James K.A. Smith defined secularism as such: “neutral, unbiased, objective, and capital R – rational, and because of that, areligious”. He went on to describe a secularist society, or culture, as having the basic same attributes. Neutral, unbiased, objective, Rational, and areligious. I personally believe that this doesn’t quite capture what the term secular is, and what a secular culture looks like. To me, a secular society is driven by science, focused on the happiness of those who live there, striving towards enlightenment and acceptance of ALL people and their individual beliefs. It does not exclude, or legislate religious beliefs, and does not suffer long those who seek to impose their views on others.
Tennessee is a good example of those living in a buffered world. It is perfectly acceptable to assume everyone you meet is a Christian. In fact, it’s almost expected that everyone you meet is a Christian. I admit that when I left the church, I was haunted by what I left behind. Although I knew I made the right decision, I felt a longing for…something. It was the ceremony of it all. The rituals, few though they may be in today’s churches, were something I had just come to love. The people, the fellowship, I missed it. Because I had a new outlook on life that didn’t include all of the things about Christianity that made me feel guilty all the time, I grew angry at my past life. I was liberated by my future, but angry that it took me so long to get there. I gave up so much happiness due to guilt by a God I no longer believed in. I set out to squirrel myself away from all Christians. Shockingly this was very hard to do while living in the heart of Tennessee with a Christian wife and children.