation of a society from close identification with religious values and institutions toward non-religious values and secular institutions...

.

Secular ethics


George Holyoake
George Holyoake
George Jacob Holyoake , English secularist and co-operator, was born in Birmingham, England. He coined the term "secularism" in 1851 and the term "jingoism" in 1878.-Owenism:...

's 1896 publication English Secularism defines secularism as:

Secularism is a code of duty pertaining to this life, founded on considerations purely human, and intended mainly for those who find theology indefinite or inadequate, unreliable or unbelievable. Its essential principles are three: (1) The improvement of this life by material means. (2) That science is the available Providence of man. (3) That it is good to do good. Whether there be other good or not, the good of the present life is good, and it is good to seek that good.


Holyoake held that secularism and secular ethics
Secular ethics
Secular ethics is a branch of moral philosophy in which ethics is based solely on human faculties such as logic, reason or moral intuition, and not derived from purported supernatural revelation or guidance...

 should take no interest at all in religious questions (as they were irrelevant), and was thus to be distinguished from strong freethought
Freethought
Freethought is a philosophical viewpoint that holds that opinions should be formed on the basis of science, logic, and reason, and should not be influenced by authority, tradition, or other dogmas...

 and atheism. In this he disagreed with Charles Bradlaugh
Charles Bradlaugh
Charles Bradlaugh was a political activist and one of the most famous English atheists of the 19th century. He founded the National Secular Society in 1866.-Early life:...

, and the disagreement split the secularist movement between those who argued that anti-religious movements and activism was not necessary or desirable and those who argued that it was.

Contemporary ethical debate is often described as "secular", with the work of Derek Parfit
Derek Parfit
Derek Parfit is a British philosopher who specializes in problems of personal identity, rationality and ethics, and the relations between them. His 1984 book Reasons and Persons has been very influential...

 and Peter Singer
Peter Singer
Peter Albert David Singer is an Australian philosopher who is the Ira W. DeCamp Professor of Bioethics at Princeton University and Laureate Professor at the Centre for Applied Philosophy and Public Ethics at the University of Melbourne...

, and even the whole field of contemporary bioethics, having been described or self-described as explicitly secular or non-religious.

Organizations



Groups such as the National Secular Society
National Secular Society
The National Secular Society is a British campaigning organisation that promotes secularism and the separation of church and state. It holds that no-one should gain advantage or disadvantage because of their religion or lack of religion. It was founded by Charles Bradlaugh in 1866...

 (United Kingdom) and Americans United campaign for secularism are often supported by Humanists
Humanism
Humanism is an approach in study, philosophy, world view or practice that focuses on human values and concerns. In philosophy and social science, humanism is a perspective which affirms some notion of human nature, and is contrasted with anti-humanism....

. In 2005, the National Secular Society held the inaugural "Secularist of the Year" awards ceremony. Its first winner was Maryam Namazie
Maryam Namazie
Maryam Namazie is a human rights activist, commentator and broadcaster. Namazie has served as the executive director of the International Federation of Iranian Refugees. She is spokesperson for the One Law for All Campaign against Sharia Law in Britain. The campaign is opposed to faith based laws...

, of the Worker-Communist Party of Iran
Worker-Communist Party of Iran
The Worker-communist Party of Iran founded 1991, is a political party that seeks the revolutionary overthrow of the Islamic Republic of Iran and the establishment of a 'Socialist Republic' in its place...

.

Another secularist organization is the Secular Coalition for America
Secular Coalition for America
The Secular Coalition for America is an advocacy group located in Washington D.C., representing atheists, humanists, freethinkers, agnostics, and other non-theistic people with a naturalistic worldview in American politics. Sean Faircloth, a five-term Maine state legislator, served as Executive...

. The Secular Coalition for America lobbies and advocates for separation of church and state as well as the acceptance and inclusion of Secular Americans in American life and public policy. While Secular Coalition for America is linked to many secular humanistic organizations and many secular humanists
Secular humanism
Secular Humanism, alternatively known as Humanism , is a secular philosophy that embraces human reason, ethics, justice, and the search for human fulfillment...

 support it, as with the Secular Society, some non-humanists support it.

Local organizations work to raise the profile of secularism in their communities and tend to include secularists, freethinkers, atheists, agnostics, and humanists under their organizational umbrella.

Student Organizations, such as the Toronto Secular Alliance, try to popularize nontheism and secularism on campus. The Secular Student Alliance
Secular Student Alliance
The Secular Student Alliance , founded in May 2000, is an independent, democratically structured organization in the U.S. that aims to serve the needs of freethinking high school and college students. The Secular Student Alliance is based in Columbus, Ohio...

 is an educational nonprofit that organizes and aids such high school and college secular student groups.

In Turkey, the most prominent and active secularist organization is Atatürk Thought Association
Atatürk Thought Association
Atatürk Thought Association is a secular organization that espouses the ideas of Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, the founder of modern Turkey. The group is opposed to the Islamist tenets enacted by Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini in Iran and wants to ensure that religion and state remain separate in Turkey...

 (ADD), which is credited for organizing the Republic Protests
Republic Protests
The Republic Protests were a series of peaceful mass rallies that took place in Turkey in 2007 in support of a strict principle of state secularism....

 – demonstrations in the four largest cities in Turkey in 2007, where over 2 million people, mostly women, defended their concern in and support of secularist principles introduced by Mustafa Kemal Atatürk
Mustafa Kemal Atatürk
Mustafa Kemal Atatürk was an Ottoman and Turkish army officer, revolutionary statesman, writer, and the first President of Turkey. He is credited with being the founder of the Republic of Turkey....

.

Leicester Secular Society
Leicester Secular Society
Leicester Secular Society is the world's oldest Secular Society. It meets at its headquarters, the Leicester Secular Hall in the centre of Leicester, England, at 75 Humberstone Gate.-Founding of the Society:...

 founded in 1851 is the world's oldest secular society.

See also


  • Agnosticism
    Agnosticism
    Agnosticism is the view that the truth value of certain claims—especially claims about the existence or non-existence of any deity, but also other religious and metaphysical claims—is unknown or unknowable....

  • Anticlericalism
  • Atheism
    Atheism
    Atheism is, in a broad sense, the rejection of belief in the existence of deities. In a narrower sense, atheism is specifically the position that there are no deities...

  • Antitheism
    Antitheism
    Antitheism is active opposition to theism. The etymological roots of the word are the Greek 'anti-' and 'theismos'...

  • Civil religion
    Civil religion
    The intended meaning of the term civil religion often varies according to whether one is a sociologist of religion or a professional political commentator...

  • Clericalism
    Clericalism
    Clericalism is the application of the formal, church-based, leadership or opinion of ordained clergy in matters of either the church or broader political and sociocultural import...

  • Concordat
    Concordat
    A concordat is an agreement between the Holy See of the Catholic Church and a sovereign state on religious matters. Legally, they are international treaties. They often includes both recognition and privileges for the Catholic Church in a particular country...

  • Deism
    Deism
    Deism in religious philosophy is the belief that reason and observation of the natural world, without the need for organized religion, can determine that the universe is the product of an all-powerful creator. According to deists, the creator does not intervene in human affairs or suspend the...

  • Freethought
    Freethought
    Freethought is a philosophical viewpoint that holds that opinions should be formed on the basis of science, logic, and reason, and should not be influenced by authority, tradition, or other dogmas...

  • Humanism
    Humanism
    Humanism is an approach in study, philosophy, world view or practice that focuses on human values and concerns. In philosophy and social science, humanism is a perspective which affirms some notion of human nature, and is contrasted with anti-humanism....

  • Ignosticism
    Ignosticism
    Ignosticism or igtheism is the theological position that every other theological position assumes too much about the concept of God and many other theological concepts...

  • Laïcité
    Laïcité
    French secularism, in French, laïcité is a concept denoting the absence of religious involvement in government affairs as well as absence of government involvement in religious affairs. French secularism has a long history but the current regime is based on the 1905 French law on the Separation of...


  • Multiculturalism
    Multiculturalism
    Multiculturalism is the appreciation, acceptance or promotion of multiple cultures, applied to the demographic make-up of a specific place, usually at the organizational level, e.g...

  • Naturalism
    Naturalism (philosophy)
    Naturalism commonly refers to the philosophical viewpoint that the natural universe and its natural laws and forces operate in the universe, and that nothing exists beyond the natural universe or, if it does, it does not affect the natural universe that we know...

  • Nontheism
    Nontheism
    Nontheism is a term that covers a range of both religious and nonreligious attitudes characterized by the absence of — or the rejection of — theism or any belief in a personal god or gods...

  • Pluralism
  • Political Catholicism
    Political Catholicism
    Political catholicism is a political and cultural conception which promotes the ideas and social teaching of the Catholic Church in public life...

  • Postsecularism
    Postsecularism
    Postsecularism is a theoretical concept whose central idea is that Western Secularism may have come to an end.-Literature:* During, Simon. "Toward the Postsecular". PMLA: Publications of the Modern Language Association of America: 120.3 , pp. 876–77.* McClure, John A.. Partial Faiths:...

  • Pseudo-Secularism
    Pseudo-secularism
    Pseudo-secularism is the state of implicit non-secular trends in the face of pledged secularism. The term is used by groups who perceive a double standard exhibited within the established secular governing policy towards culturally different groups....

  • Rationalism
    Rationalism
    In epistemology and in its modern sense, rationalism is "any view appealing to reason as a source of knowledge or justification" . In more technical terms, it is a method or a theory "in which the criterion of the truth is not sensory but intellectual and deductive"...

  • Religious toleration
    Religious toleration
    Toleration is "the practice of deliberately allowing or permitting a thing of which one disapproves. One can meaningfully speak of tolerating, ie of allowing or permitting, only if one is in a position to disallow”. It has also been defined as "to bear or endure" or "to nourish, sustain or preserve"...

  • Secular humanism
    Secular humanism
    Secular Humanism, alternatively known as Humanism , is a secular philosophy that embraces human reason, ethics, justice, and the search for human fulfillment...

  • Secular state
    Secular state
    A secular state is a concept of secularism, whereby a state or country purports to be officially neutral in matters of religion, supporting neither religion nor irreligion. A secular state also claims to treat all its citizens equally regardless of religion, and claims to avoid preferential...

  • Secularism in Bangladesh
    Secularism in Bangladesh
    "Secularism", or Dhormo Niropekhota in Bengali, is one of the fundamental principles that drove the Bengali nationalist movement and subsequent Bangladesh Liberation War which led to the creation of Bangladesh, which had been founded as a democratic secular nation-state...

  • Secularism in India

  • Secularism in Iran
    Secularism in Iran
    Secularism in Iran first started in 1924 when Reza Shah was crowned the new monarch. Afterwards he established for the first time a state policy of secularism that made it illegal for any public display or expression of religious faith, including the wearing of the headscarf and chador by women...

  • Secularism in Turkey
    Secularism in Turkey
    Secularism in Turkey defines the relationship between religion and state in the country of Turkey. Secularism was first introduced with the 1928 amendment of the Constitution of 1924, which removed the provision declaring that the "Religion of the State is Islam", and with the later reforms of...

  • Secularism (South Asia)
  • Secularity
    Secularity
    Secularity is the state of being separate from religion.For instance, eating and bathing may be regarded as examples of secular activities, because there may not be anything inherently religious about them...

  • Secularization
    Secularization
    Secularization is the transformation of a society from close identification with religious values and institutions toward non-religious values and secular institutions...

  • Separation of church and state
    Separation of church and state
    The concept of the separation of church and state refers to the distance in the relationship between organized religion and the nation state....

  • Six Arrows of Kemal Atatürk
  • State atheism
    State atheism
    State atheism is the official "promotion of atheism" by a government, sometimes combined with active suppression of religious freedom and practice...


Contrast:
  • Theocracy
    Theocracy
    Theocracy is a form of organization in which the official policy is to be governed by immediate divine guidance or by officials who are regarded as divinely guided, or simply pursuant to the doctrine of a particular religious sect or religion....

  • Religious police

Further reading


Secular ethic
  • Boyer, Pascal (2002). Religion Explained: The Evolutionary Origins of Religious Thought. ISBN 0-465-00696-5
  • Cliteur, Paul (2010). The Secular Outlook: in defense of moral and political secularism. ISBN 978-4443-3521-7
  • Dacey, Austin (2008). The Secular Conscience: Why belief belongs in public life. ISBN 978-1-59102-604-4
  • Holyoake, G.J. (1898). The Origin and Nature of Secularism. London: Watts & Co.
  • Jacoby, Susan (2004). Freethinkers: a history of American secularism. New York: Metropolitan Books. ISBN 0-8050-7442-2
  • Nash, David (1992). Secularism, Art and Freedom. London: Continuum International. ISBN 0-7185-1417-3 (paperback published by Continuum, 1994: ISBN 0-7185-2084-X)
  • Royle, Edward
    Edward Royle
    Edward Royle is Emeritus Professor of History at the University of York and author of books on the history of religious ideas, particularly in Yorkshire.-Career:...

     (1974). Victorian Infidels: the origins of the British Secularist Movement, 1791–1866. Manchester: Manchester University Press. ISBN 0-7190-0557-4 Online version
  • Royle, Edward
    Edward Royle
    Edward Royle is Emeritus Professor of History at the University of York and author of books on the history of religious ideas, particularly in Yorkshire.-Career:...

     (1980). Radicals, Secularists and Republicans: popular freethought in Britain, 1866–1915. Manchester: Manchester University Press. ISBN 0-7190-0783-6
  • Asad,Talal(2003). " Formations Of The Secular: Christianity,Islam,Modernity ". Stanford University Press. ISBN 08047-4768-7
  • Taylor, Charles (2007). A Secular Age. Cambridge: The Belknap Press of Harvard University Press. ISBN 978-0-674-02676-6


Secular society
See also the references list in the article on secularization
Secularization
Secularization is the transformation of a society from close identification with religious values and institutions toward non-religious values and secular institutions...

  • Berger, Peter L. (1967) The Sacred Canopy: Elements of a Sociological Theory of Religion. Garden City, NY: Doubleday.
  • Chadwick, Owen (1975). The Secularization of the European mind in the nineteenth century. Cambridge University Press.
  • Cox, Harvey (1996). The Secular City: Secularization and Urbanization in Theological Perspective. NY: Macmillan.
  • Kosmin, Barry A. and Ariela Keysar (2007). Secularism and Secularity: Contemporary International Perspectives. Institute for the Study of Secularism in Society and Culture. ISBN 978-0-9794816-0-4; ISBN 0-9794816-0-0
  • Martin, David (1978). A General Theory of Secularization. Oxford: Blackwell. ISBN 0-631-18960-2
  • Martin, David (2005). On Secularization: Towards a Revised General Theory. Aldershot: Ashgate. ISBN 0-7546-5322-6
  • McLeod, Hugh (2000). Secularisation in Western Europe, 1848–1914. Basingstoke: Macmillan. ISBN 0-333-59748-6
  • Wilson, Bryan (1969). Religion in Secular Society. London: Penguin.
  • King, Mike (2007). Secularism. The HIdden Origins of Disbelief. Cambridge: James Clarke & Co. ISBN 9780227172452


Secular state
  • Adıvar, Halide Edip (1928). "The Turkish Ordeal". The Century Club. ISBN 0-830-50057-X
  • Benson, Iain (2004). "Considering Secularism." in Farrows, Douglas(ed.)."Recognizing Religion in a Secular Society" McGill-Queens Press. ISBN 0773528121
  • Blancarte, Roberto (2006). "Religion, church, and state in contemporary Mexico." in Randall, Laura (ed.). Changing structure of Mexico: political, social, and economic prospects. [Columbia University Seminar]. 2nd. ed. M.E. Sharpe. Chapter 23, pp. 424–437. ISBN 978-0765614056.
  • Cinar, Alev (2006). "Modernity, Islam, and Secularism in Turkey: Bodies, Places, and Time". University of Minnesota Press. ISBN 0-816-64411-X
  • Cliteur, Paul (1010). The Secular Outlook: in defense of moral and political secularism. ISBN 978-4443-3521-7
  • Juergensmeyer, Mark (1994). The New cold war?: religious nationalism confronts the secular state. University of California Press. ISBN 0-520-08651-1
  • Schmitt, Karl M. (1962). "Catholic adjustment to the secular state: the case of Mexico, 1867–1911." Catholic Historical Review, Vol.48 (2), July, pp. 182–204.
  • Urban, Greg (2008). "The circulation of secularism." International Journal of Politics, Culture and Society, Vol. 21, (1–4), December. pp. 17–37.

External links