Profane, secular, lay, temporal mean not dedicated or set apart for religious ends or uses.
Profane specifically implies an opposition to sacred (see HOLY ); in this sense it is purely descriptive and not derogatory; thus, profane history is history dealing with nations or peoples rather than with biblical events or characters; profane literature comprises all literature except the Scriptures, other sacred writings, and sometimes writings having a definite religious end or use; profane love applies to human love as between man and woman, as distinguished from the love of man for God and of God for man.
The term also is used to imply an opposition to holy, religious, spiritual .
Secular usually implies a relation to the world as distinguished from the church or religion or the religious life; it may come close to profane <secular music> <the secular drama> or it may be opposed to regular in the sense of governed by a monastic rule; thus, a secular priest is a priest who does not belong to a religious order; a regular priest is one who does. The term is most often opposed to religious in the sense of belonging to or serving the ends of a religion or church, then coming close to civil or public .
Lay is applied to persons, or sometimes to their activities, interests, or duties, that do not belong to the clergy and particularly the regularly ordained clergy; it therefore usually implies an opposition to clerical or ecclesiastical .
In religious orders the term is applied to a class of religious who are occupied chiefly with domestic and manual work as distinguished from those who are occupied with liturgical observances, teaching, and study.
Lay is often extended to other than the clerical profession (compare lay analyst under NEUROLOGIST ) in the sense of nonprofessional or of not having a professional source or character; thus, a lay opinion on a question of law is merely an opinion delivered by one who is neither a lawyer nor a judge.
Temporal implies an opposition to spiritual (in the sense of being concerned not with material or mundane but with immaterial and eternal ends) and is applied chiefly to sovereigns, rulers, or dignitaries having political authority or civil power; thus, lords temporal are those members of the British House of Lords who are not bishops or archbishops (these latter being called lords spiritual ).