n Missionalia : Southern African Journal of Mission Studies - Faith in the face of secularism? Unmasking a sacred ideology

Volume 40, Issue 1_2
  • ISSN : 0256-9507



Harvey Cox suggested recently that he and several others have been proved wrong about the dwindling influence of religion on modern society. This retraction corresponds to similar developments in the social sciences. However it can be argued, more radically, that secularism must be understood as an ideology rather than merely a social development or state of affairs. The analysis leading up to this conclusion draws on some of Paul Tillich's insights to show that the very idea of a non-religious culture is incoherent. There is much to be said for Tillich's often challenged alternative usage of the terms mentioned, it can be argued, so that religion and belief in God are no longer to be regarded as optional but as essential parts of the human condition. In line with this suggested usage, the terms secular and secularisation should therefore be redefined in terms of the contrast secular-sacred rather that secular-religious.

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