Can secular people experience something like religious “grace?” The Christian concept of grace is a spontaneous gift from God to people. It takes the forms of favor, love, clemency, and a share in the divine life of God. God’s gift of grace is generous, free, unexpected, and undeserved.
Can non-Christian, secular people experience anything like “grace?” Yes, we can find it in the peak experiences of life. We see it in the smile of a child, in the flow of a brook, and in sunset over the Grand Canyon (especially when listening to Ferde Grofe’s Grand Canyon Suite). We find it in the grandeur of galaxies photographed by the Webb Telescope, in the balanced proportions of the Greek Parthenon, in the kindness of goodhearted people, and in the science of biological evolution. Secular grace is the sum of all the good stuff in the universe.
So, something like “grace” is experienced by religious and secular people alike. It’s just that secular people may prefer the secular words “awe-inspiring,” “peak experience,” “wholistic apprehension,” and “transcendence” over the religious word “grace.”
(Note: This blog by J.X. Mason was inspired by a sermon delivered on 11-5-23 to the Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Charlottesville by its Minister, the Reverend Tim Temerson.)