Conceptual frameworks

Certain concepts are essentially secular in their meaning. That is, there is no God involved.

Now, for example, angels are essentially ‘intellectual’ beings in Christianity. The closest matchup to these in secular concepts is perhaps ‘cognitive’ processes.

So, it is useful to say angels are what in secular concepts would be called certain kinds of cognitive processes. This can illuminate the concept of angels, or it can help in communication between secularists and Christians, say.

Having said that, it is not useful to say that the concept ‘cognitive processes’ is adequate to the concept of angels. This is because there is no God ‘in’ or associated with the former concept.

If one thinks angels are real, then the secular vocabulary is inadequate. What would have to happen is a redefinition of ‘cognitive processes’, in which they are related to God, and so on.

So, much of contemporary, ‘neutral’ discourse is secular. Put another way, if people aren’t talking about God, they’re talking about not-God. Effectively, there isn’t neutral ground, because the Christian God is (supposedly) far-reaching, and causally tied up in everything that has real existence, in a way that makes a difference.

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