We are all religious. We all have faith commitments whether we are Jews, Christians, Muslims or Secularists to take only the dominant approaches in the western world.

The first three have significantly different beliefs about a transcendent God and the fourth a belief that we can run society as though there is no God. None can prove that their approach is self–evidently true.

It is however quite clear that there are significant differences between societies espousing each of these beliefs. Some of these differences appear to be incapable of compromise; a theocratic society cannot become democratic by negotiation. Only a fundamental change in thought will do that. Theocrats are not committed by their belief system to accommodating other view points.

Our society, loosely defined as “western” is the product of three ancient streams of thought and one modern. It is the product of Hebrew and Greek thought modified by the Church and over the last four centuries secularized. Only now as the dreams of the enlightenment lie ruined in the bloody twenty-first century are we beginning the difficult critique of the secular society. The Hebrew and Christian views have been rigorously examined for centuries; the Muslim one less so but, following the emergence of terrorism claiming to be inspired by Islam, this is now slowly happening. The liberal, democratic secularists are resisting examination still but this is ultimately futile.