In the post-Christian West, it is an article of secular faith that religion and reason repel each other like magnetic poles. Religion, it is said, is not rational and reason cannot embrace anything that lies outside materialist explanation.
In recent years, this disdain for religion has grown into a virulent animus, not least in response to the Islamic jihad that poses a mortal threat to life and liberty from a religious fanaticism that would bomb us back to the seventh century.
Illustration by Lara Harwood
By contrast, the West is perceived to embody reason, science, modernity, liberty, equality, tolerance and human rights — all of which, it is assumed by many, are evidence of the benefits of secularism and stand as a rebuke to God and all his doctrines.
It is therefore odd that the great ideologies which currently consume the West — such as man-made global warming, scientism (the belief that science alone can explain the world), anti-Americanism and hostility to the state of Israel — all share characteristics of religious belief such as dogmatism, intolerance and evangelical fervour.
Even odder, they all display specifically Christian motifs of sin, guilt and redemption. Odder still, they all exhibit features of the millennarian apocalyptic beliefs associated with medieval Christianity, the pre-modern world and Islam throughout the ages.
Millennarianism is a religious belief in the perfectibility of mankind and life on earth through the collective redemption of sin. Contemporary secular ideologies identify the sins committed by humanity — oppression of Third World peoples, despoliation of nature, bigotry, poverty, war — and offer redemption and salvation by a return to the path of righteousness.
- Boris is Ready for his Finest Hour. Is his Party?
- Is Boris a Churchill or a Lloyd George?
- Keeping The Lights On: the Politics of Cheap Energy
- Let the Soldiers do the Fighting, says the General
- How McJihad Ensnares Young British Muslims
- Don’t let the Keynesians Wreck the Recovery
- Leviathans that lurk in London’s labyrinths
- Doctrine, dialogue and truth
- An Oasis on Oxford Street
- The Night I Witnessed Truth Defeat Falsehood
- My Memory of German History's Proudest Day
- The Rise of UKIP is Labour's Problem Too
- Memo to the PM: show Brussels who's boss
- Scrub up the Scrubs to make prison work
- Deliciously Non-U
- Put British Jihadis on Trial in British Courts
- Muslim Women Deserve Better than Sharia Law
- Wanted: New Guardians of the Democratic Process
- Anthony Blunt: Art, Espionage and Treason
- Never Take Religious Liberty for Granted