The Scientific Revolution and The Enlightenment resulted in, among many consequences, a new thirst for knowledge and discovery among many in the aristocracy and solid middle classes.
This curiosity led European intellectuals of the 18th century to break down the barriers that the Christian religion had imposed upon the population.The impact of a multitude of major scientific breakthroughs on the society resulted in an anti-traditional, anti-religious way of thought, a worldview that concentrated largely on critical and rational thinking. Extremely important figures in European society at the time were the philosophes, educated, open-minded, free thinking men who urged and preached revolution and stimulated absolute monarchs to apply reason to state-craft and look for useful reform. Philosophes shaped the public opinion, and gave the population a radical new worldview. Among the most famous and important philosophes of all time is the French thinker, Voltaire (1694-1778).
Beginning his career as a playwright and poet, he is best known today for his prolific pamphlets, essays, satires and short novels, in which he popularized the science and philosophy of his age, and for his immense correspondence with writers and monarchs throughout Europe. Voltaire;s two most famous works are Candide, written in 1759, and the Philosophical Dictionary, written in 1764.It is from the Philosophical Dictionary that we find the primary source document we will be examining in this paper .Among all his works, he attacked every single subject possible, from Animals to Convulsions, and War to Equality.Yet there is no single subject that he attacked as strongly as the issue of Religion.
The church, with all it;s wealth, political power, and suppression of the free exercise of reason was what Voltaire, and all ;enlightened; thinkers of the time, stood absolutely against. In the following paper, I will discuss under …