Sacred vs. Profane

Difference Between Sacred and Profane Sacred and profane are words that have traditionally been used in connection with…

Difference Between Sacred and Profane

Sacred and profane are words that have traditionally been used in connection with religion. Today, the word profane is used in many senses and is mostly used to mean something thing that is vulgar, curse words and offensive. ‘Sacred’ has always been used for holy and religious things. They are actually antonyms that are commonly used in everyday life. This article will explain the contexts and uses of these words in detail.

The word secular comes from the Latin profanus (pro-fanum-before and the temple). This means that all the things that are holy are antonym of profane. Profane was earlier used to refer to all things which are not holy. It was also used for ordinary things, times and locations. When you look at the structure of a church, it looks like another structure made of concrete. But it is only when you walk inside that you get a sense of holiness. Therefore we consider that all associated with the church or any other religion is sacred. This feeling of awe and reverence has been mitigated somewhat in modern times and we get that feeling only in special occasions each year when we celebrate any religious festival. For example, on Easter we honor the sacred time of Jesus while on Christmas, we honor the time when Jesus was born. By some means we feel liberated from profane (ordinary) on these sacred days and remember the holy times.

The word holiday originated from the word holy, so we can feel the sacred these days. Although sacred retained much of its early connotations, profane became a generic term to describe all the things that are not only not holy, but also vulgar or obscene.


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