Age Of Enlightenment: Revolutionary Viewpoints Spreading

769 words - 3 pages

The age of enlightenment is a term used to describe a time in Western philosophy and cultural life centered upon the late 17th and 18th century. (wikipedia.com) When the word enlightenment comes to mind your first thought is of change for the better. A time of prosperity and success within a country.
Several individuals have been credited and blamed for leading and contributing to the Enlightenment. These thinkers not only changed their views, but also spread revolutionary ideas to others. These philosophes, Evangelists of science, felt that it was their duty to open peoples’ eyes to new thought. (wikipedia.com) They used every media available to them including word of mouth, pamphlets, letters, journals and books. Philosophes were tired of people accepting anything they were told, consequently a large opponent of the Enlightenment Era was the Church. Knowledge gained through observation of nature slowly replaced blindly accepted religious explanations. The Enlightenment was not only guided by nature, but also changed humanities’ views of nature forever. As philosophes spread their ideas, fueled by science and reason, the Church increased its opposition based on faith. This time period sparked many important changes in thought.
In countries such as France, where the Enlightenment thrived, the Catholic Church felt very threatened by the philosophes and their new age thinking. Through the teachings of the Bible, religion has attempted to appease people’s natural curiosities. Throughout history, the Church has explained tragedies such as the plague and miracles such as rain and harvests as divine intervention. When philosophes of the Eighteenth Century began observing natural phenomena themselves and questioning long accepted ideas, the Church began to worry. A country built around religion cannot survive if its subjects lose their faith. Prior to this era, people questioned nothing that was explained by their church. Farmers accepted bad seasons because their minister told them that they were being punished. No one looked at nature as its own force. In fact, people feared nature because God controlled it. People were inferior to God and the Church and had no confidence in free thought. During the Enlightenment, people actually began looking to nature for answers; religion took a back seat. Through this revolution of thought and the study of nature, people for the first time gained confidence in themselves as free thinkers and realized the beauty and wealth of...

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