State of being separate from religion / From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

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Secularity, also the secular or secularness (from Latin saeculum, "worldly" or "of a generation"), is the state of being unrelated or neutral in regards to religion. Origins of secularity can be traced to the Bible itself and fleshed out through Christian history into the modern era.[1] In the medieval period there were even secular clergy.[2][3][4] Furthermore, secular and religious entities were not separated in the medieval period, but coexisted and interacted naturally.[5][6]

Today, anything that does not have an explicit reference to religion, either negatively or positively, may be considered secular.[7] Secularity is best understood, not as being "anti-religious", but as being "religiously neutral" since many activities in religious bodies are secular themselves, and though there are multiple types of secularity or secularization, most do not lead to irreligiosity.[8] Linguistically, a process by which anything becomes secular is named secularization, though the term is mainly reserved for the secularization of society; and any concept or ideology promoting the secular may be termed secularism, a term generally applied to the ideology dictating no religious influence on the public sphere. Scholars recognize that secularity is structured by Protestant models of Christianity, shares a parallel language to religion, and intensifies Protestant features such as iconoclasm, skepticism towards rituals, and emphasizes beliefs.[9] In doing so, secularism perpetuates Christian traits under a different name.[9]

Most cultures around the world do not have tension or dichotomous views of religion and secularity.[10] Since religion and secular are both Western concepts that were formed under the influence of Christian theology, other cultures do not necessarily have words or concepts that resemble or are equivalent to them.[11]

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