Evangelii Nuntiandi §55: Secularism and Secularization

Well, I had left this project off some time ago, a running commentary on the great writing of Pope Paul VI (Servant of God, I think?) on the Church's mission in the world. But I felt like I should take it up again for a season.

So, without further ado, here a section on the difference between secularization and secularism:
On the one hand one is forced to note in the very heart of this contemporary world the phenomenon which is becoming almost its most striking characteristic: secularism. We are not speaking of secularization, which is the effort, in itself just and legitimate and in no way incompatible with faith or religion, to discover in creation, in each thing or each happening in the universe, the laws which regulate them with a certain autonomy, but with the inner conviction that the Creator has placed these laws there. [...] Here we are thinking of a true secularism: a concept of the world according to which the latter is self-explanatory, without any need for recourse to God, who thus becomes superfluous and an encumbrance. This sort of secularism, in order to recognize the power of man, therefore ends up by doing without God and even by denying Him.
I think this differentiation is pretty useful. I will say that I don't think the definition of secularization is totally successful. I mean, it is only related to science, and secularization is not just about science and the identification of scientific 'laws'. 

That minor point aside, though, secularism is indeed properly defined. I think that what we are now facing is the confrontation of secularism and Islam, though. The intelligentsia of the West have  long whined about how un-scientific and backward Christianity is. Well, "Wait until they get a hold of me!" (Me being Islam...) This is already starting to happen. Christians might resort to civil disobedience or protests, but they rarely will start to kill off political leaders or cartoonists or what have you.

The question is this though: will the forces of secularism focus on the easy target and ignore the harder one, and thus convince themselves that they are moving into their brave new world? Or will they realize that Christians are culturally so weak and insignificant (and non-violent), that they will aim their guns at Islam sooner rather than later? I think this is the great question for the first half of the 21st Century. Thanks Paul VI for bringing up this topic of secularism. I'm still waiting on a papal encyclical about Islam though. It's been a few centuries since we had one of those!

Previous sections:
Evangelii Nuntiandi §53: Respect other religions, but evangelize anyway
Evangelii Nuntiandi §51, 52
Evangelii Nuntiandi §44-46
Evangelii Nuntiandi and Personal Jesus (§25, 26)
Evangelii Nuntiandi and Church Planting (§21, 24)
Evangelii Nuntiandi §20
Evangelii Nuntiandi §18
Evangelii Nuntiandi §16
Evangelii Nuntiandi §5
Evangelii Nuntiandi's Author, Pope Paul VI       


FrGregACCA said…
Been a while:

Anyway, are you aware of the following? If so, what's the whole story and what are your thoughts?


Hope things are going well. You remain in my prayers.
Abu Daoud said…
Hi Fr Greg,

Yes, this is interesting! I have been aware of the debate surrounding this topic now for some time, but I guess it went from being a sort of obscure academic debate in the missions field to actually being something that Christians in the West (who fund these guys) now know about!

Personally, I do not favor such translations. I think that if there is a misunderstanding around the meaning of 'Son of God' then you explain it, rather than change the translation or try to come up with a dynamic equivalent.

It will be interesting to see what happens if significant numbers of Muslims start reading these bibles, and then go and compare them to older translations in the same language, or translations into other languages. I can't think it will be a good situation.
Syed Muddassar said…
Yes @ Abu Daoud i agree with you..read Quran online
Online Quran learning
FrGregACCA said…
Thanks, Abu Daoud.
Abu Daoud said…
Thank you Syed.

May I ask, have you met any Christians in your country where they do things like this?

I am familiar with the Qur'an, and I know well لم يلد و لم يولد.

It depends what we mean by 'يلد', but I suspect I agree with what Muhammad had in mind when he said this.

--Abu Daoud

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