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[sek-yuh-luh-riz-uh m] /ˈsɛk yə ləˌrɪz əm/
secular spirit or tendency, especially a system of political or social philosophy that rejects all forms of religious faith and worship.
the view that public education and other matters of civil policy should be conducted without the introduction of a religious element.
1850-55; secular + -ism
Related forms
secularist, noun, adjective
secularistic, adjective Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for secularism
  • The split between legal secularism and values evangelicalism was not born in a day.
  • Central to this resurgence of religious partisanship was the call for the faith-based values that secularism had displaced.
  • Their big worry now is not secularism but the economy.
  • secularism was not as modern as many intellectuals imagined, but pluralism is.
  • Baathist secularism promoted such modernising trends as inter-faith marriage and scientific education.
  • Whenever you have an electorate that is predominantly religious in its outlook, any notion of secularism quickly evaporates.
  • Oh yes, they talk well, say the right things about democracy and secularism.
  • The study does seem to indicate a positive correlation between education level and secularism.
  • The modernizing elites decided on secularism and democracy.
  • But supporters of the mainstream parties are not voting for secularism.
British Dictionary definitions for secularism


(philosophy) a doctrine that rejects religion, esp in ethics
the attitude that religion should have no place in civil affairs
the state of being secular
Derived Forms
secularist, noun, adjective
secularistic, adjective
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for secularism

"doctrine that morality should be based on the well-being of man in the present life, without regard to religious belief or a hereafter," 1846, from secular + -ism.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Encyclopedia Article for secularism

any movement in society directed away from otherworldliness to life on earth. In the European Middle Ages there was a strong tendency for religious persons to despise human affairs and to meditate on God and the afterlife. As a reaction to this medieval tendency, secularism, at the time of the Renaissance, exhibited itself in the development of humanism, when people began to show more interest in human cultural achievements and the possibilities of their fulfillment in this world. The movement toward secularism has been in progress during the entire course of modern history and has often been viewed as being anti-Christian and antireligious. In the latter half of the 20th century, however, some theologians began advocating secular Christianity. They suggested that Christianity should not be concerned only with the sacred and the otherworldly, but that people should find in the world the opportunity to promote Christian values. These theologians maintain that the real meaning of the message of Jesus can be discovered and fulfilled in the everyday affairs of secular urban living

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Encyclopedia Britannica, 2008. Encyclopedia Britannica Online.
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