Secular Theology: Essay
Want God? Certainly.
He can be found in the book of global warming, where sin (prosperity) incurs the wrath of a vengeful God (Mother Nature). It must be true, but because we deserve it.The devil? Bush! Republicans. The “right-wingers”. And all those damn racists: much like the devil, you can’t see them, but you know they are there. How else can you explain all the bad things in the world?If your focus is in life requires all your energy, and has your complete devotion, then you have the makings of a god.
Secular, by definition, is anti-religious. Theology, on the other hand, is defined as a reasoned discourse concerning religion. Thus we have a conflicting term ‘secular theology.’ Translated loosely this is the reasoning discourse about secular life and the appreciation for it in regards to a belief system which becomes a paradigm in the minds of men.
The process of secularization has generally been treated as a calamity, or at least as a serious deviation that ought to be arrested. But in his historical survey Bonhoeffer really tries to reclaim the heritage of the Renaissance and the Enlightenment as good, desirable, and necessary to the Christian. The process of secularizing is affirmed, not reluctantly, sadly, or for the sake of realism or relevance. The coming of age of the World means the secularization of all life, even the religious life of man, and thus the non-religious interpretation is not just a possible apologetic strategy, it is demanded by intellectual honesty (Hamilton, 451).
It is possible for man to think himself into any category of life in which he wishes to place himself. This idea has been toyed with by both the common man on the street and Hollywood alike. The idea that man is his own god really secularizes any thought of theology. Peter Fitzpatrick, a law professor at Berkbeck School of Law in London writes a journal concerning the secular theology of human rights.
He strategically asks, “Is humanity enough?”“Although there is a latter-day tendency to recruit religious religion in the cause of human rights, or vice versa, the genealogy of human rights is characteristically tied to a secular humanism (Fitzpatrick, 32).” In quoting a reference Fitzpatrick uses in this journal he repeats that “It is possible…to talk about human rights…without having some concept of what human beings are like as a species (Fukuyama).”Since the beginning of time man has been trying to figure out who he really is. It seems that just as soon as a modern, contemporary thinker comes along to spread his idea of humankind there is the anti-thinker who defends the opposite side of the thought with his very life. Man is innately religious, and while this statement might seem one of a religious nature, it is not as one would suppose.
Religion defined is a set of beliefs and practices generally held by a human community. If this is true of any religion, then the lap dog has a religious fervor to stand by his master.Along with secular theology comes secular spirituality. This is the adherence to an idea interpreted as spiritual without any connection to a church or formal religious order.
The Asian form of this would be to “be one with the universe.” This is as spiritual as singing in a church, yet without any affiliation with a church. Spirituality is not necessarily linked to some religion. In Spirituality and the Secular Quest, Peter Van Ness contemplates the thought that maybe spirituality is “not idissolubly linked” (Ness, p 23) to religion as most define it.
The fact that there is a spirit in man, and thus the need for theology, does not have a s much to do with historical and present day religion than one would think.What if access to the parts of the brain that are not in use (at least from a medical viewpoint) enables man to do what has always been defined as a miracle? Since a man such as described here has not come forward, it is truly speculation that this could happen. But, if logic dictates the possibility how can we deny it? Therefore if theology takes a secular turn, and the only support given for that turn is what man can produce, what makes secular theology any different than any other theology?People in all cultures seek out meaning beyond the material, usually within the context of religious practice, but when long standing religious traditions are found to be unfulfilling, marked changes in belief and practice may come about (Galanter, p 3).Not only is man spiritual in nature, he is also a very curious creature. It is this curiosity within him that causes innovations and inventions to make life easier and more comfortable. It also needs to be said that this spirituality within humankind has perpetuated them into a higher form of living.
Given time, he will continue to progress even further. ReferencesOrin, S. F. (n.
d.). Secular Theology. Retrieved 13 April 2007 from, http://www.
onlyrepublican.com/orinsf/2006/04/secular_theolog.htmlHamilton, William. (1952). A Secular Theology For A World Come Of Age. Theology Today.
Retrieved 13 April 2007 from, http://theologytoday.ptsem.edu/jan1962/v18-1-article3.htmFitzpatrick, Peter.
(2006). Is Humanity Enough? The Secular Theology of Human Rights. A Forum of Works in Progress: Human Rights and Human Welfare. 32, Retrieved 13 April 2007 from, http://www.du.
edu/gsis/hrhw/working/2006/32-fitzpatrick-2006.pdfNess, Peter Van. (1996). Spirituality and the Secular Quest. New York: Crossroad Publishing.
Galanter, Marc. (2005). Spirituality and the Healthy Mind: Science, Therapy, and the Need for Personal Meaning. New York: Oxford University Press.