Thought Bomb #4 – ‘Enlightenment’

Voltaire (born Francois-Marie Arouet, 1694-1778) is perhaps the best known of the Enlightenment writers and philosophers. His scepticism of biblical inspiration, opposition to the Church, and general criticism of religious matters began to embolden those who preferred a sceptical approach to matters of faith. A witty, incisive and brilliant writer was deriding the religious foundations of Western culture, and getting away with it. The thought of life lived outside of the shadow of the Church was inviting to many; the thought of life without accountability to a personal God is inviting to every human soul. Voltaire himself was a Deist – believing that a God created the universe, but did not intervene in the affairs of everyday life. Other Enlightenment thinkers were Jean-Jacques Rousseau (1712-78) , David Hume and Diderot.
By now, the Enlightenment ideas were gaining momentum – that the best hope for the betterment of mankind is the progress a society makes as it throws off all vestiges of ‘superstition’ and ‘myth’.

Perhaps the tipping point of all these thinkers came in the person of Immanuel Kant (1724-1804). Philosophy post-Kant is an unrecoverable slide towards agnosticism, naturalism and secularism. Kant essentially called a time-out on the whole game. He stated that reason has its place – but its place is limited. It cannot help us with the largest questions of metaphysics – like the cause of the universe. Put simply – whatever is necessary to know is found inside our minds to begin with, whatever exists outside of that we cannot know with certainty, and shouldn’t bother with. In other words, stop worrying about heaven and hell, eternity and God. Live a moral life, and be happy.

The seeds have been sown for an all-out destruction of a culture built on Christianity. The Enlightenment thinkers just mined the world with thoughts that would explode in names like Kierkegaard, Marx, Nietzsche, Freud, Darwin, Dewey and Sartre. These men didn’t come out nowhere. The land had been cleared by William of Occam, Francis Bacon, the Rationalists, the Empiricists and the Enlightenment thinkers.


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