Perspective on “secularism”.

I just read an article that said that about 2/3 rds of Canadians believe that there is a God. Only 42% however said that “Religion is an important part of my life”. http://www.thestarphoenix.com/life/Survey+says+religion+important+Canadians/6424149/story.html Higher than I thought. In Sweden, where I’m from, about 50% of the population say that they believe that there is a God or a “Higher power”, 17% says that “Religion is an important part of my life.” http://www.dagen.se/dagen/article.aspx?id=162915. The only country that is less religious is Estonia (14%). If you research the statistics over countries that are the most secular you see two big trends. Trend 1: Rich countries. Trend 2: Current or former Socialist countries. These countries are generally in the highest 20% when it comes to statistics over suicide, abortion and number of sexual partners as well. Now, this is statistics and as far as I’m concerned there is three kind of lies. There are lies, there are LIES and there are statistics. We can bend them the way we want them to and make them mean what we want them to mean. What I’m most surprised about is that there is a fairly big belief in God amongst “secularized” countries but that this belief does not affect the way we live our lives (religious activity). There seem to be  a “disconnect” with our belief and what we do. Or maybe we just don’t believe in God “all that much when it comes down to it”.  ” It is just kind of nice to have the option open for God. Because you can not be 100% sure that He does not exist so I will keep the emergency door open just in case. And frankly, it sounds pretty wise, in the ears of others to be humble enough to allow for this opinion. ”

Truth is that all the countries of the world has the same level of secularization, that is 0%. Nada, noll, nothing. Secularization is just as non-existent as it has always been because you no what, everybody worships something or someone, be it Christ or the “famous people”. Everybody believes in something or someone, be it the Bible or the latest fashion in Cosmopolitan. Everybody has religious practices. For some people it is going to a church or a mosque, for other people it is faithfully(!) watching your favourite TV-show. Yes, everybody is religious about something. What the movement of secular society tried to do was to deny that we are religious all together. Secular society tried to take the “unseen” out of the “seen”. To separate the spiritual from the physical. To widen the gap between faith and knowledge. To pull apart holistic reality. “-You can not believe in things you can not see” (and this we and science do all the time…) And it succeeded pretty good. But as for diminishing religion or worship it has not succeeded. We just worship the created instead of the Creator. We are not less religious than before but we are further away from the knowledge of what true religion is it seems. We put infinite trust in finite things. We tend to believe in God if it suits our own “religion”, but we are very reluctant to actually implement the truly religious practices that we for instance find in the Beatitudes. When it comes down to it, we just think that our well-being is more important than other people’s well-being. Our addictions, our “religion” must come first.

Canada, Sweden, Norway and the other “secularized” countries of the world are just as religious as all the others. It is just that our worship is so misplaced, and the unborn, the poor and the lonely suffer for it. We do not change the world by aid programs and by “changing the system” but by stopping worshipping ourselves as gods and by stopping to feed our addictions.

In a way the term “secular” is true because it implies the belief or worship in the things that we can “see and measure”, this secular society do. But it is also more than this. Secular society actually worships powers that are not seen by claiming that there is no such thing as an “unseen reality”. Be attentive and careful about what you give priority in your life, what you “worship”, the path you are on will lead you somewhere…

In Christ

Fr. Jakob

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2 thoughts on “Perspective on “secularism”.

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