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Philosophes and Religion Revision

Philosophes and Religion Revision - Philosophes and...

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Philosophes and Religion Were the philosophes more anticlerical than irreligious? (06) Does describing the Enlightenment as the “rise of modern paganism” oversimplify a much more complex reality? (05) How did the Encyclopedistes propose to change the common way of thinking? (04) The Enlightenment - A period of disenchantment - Unknown elements were attempted to be taken from human existence - Newtonian outlook: attempts to apply laws to what was observed in reality. - Emphasis on human reason and knowledge having the ability to overcome anything - Politics and religion subject to scientific investigation - 18 th century France: educated public wanted institutions to function along more rational lines. - Church became the main battleground of the enlightenment- philosophes ultimately rejected the established authority of the church Main aspects of criticism against the Church: Miracles: - Hume: a miracle was a violation of the laws of nature; could not be accepted without substantial proof - It needed a miracle for anyone to believe in Christianity. - Several devastating attacks on miracles as a viable foundation for faith by Parisian atheists like d’Holbach, Boulanger and Damilaville. Strident Anti-clericalism: - Anticlericalism: opposed to the influence and activities of the clergy or the church in secular or public affairs. - Framework of traditional Christian theology rejected- especially claims of Jesus’ divinity. - Rousseau then presented himself as a virtuous prophet unsung in his own time. - Favoured a faith which found evidence of the creator in nature alone. - A creator who did not intervene and human beings had no obligation to. - Radical alternatives emerged to any recognizable religious beliefs e.g. atomism or systematic materialism- identified with D’Holbach, Diderot. The Heavenly City of the 18 th Century Philosophers- Carl Becker - Indicated the survival in changed form among 18 th century philosophers of the underlying pre-conceptions of medieval thought. - Shows how the philosophes substituted for faith in orthodox Christianity an equally irrational faith in nature and the principles of morality.
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- Shows how their historical judgements were no less tendentious than those of the tradition they were attacking. - “In spite of their rationalism and their humane sympathies…in spite of their eager skepticism, their engaging criticism...and talk of hanging the last king in the entrails of the last priest- in spite of all of it , there is more of Christian philosophy in the writings of the Philosophes than has yet been dreamt of in our histories…” - “I shall attempt to show that the Philosophes demolished the Heavenly City of St Augustine only to rebuild it with more up-to-date materials.” - “I know it is custom to call the 13 th century an age of faith, and to contrast it with the 18 th century which is thought to be an age of reason…In a very real sense it may be said of the 18 th
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