By secularism, I understand the view that religion should be excluded from public life and restricted to the private domain. This concept developed not from the efforts of nonbelievers but out of the early modern wars of religion which so exhausted the combatants that they finally had the idea of agreeing to disagree. In other words, it grew from the imperatives of too much faith, not an absence of it.
Secularism has two main roles today. In an era when global jihad presents the major international danger, it offers a unique brake on the path to religious war. In an era of mass migration, it offers a unique method of integration. I worry, however, that alternative approaches, and their consequent bitter results, will have to be tasted before the benefits of secularism become fully apparent.