The Fate of Faiths: Why Religions are the Cradles of Despotism
The Marquis de Sade said that religion is the cradle of despotism. But, perusing the philosophies put forward by nearly every individual who has founded a religion, the Marquis' quote seems hard to accept.
Jesus of Nazareth was an advocate of personal charity, if the Bible is to believed. Mahomet united the Arab world into a nation, a step up from warring the city states and nomadic tribes which succeeded to Persian and Parthian Empires. Buddha advocated for personal perfection. Confucius and his students developed political theories which it would take the Western world nearly two-thousand years to reach on their own.
Yet a cursory reading of history, provided it is unbiased, will betray the adherents of Jesus of Nazareth as one of two extremes: they are either intellectual tyrants or idiotic slaves. The disciples of Mahomet have been waging a campaign of terror on each other and those who do not believe for centuries. Buddhism tends to be a trendy thing to do, not something to pursue, but something to claim to pursue. And Confucian philosophy begat Legalist philosophy, which quickly banned the Great Sage and is school and suppressed those advanced political theories until Thomas Hobbes developed them during the English Civil War.
This essay will be divided into four sections. The first one will deal with the founders of religions, both their opinions and philosophies (primarily I will be focusing upon Jesus since Christianity is the most common religion to have been experienced on Minds) but also examine some more recently founded religions and draw conclusions from their behavior. The second section will be to discuss those who take the mantle once the leader dies. Here I shall being to draw my final conclusion and again be concentrating on the Christian Scriptures, primarily those writings of Paul. The third section will be to discuss the inevitable political applications of religion (and if history teaches us anything, it is that a religious philosophy ultimately makes itself a political one). The final part shall be my conclusion.
The Cult Always Begins With Sweetened Words
All religions begin as cults. This is documented not by historical texts or the apostates, but by the religious texts themselves.
First, let us understand what is meant by cult. On a brief aside, I despise when philosophers develop their own definitions for words, as do Kant and Hume, and endeavor on long-winded explanations of these tweaked meanings which leave the reader with eyelids made of lead. So, I shall not here redefine cult. Rather, let us use the Federal Bureau of Investigation's definition of this word.
The FBI has five criteria which must be met for an organization to be labeled a cult; and all five must be met in order to be a cult.
The first is that a cult must hold some ideological belief. This belief does not need to be religious, and there are Secular cults out there, but the vast majority of cults are indeed religious.
There must be a strict hierarchy with one or a few members in control of the cult. One is the more common number.
Members of the cult must be employed by the cult to benefit the lives of those superior to them on the cult's hierarchy. This can be by their labor or simply by required donations. Sexual favors are also usually found to be mandatory. The leader of the cult claims to be working for the good of all, but usually just reaps the rewards of being in the cult.
The cult either monitors, inhibits, or entirely severs communication between its members and the outside world. This is usually done in steps through a process sometimes called deFOOing (FOO meaning Family Of Origin). This method involves having a person isolate themselves by gradually breaking off relationships with the outside world. First they stop speaking to casual acquaintances, then friends, then finally close friends and family. Sometimes communication is permitted, but it is either only in a manner and frequency prescribed by the cult and all messages are read and interpreted by the leading members of the cult.
The last criterium for an organization to be designated as a cult is that it makes separation from the cult undesirable and actively punishes those who are trying to leave or have already left. Common methods of punishment are stalking, cheating, doxing, harrassing, and family separation. To make separation from the cult undesirable, many cults build upon the fact the individuals are already isolated and further that isolation by separating them from family and friends who are also within the cult.
So, let us examine this list of criteria for cults as demonstrated by the very first Christians. Indeed, dear reader, Jesus of Nazareth was very much a cult leader. Attribute merit to what he said if you like, but as a human being he is no different than Marshall Applewhite, Jim Jones, or L. Ron Hubbard.
So, the first criterium for a cult, as listed above, is an ideology. Jesus claimed to be the Son of God and King of the Jews. There is the ideology, clear and simple.
The second requirement is that there must be a clear hierarchy. Jesus most certainly ruled his cult. And he ordered his disciples, with most sources pointing that Peter was essentially his second-in-command.
Next is that members of the cult must somehow strive to improve the lives of their betters. The women in Jesus' cult often waited on him, and his apostles no doubt served him as servants of the time would. Upon riding into Jerusalem before his arrest, faithful adherents laid palm branches on the road, lest the Cult Leader's ass should tread upon the common dust.
I said that cults separate members from their friends and family. Jesus' apostles abandoned their professions and families to follow him. He is even quoted as telling others to sell all they have and follow him.
Finally cults make it hard to leave. In the case of Jesus, he had no real physical power. However, he refers to Gehenna, later interpreted to be the Realm of the Damned. This is a concept that was foreign to Judaism at the time. No doubt that superstitious people such as his followers would have been frightened at the prospects of eternal fires.
We can see these examples in cults today. The Heaven's Gate Cult of Marshall Applewhite believed they would ascend into higher beings on a spaceship behind a comet. Jim Jones was little more than a dictator at Jonestown. People escaping form many cults, big and small, report sexual abuse, particularly of children. Scientology closely monitors its members actions with non-members and intimidates dissent within their ranks.
However, it is not this aspect of cults that I wish to begin with, but rather why people are so willing to join one. There is one fact that as an economist I cannot ignore: People are inherently rational. They pursue their own desires. So, despite their actions appearing irrational, and the claims by armchair psychologists that members of cults have a host of issues, I must call their actions rational because those who join cults are doing so out of their own free will (ironic really, since that is the last truly voluntary action they make).
So I must conclude that cult leaders are offering something that he knows members will desire. He is baiting them, promising them what they want. He speaks to them with honeyed words and lures them in, and only then does he reveal his despotic personality. Soon, recruits are reduced to slaves, whether they admit this or not is irrelevant.
Let us again examine the Nazarene for an example.
Jesus' apostles, eleven of whom are now saints in the Roman Catholic Church, all abandoned their families. Catholics, who pride themselves on their fierce protection of the family unit, praise these twelve men for leaving behind their wives and daughters to follow a madman. From the outside, this appears to be a bit of doublethink, something Orwellian. But if one is Catholic, then it makes total sense. They were abandoning their families for God! And that makes it all better, not like the idiot who abandon their family for Buddha or Mahomet or, in more ancient times, Zeus. I mention this to demonstrate how doublethink can be rational, provided one has an unnatural and carefully crafted set of priorities.
But for Jesus' apostles, what made this carpenter from Galilee so magnetic? The answer is simple really. These were hard working men who could barely feed their families in Roman occupied Judea. We are discussing a part of the world which was essentially a passage from Europe to Africa used for whatever would not be loaded onto boats by the Romans Empire. Those who were rich in this part of the world did business with the Romans, or were Romans themselves. And so,when Jesus says that the rich men cannot get into heaven, when he tells parables of rich men burning in Gehenna and poor men being allowed to watch from Heaven, he is appealing to their envy.
Envy is an emotion which is mothered by greed, and greed is the want of more wealth. Now, unlike the modern Marxist who is greedy but also too stupid and lazy to satisfy this greed, the original followers of Jesus of Nazareth do deserve some pity. They were born into a society where they were an occupied people, essentially serfs. There was no way to become rich. The lived, they suffered, and they died. Is it any wonder that they were so easily duped by a man who offered some satisfaction to their envy?
Other cults do the same. Ohm Shenrikyo preyed upon the intelligent by appealing to their pride. The People's Temple used a blend of the need for belonging along with Progressive values to bring in members. Scientology promises an alternative to physical and mental ailments. In short, cult leaders are politicians on a smaller scale.
The Ulterior Motives of the First Acolytes
The philosophy of the Marquis de Sade, summed up in a single sentence, is as such: People live in the pursuit of their own physical pleasure. To draw more from Sade's philosophy, we can understand that sex is almost entirely mental, with the physical actions being almost completely secondary to those fetishes which heat our mind. It is with this in mind that the Sadean approaches religion.
Those who take over from the religion's founder are no exception from Sade's laws. We are inherently cruel creatures, and it is with this understand that we can best interpret the writings of John and Peter, and especially Paul. We can even apply these to Mahomet al-Wahhab and others who inherited Islam.
But first, before we investigate this further, I must be certain to properly define inheritor. Although I despise the waste of Treatise on definition, I must do so here. By inheritor, I mean those persons who authority derives solely from the religion. They are totally bereft of political power. They are merely priests.
Now, priests have often been given some authority by the powers that be. Nonetheless, their power does not emanate actually from these authorities. No king can give a priest power. Paul and Peter wielded quite a bit of power, even though Nero declared them criminals. And a stark contrast which demonstrates my point is the National Baths. The monarchy of France granted power to the Bishops and Abbots of France, yet the people of France drowned them in both Holy Water and the secular ponds.
But it is not this which we concern ourselves with here. Rather, it is the writings of the inheritors I investigate here. Their teachings are such insights into the evolution of religion and thus help us to understand better the fate of faith.
So, as I do above, let us use Christianity as our primary example and reference other religions to best understand. I do this primarily to keep this as short as possible. If I were to investigate every religion, even if I were to ignore the folk religions due to their age, this would be a book and not an essay.
So, Paul's philosophy blends the ancient Jewish thought (drawing heavily from the books of Leviticus and Exodus) and the theological propositions of Jesus of Nazareth. So his condemnations of promiscuity, homosexuality, and all other behaviors forbidden in the Talmud are reinforced by his threats of Eternal Damnation. His teachings are echoed in the indoctrination of children in parochial schooling.
His writings betray a great deal of hatred for those he labels as sinners, a hatred disguised as love and a desire to see them saved. An understanding of who he is, and the man he once was known as Saul, betrays an addiction to hate. Upon converting from Judaism to Christianity, he merely changed the target of his hatred from heretics to sinners. Rather than demanding the execution of Christians, he wrote a great deal about the eternal suffering awaiting faggots and prostitutes and drunkards.
In the later years of the Catholic Church, the Inquisition employed the teachings of Paul to prosecute those deemed Satanists. To be a Satanist, one must have worshipped the Devil, which is to say that one must have been a homosexual, a hooker, a glutton, or a Jew. And this was in the time of Pope Alexander VI, the infamous Rodrigo Borgia.
In the time of the Inquisition, the Catholic Church was noted for its debauchery. Incest, pedophilia, and promiscuity dominated the inner workings of the Church. If we are to take Paul at his word, these we truly the most damned of sinners.
However, Paul's writings may be interpreted another way, especially if we apply Sadean thought. Perhaps this was a man, who due to a religious change, found himself completely powerless. These writings may have well been his violent fantasies with regards to those whom he already hated. The homosexual and the whore are condemned in Jewish Scripture, just as the Christian heretics who he had joined.
If we are to take the teachings of Jesus at their word (and knowing that Paul never met Jesus, we must understand that those teachings were all he could have understood of his new god), they center on personal behavior and repentance. Perhaps, to be true to his god's teachings, Paul would have spent a life as a hermit, forever suffering for all those he had murdered. He does not. Rather, he devotes his time to writing volumes of dogma which condemns those he deems sinful. He judges, though instructed not to judge, and is now considered an inspired and holy figure in Christianity. A religion originally founded on concepts of mercy and forgiveness becomes one with a begrudging wrathful god, the Supreme Wickedness mentioned in Juliette. This is what the great Saint Paul did to the religion founded by the Nazarene.
The writings of John take a different turn, but we can find that they, too, are rooted in a man's desires and not some divine inspiration. But John was dreaming of revenge of the wrong done to Christians by Nero and other Romans. Knowing that his hopes for vindication were shared by the Christian community hiding in the catacombs, he wrote what appears to be the insane ramblings of a madman. But rather, what we have, is a best-selling fiction when we examine the Book of Revelations.
Utilizing to mythological symbolisms found in the Old Testament, making references to Roman leaders and authorities, and including a magnificent and violent return of the Messianic Christian God, John was able to market his epic story so successfully that it not only was popular among Christians in his own time and made a lasting impact on the Christian religion, but continues to inspire artists. From the authors of the Left Behind series to Iron Maiden, the fictions written by John are perhaps one of the most famous epics in history. It blends political critiques with horror, hope with action, and does all of this masterfully.
But I am not here to praise John. Rather, I wish to understand why he would write this, and why Paul would write his letters. Since both Revelations and the Letters of Paul have such influence over Christianity today, imagine what influence they had in the early days of Christianity. Imagine the power granted to these authors back when Christianity was taken as little more than a fringe religion, an obscure Jewish cult. And we see why these men add their interpretations to the Scriptures of their religion.
The power granted to Paul and John and others like them is why these words were penned on paper. But this power could not be limited in the confining morals set forth by the founder. Rather, new morals had to be created. So the hateful rhetoric of Paul, the presumptive writings of John, and all the other morals written by early Christian priests, both those which have been enshrined in the Bible and those lost to time or called Gnostic, were intended to bring the author some influence, and thereby granting these otherwise politically impotent the power of priests and sages.
And this does not occur only in Christianity. Islam's major sects are the result of such bickering. The Jewish Scriptures discuss the quarrels among the Twelve Tribes of Israel. Even modern religions, such as Scientology are not exempt. The modern cults, aspiring to become eternal religions, adapt their dogmas both to the social expectations of the times to bring in more recruits while also expanding the powers of the senior members in the church's hierarchy.
And even ideologies themselves are subject to this. Read the writings of Mary Wollstonecraft and you will read the ideas of a woman who believed she should be given a fair shake in life. To get that fair shake, the First Feminist demanded an abolition to marriage. Then read John Stuart Mill's On the Subjection of Women, and you will see a man who defends the institution of marriage, saying that only the divorce process in England needed reform. Could this be because he was a happily married politician in a time when Wollstonecraft's Feminism was rapidly gaining traction?
The adherents to the philosophy of Rousseau have often interpreted in such ways as to give power to the State. Saint-Just and the modern Social Justice Warrior all cite Rousseau, while ignoring his comments on the dangers of total democracy and the praises with which he lavishes cruel Nature. The modern Marxist makes Marxism about race, since they themselves are quite rich. The first Socialists were Prussian nobles, adapting the Enlightenment values of Equality and Fraternity to mean handouts and kindness, thereby guaranteeing themselves a continued elevated social status. And it is with this that I can segue.
Give to Caesar Also What Is God's Because God Says So
The popular rapidly becomes the political. There is no ideology that grips the minds of the vulgar masses which does not soon after see an intellectual adherent of it in public office. This is true of all ideas: socialism, Marxism, Capitalism, Nationalism, Globalism, and religions are no exception to this rule.
Of course there are several rules to becoming political. The first rule is that the religion must change in some manner, and all subsequent rules govern what changes with regards to which reasons. The kind of government is always a reason that dictates the changes. For example, if a monarchy adopts a religion, as Constantine did Christianity, then it the religion must adapt to the will of the Emperor. The great morals of Christianity, the Cardinal Virtues and opposing Vices, the social norms, these are not Jewish but Roman. Christianity as we know it was not modeled on the words of the Nazarene but rather on the whims of the Emperor Constantine.
Should an Aristocracy adopt a religion, then that religion will conform to what best suits the ruling class. It should be evident that there will be compromise between the various rulers on the religion's new standards. An example I can give of this is how Confucianism changed in Japan. That religion is a corruption of a noble philosophy, and in Japan it became even more corrupt. While the religion keeps alive Confucius' belief that families must take care of one another, and children are responsible for their parents in old age regardless of the quality of their childhood, the Japanese feudal system reinterpreted that to mean that peasants were responsible for the well-being of samurai and shogun. I use this example as an aristocracy since in Feudal Japan, the Imperial Throne was often at odds with the Shogunate, with Samurai often sworn to their Shogun and not to the Emperor.
And should a Democracy adopt a religion, that religion becomes that which is most pleasing to the mob. Any perusal of the Hellenic religion gives one the sense of a strict moralism which glorified heroism as well as an intellect. However it is recorded that in those ancient democracies the temples of the gods became magic shows and the sacrifices were not made for victory in war or good harvests but for bountiful copulation and vast wealth. The religion which so closely resembled that of the disciplined Vikings' was reduced to being remembered as a sex cult; so much so that the Hellenic and Roman religions, although nearly identical in their mythologies, contrast entirely in their practices.
There are also combined forms of government. The Feudal systems of Japan and Medieval Europe were a combination of Monarchy and Aristocracy, while the Republic associated with the Enlightenment are combinations of Democracy and Aristocracy.
The Republic then, when it adopts a religion, makes it conform not only to the personal proclivities of the elected ruling class, but also palatable to the electorate. So let us not concentrate this section so heavily on Christianity, for the use of it by despots in already well recorded in the history books. Instead, let us examine the modern Western Republic's adoption of Feminism, the current incarnation of which has less to do with Mary Wollstonecraft and more to do with woman worship.
The appeal of woman worship is quite evident. Women are beautiful, and their beauty makes heroes out of cowards and men out of boys. Their beauty also has the power to make fools out of philosophers and weaklings out of warriors. Remember this, for it will be referenced later, dear reader.
So the mob quickly adopts Feminism as its ideology of choice. And it adheres to this ideology with the same zealous fervor one would expect to see in any crusader or jihadist. The easiness of Feminism, proclaiming one's hatred for rapists as some enlightened philosophy just recently developed, the deference given to women with which men are naturally inclined towards, and the privileges it affords to women (beautiful women, especially), makes it popular with the masses.
But what does the elected aristocratic class gain by accepting Feminism?
To answer that we need only examine the recent Kavanaugh debacle. There was a Senate hearing on whether or not Brett Kavanaugh (now Justice Kavanaugh) should be appointed to the Supreme Court of the United States. There could have been many questions regarding his past judgments, the methods by which he approaches the Constitution, and the philosophies he personally holds which might influence his thinking when making decisions on that venerated bench.
Those questions were not asked. Rather, a woman with little credibility came forward saying she had been assaulted years ago. These claims were investigated. Fair enough, such claims should be. And as the FBI found nothing to investigate, the Senate hearing turned to “how much do you drink” and “what kind of words do you use to describe women?”.
The Democrats could have asked about his philosophies, but instead chose not to. Their reasons can be deduced. They could risk alienated their base in an election year. Or worse yet, they could energize their opponents' base by reminding voters of Republican values. So, instead, the whole world was captivated by the circus that amounted to a formal proceeding which asked a potential Justice “do you worship Holy Vagina?”. And then they could point at their opposition and say “behold, they do not worship Holy Vagina!”.
What is religion if not organized faith, and what is faith but belief without evidence, otherwise termed irrational beliefs? And the mob which has adopted these irrational beliefs screams in anger over the outrage and blasphemy. The aristocracy remains in power, for they are viewed as righteous. The mob is given some target for their hatred, some one who is morally beneath them. By despising this pariah, each individual member of the mob finds redemption for their own moral failings.
The Christian of the Middle Ages was ready to smite the witch, the sodomite, and the Jew, all of whom he was told were Satanists by bishops. And in this era, the Pope did not appoint Bishops, he merely ratified their appointment. It was the king who selected the Bishop. And the Bishop communicated the religious laws to the people. Of course, the sins indulged by the ruling class and their clerical servants could not be simply declared to be not sins; but they could be minimized. Rather than follow their founder's words, to judge not, they follow the example set forth by Paul and judge harshly. This harsh judgment they consider to be penance.
Indeed, the king may be an adulterer and the bishop a fornicator and many members of the mob masturbaters, but all these crimes are diminished when compared with the affront of homosexuality. And thus by bringing the sodomite to be burned at the stake, all three societal ranks come together and collectively forgive each other. This practice has continued to this day, with many in the Catholic Church pointing to homosexuality as the root cause of the rampant pedophilia within the Church. Their claims go as far as to accuse the victimized children of being sirens who lead the otherwise saintly priests astray. And by blaming the fag for their shortcomings, by recognizing that it is the little sodomite's fault for the Church's embarrassment, the Vatican is absolved of its guilt in the eyes of the faithful. And the faithful can return to their personal sins, venial and mortal, knowing that they do not cause such a problem as those little faggots who led the priests into sin.
I hope this demonstrates that religion acts a bind between the social classes which, if free from ideology, struggle against one another. Just as Christianity made some common ground exist between a peasant and his lord, today Feminism, Traditionalism, Nationalism, and other isms create some camaraderie between the rich and poor, the politician and the plebian, the famous and the unknown. By creating a second set of morals, one which, according to adherents, supersedes the set of morals already agreed upon by Society as a whole, the ideology creates not only common ground between great and small, but a separation between the true believers and the apostates and heretics. The misogynist is the modern Satanist to the adherents of Feminism. This us and them attitude creates, without the same effort, those conditions for a cult described so far above.
Suddenly everyone is working for the good of their betters because this is ideologically acceptable. We must convince others to vote for candidate x because he has views in accordance with y. People do not associate with those who do not hold the ideology, because they are wicked. The Traditionalist views the Liberal and the Progressive and the Libertarian with the same despise: they only want to live in the license of sin. It is no longer a cult, but a casual observer may easily mistake it for one. Such is the inevitable fate of faiths.
Conclusion: Baaa Baaaa Black Sheep
So, we now have covered how all religions begin as cults. These cults are formed by the leader to better his own personal situation using the resources and abilities those he able to dupe. After his death, those who succeed him at the helm of the cult begin to use it for their own personal gain, just as he did. However, if the religion is to survive, they make it more palatable. Paul and his contemporaries made Christianity less about personal reflection and improvement and more about judging others. And as the religion gains popularity, it undergoes another transformation. This time it is made to conform to the will of the State. It is made political, and its morals are adapted in the service of the State.
So, to recap with regards to Christianity: Jesus Nazareth invents a religion in which he can be both a wanderer and a king. After his death, his followers and newcomers disregard his philosophy of personal improvement and instead adapt the religion to allow the powerless to feel powerful. Suddenly the believers are the righteous ones, and non-believers are sinful scum. The sense of moral superiority draws adherents. As the religion became more popular, Constantine took notice. He adopted the religion and adapted it. Suddenly the tenets of Christianity include Divine Right. Over time, the religion becomes the opposite of itself. Once it was said to give all one had to the poor, but now it is enough to give some pleasant thoughts, and maybe some spare change. Once it was said to make prayers and sacrifices in private, but now it is to make those prayers and sacrifices public in order to mask that which goes on in private.
Let us look at Feminism, which is more ideology although it is rapidly becoming a religion in the common parlance. The philosophy of Wollstonecraft was that if Society could abolish marriage, woman could do the rest. If left to her own devices, to look after her own affairs, she could contribute just as much as a man to Society. She needed only to be made independent. After her death, the calls for the abolition of marriage faded, and instead Feminism took on a more comfortable feel. Simply give women suffrage and the right to property, but do not eliminate those privileges they had. So women enjoyed greater freedoms while men retained their authority in the form of the duty to take care of women. Feminism grew in popularity and politicians again transformed the ideology. Rather than make women independent, equally capable of both success and failure, women were told they would be protected from failure. They were free to do whatever they pleased, and should they falter, they would be shielded from the consequences of that mistake. They need only vote in the correct manner, and they could live at every one else's expense.
Do not doubt that in every case, the politicized religion leads to despotism. It would be better to say that ideological rigidity in politics leads to despotism. It is most comical to see modern Feminists decrying Christianity, saying how far the West would have progressed has it not spent more than a thousand years in adherence to a bronze-age myth. They point to all the externalities inflicted by Christianity upon the arts and sciences. They laugh while they simultaneously march the Western Republics backwards into those dark ages. The censor the arts and deny the sciences in the same way, only this time, to them, it is justified. It is not, it is only ironic and bleakly humorous.
So religions are the cradles of despotism because they take the philosophy of a singular individual, make that philosophy more palatable to the masses until it eventually becomes impossible for the powerful to ignore, and then it becomes another tool to control the populace. The Medieval king's status as a Christian won him as much praise as Cory Booker's supplication to Dr. Ford. Indeed, Spartacus can depend on the Feminist vote, for he has shown himself to be a true believer.
The Marquis de Sade said religions are the cradles of despotism. Perhaps it is all ideologies which conceive of despotic regimes and nurse them to fruition. The Marquis de Sade says in his Last Will and Testament that he hopes to be forgotten, to fade like a shadow from the memory of men. The ideology which he founded, the concept of Juliettan Libertinage in which murder, rape, pedophilia, and all other crimes are endorsed, is so hard to stomach Sadism has become little more than a sexual fantasy and a vindictive adjective. And perhaps that was his point. He wanted people to see his refutation of Rousseau combined with his refutation of Hobbes, but did not want to see his ideas suffer the same fate as the Nazarene's. He wanted us to think for ourselves, not to just take his word for truth nor that of any other philosopher. He sought to make tigers, not sheep. Tigers fear not what is coming because they are strong, but sheep fear not what is coming because they are stupid. Perhaps he truly meant that sheep mentality is the cradle of despotism.
Juliette by the Marquis de Sade
AntiChrist by Friedrich Nietzsche
The New Testament
Emile by Jean-Jacques Rousseau (There is one part where he recounts the life and education of an abbot)
Mary by Mary Wollstonecraft
Ethics by Baruch Spinoza
The Theological-Political Treatise by Baruch Spinoza
God is Not Great by Christopher Hitchens
The Two Treatises on Government by John Locke
The Analects of Confucius