In order to understand Communism's birth, we must examine European culture in the 18th and 19th centuries. Beginning in the second century A.D. under the Emperor Constantine, Europe gradually accepted Christianity. Christian culture held sway until the Enlightenment of the 18th century, when a number of artists and thinkers began embracing the influence of pagan Greek and Roman culture and consequently, rejecting the dictates of religion. The Enlightenment's most important political result was the French Revolution, which was not only an uprising against the ancient regime, but at the same time, a revolt against religion.
Charles Darwin, Leon Trotsky, Fried Engels, Karl Marks
The foundation of the French Revolution was established by the influence of such anti-religious thinkers as Voltaire, Diderot and Montesquieu. From 1789 on, the Enlightenment's pagan, anti-religious tendencies of became obvious. After an intense propaganda campaign, the Jacobins came to lead the revolution, established a movement against orthodox Catholicism, and even managed to create a new religion. Revolutionary worship, seen first during the national Feast of the Federation on July 14, 1790, spread quickly. Robespierre, one of the leaders of the bloody revolution, explained its rules and principles in a report, wherein he called it "The Worship of Supreme Being."'Paris's famous Nôtre Dame cathedral was changed into what he called the "Temple of Reason." Statues of Christian saints were removed from the cathedral walls, replaced by the statue of an allegorical woman called the "Goddess of Reason." In the course of the French Revolution, many priests and nuns were killed; churches and monasteries were plundered and destroyed.
At the same time, the philosophy of materialism reawakened and began to spread throughout Europe. Certain ancient Greek philosophers had first proposed this philosophy, which believes that only matter exists, that living things—indeed, human consciousness itself—are only "matter in motion." In the 18th century, two important names in the French Revolution, Denis Diderot and his close friend Baron d'Holbach, adopted this philosophy and imposed it on the people. In his book called Système de la Nature (The System of Nature) published in 1770, Baron d'Holbach used a few so-called "scientific" suppositions to propose that only matter and energy existed. A fanatical atheist, D'Holbach was opposed to the concept of morality advocating that human beings should take all the pleasure they can and do everything they can to get it.
Communism's roots stretch back to the French Revolution, when hostility to religion was embodied by the "goddess of reason." She later appeared on Communist posters, like the one on the left.
In the 18th century, a few thinkers adopted materialism, but it became much more widespread in the 19th, overflowing the borders of France to take root in other European countries. At the beginning of the 20th century, two important Materialist thinkers appeared in Germany: Ludwig Büchner and Karl Vogt. Vogt tried to explain human rationality in terms of a simile: "the brain secretes thought just as the liver secretes bile." Not even the Materialists of his time accepted that nonsensical analogy.
Despite the proffering of such idiotic proposals, materialism was adopted by anti-religious forces, who started to impose it on European societies. Propaganda insisted that materialism was the foundation of reason and science—a deception that quickly spread among the enlightened, moving first from France to Germany and then, gradually, throughout the rest of Europe. In this respect, Freemasonry was an important ally. Masons adopted materialism as a religion and, in the 19th century, many enlightened Europeans became its members.
As this ancient dogma spread, there were attempts to adapt materialism to several branches of science:
Darwin's adaptation is called the theory of evolution, while Marx and Engel's is known as Communism.