Three influences are described as contributing to a changing understanding of “secular” that ultimately excluded a consideration of theistic considerations: First, the separation of religious and scientific domains following Cartesian dualism opened the door for the popularization of a naturalistic science with a central characteristic of being independent of theistic considerations. Dualism eventually emphasized a distinction between subjective and objective experiences, rather than a distinction between spiritual and material realities—allowing the possibility of a purely naturalistic dualism. Second, naturalistic science made inroads back into traditionally religious questions involving the “objective” realm, particularly through the work of Charles Darwin. Third, drawing on assumptions from naturalistic science, psychology made inroads into the “subjective” realm, which helped popularize naturalistic science and marginalize theistic religion by substituting naturalistic explanations for religious explanations of mental, spiritual, and physical experiences. Implications regarding potential opportunities and obligations for responding to this trend are explored for religious psychologists.
Richardson, Michael J.
"Baptized in Acid or Breathed with Life? An Exploration of Psychology's Bridging Capacity,"
Issues in Religion and Psychotherapy: Vol. 35:
1, Article 6.
Available at: https://scholarsarchive.byu.edu/irp/vol35/iss1/6