France continued to be a deeply religious nation until the revolution of 1789. Undergirded by the ideas of the Enlightenment, the French revolution represented a concerted and deliberate attempt to dechristianize the nation, including:Share
- The implementation of a new calendar to replace the Christian one. The calendar, which was adopted in 1793 and used for the next 12 years, employed a ten day week (in a 10 day week, no one could ever know which day was Sunday) and had 1792 (the year Louis XVI was taken into custody) as year 1. This was known as ‘the year of liberty.’
- The dispossession, deportation and brutal martyrdom of thousands of clergy
- Christians being denied freedom of speech, freedom of the press and freedom of thought if it contravened the secular humanist ideology of the revolution.The criminalization of all religious education
- The elimination of all Christian symbols from the public sphere, including removing the word ‘saint’ from street names and destroying or defacing churches and religious monuments
- The replacing of Christian holidays and symbols with civic and revolutionary cults like the ‘Cult of Reason’ and ‘Cult of the Supreme Being.’ A statue to the goddess Reason was even erected and worshiped in Notre Dame Cathedral on 10 November 1793.In these and many other ways, the French revolution tried to create a new man through civic regeneration. French society has never fully recovered from the impact of this paradigm shift and all of the successive French government have born the mark of the revolution upon them, including an institutionalized antipathy to the Christian faith.