Tuesday, 6 December 2016


The Enlightenment was a European intellectual movement of the late 17th and 18th centuries which emphasized reason and individual freedom. It challenged the traditional class system; it challenged the designation of some people as superior and others (the many) as inferior. The Enlightenment argued for equal treatment under the law, equal opportunity for all, freedom of speech, freedom of the press, civil rights and civil liberties for everyone, the equality of women and minorities, and especially the separation of church and state and the freedom to practice any religion or no religion at all.  The Enlightenment was indistinguishable from rationalism.  Its more modern day descendant is probably secular humanism.

Baruch Spinoza is often called the philosophical founder of the Enlightenment.  Other Enlightenment figures included Descartes, Locke, and Newton, Kant, Goethe and Voltaire.  The classical economists like Adam Smith (but not the neo-classical economists like Pareto) were mostly associated with Enlightenment.   More often than not Enlightenment figures were critics of the then prevailing religion.  In the Age of Reason Thomas Paine wrote “Whenever we read ... the cruel and tortuous executions, the unrelenting vindictiveness with which more than half the Bible is filled, it would be more consistent that we call it the word of a demon than the word of God.  It is a history of wickedness that has served to corrupt and brutalize humankind. And, for my own part, I sincerely detest it, as I detest everything that is cruel.”

Since the 18th century there has been an epic struggle between the Enlightenment and the Counter-Enlightenment.  There have been many strands to the Counter-Enlightenments from the middle of the 18th century through to the 21st century.   The Enlightenment has enemies on all points of the ideological compass, from the far left to the far right, and even points in between.  Its most vehement critics have come from the Abrahamic religions, Christianity, Islam and Judaism although current critics of the Enlightenment even include critical theorists, post-modernists and feminists. 

I refer to the enemies of the Enlightenment as the Dark Forces.  I identify five main categories of present day Dark Forces. These are puritanism, kleptocracy, fascism-nazism, statism and red guardism.  These are necessarily arbitrary and arguable categorizations as many characteristics are shared by these cohorts. 

The original Puritans wanted to “purify” the Christian church by following intensely strict religious principles, which earned them the name Puritan.  Puritanism has come to mean adherence to scrupulous moral rigour and extreme strictness in religious matters and especially hostility to social pleasures and indulgences.  The original Puritans in England and in the American colonies wanted to set up a theocratic state in which clergy had authority over both religious and civil life.   Accordingly Puritanism is associated with a prominent role for religion and the preist hood in determining the laws of the land and political and social structure.

Puritanism has continued as a significant influence on Christianity - in recent times the Fundamentalists carry the puritan banner.  A leading puritan philosopher of modern day Christians was Rousas John Rushdoony who was associated with the Reconstructionism  movement which openly advocated theocracy and the restoration of Mosaic law.  Rushdoony’s fundamentalist Calvinism has had an important but often unseen influence on the Christian Right in the United States. 
The Reconstructionists looked to the Mosiac laws in the Old Testament as their guide for the society that they envisioned. Government posts would be reserved for the righteous, as long as they are male. There would be thousands of executions a year, with stoning a preferred method because it would turn the deaths into “community projects,” as movement theologian Gary North (Rushdoony’s son-in-law) has noted.  Sinners in line for the death penalty would include women who commit adultery or lie about their virginity, blasphemers, witches, children who strike their parents, and gay men. Gays would be executed if they were caught indulging in sodomy.

Gary North succinctly set out what Reconstructionism was all about when he wrote,“We must use the doctrine of religious liberty…until we train up a generation of people who know that there is no religious neutrality, no neutral law, no neutral education, and no neutral civil government. Then they will get busy constructing a Bible-based social, political, and religious order which finally denies the religious liberty of the enemies of God.”

In the United States the open advocacy of biblical law has been restrained because in many cases it would be criminal.  While a theoretical discussion about stoning disobedient children or adulterers might be protected as “freedom of speech” an intonation to stone a specific child or adulterer would land the good pastor in jail.  Thusly Reconstructionist notions have more usually been advanced by mediators like Francis Shaeffer. 

In the last several decades the extreme puritans have mostly been Muslims.  While the Christian puritans especially in the U.S. are there, they are kept in check by a secular legal system.  Muslim puritanism, however, is the official orthodoxy in countries as diverse Saudi Arabia and Malaysia.  In the Islamic State and in Taliban Afghanistan the kind of puritanical extremism that the Reconstructionists can only theorize about is the law of the land.  Stonings, death penalties for adulterous women, beheadings for blasphemy,  persecution of gays ... are all common occurrences.

Muslim fundamentalists have often derived their theological premises from the intolerant puritanism of the Wahhabi and Salafi creeds.  Wahhabism was founded by the eighteenth-century evangelist Muhammad ibn ’Abd al-Wahhab in the Arabian Peninsula.  He wanted to rid Islam of the corruptions that he believed had crept into it.  He was a strict literalist in which the text became the sole source of legitimate authority and like the Calvinists with respect to Christianity he was extremely hostile to intellectualism, mysticism, and any sectarian divisions within Islam.  It was necessary to return to a pristine, simple, straightforward Islam, based on the literal implementation of the commands of the Prophet, and by strict adherence to correct ritual practice.  Wahhabism opposed any modernization of Islam on account of changed circumstances. It perceived the vast majority of Islamic history as a corruption of the true and authentic Islam. It narrowly defined orthodoxy and was extremely intolerant of any creed that contradicted its own.

On the surface the Christian fundamentalists and Muslim fundamentalists are implacable enemies.  Many Christian fundamentalists in the U.S. would like to make it illegal to be a Muslim and most Muslims in most Muslim ruled countries support making Christianity illegal.  These two strands of fundamentalism, however, are also very similar  - they both subscribe to the notion that their primary religious texts - the Koran in one case and the Old and New Testaments in the other - are the inerrant word of God.  In arguing for inerrancy they both inevitably advance Abrahamic law - where there is no freedom of religion, where many offences are punishable by death - usually stoning - where there is a hatred of deviation.

One ever present characteristic of both Christian puritanism and Islamic puritanism is the fear of freedom for women.  This intense desire to control women probably has a root in  sexual monopolization but the targeting and degradation of women is more than just ensuring faithfulness to a mate.  There is a certain undeniable vehemence and angst in the treatment of women, as if the more women are made to suffer, in order to secure the future of the religion. Puritan orientations do not hesitate to treat all theological arguments aimed at honouring women, by augmenting their autonomy and social mobility, as if they were part of the Western conspiracy designed to destroy Islam. This is also manifested in the puritans' tendency to look at Muslim women as a consistent source of danger and vulnerability for Islam, and to go as far as branding women as the main source of social corruption and evil.

The code word for the Enlightenment is secular humanism.  Both Islamic and Christian fundamentalists are extremely hostile to "secular humanism".   According to Francis A. Schaeffer in his book How Should We Then Live: The Rise and Decline of Western Thought and Culture (1976) rampant secular humanism would lead to moral relativism and ethical bankruptcy. For Shaeffer secular humanism was pernicious and diabolical, and would morally and spiritually destroy America.  This premise is a frequent theme in North American fundamentalism where secular humanism is typically portrayed as a vast evil conspiracy, deceitful and immoral, responsible for feminism, pornography, abortion, homosexuality, and New Age spirituality. 

For the fundamentalists secular humanism is the devil’s work.  One Christian pastor put it this way “We live in a day when there is a great war going on in the society in which we live. There are many battlefronts and aspects to the war, but the primary war in our day is between Christianity and secular humanism.  Secular humanism is a religion and a philosophy of life which views man as the supreme being of the universe. It rejects the existence of God and the supernatural. It sees moral values as relative and changing and varying from person to person.  It is important for every Christian to know the subtle ways that secular humanism is manifesting itself all around us. It is important for us to make decisions on a daily basis that demonstrate that we have not been captured, to any degree, by this intoxicating and persuasive philosophy and religion.”

Another fundamentalist preacher, Robert L. Waggoner writes “Many are only now suddenly awakening to the realization that the Christian foundations of our society have drastically eroded. Christians must realize a war is in progress. Christians must resist philosophical enemies. To defeat humanism, Christians must understand it and how it operates. Because Christians have too often failed to understand humanism, Christians have often compromised their beliefs and have therefore suffered defeat in many battles.  The conflict between humanism and Christianity is a war of many battles. This war is about whether a third of our unborn children shall continue to be murdered within their mothers’ wombs. It’s about whether a fourth of all births in this nation will continue to be outside of wedlock. It’s about whether decency or pornography shall prevail. It’s about who controls the education of children – parents or civil governments. And it’s about many other such things. This document contrasts humanistic and Christian beliefs and their consequences within society, and notes reasons why Christians have been losing this war with humanists.”

An Islamic scholar Habib Siddiqui writes “In the minds of people, the term “humanism” has certain magic, electric charm – like the "Aladdin’s lantern”. It bemuses many with its so-called rational, liberating gimmicks. Many Muslims, therefore, have developed false opinions without questioning the origin of western humanism and its effect on modem man.”

Malaysian prime minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak  said, “They call it human rightism, where the core beliefs are based on humanism and secularism as well as liberalism. “It’s deviationist in that it glorifies the desires of man alone and rejects any value system that encompasses religious norms and etiquettes. They do this on the premise of championing human rights.”

Every religion has its puritans and they are increasingly powerful - the ultra orthodox jews, Hinduist extremists.  Todays fundamentalists whether they identify as Christian, Muslim, Jewish, Hindu or other religion are the storm troopers of the new puritanism.  They are out to destroy the enlightenment values which many of us thought had been preserved for all times with the defeat of Hitler.


  1. This comment has been removed by the author.

  2. It's not too late to repent for your sins and join the Army of God in his battles against godless secularists.

  3. Go back to your own country you Jihadi apologist. America is a Christian Nation and if you don't like it here than you can leave.

  4. Have you considered moderating your blog at all? Because all I see is violent hatred being spewed by inbred redneck pieces of shit. Islam is a religion of peace. I we want to create a safe and tolerant society, we would be well advised to incorporate more of its tenets into the fabric of our society and legal system.

  5. Kill yourself, you fucking piece of shit commie scumbag.