The Enlightment and Religion Essay

2067 Words 9 Pages
The era of France Enlightenment and religion have a misconception that leads one to believe that they were enemies. The Enlightenment was not against religion but it was against the superstitions and the supernaturalism of religion. Philosophes during the era of France’s Enlightenment did not look to abolish religion or the Catholic Church of France. They simply wanted a separation of religion and state because it was believed that the state was based on reason and religion was based on morality. Religion and the Enlightenment were compatible and Dr. Sorkin argues: “the Enlightenment was not only compatible with religious belief,” it actually generated new formulations of that belief. One goal that was a reflection of the
…show more content…
The people of France yearned for freedoms that were not controlled by the Catholic Church of France. Philospophes understood the tight control that the monarchy and the church held over its own citizens and fought for religious tolerance in order to bring unity to France. Leading thinkers of this religious Enlightenment sought a “reasonable” faith that was answerable to contemporary science and philosophy, and not grounded merely on dogmatic authority, pure emotion or fascination with the miraculous.
The Catholic Church of France
The church and the state had to contend with the growing influence of the Enlightenment and the need to strike a new balance with religion, a more utilitarian balance determined in large part by its own political rationalism. Power was held within the monarchy and the church. The monarchy of France and the Catholic Church were allies that were unbreakable. The King was the master of the temporal realm, while the Church under his protection ruled the spiritual realm. Kings derived their authority from God and stood immediately below him in rank. The monarchy had the support of the church and the church had the support of the monarchy. Power was based on morality and the church thrived on positive morality and the monarchy was proof of this morality. The balance between these two powers in France was equivalent to one another. The whole system
Open Document