Secularity (adjective form secular) is the state of being separate from
religion. ["The American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition." "Secularity". ("1. The condition or quality of being secular. 2. Something secular.")] For instance, eating and bathing may be regarded as examples of secular activities, because there is nothing inherently religious about them. (Note, however, that both eating and bathing are regarded as sacramentsby some religious organizations, and therefore would be religious activities in their worldview.) Saying a prayerderived from religious text or doctrine, worshipping through the context of religion, and attending Sunday Schoolare examples of religious (non-secular) activities. However prayer and meditation are not necessarily non-secular being that the concept of spirituality and higher consciousness are not married solely to any religion but are practiced and arose indepedently across a continuum of cultures.
Most businesses and
corporationsare secular organizations. All state universities in the United Statesare secular organizations, while some private universities are church-related; among many, four church-related examples are Brigham Young University, University of Notre Dame, Baylor University, and The Catholic University of America. The public university system in the United Kingdom is also secular, although many primary and secondary schools are religiously aligned.
One approximate synonym for secular is "worldly"; another could be phrased as "neutral in religious matters". Approximate antonyms for secular are "religious" and "devout".
Despite occasional confusion, secularity is synonymous neither with
Origin of term
This word derives from a
Latinword meaning "of the age". The Christian doctrine that God exists outside of time led medieval Western cultureto use "secular" to indicate separation from religious affairs and involvement in worldly (or time-related) ones. This meaning has been extended to apply to separation from any religion, regardless of whether it has a similar doctrine.
Examples of "secular" used in this way include:
*"Secular authority", which involves legal and military authority as opposed to clerical authority, or matters the church controls.
Secular clergy" in the Roman Catholic Church, who, traditionally, do not live the monasticlives of the regular clergyand are therefore, in a sense, less religious and more worldly. For a related Roman Catholic reference, see Secular institute.
Secular education", schools that are not affiliated with churchesor other religiousorganizations.
*"Secular governments", which follow civil laws as opposed to religious authorities like the
Islamic Shariah, Catholic Canon law, or Jewish Halakha, and which do not favor any particular religion.
Secular Jewish culture", cultural manifestations of Jewishness that are not specifically religious.
Secular music", composed for general use, as opposed to Sacred musicwhich is composed for church use. "Secular sonatas", in the 17th century, were those which were not composed to be used in church services.
Secular Organizations for Sobriety", a secular alternative to Alcoholics Anonymous, AA being a loosely religiousorganization although nondenominational.
*"Secular society" refers to aspects of
societythat are not ( mosque, church, synagogue)-affiliated.
Secular spirituality", the pursuit of spirituality without a formal affiliation with a church, or other religiousorganization.
Secular state", a nation that has a secular government.
Laïcitéis a French concept related to the separation of state and religion, sometimes rendered by the English cognate neologism "laicity" and also translated by the words "secularity" and "secularization". The word "laïcité" is sometimes characterized as having no exact English equivalent; it is similar to the more moderate definition of secularism, but is not as ambiguous as that word.
Secularismis an assertion or belief that religious issues should not be the basis of politics, a movement that promotes those ideas or (in the extreme) an ideologythat holds that religion has no place in public life. "Secularist" organizations are distinguished from merely "secular" ones by their political advocacy of such positions.
*Laïcisme is the French word that most resembles
secularism, especially in the latter's extreme definition, as it is understood by the Catholic Church, which sets "laïcisme" in opposition to the allegedly far milder concept of laïcité. The correspondent word "laicism" (also spelled "laïcism") is sometimes used in English as a synonym for secularism.
Separation of church and state
* [http://www.sisr2007.de Conference: Secularity and Religious Vitality]
* [http://www.secularstudents.org Secular Student Alliance]
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Look at other dictionaries:
Secularity — Sec u*lar i*ty, n. [Cf.F. s[ e]cularit[ e], LL. saecularitas.] Supreme attention to the things of the present life; worldliness. [1913 Webster] A secularity of character which makes Christianity and its principal doctrines distasteful or… … The Collaborative International Dictionary of English
secularity — [sek΄yə ler′ə tē] n. [ME seculerte < ML saecularitas] 1. the state or quality of being secular 2. SECULARISM 3. pl. secularities a secular concern, matter, etc … English World dictionary
secularity — secular ► ADJECTIVE 1) not religious, sacred, or spiritual. 2) (of clergy) not subject to or bound by religious rule. 3) Astronomy denoting slow changes in the motion of the sun or planets. 4) Economics (of a fluctuation or trend) occurring or… … English terms dictionary
secularity — ˌsekyəˈlarəd.ē, rətē, i also ˈler noun ( es) Etymology: Medieval Latin saecularitat , saecularitas, from Late Latin saecularis secular, worldly, pagan + Latin tat , tas ty more at secular 1. : something secular shunning all secularities on the… … Useful english dictionary
secularity — noun see secular I … New Collegiate Dictionary
secularity — /sek yeuh lar i tee/, n., pl. secularities. 1. secular views or beliefs; secularism. 2. the state of being devoted to the affairs of the world; worldliness. 3. a secular matter. [1350 1400; ME. See SECULAR, ITY] * * * … Universalium
secularity — noun The state of being secular … Wiktionary
secularity — secÂ·uÂ·larÂ·iÂ·ty || â€šsekjÉ™ lÃ¦rÉ™tÉª / jÊŠ n. belief in the separation of religious and civil affairs … English contemporary dictionary
secularity — n. Worldliness, secularism, secularness, worldly mindedness … New dictionary of synonyms
secularity — sec·u·lar·i·ty … English syllables