18 September 2017
The Age of Enlightenment
The Enlightenment was a time period in the eighteenth century where Europeans became more self-aware and intelligent. This movement challenged basic traditional values of European society. People began questioning why after years of being told what to do, how to do it, why they do it, and what will happen if they don’t do it. With the rise in scientific explanation and philosophical intellectuals, it became increasingly difficult to not question why they lived their lives in fear. The enlightenment changed the world of the people back then and is responsible for the way we live our life today.
There are a handful of people that are exceptional contributors to the Enlightenment. People like Voltaire, Diderot, and Rousseau are all philosophes that encourage intellectual freedom and freedom of religious beliefs. They believed that religion should not be the main reason of life and religion shouldn’t be permeated in society. They thought that people should live by reason, not myths. Voltaire was one of the most influential spokesman of these new ideas, he persuaded educated Europeans to abandon Christianity in favor of Deism, a belief that recognized a higher power but did not interfere with their lives directly. This allowed people who live life on their own in an ordered universe, without hope or fear of eternal salvation and damnation, respectively. Diderot wrote the Encyclopedia, and its purpose was to change the general way of thinking. There was no subject out of the question, everything was probed at and made a question of. Religion was no exception. The Encyclopedia didn’t last long, shortly after three published volumes, the license to produce the remaining volumes was taken away by the French government. Diderot continued to write until every subscriber received their promised...