The Enlightenment – An overview

The Enlightenment – An overview


The Enlightenment came about in the 18th century and freed Western civilisation from the stranglehold of religious fundamentalism. It enabled all the progress we now take for granted.

Prior to this time there was a type of extreme fundamentalism that was akin to ISIS. It was illegal to oppose Christian religious belief. Europe was a theocracy. The word of god was the only rule. Heretics, or those the Church/establishment deemed to be heretic could be tortured to death to save their souls. All methods of torture were devised and deployed including the most barbaric that can be imagined.

To even publish the Bible in English was an offence punishable by death. The Church wanted the power and that resided with the clergy. It was not right for ordinary people to have access to the teachings; they could misinterpret the meaning.

It was a regular event to have blasphemers, witches and heretics publicly burnt to death. Science and rationalism were not permitted.

What is obvious is that all this was much more to do with power than religion.

In the 1620s there was a scientific revolution which brought about a wave of rationalism and doubt. The theological certainties of flat earth, earth at the centre of creation and even man in god’s image were brought into question.

In the 18th Century philosophers such as Kant developed the philosophy of rationalism. This grew among the intellectual classes and led to a movement to create a society based on reason. This led to the separation of religion from politics and the formation of a secular culture.

Secular politics was based on tolerance and reason.

The philosopher Locke the radical idea that government should be through the consent of the people and not the imposition of religious dogma.

This led to a flourishing of the Arts and Science which created the greatest impetus of social development in the history of the world. The West flourished.

The enlightenment led to the ethos of the French Revolution – Equality, Liberty and Fraternity.

It separated the state from religion.

It led to the American revolution and the enshrined doctrine of freedom, religious freedom and individuality.

It has enabled the West to create democracy, pluralism, tolerance, freedom, science, liberalisation, the arts and a diverse and vital culture.

If we had not had an enlightenment and reformation we would still be in medieval costume burning Catholics, Muslims and anyone who was different in our public squares.

Long Live the Enlightenment! Something worth fighting for!

The Dark Ages – a poem

The Dark Ages


‘What were the Dark Ages, Dad?’

Dad looked thoughtful and sad.

‘A time of ignorance when things were bad.’


‘When did the Dark Ages end?’ she asked.

Dad looked at her with face aghast.

‘We don’t know how long they’ll last.’


Opher – 20.7.2019



We tend to look back at history and wonder how people could do such things, believe such things and behave so cruelly. We see them as primitive, foolish and brutal.

They are no different to us.

We live in the same ignorance and the same level of vicious depravity. We never learn.

I was looking at the butchery of the timid dolphins and porpoises in the Faroes and seeing the same vicious bloodlust and inhumanity. It’s still there unchanged. I look at ISIS, the Baptists from the Southern States, The Creationists, Boko Haram and all the others and see the same blind ignorance and belief in scriptures from barbaric times.

The Dark Ages – we’re still living them. Oh for a bit of light!

I am Malala – Education for girls!!!

I am Malala – Education for girls!!!

I have just returned from watching the film about the life of Malala Yousafzai. What a brave girl! She deserved the Nobel peace prize! Her father did too!

The Taliban preach a brand of Islam that I find disgusting. They preach intolerance, fundamentalism that is the most extreme fascism.

Islam means peace. For the Taliban it means power. They rule with the gun and the bomb. They believe females are second-class citizens. They shoot all who speak against them. They blow up schools. They terrify and frighten.

That is not religion. That is politics.

They are scum.

Malala, like her father, spoke up for the rights of women. The Taliban threatened them. She was cold-bloodedly shot in the head.

Is there a name for an armed man who shoots a young teenage girl in the head? I can think of a number. Coward comes to mind as one of the more printable ones.

If we do not speak out against inequality, intolerance and injustice then the fascist scum win.

It takes brave people like Malala to stand up to fascist thugs.

My only criticism was her clothing. While her father and brother were free to wear whatever they wanted seemingly Malala was not. She was consigned to medieval costume. Nice if its an option – obnoxious if it is enforced, expected or pressured. Until she is free to wear whatever she wants and feels comfortable to do so – like the males in her society – there is no equality. I see headscarves, burqas and hijabs as misogyny.

Thank you Malala. I’m now going to read your book.

I loved what you said about education – one teacher – one pen – is mightier than all the oppressive doctrine of fascist scum.

The Taliban, A Qaeda, Boko Haram and the rest of the scum are more terrified of education than they are of bullets and bombs. Education enables people to ask questions. No tyranny or religious dogma can survive in the face of questions.

Educating girls will make the world a better place!

Boko Haram and Female Education

Boko Haram, like ISIS, the Taliban and other fundamentalist Islamic groups, are patriarchal in attitude and wish to take society back to the Middle Ages.

The see women as second class citizens. They impose severe restrictions on them. They want to hold them back. They do not want women educated. Which is why they are blowing up schools and kidnapping girls.

If they get their way women will be clothed in heavy gowns, locked behind face-masks, severely restricted in what they can do, confined and mute. They will have few rights, few freedoms and no say.

This is entirely contrary to my views on equality.

This pernicious, archaic attitude needs eradicating.

Women need equality, a voice, freedom and rights. That is worth fighting for.

The returned schoolgirls were used as a pawn in Boko Haram’s unpleasant game. They were a warning – continue to educate women and we will take action. It is a cowardly threat.

The world desperately needs the brains and abilities of women. Population is out of control. We need women to be educated and involved.

That is one very good reason why fundamentalist Islam needs destroying.