Equilibrium between the religious and secular necessary

I support the principle in the headline of last Sunday's commentary ("In face of rising religiosity, keep faith with the secular state").

Living in a multi-religious society, there is no viable option but to accept the necessity of having a secular state.

As a religious person, I can honestly keep faith in promoting and maintaining a secular state and accepting its legitimacy.

History is strewn with the debris of fallen religious empires where one religion is dominant and overpowers all other religious and secular aspirants.

We have arrived at a time in human history when absolute power cannot lie in the hands of one religion or one political power. We cannot conquer by the sword wielded by any of them. We all need to perform a balancing act.

There is increasing acceptance of a multi-religious society and a plurality of secular groups. The religious must be tempered by the secular and vice versa. Each must respect and accept the validity and contribution of the other.

Rising religiosity must be accompanied by a willingness to interact and learn from one another's faith communities. It is through such study, dialogue and action within and between different religions that we are able to achieve common values for the good of all.

A secular state must not give undue preference to any particular religion. It must recognise and accept the good that religion can offer in terms of justice and equality for all people.

There are ethical values from the religious and secular sectors which are essential and beneficial to a good society. Freedom entails responsibility and it is necessary to sustain an equilibrium between the religious and secular.

Yap Kim Hao (Rev Dr)

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on November 08, 2015, with the headline 'Equilibrium between the religious and secular necessary'. Print Edition | Subscribe