How secular are we?

How secular are we?

Denham Grierson, John Garratt Publishing, $24.95

In a time of supposedly high secularism, Melbourne theologian and educationalist Denham Grierson, challenges that assumption and asks, “How secular are we?”

After a short exploration beginning with the “death of God” debate in the 1960s through to the current atheism debates and the call for a “re-enchantment” of church and society, Grierson concludes, “Not very.”

He writes, “The question of God, and our way in this world, will always remain although the strength of the answers will wax and wane … In the present circumstances … what we are wrestling with are new images of God that are appropriate to our contemporary experience.”

For most people the so-called ‘”secular” charge is seen as “secular equals against religion”.

Of course secular does not mean that at all. It means “this world”. And much of contemporary religious thought is “searching for a new framework by which to interpret what we have known, and the traditions that have given us life, in a fresh and living way”.

Grierson’s booklet is an easy read and well worth the couple of hours it will take. But those who look for answers in creeds and beliefs from the past will not like it “for the old must pass away before the new can come”.

Rex A. E. Hunt

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