By William D. Howard
Beginning in the 1700s, in Europe one can see the forming of a strange and seemingly self-contradictory alliance of intellectuals and writers that made up what we now call the “Enlightenment”. Broadly speaking the “Enlightenment” was a much needed antitoxin against religious fanaticism, senseless wars, and the social/political injustices of that period. But all social movements carry within them the seeds of ideological extremes and so did the “Enlightenment”. Secular humanism was one of those extremes and the neo-paganism was the other. Instead of reforming the Judeo-Christian culture and returning it to its original humane beginnings, secular humanism opted for the total elimination of religious faith. Religion in general was seen as an evil, retrograde, influence.
Like a bi-polar mind divided against itself, the “Enlightenment” also produced a number of writers/philosophers that promoted a neo-pagan view of life. The secular humanists were the dominant voices, but the neo-pagans could claim the most famous writer of this period, Jean-Jacques Rousseau. His great influence on both the French Revolution and the next great cultural/social movement “Romanticism” is well established. Rousseau began the cult of nature worship and promoted a morality based upon the standard of personal feelings.
The debates and contradictions we see in modern American culture today are exactly the same. Those who want to eliminate the influence of religion not only in our government but our society in general and those that promote a “New Age” of nature worship. They seem to be natural enemies but in reality they work in a symbiotic alliance to undermine what has been our Judeo-Christian tradition. They are strange bedfellows and useful enemies. What they do have in common is the main objective of ending what has been the dominate influence of the Judeo-Christian morality in American history.
If we seek a second commonality it is in their values systems. Both reduce truth and goodness to human sized standards. Each individual is his own oracle or as the once prominent radical of the 1960s, Jerry Rubin told us: “If it feels good do it.” Rubin is a good example of the strange hybrid mix of pagan values, nature worship, and Marxist ideology. Based upon his own immature understanding of life and history and following the pagan credo of feelings first, he made wild statements that excited an equally ignorant youth culture of that day. This is why young voters today are carried away by the socialist rhetoric of Sanders, Warren and the most historically ignorant of them all A.O.C. Without an understanding of the lessons of history, and without core values that have withstood the test of time all people are subject to the sway of demagoguery. For this reason it would be more accurate to call the “Democratic Party” the “Demagogic Party”. Their common methodology is to cut the cord between reason and facts and make emotions the primary adjudicator of truth.
Secular humanists believe that you can have a highly moral society without religious faith but history has shown that it takes the inspiration of religious faith to maintain a high moral standard. The other great enemy of Judeo-Christian culture are the neo-pagans who talk a good game of peace, love, and healing the planet, but are always found attempting to undo the linkage between sexual morality and the sacredness of human life. Religious studies author Michael F. Strmiska wrote:
“… in pagan magazines, websites, and internet discussion… Christianity is frequently denounced as an antinatural, antifemale, sexually and culturally repressive, guilt-ridden… authoritarian religion that has fostered intolerance, hypocrisy and persecution throughout the world.”
Unfortunately for the neo-pagans and secular humanists who believe the same thing a statistical study of the world’s different cultural regions proves a very different case. Those parts of the world which have been most influenced, by the values and spiritual outlook of the Judeo-Christian tradition, are the same areas of the world which are most prosperous and have the best record of human rights and democracy. These are also the same areas which have experience in modern history the least amount of wars and genocide. Those who would object to this view and who point to the wars and genocide in Europe before 1945 as proof must face the historical fact that Hitler’s Nazi German empire was based upon a pagan value system. Western civilization rejected those values and paid a high cost in defeating that empire. The same is also true of the secular humanists who would promote a socialist or so-called progressive agenda. They must face the facts, that the wars and mass-murder perpetrated by Communist Russia and China, were the product of a violent off-shoot of secular humanism.
When you take God out of the discussion you are only left with human philosophies and some are more hate filled and dangerous than others. Marxism was the product of a malevolent human mind that cost the world over 100,000,000 lives and counting.
If one over-lays a series of maps showing those regions of the world which are today least free, have the most human rights violations, are poorest and have produced the most wars and refugees, one sees a common connection. They are the same regions of the world which historically have had the most enduring pagan cultures. Where there are exceptions to this rule (Like Japan or South Korea) it can be explained by the fact that they have been highly influenced by the value system of Western Civilization.
Despite the overwhelming historical evidence in favor of the positive influence of the Judeo-Christian tradition, the secular humanists and neo-pagans continue their tireless efforts to undermine and replace it with a new pagan foundation.
Opinion polls taken in America, on questions about sexuality prove that they have largely succeeded. Tom W. Smith in a piece published by the University of Chicago in 2013 stated the bottom-line:
“ …there has been an increase in sexually-permissive attitudes over the last four decades… with more approval of premarital sex, same-gender sex, gay marriage… and the legal access to pornography.”
These changes were not accidental. They are the by-product of intentional efforts, made by a committed community of believers who are in control of our mass-popular culture. President Obama’s endorsement of homosexual marriage and the Supreme Court’s narrow ruling in its favor were only the cherries on- top or the white flag of national surrender.
The American Psychological Association, as early as 2001 reported that “… 68 percent of television shows during the 1999-2000 season contained sexual content…” A Kaiser Family Foundation, report in 2011, found that between 1998 and 2005 the number of sex scenes on American television had doubled. Another more recent study showed that in the 1970s there were only five homosexual characters presented on American television, but by the 2000s there were 390. The Atlantic, reported in 2011, that “92% of Top Billboard songs are about sex”. Chrysalis L. Wright Ph.D. wrote in Media Psychology Review, that “… young adults listen to music between two and four hours each day… more than 1/3 of popular songs contain explicit sexual content and 2/3 of these references are degrading…”
The latest homosexual propaganda that has recently appeared on TV is an ad entitled “Beyond I do”. It presents two totally silent lesbians, holding several small children and looking very contented. The message is clear: Gay marriage is not the end of the homosexual rights campaign but its new beginning.
Homosexual marriage once celebrated by the Progressives as the capstone of Gay rights is now viewed by the same people as a new corner-stone to build America’s pagan future on. Starting in the 2020 school year, the state of Illinois will require its public schools to include LGBTQ history in their curriculum. Christian and Jews have of course been here before, and just as when in ancient Rome they refused to celebrate human carnage as sports entertainment or refused to commit collective adultery and call it “love making”, we must now refuse to accept the “Politically Correct”, “New Speak” of “One Love”. Some homosexual feminists, are now calling for what they describe as “Open-sourced fully collaborative gestation.” Put in laymen’s terms they would replace the traditional family with homosexual social engineering. The question must be asked, how many innocent children will be subjected to their radical family experiments? How many lives must be sacrificed upon the altar of “Political Correctness”.
The great Author of “Animal Farm” and “1984” would, if he were alive today easily recognize the language of the Left as propaganda. The words gay and homophobia are both insidious, gay because it is a euphemism for a life style which is anything but benign. Homophobia is especially insidious because its use transfers the sting of abnormality to the normal. The deviant now becomes the healthy and morality is turned up-side down. In ancient Rome, Jews and Christians faced the same type of smear campaign. They were labeled “anti-social”, even “lovers of death”. They suffered for their beliefs but in the end it was pagan Rome which collapsed under the weight of its own perversion. The Pro-Life tendency of Christianity grew in strength, while Rome’s population declined as a result of self-inflicted infanticide.
Like America’s culture today, ancient Rome set a very low bar for sexual morality. It promoted a harsh double standard in the treatment of women. With few exceptions it licensed male promiscuity and allowed pederasty and the rape of men, women, and children who were slaves. Judaism raised the standard to a much higher level. It strongly condemned adultery, homosexuality, a husband forcing himself on his wife and sex outside of marriage. Judaism produced the healthiest and most wholesome, family life in the ancient world. Jesus another Jew, raised the standard even higher. His view was encapsulated in his statement:
“If a man looks on a woman and lusts after her, he has already committed adultery.”
His statements implicitly condemned polygamy, easy divorce and made love the only acceptable standard for human relationships. All of this raised the value and improved over time the treatment of women. Most importantly his teaching linked the sacredness of human life with his teaching on sexual purity. By linking these two principles of Judeo-Christianity it became impossible to pretend that rape, pedophilia, adultery, prostitution or any type of permissive sexuality were compatible with the respect for life, either slave or free.
William D. Howard is a freelance writer who had a long career as an educator. He holds degrees in philosophy and history and has traveled widely in over 40 countries.