Our Responsibility To Enlightenment Essay

1085 words - 5 pages

Immanuel Kant, a well-known philosopher and writer, once said in his essay “An Answer to the Question: What is Enlightenment?,” “Nothing is required for this enlightenment, however, except freedom; and the freedom to question is the least harmful of all, namely, the freedom to use reason publicly in all matters. But on all sides I hear: ‘Do not argue!’ The officer says, ‘Do not argue, drill!’ The tax man says, ‘ Do not argue, pay!’ The pastor says, ‘ Do not argue, believe!’” Throughout his essay, and many other works, there is a call to throw off the shackles of blind acceptance and come into a new light of reason and continuous questioning and analysis. This is the basis for modern science; what we cannot explain, we explore, and even that which we are certain of is subject to discussion, debate, and open criticism. In our culture there has been a tacit compliance to allow knowledge and debate fall to the back burners, behind what “experts” say and what we read in the newspaper or hear on the television.
There has been an unspoken agreement with the media, the churches, the government, and even college institutions saying: “We don’t care to learn or understand. Just tell us what we need to know to survive, and here’s what money we have (plus much that we don’t) for you to tell us these things.” I would respectfully, but vehemently disagree with this status quo. As I will continue to emphasize, reason, debate, and discussion are the paths to knowledge and change that we have chosen to ignore and leave behind in this age of instant gratification and complacency.
Even when Martin Luther King Jr. was challenging the societal norms of racism and oppression during the Civil Rights Movement, so too must we challenge the norms of laziness and aversion to challenges of our own beliefs as well as those that others hold. Christians are called to be strong in faith and Christ-like in their actions and words. I don’t believe that Christ called us to be blind to the world around us or the knowledge that we can attain about other cultures, other people, and even ourselves as we learn about the world we live in. To close our minds and remain in a “self-imposed immaturity,” as Kant eloquently states, is the highest offense to the people that we share this world with, as well as the worst detriment to our own development as thinking, rational, and compassionate human beings. So often we see or hear about extremists that hide behind the name of God to persecute and oppress other human beings because their way of life is an “abomination” or an “affront to believers,” and so often we, as a whole, do nothing to educate them or to stand up for the rights of those that these “Christians” are oppressing. Their lack of rational, thoughtful discourse and ignorance of the world around them leads to the news stories we are justifiably uncomfortable with as human beings and as Christians.
Francis Bacon, another proponent of rational thought and “natural philosophy,”...

Find Another Essay On Our Responsibility to Enlightenment

Critical Analysis Piece

964 words - 4 pages events were tragic. However, not once did Dalrymple witness any lack of dignity, self-centeredness, spiritual and emotional vacuity or the ignorance that he saw in England every day. In Africa, people did not receive help or benefits from the government, so they took responsibility for themselves. They did not feel entitled to anything because they all had to work for what they ate. This enabled them to reach enlightenment and fight for emancipating

Describe The Age of Enlightenment - Suny Orange/Modern Europe - Paper

609 words - 3 pages 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

Character Analysis: Voltaire's Candide

2237 words - 9 pages who was fictional in “Candide “for it drew criticism against the church, philosophy, and cruelty. The values in our society started changing at the ending of the eighteen century; as our society moved from the Enlightenment to the Romantic era. The new era came to be known as the Romantic era. Romantic and Enlightened themes are very commonly factionary, however they had different ideals. For example, Enlightenment era portrayed


712 words - 3 pages immaturity". Immaturity is man's incompetence to have direction for oneself. In other words, enlightenment is the progress of a society through the free activity of rational thought and scholarly critique. Kant feels that if we are going to liberate ourselves from immaturity then we must be able to use our freedom whenever we want. One can try to revolt but it's most definitely going to fail. One can try to over-throw and then become the tutor himself or

Contrasting the Romantic and Enlightenment Peroid

818 words - 4 pages . As seen in the Romantic period an individual’s escape to nature for the closer well-being of Christ. The Enlightenment period is based on general belief’s that human reason should serve as a guide for religious, philosophical, and scientific reasoning. As seen in Phaedra, Phaedra lacks moral responsibility, truth, and reasoning. . Phaedra is seen as the tragic hero. Tragic Heroes are common for plays and stories during the Enlightenment period

Was The Enlightenment Really The Age of Reason?

1588 words - 6 pages Enlightenment, Kant reveals that the process is on-going. The enlightenment goes further than the confines of its historical time frame, the ideas it poses are still at play in our world. To see this in action, we will look at the effect of Kant’s work in the 20th century, namely in the writings of Michel Foucault. Foucault states that before the introduction of Kant to the world of philosophy reflection on the present had taken three main

Sarah Melamed

951 words - 4 pages authoritarian Church and towards independent thought and reason. Enlightenment ethics can be exemplified through using the words duty and choice. Logically, we have the duty to exercise our ethical choice. Rather than placing all hope and will into one ethical compilation, human beings began to learn that excersisemt of their own choice is not only possible but also their duty. Kant and the Enlightenment period also put less emphasis towards

The Enlightenment

1239 words - 5 pages The history of Western civilization cannot be neatly divided into precise linear sections. Instead, it must be viewed as a series of developing threads that combine, interact, and, at various intervals, take pervasive shifts. The Enlightenment of the eighteenth century was one of these paradigm historical shifts, challenging the traditional notions of authority by investing reason with the power to change the human condition for the better

A Moment in History

629 words - 3 pages By the time students enter high school, they have learned about many moments in history that have influenced our world today. A moment in history that I believe is important is the Enlightenment Era. Beginning circa the late seventeenth century, the enlightenment era created a domino effect on all equality movements and pushed us forward. The enlightenment challenged traditional ideas and gave a new aspect to our world. Although this Era

The Enlightenment Today

1129 words - 5 pages and why the Enlightenment is so important into today’s Western society. It will also argue some things that can still be questioned in today’s society. Many of the Enlightenment thinkers, especially Locke, believed that all are created equal and start with a clean slate. This showed his ideas of everybodies right to their natural liberties: Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness. However, in today’s society, this is not fully true. If the

The Enlightenment Torn Apart

1573 words - 6 pages wealth. What conclusion must be drawn from this paradox so worthy of our time, and what will become of virtue when one must get rich at any price?" (Rousseau, 51) Even in that day and age, money equaled power and respect. It's the truth and good life that are really at stake here. According to Rousseau, even virtue, which is the main purpose of the Enlightenment, will come second to money, so obviously this Enlightenment is not all its

Similar Essays

It Is Our Moral Responsibility To Question God's Existence And If There Is A God, Would He Want Us To Use Our Reason

771 words - 3 pages stable belief. Although some may claim that it is wrong to question or doubt the existence of God, we are morally responsible to seek evidence for our beliefs.To question whether or not there is a god means being open to the possibilities of a god or gods, but also to the possibility that there may not be any gods at all. If you assume ahead of time that there must be a god and set out to find evidence, you are not questioning, but skipping over

Philosophy In The Enlightenment Era: The Age Of Reason

1288 words - 5 pages that the false promise of free will leads to morality, for he states that “the history of the moral sensations is the history of an error, the error of accountability, which rests on the error of freedom of will.” There must be accountability and responsibility in order to achieve enlightenment. Enlightenment favored individual social progress in society. This poses a threat to liberalism, for it becomes dependent upon reason, rather than the

A Brief Summary Of The Age Of Enlightment

1591 words - 7 pages unchanged to be the foundation of current our systems as it aligns humanity with science, prevents the use of unnecessary violence to solve conflicts and also encourages an educated society. The period that preludes the Age of Enlightenment is the Protestant Reformation in the early 16th century. The Protestant Reformation initiated mainly by Martin Luther caused a major upheaval in the European countries as the Catholic Church became at war

Enlightenment Essay

1510 words - 7 pages control is found in their doctrine. He believes that religion uses the church to enforce dogmas and make them politically binding. The church is able to control its followers and limit reliance on reason; it hinders us from developing our ability to use self-reason. Kant thinks we should break away from anything that obstructs this progress of enlightenment, especially the church. For him, our best interest is to surpass those that prevent us