Becoming Practical Atheists While Believing the Truth
by Timothy Massaro
While America founded its political and institutional culture around the separation of church and state, it continues to be one of the most religious countries in the West. Today, that religious core seems to be changing. This trend is consistent in most modernized societies. We can describe this process as “secularization.”
Secularization occurs when a culture moves from being religious to “nonreligious.” As societies modernize, they become less outwardly religious. This is not to be confused with “secularism,” which is an ideology. Secularization is a very important process in our culture that we should seek to understand. Secularization means we become practical atheists, even when holding on to the truth. Here’s why.
1. Spiritual But Not Religious
Everyone today has heard of people being “spiritual but not religious.” The spiritual category seems to be on the rise, while religion is on the decline. How does this jibe with secularization? Well, secularization does not mean that spirituality will disappear, but rather that spirituality and religion will take on a more subjective role that is relegated to personal choice and preference. Faith itself will be less of a public institution or force upon daily decisions.
One characteristic of secularization is treating our daily spirituality like a buffet line, picking and choosing what feels right. This change can be seen even with those who believe in Christ. Religion is becoming privatized socially and practically. Faith is becoming more experiential without any external, objective basis on God’s Word. Secularization means that religion will fade from the public square while also changing those traditional religions to meet public demands and pressures…