South Africa is deeply rooted in the belief that there is a god. No matter which religious institution one follows, the belief is that a higher power watches over their lives. Judaic, Christian and Muslim share a common history traced back to Abraham. Other faith share their beliefs that whatever we believe it helps others and builds a community.
Having a belief system brings a realisation that man is not the measure of all things and that one’s actions need to be accountable. Religion brings a self-discipline that god is watching us and that breaking the law without getting caught does not mean one has succeeded. In fact, it provokes a conscience to guilt which is far greater than the secular rule of law.
When the COVID-19 approached our shores we the people of South Africa prayed, we saw our President humbling himself to call on GOD. This is not the response of a secularist for the science would be the answer looking into the microscope attempting to unravel its make-up. However it’s clear that they are without success – man is shown NOT to be the measure of all things. Instead of taking a rational approach, which secularism heralds it, calls all to hide in our homes.
Secularisation is a process by which societies become more rationalised. It occurs when people perceive that the circumstances around them are changing – able by human intervention. If religious belief, such as fatalism, prevents society from seeing the environment in that way then religion may become an obstacle to modernisation. A rational or secular basis of social values does not accept unalterable or the sacred facts of life.
Secularisation means enabling people to differentiate between the sacred and the profane, the religious world and the world of material objects. It does not interpret everything in terms of a set of beliefs about what is sacred and what is handed down from time immemorial. Those beliefs may remain but people begin to separate them from secular concerns, the latter then being exposed to rational scrutiny.
Now that definition of secularism is clear, but then what has happened to the church? Why did they go also into hiding? The bankers, politicians and medical staff are taking the lead in showing courage on the front line, and showing greater beliefs in the world systems than the religious to their gods. Does the religious institutions not have a contribution? Is there no essential service they could take on – besides yet collecting the tithes? Have the pastors, clerics and rabbis gone into hiding? People are fearful, many don’t understand the spiritual significance of this or is it that religion has no answers?
I’m calling the religious leaders of all faiths to seek truth. To take a lead rather than being led. How is that which is spiritual is now afraid of that which is physical? How is it that which preached hope are now hiding under their beds? I’m a Christian and we have not seen our leaders take any leadership from Jesus but the words on their lips are from Cyril… What’s your god saying to you at this time?… Or has he died too?