secular vs profane

August 28, 2005

In my church history class this past week, the newness of the idea that something could be secular came up several times. The word secular essentially means something that is not at all connected with religion, spirituality, or God. This is really a 20th century concept, and an utterly false one at that.

Through a movement away from religion in the modern world, the idea that something could be secular was popularized. Of course, I think the church enjoyed the definition just as much. We have always found it easier to create a black-white/us-them kind of mentality.

We would be much better off if we completely removed the idea from our thinking and returned to how the church viewed things before the 20th century. Prior to the term secular, the more common idea was the word “profane”. When something was profane, it was a corrupted version of what God had originally created. This makes so much more sense. How much better off would followers of Jesus be if we saw that everything is profane to a degree, and the work of Jesus through the church is to redeem it?

The church.

Just think how it would reshape our thinking if we looked at these things not as secular or Christian, but as corrupted versions of what God orignally created. The great task before followers of Jesus is not to define what is of this world and what isn’t, but to redeem that which has been corrupted.

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