Essay about The Hypocrisy of Religion

660 Words3 Pages
Religious leaders ought to be the epitome of goodness and morality and are supposed to live lives worthy of emulation. Yet, in Voltaire’s Candide and Goethe’s Faust, the church is infested with hypocrisy what with religious leaders being hypocritical characters that are corrupt, greedy and immoral. These are seen in so many instances in both texts as will be discussed below. High–ranking church officials, according to Voltaire, are deeply engrossed in promiscuity as depicted in the lines, “I am infact the daughter of Pope Urban the Tenth and the Princess of Palestrina” (535). The fact that the Pope, despite his vows of celibacy as a priest and leader of the Catholic Church, has a mistress and a daughter (the Old Woman) is very…show more content…
Furthermore, Voltaire implies that a superior of the abbey by name reverend father Croust is gay (543). Ironically, the church is laden with such people as this Jesuit colonel. Voltaire therefore uses this ironic character to point out the existence of church hypocrisy and corruption in his time. Meanwhile, man’s inhumanity to man is something that should never be witnessed in Christian communities. Yet Voltaire talks about religious leaders who carry out the so-called “auto-da-fe” against those who disagree with them on trivial theological issues. For example, the Inquisition hangs Pangloss for voicing his ideas and orders for Candide to be flogged for merely “listening with an air of approval” (529). The authorities executing Pangloss for talking and ordering the flogging of Candide for merely listening shows that ironically, christians are the ones promoting inhumane acts to fellow men. This, in no small measure, symbolizes the hypocrisy and corruption that is rampant in Christian communities. In addition, Goethe also portrays hypocrisy in religion in the scene where in response to Gretchen’s question of “Do you believe in God?” Faust answers: My darling who may say I believe in God? Ask priests and sages, their reply Looks like sneers that mock and prod The one who asked the question. (752) The fact that Gretchen, being a christian, is easily deceived into believing
Open Document