The Orange Reformation and the Industrial Revolution
So why would Heretic Magazine want to print an article on the Reformation? It is not as if theReformation is occult knowledge. Or is it? The problem with the modern world is that the terms‘equality’ and ‘respect’ have been used as bludgeons by the liberal establishment to restrict rationalthought. Are all cultures equal? So why did nominally Christian nations win ten times more goldmedals at the last Olympics than nominally Islamic nations? Do all cultures deserve respect? But howdo we respect a culture that strives to end our highly successful society: one that promotes personalfreedoms, scientific endeavor and national democracy?* How does one respect a society that seeks toend all of the many advances of the Reformation and Enlightenment, which were gained at such highsocial and human costs?These are difficult questions indeed, but they are far from new questions. We have faced this divisive problem before: in the 8th century when the armies of Islam captured Narbonne, Nimes, Arles andOrange in southern France; and we faced the situation once again in the 16th and 17th centuries, to endthe Roman Catholic Church’s regressive strangle-hold on Europe. In both cases, freedom of speech andthought had been terminated, and progress was stifled and in decline. And while some propagandists will claim that Spain achieved a golden age under Islam, the truth of the matter is that the Christian majority in Spain lived as disenfranchised
dhimmi serfs and were required to pay the jizya tax on unbelievers. Islam has long organised itself along the Spartan social principle – of a small aristocratic and military elite who controlled and taxed vast populations of dhimmi unbelievers. But when these dhimmi Judaeo-Christian populations had all been extinguished, as has happened across North Africa and much of the Near East, the economies of those nations predictably collapsed.
Realising that not all cultures and societies gave equal outcomes for the people, the freethinking Gnostic of Europe vigorously opposed the invading 8th century Muslim armies and the resident 16thcentury Catholic armies, that sought to oppress the people of Europe. And surprisingly, given the eight centuries that separate these two events, it was the same family who opposed both of these tyrannical regimes. So who was this pivotal Gnostic family, who saved Europe from tyranny on multiple occasions, and who eventually fostered the Industrial Revolution and the emergence of the modern technological world? Strange as it may seem, this revolution was not brought about by one of the major royal dynasties of Europe, but the seemingly insignificant Dutch House of Orange. The Dutch saved Europe from Islam in the 8th century? How so? Surely Holland did not exist at this time! Well yes, but the House of Orange was not originally Dutch. This influential dynasty actually came from the Principality of Orange, an independent principality in southern France with its capital city at Orange in Provence. And it was in the 8th century, when the Principality of Orange had been overrun by the invading Muslim armies, that Guillaume d’Orange (also called Guillaume de Gellone) raised a Frankish army and freed all of Provence from Muslim rule. And it was from Guillaume d’Orange that the Dutch House of Orange, the English and Irish Houses of Orange, and the current Dutch Willem of Orange were descended.
Fig 1. A youthful Guillaume d’Orange (William of Orange), the Prince of Orange who chased the Muslim armies out of France in the late 8th century.
The freeing of France from Muslim control is another article entirely, and so I refer readers to the book
Mary Magdalene, Princess of Orange for details.
To see the culmination of these Orange reforms we must jump eight centuries to perhaps the greatest of all the Princes of Orange – to William III of England. King William is perhaps the most influential European monarch in the last millennia, for it was during his rule that the Reformation was won, the Enlightenment could blossom, and the Industrial Revolution could begin. So let us look further at this somewhat forgotten corner of British history: the vital and pivotal period when secular rationality defeated religious enslavement – or Islam as it is called in the East (the literal meaning of Islam being ‘submission’).The Reformation and Enlightenment were the vital transformations in social thought and understanding that underpin our modern society and all of our science and technology, and these reforms were only made possible by courageous opposition to those who would suppress freedom of thought and speech.
The agent of repression in this 16th and 17th century era was the Roman Catholic Church, which controlled the religious, social and political power-levers of Europe. While the mighty opposing force that brought the Catholic Church to its knees was a simple nail and a ragged piece of paper.
Fig 2. The late 8th century Gellone monastery at St Guillaume le Desert in the south of France, founded by Guillaume d’Orange. This is a most charming village and a beautiful and very early example of Romanesque architecture, and well worth a visit.
The mighty paper and nail
If there was ever a pivotal moment in the history of Western civilisation it was 31st October 1517,when a priest named Martin Luther nailed a letter of protest – called
The Ninety-five Theses
– to the doors of Wittenberg church in Saxony, central Germany. The main complaints in this long letterconcerned the Catholic Church’s sale of
(the selling of divine forgiveness for cash);
(the selling of Church positions); and the formal licensing and legalisation of prostitutes.
The complaints Martin Luther made were scholarly and reasoned, but they were considered heretical by Catholic leaders because they challenged the authority and wisdom of a supposedly infallible pope. Martin Luther was not the first to have made these kind of complaints, as there had been many who had previously protested about Church corruption and the abuse of its many powers, but these complaints grew much louder during the 15th century, when the Papacy was controlled by the Borgia family. The Borgias were considered to be especially debauched and corrupt popes, with Alexander VI being variously accused of nepotism, adultery, theft, rape, bribery, incest and even murder during the1490s. Given the low opinion of the Papacy at this time, Martin Luther’s letter, pinned to the doors of Wittenberg church, happened to be the spark that ignited the Protestant Revolution – a spirited but initially uncoordinated enterprise that hoped to counter or reduce the power of the Catholic Church.Martin Luther’s campaign was greatly helped by the recent invention of the printing press, which spread copies of his letter all over Europe, and so news was able to spread much quicker than before.William Tyndale also used the same printing presses to translate and print the Bible into English; but the Church objected as it meant that common people could at last read the Bible themselves and bypassthe rule and interpretations of the priests. As a punishment for the grave heresy of spreading knowledge and truth, Martin Luther was excommunicated by Pope Leo X in 1521, while William Tyndale was burned at the stake at Vilvoorde near Brussels in 1536. This is the reality of life under a religious tyranny.
Fig 3. A modern romanticised image of Martin Luther nailing his ‘Ninety-five Theses’ to the door of Wittenberg church in Saxony.
The parallel revolution in England
At this very same time, King Henry VIII and his first wife, Catherine of Aragon, were both Catholics. Catherine, an ardently Catholic Spanish princess, had not managed to produce a male heir for Henry. Advisors to the king blamed this upon Catherine, who had formerly been the wife of Henry’s late brother, Arthur, a marital union which might have been against Church teachings. Other close royal advisors – like Thomas Cromwell and Thomas Cranmer, who had already been influenced by the writings of Luther and Tyndale – were making secret plans behind the king’s back to influence his thinking; and so they brought a beautiful young Protestant aristocratic lady to court in 1522, by the name of Anne Boleyn, who greatly charmed the king. It was reputedly Anne who introduced King Henry to Tyndale’s ‘heretical’ printed pamphlets.
In this era kings of Europe were still nominally subservient to the Roman Catholic Church. The pope had the power to excommunicate entire nations; and while this was essentially a spiritual excommunication it was also a tacit declaration of war, as neighbouring Christian nations were obliged to take up arms against the outcast nation. Nevertheless Protestant reformers like Thomas Cromwell still wanted King Henry to assert Praemunire or Royal Supremacy, and break with Catholic Rome. If these Gnostic religious reformers could boost the power of their king it would simultaneously reduce the power of the Catholic Church, just as Martin Luther had urged five or so years earlier. It is not clear if Henry was a willing participant in this scheme or whether he was being manipulated from behind, but he was happy enough to summon a Parliament in 1529 to rule on the annulment of his marriage to Catherine of Aragon, and likewise on his proposed marriage to Anne Boleyn. However, Pope Clement VII forbade this annulment and so the Protestant reformers again urged the king to use his own powers, under the law of Praemunire facias.
Fig 4. King Henry VII, one of England’s greatest monarchs. Wittingly or unwittingly, it was Henry’s complex marital relations that inspired England to break away from the Roman Catholic Church.
Henry did just that and in 1531 he demanded royal authority over the Catholic Church in England. This was swiftly followed by many laws and edicts that changed the face of the Church in England, so that it was no longer Catholic. This was the beginnings of what became known as the Church of England –a new, simpler and less authoritarian Christian Church which was ultimately governed by the Englishmonarch, rather than the papal ’emperors’ of Rome. This culminated in the dissolution of the monasteries. These religious enclaves were not only bastions of traditional Catholic thinking they werealso rather rich, and King Henry was persuaded that they should be closed down and their assets seized. Thus in 1536, on the pretext of the discovery of immoral goings-on between monks and nuns, the great monasteries of England were abandoned and their great wealth and power was transferred to the king himself. But such a seismic political change and such a blatant challenge to papal authority was not without great risks, and the Catholic Church in Rome did indeed declare war on England, which is one reason why the great Spanish Armada sailed to invade England in 1588. But more on that later.
The three Christian Churches
Europe now had three kinds of Christian Church. There was the Orthodox Church of Greece, which had formerly been based in Byzantium or East-Rome, which had spread its influence across the Near East and up into Russia. There was the Roman Catholic Church, which dominated Europe’s south, including Italy, southern Germany, France and Spain (and Ireland). And now there was the new Protestant Church of the north, which spread across northern Germany, Denmark, Holland, Scandinavia and England. In England the Church was called the Church of England or the Anglican Church: because the English people were originally called the Angle people, a name that came from Holland and Denmark. It is from the Angle-ish that we derive Engle-ish. While there were many insurmountable doctrinal differences between these three Churches, perhaps the biggest difference was in freedom of speech and thought. In order to hold onto its power the Catholic Church had assumed that it knew everything and could control everyone, and thus freedom of thought was effectively banned. When Nicolaus Copernicus wrote
in 1543, which said that the Earth orbited the Sun, the Catholic Church banned it – for they knew better than any scientist. In 1632 when Galileo Galilei (a name that curiously means ‘revolution’), in his
Dialogue, proved that Copernicus was right by observing the orbits of the moons of Jupiter and the phases of Venus, Pope Urban VIII placed him under house arrest, forced him to recant and banned his prescient book. Clearly, science, technology and modernity were not going to prosper under the suffocating blanket of Catholic oppression. Many free-thinkers, philosophers and Gnostic Freemasons knew this, and were continually pressing behind the scenes for greater freedom of thought. They discovered their ideal champion in the Protestant revolution, for the priesthood of the new Protestant Church were much more relaxed about ultimate truths, thought control and oppressive power over the people. If a scientist wanted to investigate why Venus waxed and waned like the Moon, that was no business of the Protestant Church – god would not punish those seeking to understand his grand designs. In fact, a genuinely good god might well be jolly pleased that his small beings had undertaken such great strides in their comprehension of the world. Religions that oppose freedoms of thought and speech are not promoting the will of god, they are promoting the will of ill-educated and evil men.
After Henry VIII’s death in 1547, the continuation of these Protestant reforms in England was by no means certain, for the succession went to a Catholic – Bloody Mary. Thankfully, the deranged and despotic Mary was soon succeeded by Elizabeth I, Henry’s younger daughter by his second wife, Anne Boleyn – the lady who had been pivotal in starting the English Protestant Reformation back in 1531 by spreading William Tyndale’s printed pamphlets. Being a daughter of Boleyn, Elizabeth was staunchly Protestant and immediately set out to undo the damage and divisions caused by Mary’s bloody Catholic reign. Elizabeth’s religio-political reforms culminated in 1559 with the Act of Supremacy, which reestablished the English monarch as the head of the English Church of England, and the utter rejection of rule from Rome. These may seem like peripheral issues, but under these new enlightened social reforms, the 44-year reign of Elizabeth’s blossomed into a glorious era of peace and prosperity for Merry England. If there was a great deity in the starry skies above, it seemed to everyone that it was most certainly a Protestant deity, for even the Catholic Church’s great Spanish Armada was swept to its doom by the fickle fingers of Nature, and Merry England remained safe and prosperous.
Fig 5. Good Queen Bess – Queen Elizabeth I of England, who ruled Merry England for forty-five glorious years.
EXTRACT from The Orange Reformation and The Industrial Revolution