Argument On Religious Tolerance

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When Dr. Kristen Irwin lectured on Pierre Bayle and his ideas about religious toleration, she introduced many people to a new way of thinking about religion and toleration. Dr. Irwin first spoke about Pierre Bayle’s life and the historical context that influenced his thinking. Bayle lived during a period of turmoil in the Church. With many groups separating themselves from Rome, religious life was not as uniform as it used to be. With these changes came persecution. Pierre Bayle was raised as a French Calvinist, or Huguenaut, but converted to Catholicism during his time at seminary school. However, he converted back to Calvinism after a few months. In 1685, he was forced to flee from his home in France because of the Revocation of the Edict of Nantes, which lifted the law of religious tolerance and permitted the harassment of the Calvinists. Bayle wrote Commentaire Philosophique, his main argument for religious tolerance, as a …show more content…
Irwin interpreted Bayle as making a negative argument using religious and nonreligious premises to support his idea that intolerance should be impossible through the natural light. Instead of arguing for tolerance, Bayle makes it a point to argue against intolerance. His use of different types of support strengthens his argument so that it cannot be easily dismissed by non-believers or people of different religions. Dr. Irwin approached this argument by explaining that the natural light is a form of reason that guides every person regardless of religion or culture. Through the natural light, an atheist and a deeply religious person both have the same set of universal morals. This includes the information from reason that a person can know without any worldly experiences. Dr. Irwin explained that Bayle used this argument to declare that the natural light is what disproves the acceptance of intolerance. As humans, we know, through the natural light, that religious intolerance is

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