Because of my fascination with the true nature of Freedom (Liberty) I was drawn to the emphasis given to this topic in the French Revolution and the Enlightenment. What I find is that the secular notion of ‘liberty’ as found in the Enlightenment and the Revolution, and also celebrated in America’s Statue of Liberty (given them by the French) is at odds with the Christian notion of True Freedom. This is a topic I will rake over multiple times, so read the various posts on this and related topics and see if you agree with my take on the matter.
The Enlightenment and French Revolution
The Enlightenment gave a new set of principles from which the architects of the French Revolution could justify their course of action and motivate the masses. Much happened in that whole process and any history of the events ends up being a summary at best.
However there was a clear tone to it all. It was decidedly secular and anti-religious. The French reacted to the Roman Catholic faith which had dominated the nation. They also reacted to their monarchy and all expressions of privilege. They wished to cast off traditions. They expected that the rational mind was sufficient to craft a culture and social order suitable for all.
The whole process came to be identified under three banners, as it were. There was the ideal of Freedom – expressed in the French word Liberté. There was the related ideal of Equality – expressed in the French word Egalité. And there was the ideal of Brotherhood – expressed in the French word Fraternité.
The intention of the Enlightenment was to be free from impositions ascribed to traditional religion (the Catholic church) and inherited rights (the monarchy and positions of privilege). There was a reaction against the constraints being imposed on people by religious tradition. There was also reaction to the idea that some people had privilege over others.
It could be argued that the desire for freedom represented a resentment of two things: personal limitation under external powers; and personal limitation due to limited personal inheritance.
Thus the objective was to do away with personal accountability and the consequences of inheritance. It could thus be seen as an attempt to do away with personal accountability and the consequences of sin.
I suggest that the underlying motivation behind the Enlightenment, the French Revolution and the broader applications of that mindset was and is to be free from God. God is the one who holds each person accountable and God is the one who visits the iniquities of the forefathers down the family line.
The motivation to do away with personal accountability, inherited advantage and personal limitation led to the imposition of a tyranny. All those who were benefited by their own actions or who received inherited advantage due to God’s blessing or the outworking of circumstances in previous generations were subject to theft, victimisation and death.
By demanding and legislating equality for all, the citizens expected to be freed from the consequences of their own personal choices and personal limitations. This is a similar pursuit to the socialist and communist conceptions, where all citizens become equal comrades in the society.
Interpreting Liberty, Equality and Fraternity
In the light of my observations consider what the three catch-cry terms of the French Revolution mean.
Liberty represents the rejection of imposed constraints, including those from God.
Equality represents rejection of personal accountability and consequences from actions.
Fraternity (brotherhood) represents the basis on which happy social order is to be expected.
A New Tyranny
Those who subscribed to the ideals of the Enlightenment sought to throw off the constraints of religion, tradition and inherited advantage and disadvantage. They resented this tyranny. Yet in their own actions and dogma they have imposed a whole new tyranny of their own. Their world is not better than the one they overthrew. They have not freed people from anything, but simply changed the clothes of those who are in control.
Note that the new enlightened world, under the power of ‘reason’ and not the tyranny of religious dictates, is presently held to ransom by the ‘religious’ beliefs of the dogma of evolution, with no regard for the ‘reason’ which was appealed to in the establishing of the republic concept. Reason argues against evolution, but it is the imposed dogma and those who exalt reason tyrannise others by their demand that everyone subscribe to the evolutionary doctrinaire.
This is just one example of how Enlightened people have brought nothing that resembles true freedom to the world. They have simply demanded the right to be the tyrants in place of others they resented.
Murder Reveals the True Connection
The wholesale slaughter of people whose crime was their place in traditional institutions or to hold inherited advantage, implicates the Enlightenment’s devotees as servants of Satan. I don’t say that to be sensationalist, but to echo the observation of Jesus Christ.
Jesus Christ told the religious leaders of His day that they were under the leadership of Satan, and that they had the same murderous ambitions that Satan had. They protested at His claim, but in short time were crying out, “Crucify Him!”
“You are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father you will do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and abode not in the truth….” John 8:44
People who are happy to murder others are not in Christ’s team. They are players for the devil. When the French pulled out their guillotine and dispatched thousands of people they set Satan’s royal seal on their endeavours. Tens of thousands (some argue 1 million) people died as a consequence of the French Revolution. Many were simply murdered because of their place of privilege.
This is how the Enlightenment gave us freedom, equality and brotherhood. Hmmmm.