Acton Institute Powerblog

The End of Secularism Is Here . . .

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Well, at least the book is, anyway. The End of Secularism is now in stock at Acton.org and should be available in stores, too. Help me, faithful readers.

I don’t think I’ll disappoint you. Francis Beckwith, David Dockery, Russell Moore, Father Robert Sirico, Herb London, Jennifer Morse Roback, and Glenn Stanton all liked it. I hope you will, too.

Did you get the best part, by the way? FATHER ROBERT SIRICO. Here is his take on the book:

The task of discerning the alternative to practical atheism lived by many nominal Christians and the pretense of a neutral secularism has been made easier by this rich study. Once authentic Christians grasp the ramifications of the incarnation of Christ, then and only then will it be apparent that, as Baker argues, secularism only makes sense in relation to religion.

Hunter Baker Hunter Baker, J.D., Ph.D. serves as contributing editor to The City and to Salvo Magazine. In addition, he has written for The American Spectator, American Outlook, National Review Online, Christianity Today, Human Events.com, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, and a number of other outlets. His scholarly work has appeared in the Journal of Law and Religion (“Competing Orthodoxies in the Public Square: Postmodernism’s Effect on Church-State Separation”), the Regent University Law Review (“Storming the Gates of a Massive Cultural Investment: Reconsidering Roe in Light of its Flawed Foundation and Undesirable Consequences”), and the Journal of Church and State. In 2007, he contributed a chapter “The Struggle for Baylor’s Soul” to the edited collection The Baylor Project, published by St. Augustine’s Press. He has also been a guest on a variety of television and radio programs, including Prime Time America and Kresta in the Afternoon. As a law student in the late 1990s, Hunter Baker worked for The Rutherford Institute and Prison Fellowship Ministries where he focused primarily on defending the constitutional principle of religious liberty. Prior to beginning doctoral studies in religion and politics at Baylor University in 2003, he served as director of public policy for the Georgia Family Council. While at Baylor, Baker served as a graduate assistant to the philosopher Francis Beckwith and the historian Barry Hankins. He assisted Beckwith in the editing of his landmark book Defending Life which has now been published by Cambridge University Press. He also provided research assistance to Hankins in his forthcoming biography of Francis Schaeffer. Baker currently serves on the political science faculty at Union University and is an associate dean in the college of arts and sciences. He is married to Ruth Elaine Baker, M.D. They have a son, Andrew, and a daughter, Grace.

Comments

  • “argues that advocates of secularism misunderstand the borders between science, religion, and politics and cannot solve the problem of religious difference.”

    That would be a strange argument to make. Secularism, as I understand it, arose as a response to irresolvable religious differences, not as an attempt to solve the “problem”. Jefferson et al realized the forlornness of angels on pinheads arguments, and therefore set up a government free of such non-sense.

    It may be the case that some secularists misunderstand “the borders between science, religion, and politics”, but to criticize them for failing to solve a problem they are not even trying to solve seems misguided.

    I would not criticize a medical doctor for his inability to fix my car.

    I suppose you could be using the word “secularism” in an idiosyncratic way rendering my argument mute.

  • Hunter Baker

    No, Unbeguiled, I am not using the word in an idiosyncratic way. Secularism is indeed an attempt at solving the problem of religious difference by removing God from the public square. There is absolutely nothing unusual about using the term in that fashion. That would be the dominant understanding. It is not directed at arguments like angels dancing on pinheads, but toward the relationship of the citizen to the state and of morality and the state’s actions.

  • UnBeguiled

    “Secularism is indeed an attempt at solving the problem of religious difference by removing God from the public square.”

    In my experience, people who self-identify has secular attempt no such thing. You are free to stand on a street corner with a cardboard sign preaching that God hates fags all you want. But a secular person would object to the government executing homosexuals because the bible instructs us to do so.

    Do you not grok the distinction?

  • Jim

    Surely secularism refers either to the doctrine that rejects religion, especially with regard to ethics; or refers to the attitude that religion should have no place in civil affairs?
    If that is the case, by what logic could the statement in the title be true?

    Many may wish for the end of secularism – but that is as inconceivable in reality as, say, the end of Religion.

    I get very frustrated by the misleading, if attention grabbing, titles of books which purport to be serious studies.

    I’d be interested to know how you justify the title.

  • Hunter Baker

    Jim, the title refers to two things:

    1. The book is an argument for the end of secularism as a doctrine purporting to provide a neutral space for public debate.

    2. The book examines the “end” of secularism, meaning the purpose of secularism and secularists.