Religious Criticism: Voltaire's Fanaticism In Religious Tolerance

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Voltaire believed in religious tolerance because it is part of humanity, he thought the ideal religion would teach more morality than dogma and fanaticism, and the points in which we all agree is what is true in religion. Voltaire was very pessimistic of human nature. He believed that if we would focus more on knowledge and rational thought, instead of ignorance and superstition, the world would be a much better place. He felt that no change of the kind he wanted was possible without undermining the power of the Church; that is why he devoted so much of his attention to ridiculing and discrediting it. The most inhuman crimes (fanaticism) were caused by religion. Voltaire saw sects as pointless, he stated that every sect, “Is the rallying …show more content…
Tolerance comes from the error and frailty of human beings, “What is tolerance? It is the consequence of humanity.” (27). Just because an individual does not have the same views as another does not mean they can be persecuted. If an individual can persecute someone for that reason then they are a “monster.” (27). throughout history, religious tolerance was unheard of, especially in the Catholic religion. Voltaire believed that the government and magistrates were monsters for this reason. If religious views differed, it depended who that person was to see if there was religious tolerance, “If they are powerful strangers, it is certain a Prince will make an alliance with them.” (27). However, custom will also be involved in this. Where they may be helping a new alliance, in another place they are punishing and beheading those of different religions. Voltaire saw Christianity as the religion that should inspire religious tolerance the most. It was divided from the beginning, they were murdered and excommunicated. The lesson that people needed to learn was, “We should pardon each other’s errors; discord is the great ill of mankind; and tolerance is the only remedy for it.” (28). Voltaire’s main argument for tolerance is, “we are all weak, inconsistent, and liable to fickleness and error.” …show more content…
Superstition fuels this madness, and to Voltaire it was, “The effect of a false conscience, which makes religion subservient to the caprices of the imagination, and the excesses of the passions.” (1). this can happen in one of two ways, extending an individual’s limits or too narrow of views. Fanaticism is pure evil. It has made slaves, rage for distant conquests, and murder, which all happens under the impulse of religion better described as a religious madness. The only remedy is philosophy or reason, and this does not provide a complete cure, it only prevents access of the disease, however, “When once fanaticism has gangrened the brain of any man the disease may be regarded as nearly incurable.” (4). Fanaticism to Voltaire, polluted religion, they turned into a murderer for “the good

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