Some years ago that term was used to designate someone without any obvious connection with religion, yet who had the heroic virtue we usually associate with the saints.
As I listened to his address to graduates at Stanford University a few years ago, I thought the term could apply to Steve Jobs who died a few days ago. It was a remarkable address that any Christian preacher would admire and be happy to preach. I was especially moved by his respect for death as an advisor and mentor for life.
A solid spirituality. You hope the next generation would follow his example.
The other night on iTunes, one of Jobs’ wonderful contributions to the new digital world, I listened to a lecture (free) by Charles Taylor, author of The Secular Age, from Columbia University. Taylor objected to new atheists like Richard Dawkins, Daniel C. Dennett, Sam Harris, and Christopher Hitchens who want to banish religion from the world as a worthless and destructive force.
But he also objected to Christians denying the worth of secularists who work for the good of the world and its peoples.
There are secular saints as well as saints honored by the church.