Lecture Wk 7, REL132.1 - Religion In America Lecture Week...

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Religion In America Lecture Week 7 (Readings: RAAC 105-140; TGC Cpt. 5) Overview: Key People (Who, When, & Why) : Henry Adams (1838-1918); Charles Darwin (1809-1882); Jesus of Nazareth (0-33); Douglas Clyde Macintosh (1931) Key Definitions: Secularization; Methodological Secularity; Modernist Principle; The Double- Sincerity Test Synthesis, (Learning Outcomes): Students will 1. Consider cultural Pressures on Protestantism in Understanding Secularization , The Middle-Class Protestantism, Revolutions in Beliefs, The Modernist Impulse 2. Examine Christianity, the Bible, and Present-day Relevance; 3. Evaluate Court’s practice to “decide a case on the language of a statue rather than the Constitution.” Learning Outcome 1: Consider cultural Pressures on Protestantism in Understanding Secularization , The Middle-Class Protestantism, Revolutions in Beliefs, The Modernist Impulse Understanding Secularization (RAAC 112) According to Marsden, “Secularization … simply means the removal of some area of human activity from the domain, or significant influence, of organized or traditional religion” (RAAC 112). This comes under our text’s first sense, definition, of religion, i.e., belief in a transcendent being. Whereas secularization actually may heighten awareness or importance of the second sense in our text, i.e., one’s highest commitment to what is non-transcendent. 1
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Religion In America Lecture Week 7 (Readings: RAAC 105-140; TGC Cpt. 5) I would picture this move to secularization as a stick drawing of a church building with an umbrella beneath it that arches over main activities in culture, e.g., family, work, education, politics, entertainment. When those activities move out from under the umbrella of the local church or traditional religion, they become secularized. Their secularization is not a light switch that turns off all religious, transcendent, influence and only a religious, non-transcendent, influence remains. It’s more like a dimmer switch, slowly dimming the Bible’s influence and brightening humanism’s role. Be sure to note Marsden’s two primary ways secularization happened in American culture: first by those hostile to traditional religion and second by those embracing traditional religions, “Christians, practicing Jews, and other ardent theists” (RAAC 112). Secular Humanism A move to secularization does not simply eradicate faith but switches the object of ones faith from God (and for 19 th century America that was God of the Christian 2
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Religion In America Lecture Week 7 (Readings: RAAC 105-140; TGC Cpt. 5) Bible) to humans creating secular humanism. In our second sense for religion, secular humanists are highly religious in their exalting of human reason. This contrast can be seen in ethics or the grounds for ones belief in right and wrong. For the traditional religionist, he or she looks to God as the grounds for right and wrong as God identifies in his laws and rules found in the Bible. For the secular religionist, he or she looks to human reason for those grounds.
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