Several years ago I attended a conference in Seattle, Washington that focused on Christian conversations with “the lost.” One segment of the conference included interviewing people who Christians consider “lost.” When it was time to interview one of the “lost” guests the organizer asked her, “How do you feel when you are referred to as lost?” She responded, “This is a very interesting concept to me because I don’t consider myself being lost.” Then she asked the interviewer, “Do you know what I do for a living?” He responded, “No, I don’t.” She replied, “I am a cartographer—a mapmaker. I make maps for a living, so you see, I’m never lost!” Needless to say, her comment created a loud roar of laughter in the audience. After all, she was right!
As I was reading “A Secular Age,” by Charles Taylor I was reminded of this young woman’s response. This book is written by a cartographer! Taylor has provided us with a map in our secular age that attempts to help us locate ourselves and give some kind of sense of where we are. So where exactly are we?
How did we move from a condition where in Christendom, people lived naively within a theistic construal, to one in which we all shunt between two stances, in which everyone’s construal shows up as such; and in which moreover, unbelief has become for many the major default option? And “why was it virtually impossible not to believe in God in, say, 1500 in our Western society, while in 2000 many find this not only easy, but even inescapable?”
So what does this mean? Does our society no longer believe in God? Are we becoming more or less religious? Although these are questions that perhaps make us scratch our heads and wonder, Taylor is not necessarily focusing on these questions. Taylor is more concerned with the condition of belief. It is not about what people believe but about how people believe.
Taylor states that what was seen as an unfailing mark of Godliness, something that was worth pursuing, somehow comes to infiltrate the very essence of Godliness, which gradually becomes indistinguishable from it. For some, being Christian is reduced to being good, following the Ten Commandments, and doing the “right thing.” It becomes more about “human flourishing” as Taylor states, which can easily take God out of the picture. As God becomes less of a reality, the “belief or unbelief” options to choose from increase. The secular age has offered many more alternatives as a result, and Christianity is no longer the default option. Secularism is not about disproving the existence of God, but it is about putting God into a “transcendent” realm, that society would consider as supernatural and therefore not believable. Secularism is about putting God into a realm outside the objective knowable scientific world, making it tough for belief in God to have the total claim on our lives.
“The mark of a secular society is that believers can no longer enjoy a “simple” or “naïve” faith. The “conditions of belief” have changed such that Western Christians are now unable to believe without reservations, without uneasily looking over their shoulders. The honest believer must concede, “I am never, or only rarely, really sure, free of all doubt, untroubled by some objection—by some experience which won’t fit.” In sum: Secularism means that our Christian experience is now shaped by a lurking uncertainty.” 
It seems to me that in a secular age we have all become “cartographers.” We have created our own directions, routes and roadways. What map have you created? What map do you use to direct your life? Is your map leading you to a dead end?
 Charles Taylor, “A Secular Age,” (Cambridge, MA: Harvard Press, 2007), 14.
 Ibid., 25.
 Ibid., 244.
 http://www.firstthings.com/article/2014/12/tayloring-christianity (accessed 2/19/15)