What is real? This is one of the most important questions. I've grappled with it for my entire adult life.
The basic problem I or anyone else faces in answering that question is that we humans are subjective beings who exist in an objective world.
So subjectivity and objectivity are intermingled in everything we do, which includes grappling with the nature of reality.
Wisdom, in my admittedly subjective opinion, largely lies in recognizing the difference between "I believe," "I feel," and similar I-based views, and "It is true that..." The latter sort of statement refers to an intersubjective reality, which is the closest we can come to objectivity.
Meaning, if several people agree about the nature of something, and have good reasons for arriving at that agreement, this should bring us closer to knowing the reality that exists outside of our individual subjective minds.
Religious believers usually consider that God is the source of this universal reality. I don't. However, we have some common ground in that a sense of the "sacred" (broadly defined) motivates both secular and religious truth-seekers.
Traditionally, as in the Middle Ages, science was viewed as a means of revealing the glory of God's creation. That attitude still is prevalent today, so long as we leave out a single word, "God's." Most scientists, and most lovers of science, are awestruck by the marvelous regularities revealed by the laws of nature.
Also, by the unfathomable vastness of the universe (or universes) as we look outward at the cosmos, and the equal mystery of the infinitesimal quantum realms that lie within every speck of matter/energy.
Even during my true-believing days in an Eastern form of religion, I found it objectionable when my fellow devotees would dismiss modern science, and rationality in general, as a lesser form of knowing. They had been brainwashed into viewing closed-eyed meditation as the only way to grasp ultimate truth.
I had a different view.
Science could tell us a lot about objective reality, but not everything. Our seemingly subjective consciousness could become a means of knowing objective realms of reality beyond the physical, given sufficient training in certain forms of meditation.
Now I'm skeptical that this is the case.
I still meditate every day, but I see this as akin to mental exercise/conditioning and not as a means to escape the bounds of ordinary ways of learning about the world. So even more than before, I've come to view scientific, intersubjective, communal understandings of reality as sacred (in a secular sense of the word).
It deeply bothers me when religious leaders and politicians ignore objective facts in favor of subjective beliefs. For example, human-caused global warming is a fact. Not a 100% certain fact, but an extremely highly likely fact, not much less probable than the fact that the Earth orbits the sun or water is composed of two hydrogen atoms and one oxygen atom.
So when Trump cabinet nominees refuse to acknowledge the reality of human-caused global warming, I see this as profane. Again, in a secular sense, the opposite of sacred -- which to me is seeing the world as it objectively is, not as we subjectively would like it to be, or believe it to be.
On climate change, a handful of Trump nominees have broken with the president-elect, who has called global warming “a hoax.” Zinke, Pruitt and Rex Tillerson, the nominee for secretary of state, each acknowledged in their confirmation hearings that the climate is changing, but stopped short of blaming burning fossil fuels. The nominees each employed a version of what Mother Jones called Republicans’ favorite excuse on global warming: “I’m not a climate scientist.”
OK, so you're not a climate scientist. Neither am I. But I accept what climate scientists have learned about global warming, just as I accept what physicists have learned about gravity, electromagnetism, and quantum mechanics.
Reality is a terrible thing to waste. Here we are, living what almost certainly is our one and only life in the one and only universe we can know about,
I can sort of accept that ordinary individuals have the right to believe untrue stuff about the world, since the consequences of their false understanding of reality usually don't affect other people.
But when religious leaders or politicians engage in blatant reality-denial, that's a whole other thing, because their utterances and actions do affect other people. Lots of them. Everybody on the planet, really, when it comes to denying global climate change caused by human activities.
Fighting in defense of reality is essential. It's our sacred duty, whether or not we believe in God.