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!

ISIS in its death-throes – Adnani killed – the murderous, brutal jihadist meets his end.

Like the other caliphates before them this one is doomed.

Bin Laden and Adnani claimed to have god on their side but he isn’t showing much support for their actions. They are being wiped out on all fronts, driven out of all the territory they took and utterly destroyed.

Good riddance. An appalling death cult that wanted to take people back to the Dark Ages, shackle women and enforce medieval conditions on everyone is being systematically taken apart. An intolerant set of religious extremists are being rightly exterminated. They sanction rape, slavery and the brutal, savage killing of innocent people. There is no place for such savages in a modern world. It is a superstitious sect that needs exterminating for good.

Their aim was to take over the world and impose their strict superstition on everyone. Their chances were nil. But like all fanatical religious nutcases they believed god was going to come through for them against all the odds. Well it is patently obvious that he isn’t. All the prayer and ritual in the world is not going to save them from annihilation. They dream of paradise but the reward for their monstrous actions should be to rot in hell. Any sane god would reward them with such.

I don’t happen to believe in any god but there are times when I really wish there was one. He’d give all the fanatics (Christian, Hindu, Muslim, Jew, Buddhist or Atheist) who believe in terror, threats or violence short shrift.

I would hope the world learns from this reign of terror and puts a stop to the pernicious indoctrination of children.

What is it that the ISIS scum want to achieve with their campaign of terror?

After another week of atrocities and cowardly barbarism straight out of the stone-age we are left with a lot of questions. The initial response of all civilised people is one of anger, shock and horror at the sheer callousness of their actions. But that is nothing new. Any group of people capable of burning people alive in cages, crucifying people or the innumerable other inhuman practices is capable of anything. They are subhuman and not privy to the same standards of behaviour as the civilised world. Their tactics are to induce shock and fear, create division and hatred, and then exploit it.

ISIS want to drag the world back to a society based on life in the time of Mohamed – 1300 years ago. They want a strict adherence to customs that the rest of the world has left behind in the aptly labeled – Dark Ages. They want to either wipe out the rest of the world or impose their ridiculous customs on everyone. The fact that it is impossible to do this even if the entire 1.2 billion Muslims all shared this insane ideology and joined in is beside the point. They have been indoctrinated to believe they are carrying out god’s law as laid down in their religious book. They are prepared to die for it and believe they will die martyrs and open their eyes in paradise. There are 6.8 billion people who do not believe their lies.

ISIS is presently being battered back and is losing ground on a daily basis. You might think that if god was on their side they might be doing a bit better. Today 120 of their ‘soldiers’ were killed in a single airstrike along with one of their leaders. You could say that it is not going well for ISIS and they will, in a year or two, meet a bloody end. The leadership will be rooted out and killed and the rest will be dead or dispersed in ignominy. In their death throes they are hitting out at the soft and easy targets using criminals, the disaffected poor and the mentally ill to pull the trigger.

So what is their aim?

  • Firstly they want to generate as much fear and hatred as they can.
  • They want to create division between countries, people, religions and anyone they can divide – whether that is Jew/Muslim, Christian/Muslim or Shia/Sunni.
  • They want to foster hatred. If they can get people to react and attack immigrants they can garner a whole new bunch of recruits.
  • They want to create racism and promote isolation and distrust of immigrant communities so that they can gain more radicalised support.
  • They want a terrified population to put pressure on their governments to stop the attacks on ISIS.
  • They want an all-out war between Islam and Christianity that they can exploit.

The knifing of the poor eighty six year old priest is typical of their actions. They filmed it and will use that on social media to cause more fear, hatred and division.

What should we do? How should we react?

  • We should keep it in proportion so that the fear does not cripple us.
  • We should continue to smash ISIS into oblivion in the battle-field and take back all the land they have sequestered.
  • We should use our intelligence to root out all known sympathisers in our midst.
  • We should starve them of funds.
  • We should refuse to allow division and hatred to act as a recruitment bureau for terrorism and instead reach out to the immigrant communities and integrate them.
  • We should use education as the biggest weapon against such ignorance.
  • We should close down all religious schools immediately and start with a secular curriculum and the full integration of children.

Refuse to hate and fear! – fight terrorism in your community with love and a welcoming hand!

Machete Murders – University lecturers, minority groups, secular bloggers, religious groups, westerners and now gay activists!


Two men, including an editor of Bangladesh’s only LGBT magazine, have been hacked to death by suspected Islamist extremists.

The shouted Alahu Akbar. The seven murderers then tricked their way in. They then callously hacked to death the two men with machetes.

This is now what they do in the name of Islam.

They train young children to put on suicide vests filled with nails, screws and ball-bearings.

They rape young girls as young as nine years old.

They murder people in the cruellest most barbaric way they can devise.

They take sex slaves.

They crow on the internet about the inhuman acts of throwing people off buildings, crucifying people, beheading them publically, burning them alive, drowning them, raping, pillaging and torturing.

They show no mercy or remorse.

They believe they are acting in god’s name.

No god would ever sanction the evil these men are doing.

Their victims are bloggers, secular advocates, apostates, Shia, Yazedi, gays, and anyone who does not believe their intolerant evil doctrine.

So what is Bangladesh doing about it? What is Pakistan doing about it? What is Nigeria doing about it?

Are they hunting down these scum?

There is justice!! – Radovan Karadzic jailed for Bosnia war Srebrenica genocide


The United Nations does have teeth!

Every killer, tyrant and barbaric thug around the world should no that there is justice and the world will bring them to justice. They will be hunted down and sentenced.

Nobody who has committed crimes against humanity can now feel safe.

Eighty criminals have been brought to justice! Karadzic has been given 40 years! He will rightly die in jail!


Now let us start to look to bring all the ISIS scum to justice and clean the planet up!!

Boko Haram, the Taliban, and all the other rapists, torturers and murderers who practice genocide and think they are immune will pay the price.

A clear message has been sent out to all who commit war crimes! YOU WILL BE BROUGHT TO JUSTICE!!!

The savagery of ISIS is mainly aimed at other Muslims. An article from Vox Political

This article was published on Vox Political.

It highlights what is going on as ISIS wages its ideological war against the world. Its barbarism is not only targeting the west; they are blowing up other Muslims at a far greater rate.

Why doesn’t our media make as much fuss about that. Are lives in Turkey and Iraq worth less?

It makes you think.

Why aren’t we hearing the Muslim voices raised in outrage at what they are doing? Or is that not being highlighted too?

What are your views?


Why concentrate on Brussels? Daesh killings of Muslims far outnumber attacks on the West

Sympathy for Brussels while Turkey gets kicked away. While the West may have issues with the Turkish government, why should that country's people be denied our compassion?

Sympathy for Brussels while Turkey gets kicked away. While the West may have issues with the Turkish government, why should that country’s people be denied our compassion?

Here’s a simple observation in the name of balance.


One person who won’t understand is the racists who tweeted that he “confronted” a Muslim on the streets and demanded that they justify the Brussels attack. When told “It’s nothing to do with me” he tweeted: “Typical mealy mouthed response.”

On Twitter, that’s like waving a red rag in front of a bull, of course.

The point is, if we can deplore casual racism on Twitter, we should also demand that our news media report the full story of Daesh terrorism, rather than a skewed narrative that encourages such sectarianism.


Poetry – Charisma – We are all taken in by it. A warning to us all.

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I wrote this poem after mulling over a lecture on Saudi Arabia delivered by Clive Leatherdale, and the rise of the Wahhabi ideology with its doctrine of austerity and intolerance.

The Wahhabi’s are the fools who believe that the oil beneath their feet was put there by god as a reward for their piety and zeal.

A curse upon them all.

The imbecile who started it and set up the House of Suad was one of those dark eyed, handsome men, with flashing eyes, the gift oi the tongue and a lust for power.

A curse upon him.

The legacy of his good looks, fine oratory, eloquent words and charismatic performance can be seen in every bomb blast, ripped flesh, hatred filled eyes and idealistically driven madman.

A curse upon them all.

They do not need insurance in Saudi because everything that happens is the will of Allah. That is probably why most of the Muslim world live in poverty and squalor while the atheists thrive.

Charisma is a threat to us all. We give ourselves up to its indoctrination.

A curse upon charisma.




It is the charismatic charmers

Who we should fear

With their heavenly looks

And flashing eyes.

They are eloquent

With visions

And have the oratory

To excite.

It is the charismatic dreamers

Who rouse us

To take up arms

In the cause.


They leave us with slaughtered friends

And rubble,

Misery and terror

And pave the way

To hell.


It is the charismatic passion

That betrays us

Every time

With visions of paradise

Built on sands

Of power.


Beware charisma –

It speaks

Words of vitriol

Spun in gold

And silk

That are easy

On the ear.


Charisma is a disease.


Opher 22.2.2016

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The trouble I have with religion. The violent gang-rape of prepubescent girls.

The book of ginny

The trouble I have with religion was illustrated very clearly by an article I read in the Guardian Newspaper regarding the Yazidi girls. These are Christian, which in the eyes of Islamic fundamentalists means they are infidel unbelievers. When ISIS captured the Yazidi people they were instructed very clearly from their scriptures what was required. Allah wanted them to behead non-believers or convert them to Islam. Allah wanted these grown men to bind the young girls of ten or eleven, gag them and rape them. They could be used as sex slaves.

Now in our civilised world we would consider any grown men who tied up a young terrified girl of ten, gagged her and gang-raped her as being a depraved animals. If they used the excuse in court that they were merely carrying out the wishes of Allah that would be inexcusable. They would be rightly locked up for a long time as disgusting paedophile rapists and their actions considered more vile than anything Jimmy Saville had done.

Yet according to the Koran these things are permissible. Allah sanctions the beheadings, the terrorism and maiming of innocent people, the rape of young girls, the torture, the horrendous deaths, the cutting off of limbs, the destruction of pre-Islamic artifacts and the persecution of all non-believers. These are not perversions of Islam. They are contained in the scriptures.

The Koran is not unique. The Bible has similar gruesome and barbaric practices – particularly the Old Testament. There are instructions and sanctions for dashing babies heads against rocks, taking an eye for an eye and worse. Throughout history fundamentalists have focussed on the parts they wish to emphasise to sanction inquisitions, pogroms, crusades and the torture and burning alive of innocent people who simple disagreed.

Of course in the modern age where it is not considered polite to smash your next door neighbours baby’s brains out because they follow a different faith there has been a tendency for religious instruction to follow the ‘nicer’ texts. We are taught to love our neighbour, share our fish and turn the other cheek.

The hypocrisy, contradiction, blood, fire and intolerance is glossed over. But it is there.

These religious texts come from primitive cultures where misogyny, violence and retribution were the order of the day. They are seeped in it. It permeates the doctrine. When ever an extreme fundamental cult comes along they unearth the texts that support their doctrine and apply the dogma.

In Europe we had to fight for the enlightenment. It brought an end to centuries of religious tyranny with all its viciousness and augured a new age of science. We threw off the shackles of theocracy and separated politics from religion. It enabled a flourishing of science that has created all the wonders of the modern world from electricity to space exploration.

Without the enlightenment we would still be in the Dark Ages. Our women would be walking around in veils and we’d likely be riding about on horses. Now perhaps there is something to be said for that kind of society we see vestiges of in America with the Amish culture. They live happily without electricity, cars and modern conveniences. They wear quaint medieval costume.

Personally I’d prefer the choice and like my car, electricity and music.

ISIS, and other religious fundamentalist groups of all religions, are merely feeding off the sections of their doctrine that sanction their actions and justify their desires. They really wish to take the whole world back to the time of Mohamed, Jesus or Krishna and force everyone to live in that medieval culture described in those texts.

The problem as I see it lies in the basis of those religions. They were devised by men in a culture that was primitive and unpleasant. I do not subscribe to those values. I consider them flawed.

I wish to live in a world that has equality, tolerance, peace, freedom, respect, responsibility, justice, love and friendliness as its core values. I place caring, compassion and empathy as higher values, not just for people but all life and the planet. I value debate, differences and argument and deplore violence, hatred and cruelty.

That is why, without entering into any esoteric discussion regarding god, I reject all religion. As far as I am concerned all religions are outmoded, flawed and supporting a culture I despise.

The world has moved on and human beings, while still showing a great propensity for hatred, violence and callous cruelty, are a lot more civilised than we used to be. I would hate to see religion undo that.

People are very fragile.


Human beings have very powerful minds and emotions. I used to believe that we are incredibly resilient. I no longer believe that.

I believe we are all incredibly fragile and easily damaged.

My long experience of working with children and observing adults have made me extremely aware that many of us are broken and our response is often aggression, hatred and violence.

I used to say to the teaching staff at my school that there was no such thing as a bad kid. Their bad behaviour was the result of having been damaged by their experiences; our job was to mend them.

I have seen close up the effects of bereavement, bullying, racism, divorce and abuse. The victims often either withdraw or become aggressive.

When I was a child at school a number of my teachers were ex-soldiers. They were not only violent aggressive bullies but they seemed to hate us.

I cannot begin to imagine the effect war has on the fragile human psyche. My father would not talk about it. My grandfather would not mention it. But I have met numerous highly confused and violent veterans; one of whom was a murderer.

Around the world at the moment we have millions of people traumatised by war. Some are victims and some are perpetrators. I cannot begin to imagine how some of them ever manage to sleep again. It is no wonder that some are either heartless fiends and others are traumatised wrecks. If you are going to saw someone’s head off at some point in the future that will haunt your waking moments and turn your sleep to nightmares. It catches up with you.

Human beings are fragile. The little things send us off the rails; the big things drive us into psychosis.

Heritage and History – The stupidity and warped mentality of ISIS and the Taliban.

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The strength of humanity is in the tale we tell; our ability to learn from the things we do and pass it down to our children.

Our unique intelligence is measured in our stories. We are the chimps who create narrative, invent answers and have the imagination to knit all life together.

We are alone in our ability to express wonder at the majesty of life and immensity of our universe.

Every culture on this planet has the creation myths and stories it has collected and passed down through long oral tradition right back to the depths of time. These stories are rich with mental emanations, characters, gods and stories that reflect the vast scope of our imagination. They embroider and enrich our lives.

As an antitheist I do not for a moment think that any of these stories are true; they are the fancies of vivid minds, scattered over the world, around camp-fires, set loose on the substance of a life, death and universe that is only partially understood. The gods, hobgoblins, elves, fairies and creatures of the night are fanciful. But they have enriched all our lives. We would be far poorer without them.

It is similar to the beauty of the temples, churches, mosques and cathedrals that adorn the world; the stupendous art and crafts that decorate the religious shrines and the wondrous music, dress, dance and culture that has sprung from religion. I adore its range, splendour and creativity without succumbing to the underlying absurdity of its many different gods and practices.

It is not quaint. It is human. We are gullible. Religion, worship and ceremony is hard-wired into our psyche. We fall for it in our millions. It is also tribal.

I travel the world to witness the splendour of our heritage. It tells the story of mankind. I can connect with my ancestors. I touch the stone circles, dolmens and quoits of antiquity and feel my place in this never ending story. We are part of it.

It is with great sadness I read of the destruction of the Bamiyam Buddha’s or the blowing up of Palmira. ISIS in their ignorance and religious fanaticism are busy trying to eradicate the past. They are intent on destroying the world’s heritage, or wiping out the human story. For them the only story is their story. It begins and ends one thousand years ago. Anything before is idolatry. Anything that is not of their story is sacrilege.

This is not only sad it is deplorable. The selfish, egocentric intolerance is abominable.

The logical conclusion is that if ISIS had their way they would attempt to wipe our the whole of human heritage; they would be setting their explosive devices on Stone-Henge and be detonating our cathedrals. There’s no end to their vandalism.

Islam will wither like all the religions before it. It will not, in the long run, disruption the human song, but it will cause immense harm.

That is why this warped fanaticism needs stamping out fast before it does more damage.

The saddest thing of all is that it is their own story that they are presently destroying, their own heritage they are ripping apart.