Friday, 23 October 2009

Christianity and the secular sphere in Asia

Attended a public talk today by Dr Mathew Mathews, a NUS sociology professor on the topic "Christianity and the secular sphere in Asia".

He started by examining secularization, which he observes, has brought about a decline in power, popularity and prestige of religion, as well as modernization, which has resulted in the public and private sphere becoming increasingly separated. He then went on to touch on the rationale for secularization, the rise and response of conservatism, conservatives and political action, and the cultural cosmopolitan reaction.

What I found most noteworthy was his conclusion on what the church can champion (both for and against), making reference to David H. Lumsdaine's Evangelical Christianity and Democracy in Asia.
  • contributing to democracy
  • championing causes
  • dialoguing with other faiths
  • providing platforms for democratic leadership
  • helping the poor and marginalized
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At Sun Nov 01, 11:22:00 pm 2009 , Anonymous Hedonese said...

Something very relevant to Singapore as a city-state, wonder how he applies these principles in the ongoing debate in local context on gay rights?

At Mon Nov 02, 10:29:00 pm 2009 , Blogger Timothy P said...

Thanks Dave for your comment. He did touch on that topic when discussing whether conservatives should be allowed to raise their views in a multi-religious society. He brought up how there was a perceived connection of a takeover and the intention of Christian fundamentalists in the recent saga. He also mentioned a letter from a Christian to John Chew re: the NCCS statement issued, about whether we should not be engaging or standing firm on our beliefs and faith, in light of society's pressures and alternate values.


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