Faith and Reason in the Enlightenment Essays

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Faith and Reason in the Enlightenment

One of the most important reasons that the issues involving faith and reason were present during the years that the Enlightenment took place in Europe was because of a group of men known as the philosophes. The philospohes, a word which is french for philosophers, were the thinkers of the Enlightenment Era. Initially, the philosophes were not accepted by the majority of the Europeans, who had already established their own firm beliefs which stemmed from the traditional beliefs of Christian Europe. After the Revolution in the American colonies in 1775, some Europeans began to embrace the new ideas and ways of thinking introduced by the philosophes. The philosophes claimed that they were
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The philosophes were a part of the upper class in Europe, which made up only a minute percent of the population in Europe at the time. These men believed that the majority of common people were "doomed to superstition and confusion because they lacked the money and leisure to look beyond their bitter struggle" (McKay 604).

The philosophes were not immediately accepted by the majority of the European governments. These men, as well as others who attempted to imitate what the philosophes were attempting to do were not permitted to write freely as they wished. This was because during the time of the Enlightenment it was illegal to openly criticize either the state or the Church in France. As a result, writers circulated their radical works through written manuscripts. Direct attacks placed on the government or in reference to the Church were either banned or burned. Because of these restrictions place upon the philosophes, the men incorporated their strong beliefs and opinions into novels, plays, philosophies, encyclopedias, and dictionaries to spread their message. These works that the philosophes completed were filled with satire and double meanings en lieu of what they were unable to speak freely about because of the government's restrictions. The philisophes used their wit and knowledge as a weapon against cruelty and superstition. The philisophes were not in anyway revolutionaries, but merely

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