Unformatted text preview: A large part of the philosophes’ attacks were focused on the Church and its traditions. In matters of faith, many of the prominent philosophes were deists —they believed in an all-powerful being but likened him to a “cosmic watchmaker” who simply set the universe in autonomous motion and never again tampered with it. Moreover, they disdained organized religion and the Church’s traditional idea of the “chain of being,” which implied a natural hierarchy of existence—God first, then angels, monarchs, aristocrats, and so on. The philosophes also raised objections against the decadent lifestyles of leading Church representatives, as well as the Church’s persistence in collecting exorbitant taxes and tithes from the commoners to fund outlandish salaries for bishops and other Church officials. What the philosophes found most appalling, however, was the control that the officials....
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- Fall '08