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A page of the Mishneh Torah, in Maimonides’s own hand, c.1180 ( ©CG Wilson/Corbis via Getty Images)



It has become the orthodoxy in the West that freedom, human rights and reason all derive from secularism and that the greatest threat to all these good things is religion.

I want to suggest that the opposite is true. In the service of this orthodoxy, the West is undermining and destroying the very values which it holds most dear as the defining characteristics of a civilised society.

War is being waged against Western culture from within which is in essence a war against Christianity and its moral origins in the Hebrew Bible. By attacking these Biblical foundations in the name of reason and human rights, the culture warriors of secularism are sawing off the branch on which they sit. The only way to defend Western civilisation is to reaffirm and restore its Biblical foundations. My argument is a development of ideas I first explored in my 2012 book The World Turned Upside Down: The Global Battle over God, Truth and Power.

We are living in an era which extols reason, science and human rights. These are said to be essential for progress, a civilised society and the betterment of humanity. Religion is said to be their antithesis, the source instead of superstitious mumbo-jumbo, oppression and backward-thinking.

Some of this hostility is being driven by the perceived threat from Islamic terrorism and the Islamisation of Western culture. However, this animus against religion has far deeper roots and can be traced back to what is considered the birthplace of Western reason, the 18th-century Enlightenment.

Actually, it goes back specifically to the French Enlightenment. In England and Scotland, the Enlightenment developed reason and political liberty within the framework of Biblical belief. In France, by contrast, anti-clericalism morphed into fundamental hostility to Christianity and to religion itself.

Ecrasez l’infame,” said Voltaire (crush infamy) — the infamy to which he referred being not just the Church but Christianity, which he wanted to replace with the religion of reason, virtue and liberty, “drawn from the bosom of nature”.
But this Enlightenment did not remove religion so much as pervert it. It took millenarian fantasies, the idea that the perfection of the world was at hand, and it secularised them. Instead of God producing heaven on earth, it would be mankind which would bring that about. Reason would create the perfect society and “progress” was the process by which utopia would be attained.
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Claire Khaw
March 10th, 2018
10:03 PM
Judaism - Thesis Christianity - Antithesis Islam - Synthesis It is disappointing that Melanie Phillips does not mention at all the absurdity of the doctrine of the Trinity which requires all who wish to identify as Christian to say they believe that Christ is the co-equal of God. From this requirement flows cowardice, irrationality and hypocrisy leading to Westerners throwing out the morality of Christianity with the bathwater of the Trinity. http://www.yoramhazony.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/11/jerusalem_and_cart... explains the irrationality of Christianity rather well, I think. Tertullian’s views are those of a fanatic. But they have not been without influence. A certain strand within Christianity has always applauded this posture, and its echoes continue to be heard down to our own day. We find a similar position, in which Christian faith is taken to be “an absurdity to the understanding,” being advanced in the writings of Kierkegaard, for example: What, then, is the absurd? The absurd is that the eternal truth has come into existence in time, that God has come into existence, has been born, has grown up, etc., has come into existence… as an individual human being…. [in other words,] the absurd is precisely the object of faith, and only that can be believed…. Christianity… has required the inwardness of faith with regard to what is… an absurdity to the understanding. In the same vein, C.S. Lewis speaks of the things that Jesus asks mankind to believe, if judged by human standards, as “asinine fatuity” and “lunacy”: [Y]ou will see that what this man said was, quite simply, the most shocking thing that has ever been uttered by human lips…. asinine fatuity is the kindest description we should give…. in the mouth of any speaker who is not God, these words would imply what I can only regard as a silliness and conceit unrivalled by any other character in history…. a man who was merely a man and said the sort of things Jesus said… would either be a lunatic—on a level with a man who says he is a poached egg—or else he would be the devil of Hell. Christian faith requires belief in things that are repugnant to human reason, which permits contemporary commentators to speak of biblical faith as though it purposely stands in opposition to the dictates of human reason.

David MacKenzie
March 10th, 2018
8:03 PM
A fascinating article, and well worth the read. As an evangelical Pastor, I appreciate the Jewish and Torah apologetic. It's interesting to hear arguments from your perspective.

Anonymous
March 10th, 2018
4:03 PM
The more corrupt the character, the more they hate the idea that they will face God for judgement.

David Anon
March 9th, 2018
10:03 PM
I wonder, Laurence, what future generations will make of our enlightened society's attempts to eliminate the likes of ISIS?

Rev., DAvid Morgan
March 9th, 2018
7:03 PM
Excellent and brilliant argument for the fundamental belief in the Holy Scriptures (OT and NT) the source of our 'weltanschauung' and shalom! Thank you Melanie.

dreddin
March 6th, 2018
6:03 AM
Regarding the Richard Dawkins quote: how exactly is this a "wildly untrue, ignorant and perverse reading of the Hebrew Bible"? Every one of those adjectives can be justified by stories and quotes directly from the Bible. You can't get away with lying about your holy books these days Melanie- we know whats in them!

George Curry
March 5th, 2018
9:03 PM
Why, Peter? An assertion without reasons for it is no way to dismiss a carefully argued and referenced lecture.

Lawrence James
March 5th, 2018
11:03 AM
The remarks on 'loving your neighbour' and selflessness suggest that the author may have skipped the Old Testament passages on Philistines, Canaanites and Amakelites.Incidentlly, conspiracy theories are not a wholly modern phenomenon: in 1348 there were some who imagined that the Jews had caused the Black Death and at the turn of the 18th century there were many who believed that the French Revilution was a result of plots contrived by Freemasons and Illuminati.

Crane
March 4th, 2018
6:03 PM
The pews in my church this Sunday in Britain were full,& the lesson was about Jesus's anger at the merchants selling goods in the temple.The globalists have continued their religion to this day.Profaning the sacred ,money is the root of all evil, its creation is in the hands of the few & by its creation wars can be financed. Melanie what about the devil he is also in the bible.If the Jews are so rational why did they have amulets to ward off lilith to protect their children was their faith God so lacking?

Peter Thorn
March 2nd, 2018
11:03 PM
I don't wish to go too deep into this, but, suffice to say, this is all very stupid.

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