Secular values redefined: Hanne Nabintu Herland

Secular values redefined by New Left Marxists to mean the opposite of its original meaning

Herland Report:  Secular values redefined: The Herland Report has a series of articles on Marxism and how its variant after World War II, namely neo-Marxism, has influenced Western culture with its hatred towards traditional values – and is now causing the break-down of stability.

This topic is important to study in order to understand how nations such as the United States ended up on the edge of self-destruction, self-hatred and came to despise its own, historical values, the very ideals that made the West a great civilization.

The neo-Marxist, Left wing ideology came out of the Frankfurt School in Germany, and its apostles such as Herbert Marcuse, Max Horkheimer, Theodore Adorno spent years redefining Western values according to the Marxist view that they carried with them.

They called themselves neo-Marxists or Marxists, introducing the term used for the radical New Left hippie movement that completely engulfed Western universities in the 1960s onward writes historian of comparative religions and bestselling author, Hanne Nabintu Herland.

For example, Adorno worked hard to redefined fascism and Nazism as “right wing”, while in fact National Socialist Workers Party (NAZI) in Germany was Socialist. Is Socialism Right wing? Of course not. Yet, Adorno succeeded in influencing American universities into teaching the NAZI ideology was not Left wing, although even in its very defining term, the German ideology states that it is Socialist.

Another word that has been completely redefined by the New Left is the term “secular”. If you say that you are secular today, many assume that you are an atheist who believes in the right to live without the religious, traditional values in the West. It is often understood as a political strategy that seeks to outroot religion as a whole.

Yet, the historical definition of “secularism”, when the term was invented, to be secular meant the very opposite of what it means today: It implied that you were against the discrimination of religious and pro religious freedom.

To be secular meant that you respected national sovereignty and right to self-determination of nations, that you were for the individual’s right to choose what he believed in – and that church and state should be separate entities. To be secular, meant supporting religious freedom for all.


Secular values redefined: The Herland Report Scandinavian news site, TV channel on YouTube and Podcast has millions of viewers. Founded by Scandinavian historian of comparative religions and author Hanne Nabintu Herland, we feature leading intellectuals, authors and activists from across the political spectrum.


How Marxists redefined Western values


In the 1950s, Adorno ended thereby up reinventing fascism – the ally of National Socialism during the war – as a right wing ideology that focused on “free markets and support for the traditional moral order,” the very two elements that true fascists hated.

In The Authoritarian Personality from 1950, the Marxist Adorno argues that fascism is developed in young people’s attachment to “religious superstition” and “conventional middle-class values” about family, sex, and society. In his view, clearly, those who prefer traditional values and are happy about the middle-class and like to go to church are fascists in the same definition as Mussolini.

Neo-Marxist thought is characterized by a remarkable lack of respect for traditional, historical Western values, marked by a surprisingly strong hatred of Christianity and anything traditional Western. It seeks to install a new set of ethics – idealizing hedonism and the breaking up of the traditional family, church affiliation and other traditional ideals that founded the West as a successful civilization.




Secular values redefined: In the 1950s, some of these radical philosophers moved to the United States and began the process of infusing neo-Marxist thought into the university systems. Herbert Marcuse was one of them and the so-called father of the student revolution in the 1960’s, speaks openly in A critique of pure tolerance about the need to oppress the views of the majority population in order to succeed in revolutionizing the culture. So, his ideal was to illiberally oppress unwanted groups, defined as those who supported traditional values, or Western historical ideals?

This is the very opposite of a liberal society where equality is an ideal, regardless of sex, class, gender or religious affiliations. Slowly, the illiberal ideas of Marcuse and his friends began to take root among American youth at the universities, in the media and public life.

What happened in the 1960s, is that we came full circle in completing the Karl Marx objective in The Communist Manifesto from 1848, namely, to “melt the solid into air.”

Marcuse’s illiberal words reveal the authoritarian New Left pursuit, stating that repressing the worldview of the majority is necessary in order to achieve the desired goal: To change the Western value system. Tolerance and free speech for all was never an ideal for the New Left. They came from an authoritarian pool of thought, namely the Marxist world view of the need for bloody revolutions or subtle social revolutions in order to change society completely.


The Historical Secular Values ensured religious freedoms without discrimination 


This brings us to another term that has been completely redefined by the New Left:  What it means to be “secular”. If you say that you are secular today, many assume that you are an atheist. Or non-believer. Yet, in its historical definition, to be secular meant something dramatically different and quite the opposite.

The wars in the sixteenth-century Europe were an important reason for the development of the secular state. At that time, this meant that the state does not discriminate persons based on their religious or non-religious beliefs, or favor individuals based on the same discrimination.

This was a time in history when most were Christians so that the political differences translated into religious conflicts. The Catholic church fought Protestants, and both fought a wide variety of denominations, of whom many fled to the new world, America.

The idea developed that a solution to the political strife could be to separate state and church. Europe was suffering under political and religious leaders whose geopolitical agendas and powerplay led to war on the continent.

It was in this stage that the Peace of Westphalia was implemented in 1648, which laid out treaties for respect of national sovereignty and each country’s right to determine which cultural, religious, and national values it would pursue. This did not end all wars, but still created a foundation for the modern concept of respect for national sovereignty and international law that forms the theoretical basis of, for example, the United Nations.

This meant that a new idea was implemented: Secularism: The separation of the state from its religious institutions in order to open up society for a better way of ensuring religious freedom for all.

People should have the right to believe in God or to refrain from doing so, without being persecuted for their faith.

One of the driving forces behind secularism and allowing religion to be a matter which would not interfere with the state was that Europe would become a sphere without discrimination against religious groups. The principle of religious freedom was established as a secular principle.

With the original concept of secularism, religious freedom for all was implemented. The secularism practiced respected religious freedom and, in fact, ensured it. The point being that a secular state would protect different religious group’s right to coexist without one dominating the other.

Secular values redefined: Typically, many African countries are today secular states, as they are broadly multi-faith nations. It is of vast importance that all faiths feel respected and welcome in such countries, whether Christian, Muslim, animist, atheist or other.

Men and women from all faiths may become ministers and hold office, and the individual’s religion is, for example, not to determine which public roles he is allowed to have. It is precisely the nature of the secular state that guarantees the respect for religious diversity and its freedoms.


Secularism was never an atheist ideal pushing for the end of religious freedoms


Secular values redefined: Secularism was, in other words, invented as a guarantee that all faiths would be respected. Secularism was never defined as atheism or godlessness, rather the very opposite.

To be secular meant to respect religious freedoms for all. Today secularism is often understood as a political strategy that seeks to outroot religion as a whole. To be “secular” now implies to be against religion, while in its original meaning, it was an effort to bring respect for religious differences.

The Norwegian doctor and author, Mohammad Usman Rana has pointed this out in the Herland Report TV interview on YouTube about Secular Extremism in Europe. His treatise on Secular Extremism hits a chord, as secularism and “neutrality” is redefined to mean atheism and godlessness as the accepted approach in the New Left context.




Historically, the secular attempt was to ignite a system that would bring respect for religious differences. The idea was that different religious or non-religious groups were to tolerate each other, allowing differences to coexist. However, the point was not to use “secularism” to persecute believers and ridicule religious faith but to end persecution by implementing secularism as the protector against persecution.

New secular worldviews eventually came to the forefront among European intellectuals, views that attempted to provide meaning to life in the metaphysical and philosophical cultural vacuum left by Christianity: liberalism, Marxism, Darwinism, and nihilism among them. Many of which were pursued with just as much “religious” zeal as any traditional religion before them.

During the 1800s, a widespread optimism on behalf of the technological progress of society was predominant. The flaws inherent in scientific materialism and the belief in the human ability to solely act with reason went unrecognized. European culture became disconnected from its historically moral and religious anchor, without implementing a sufficient substituting moral codex.

The quest for relegating Christianity and religious belief out of the public sphere overlooked vital points that today are at the forefront of the debate: Removing religious ethics from the centerfold of society ended up, to many secularists’ surprise, to weaken vital ethical principles in society. This gradually became evident in the 1970s onward.



Secular values redefined: Intellectuals in the Western hemisphere did not realize that by removing the focus on the Judeo-Christian philosophy from public awareness, as the elites increasingly grew hostile to religion as a whole, the founding ethics of solidarity were no longer preached to the same degree as before.

Today, many scholars assert that secularism redefined as godlessness simply has not been able to motivate individuals to care for one another. To a large degree, egocentrism and materialism have become socially acceptable, while solidarity, selfishness, humility, and spirituality lost ground.

Read my book, New Left Tyranny. How the West lost its Greatness for a more detailed walk-through history on this topic. In the US, buy it here. In the UK, Europe use this link or browse for the book on the regional Amazon portal in your country.


About the author

The level of censorship in social media and search engines is all-time high. Do like thousands of others, subscribe to The Herland Report newsletter here!

Hanne Nabintu Herland is a historian of religions and bestselling author. She is the founder of The Herland Report Scandinavian news site, TV channel on YouTube and Podcasts which have millions of readers/viewers yearly. This is a great place to watch interviews with leading intellectuals, thought leaders from across the political spectrum. Herland’s books include Alarm, Respect, Det Nye Babylon (2018), Tyranni (2020) and in English – The Culture War. How the West lost its Greatness (2017)Trump. The Battle for America (2020) as well as  New Left Tyranny. The Authoritarian Destruction of Our Way of Life (2020), available on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, across the USA and in 60 countries world-wide. New Left Tyranny shows how the neo-Marxist New Left turned their back on historical Western principles and became a destructive authoritarian force.

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