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Religion During The Enlightenment

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In the wake of the Scientific Revolution, the world was plunged into the Age of Reason, otherwise known as the Enlightenment. The Enlightenment was a time period that stretched from approximately 1685 to 1815 and focused on human reason. By the time the enlightenment came to a close, it had birthed countless discoveries and revolutions in science, philosophy, and government. Influential figures of this time period included John Locke, Rene Descartes, and Thomas Jefferson, to name a few. With the Enlightenment’s priority on reason and science, it is not surprising that many Enlightenment thinkers had a difficult time accepting religions like Christianity. Thomas Jefferson, and Thomas Paine are excellent examples of the relationship that…show more content…
Religious individuals are viewed as illogical and even delusional, while those who claim to be atheists are seen as more intelligent. Sam Harris, a prominent atheist, made a statement reminiscent of Thomas Jefferson’s view on Christianity in a recent podcast. “It would be possible for you and I to invent a religion, right now, that was better than any existing religion.” His ‘religion’, he continued on to explain, would simply be a collection of benevolent rules to enforce moral behavior. To Harris, while the the majority of religious beliefs are outrageous, the moral framework they provide is beneficial to society. Another prominent atheist, Richard Dawkins, took a stance much closer to Thomas Paine’s in a speech titled Militant Atheism. Faith and reason, Dawkins argues, are incompatible and completely destructive to each other. “Not only is science corrosive to religion, but religion is corrosive to science. It teaches people to be satisfied with trivial, supernatural, non-explanations, and blinds then to the wonderful, real explanations that we have within our grasps,” (Dawkins). Whether Dawkins chooses to recognise it or not, the modern Catholic Church is still using logic to find its own wonderful, real
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