Many people still see/use the word secular as being anti-religious.  In modern times, it is certainly not as it conforms with the Euro Convention on Human Rights which allows freedom to have beliefs, or none at all.  Relevant dictionary entries for secular etc.  Also for atheist & atheism.



Oxford English Dictionary (2nd edition, 1989)

A     Secular

1      Of  / or pertaining to the world

2a   Belonging to the world and its affairs as distinguished from the church and religion; civil, lay, temporal.  Chiefly used as a negative term, with the meaning non-ecclesiastical, non-religious, or non-sacred, but not anti-religious.

2b   Of literature, history, art (esp. music), hence of writers or artists: Not concerned with or devoted to the service of religion; not sacred; profane. Also of buildings, etc., Not dedicated to religious uses

2c   Of education, instruction; Relating to non-religious subjects. (In modern use often implying the exclusion of religious teaching from education, or from the education provided at the public expense.) Of a school: That gives secular education

3a   Of or belonging to the present or visible world as distinguished from the eternal or spiritual world; temporal, worldly.

3b   Caring for the present world only; unspiritual   rare

4      Used for: Pertaining to or accepting the doctrine of secularism;  secularistic

   secular societies: the designation given to associations formed in various English towns from 1852 onwards to promote the spread of secularist opinions

B     Secularism

1      The doctrine that morality should be based solely on regard to the well-being of mankind in the present life, to the exclusion of all considerations drawn from belief in God or in a future state.  a. As the name of a definitely professed system of belief, promulgated by G. J. Holyoake (1817–1906).  b. In wider sense, as denoting a mode of thought more or less implicitly held and acted upon

2      The view that education, or the education provided at the public cost, should be purely secular

C     Secularist

1      One of the secular clergy; a secular person

      2.     An adherent of secularism

      3.     An advocate of exclusively secular education

D     Secularly

1      As a secular or lay person; in accordance with secular procedure; non-ecclesiastically

2      In a worldly manner; in a manner characterized by the absence of religion.


The Chambers Dictionary 1998 edition, reprinted 1999

E     Secular

Relating to the present world, or to things not spiritual; civil, not ecclesiastical; lay, not concerned with religion

F     Secularism

The belief that the state, morals, education etc should be independent of religion: G J Holyoake’s (1817 – 1916) system of social ethics  (separation of state and religion)

Macmillan English Dictionary for Advanced Learners 2002

G     Secular

Not religious or not connected with religion

H     Secularism

Lack of religious influence within society, or the belief that this is important

I      Secularize

To make something less religious or stop it from being controlled by religion

The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition

J     Secularism

1      Religious skepticism or indifference

2      The view that religious considerations should be excluded from civil affairs or public education

Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary

K     Secularism

1      The state or quality of being secular; a secular spirit; secularity

2      The tenets or principles of the secularists

WordNet ® 2.0, © 2003 Princeton University

L     Secularism

A doctrine that rejects religion and religious considerations  (The privilege thereof)

OED (1989)

M     Atheism

Disbelief  in  [or denial of]  the existence of a God.   Chambers has the same minus the words in [  ] but uses lower case god!

N     Atheist

One who denies or disbelieves the existence of a God.