Secular but not secularized PDF Print E-mail
Monday, 12 October 2015 14:17

We have to be more familiar with the concept of secularity. This is because whether we are aware of it or not, we cannot escape from it. And there are good and bad kinds that we have to choose. We have to learn to discern which is which.

Secularity, quite simply, is our attitude towards the world in general. How we see the world in terms of where it came from, what its purpose is in itself and for us, how to deal with it, what we can get from it and what our duties are towards it—these more or less define our idea of secularity.

Lately, the word has acquired some negative connotation.

This is mainly due to the trend, perhaps not so much as a professed philosophy or ideology yet in our country, of treating the world simply “as it is,” that is, rid of any relation to the concept of God.

More than secularity, what is actually referred to here is secularization. That’s precisely the process of ejecting God from our human and earthly affairs, like in our business and politics. That process may come in a subtle but effective way.

That’s what’s happening now! The Pope and many other Church leaders, past and present, have warned about our secularized world. Thus, we have to be more aware of the proper meaning of secularity and what its bastardization—secularization—is.

We have to give due attention to this concern, which figures as a crucial aspect of our life, since being attitudinal, it gives shape and form to our whole life, and determines the path we take and the destiny we are aiming at in this life.

Christian faith teaches us that the world, being God’s creation, is good. God is always there and guides it with his providence. It cannot be without God. It cannot be developed outside of God’s designs.

But its development also needs us. “Increase and multiply,” God told our first parents. “Fill the earth and subdue it. Rule over the fishes of the sea, and the fowls of the air, and all living creatures that move upon the earth.” (Gen 1,28)

God wants us to be stewards of the earth, developing and governing it freely and responsibly according to his designs. It’s the usual Christian phenomenon where our freedom ought to coincide with our obedience to God’s laws.

That is why we have to reconcile ourselves with the truth that our true freedom is when it goes together always with obedience to God’s will. We have to disabuse ourselves from the fallacy that freedom and obedience are against each other.

The Christian concept of secularity considers the world as the place and time God has given us to pursue our goal, both immediate and ultimate. It is the setting of our encounter with God, our work of sanctification and identification with him and his plans.

We don’t have to go out of the world to look for God. We can and should find God there in the world, in the midst of our human activities and earthly concerns. And we ought to bring God also to these human affairs of ours.

Christian secularity, then, has a very positive attitude towards the world. It asks us to love the world. We should not be afraid of it, thinking that it separates us from God. We have to be wary of certain religious mentalities that pit the world against God.

Obviously, we do not deny that there are dangerous elements, millions of them, in the world too. We have to understand though that evil came to the world because of sin, first, that of our first parents, and then those of ours.

“By one man, sin entered into this world, and by sin death. And so death passed upon all men, in whom all have sinned,” (Rom 5,12) St. Paul said, affirming the character and history of our present world.

But not everything is lost. Precisely, Christ, the son of God who became man to redeem us, has given us the proper way of handling the world. We have to identify ourselves with Christ, follow his teachings, now taught by the Church, so we would know how to behave in the world.

We have to master Christian secularity—its teaching on respecting the autonomy of earthly things, respecting freedom of all, purifying them and infusing them with true Christian spirit.