19 Jan Irreconcilable, Really?
My friend, a committed follower of Jesus Christ, provides leadership to the workforce at the Bombay docks.
The workforce around him (from General Managers to daily wagers) is made up of secular deists and secular atheists. I am sure there are a few Christian believers ‘thrown in’.
Believe it or not, from time to time, my friend even gets asked to preach in his Church.
Are you confused by the terms ‘secular deists’ and ‘secular atheists’?
Are you asking, “What does he mean?”
Stop and give it thought for a moment. Personally, for me spirituality does not make sense outside the secular. And nothing secular exists without reference to the spiritual. The two co-exist and are mutually complementary. Perhaps a metaphor would help. Can we say light exists if there is no reference to darkness? Can something be said to be “rotten” without reference to the fresh or good?
That makes sense. Doesn’t it? Are we disturbed and horrified?
Perhaps clarifying the terms would help ease the pain in the brain.
Secular and Spiritual
I believe the secular and the spiritual are two sides of the same coin. On one side of the coin, the Secular excludes God entirely.
It believes that through logic and rationality, along with life experiences, discoveries (as in exploration) and the study of science and mathematics, humans can resolve issues, face challenges that life’s journey may present, overcome obstacles and achieve success. The concept of spirituality is conspicuous by its absence.
On the flip side, the ideas of spirituality are accepted, encouraged, acknowledged and even considered a positive contributor to human existence. Spirituality, it believes, makes life comfortable. But the involvement of a God-Being is minimal. That is, a deist believes in the existence of a God only with the evidence of reason and nature and rejects supernatural revelation (distinguished from theism).
As for God, a deist’s belief is limited to a God who created the world but has since remained indifferent to it.
These folks pride themselves in being genuine secularists.
While the ‘tribe’ of Secular Deists continues to grow by leaps and bounds, the population of Spiritualists isn’t on the decline either. I guess the population explosion of the human race continues to feed the two segments sufficiently to keep them multiplying.
So, Spiritualism, as the term suggests, is built on the belief that God exists. God has always existed. God has been, is, and will continue to get involved in human destiny and to guide its path and purpose for their existence.
For this article, we aim to briefly seek the means and ways in which the Secular and the Spiritual live within the same community. Concepts and perceptions do not necessarily cause conflict.
Having made such a claim, we must not be surprised when such a worldview triggers conflict and biased behaviour manifests in forceful actions including violence.
So, “how should we live” within this reality all around us? (Mt 6:25; 1 Thess 5:6; Rom 6:2).
Take a peek at the tourist sites. They promote Spiritual tourism in a Secular nation.
Would you agree that the secular and the spiritual are in a live-in relationship here?
Let us face the reality and consider the inclination to separate the Secular from the Spiritual. How right has it been to have imprisoned these two dynamic relationships in separate containers of our convictions, never to be reconciled?
The bubble of dichotomy between the Secular and the Spiritual has been burst. The only conclusion this proposes is that every person alive is a walking, talking, breathing, interactive and relational paradox because he/she is secular and spiritual at the same time.
We are invited to mull over, discuss and assess:
- Is this actual life reality as we know it?
- Does this align with our historical reality and current life experience?
- Is marriage between Spirituality and the Secular incompatible, and can the two not happily share the same bed?
- Is the existence of Spirituality alongside the Secular impossible?
I think of the Centurion Cornelius. After hearing Peter’s preaching, he believed the Gospel and then, along with everyone with him, believed and received the Holy Spirit and was baptised. Being a professional and the head of 100 soldiers who were anything but sympathetic to Jews or the ‘People of the Way’, how did Cornelius and the others find their working environment with their ‘secular’ colleagues and subordinates after they received the ‘Gospel-driven-life’?
Did the marriage of Spirituality with Secular [worldview] succeed? How did this relationship really work out for Cornelius and his friends? Did they feel the challenge too much and decide to ‘divorce’ and join another group – a fellowship of believers away from the ‘corrupt world’ from where the Lord had drawn them (Acts 10)?
Secular and Spiritual are inseparable. Please don’t attempt to part them. That would be anti-biblical.
Hansraj Jain, a widower, is a UBS graduate and CEO of Inheritors, a ministry focused on Family and Human Relationship. His son Prakash is a Liver Transplant Surgeon and daughter is a businesswoman and owner of Tiger Way Coffee. They live in Nagpur, Maharashtra. You can reach him at email@example.com