The Importance Of Enlightenment And Secularism

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Topic Introduction:
Stemming from the Enlightenment are fundamental concepts that sparked the American and French Revolutions. Of these enlightenment ideals, reason is by far the most important. Reason – the freedom to think and act for oneself – is a core value that stems from this era. Kant argued that be human is to abandon a life of unreason or a reliance on faith and superstition. Reason, Kant claims, is the true meaning of humanity. Reason is the sign of maturity. As such, as we grow and develop as an autonomous person, then we gain reason and knowledge to become an enlightened being. Through reason and autonomy we can find truth. This truth we seek is found through science; not opinion, through inquiry; not blind faith.
Equally, the Enlightenment brought forth the idea of secularism. Through secularism church and state separated. No official religion could be forced upon another being. Religion became a private matter and government became a popular and public matter. Through the belief of secularism, people realized that they themselves could rule. The middle class became a large part of the political structure. As the middle class developed, a democracy formed giving the voice to the people – again this adds to the importance of reason.
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As the human condition and autonomous developed so did the belief of freedom and liberty. These beliefs were universal, as we will note later in this paper. During this Enlightenment, the values of freedom, liberty and reason are believed to be universal among all persons regardless social class.
Through these Enlightenment ideas, the philosophy began to take a more critical thinking notion. An importance build in the historical discipline was not about studying the history that has been written but to study the interpretations. The purpose of thought in the eighteenth and nineteenth century is to enlighten and build on the subject material in a more creative

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