Oh, man, am I ever falling behind here or what? Very good stuff, Gozer. Btw, congratulations on your promotion in Frontier Fleet. All right, down to business.
Some time ago Gozer went on about a Godless society. He made several excellent points, but I felt that it needed to be expanded on. And so . . .
sec-u-lar (adj.) 1. of or pertaining to worldly things or to things not regarded as sacred; temporal. 2. not relating to or concerned with religion (opposed to sacred) 3. concerned with nonreligious subjects. [Webster's American Family Dictionary, c. 1998, Random House]
A secular society is one that is not dominated by any system of religious belief. Which means, in real terms, there is no such thing. Society in the United States, for example, is dominated by Judeo-Christian beliefs. In contrast, Turkey is dominated by Islam and Japan, by Shintoism and Buddhism.
But all three are established as secular systems. What this means is that there is no official, state-sponsored religion. Unlike Great Britain, for instance, which has the Church of England. And even Old Blighty functions as a secular state, dealing as it is with a growing Muslim population.
The advantage of a secular system is that, in principle, no religion is banned. All are legal. As opposed to, say, Saudi Arabia where the legal penalty for conversion to Christianity is death. Of course, in this day and age they'd have a hard time enforcing that. They'd probably stop at letting the air out of your camel. But I digress.
Inevitably, people of like mind and background gather together and certain ideas tend to predominate. As in an Italian neighborhood, where most people are Catholic. And yet, legally at least, these people are prohibited from persecuting anyone who prefers to worship at a Mosque or a Synogogue.
A quick disclaimer; I am a Christian. If you're looking for a pigeonhole to stuff me into, try Evangelical Born-Again. Do a google search for the Nicene Creed and you've got my basic theology in a nutshell.
Christians, like other religious people, are often offended by what we see happening in our secular society. It's something that we religious types have to put up with. The up side is that you also have the freedom to be religious. As long as you don't hang out with a bunch of tolerant, open-minded liberals, that is.
Still, it's worth it to live in a secular society. To live in a religious one would quickly turn to oppression. Every non-christian loves to bring up the Spanish Inquisition. (NOOOObody expects the Spanish Inquisition!!) And, I suppose they're right to. It's proof that the most well-intentioned religious law can quickly turn Taliban.
On the other hand, to say that law should never reflect morality is ridiculous. Law, by its very nature, reflects morality. Even laws against things like murder and stealing reflect morality. In a secular democratic republic, the majority get to decide the moral leanings of its laws. Even so, there are people for whom killing and stealing are good things to do. Let's just hope they stay too busy killing and stealing to vote.
The thing we Christians, and other religious folk, have to remember is that freedom is risky. People who don't agree with us still get to use their freedom. For instance, the issue of gay marriage. I'm against it. I believe the bible is against it. Ya want chapter and verse? I'm dead sure that God himself is against it. And yet, I fear that it is inevitable unless we amend the constitution. Nothing in there currently, specifically, prohibits it. Back in the 1780's nobody at the Continental Congress apparently thought it was a big enough issue. At that time it was obviously immoral, like killing and stealing.
The goal is NOT a Godless society, but a secular one. One that does not discriminate. One that says, if it's all right to put the zodiac on the high school wall, it's also all right to put the ten commandments. I'm sorry, but I don't trust people who want to completely remove God from society. They would probably deny it, but the inevitable end is for them to set themselves up as god. Denying me my morality forces me to follow theirs.