Secularization: Is It Happening?

Date : 13th February(Monday)  

Time : 7:30PM-9:00PM

Venue: RRS 905, 9/F, Sir Run Run Shaw Building, Ho Sin Hang Campus, HKBU

Chair: Prof. Cindy Yik-yi CHU Associate Director of David C. Lam Institute for East-West Studies, HKBU 

Speaker: Fr. Joseph THAM Assistant Professor, School of Bioethics, Regina Apostolorum Pontifical University 


Fr. S. Joseph Tham was born in Hong Kong and immigrated to Canada at the age of fifteen. At the University of Toronto, he first majored in Mathematical Sciences and then graduated from Medical School. After several years of work as a family physician, he entered the seminary of the Legionaries of Christ and was ordained a priest in 2004. As a part of this preparation, he has obtained his degrees in philosophy and theology at Rome’s Regina Apostolorum Pontifical University, where he also completed his post-graduate studies in bioethics. He successfully defended his doctoral dissertation with high honours on “The Secularization of Bioethics—A Critical History” under the direction of Dr. Edmund Pellegrino, former Chairman of the President’s Council on Bioethics. He presently teaches bioethics in Regina Apostolorum. He is the author of The Missing Cornerstone (Hamden 2004), The Secularization of Bioethics (Rome 2007) and Bioetica al Futuro [Bioethics of the Future] (Vatican, 2010). 



What is the fate of religion in society? The term secularization came about in the last century and became popular among sociologists in the 60s. Many had thought that with the advance of science and modernity, religion will soon become extinct because religion has lost its function. When this had not happened as predicted, the theories underwent modifications. There are those who believe that religious practices and attitudes have declined, but others thought that this is not always the case and certainly not in all parts of the world. What are the problems of these theories? Is secularization happening and how is this manifested? This lecture will seek to shed some light on this interesting phenomenon.