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Parvat Aashram Solan
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Secular State and Religion by S. P. Kanal


Secular State and Religion

A secular state is a modern phenomenon. A century or two back there was no secular state. An institution or an organisation-social, economic, political and religious-worth the name holds explicitly or implicitly a philosophy of life and its existence is an assertion of it in its pristine or perverted form. Secularism and Religion provide 'alternative world views and values and a secular state and a theocratic state reflect and assert their respective ideologies.

Secularism is not only reflected in state polity, but also in all cultural activities like art and literature, painting and sculpture, drama and poetry and music and dance, no less in religion, especially Christianity. If we compare the medieval art, literature and religion with the modern art, literature and religion, we will see its interpenetration in all spheres of culture and common life

All the above statements require explanation and justification. Logically presented the questions are :-

(i) What is secularism? How has it evolved in modern time?

(ii) How does secularism differ from religion?

(iii) How does a secular state function in a society divided

into warring religious communities ?

(iv) What part can social agencies play in converting a multi-religious society into a secular society?

(v) What role can religion play in a secular society?

We will answer the first two questions from the history of the West, where thi idea of secularism had its birth, development and maturity. We will answer the third, the fourth and the fifth questions through the example of our own country, but the reasoning is relevant for all states which are opting secular state.


Secular State and Religion by S.P. Kanal - Published in 1990