Voltaire's Argument Against Church Authority And Dogma

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This essay will discuss Voltaire’s main arguments against church authority and dogma. To do this, two of Voltaire’s significant philosophical texts including arguments against the church will be studied: Candide and Treatise on Tolerance. From this, it will be distinguished whether or not these arguments can be applied to our modern society.

Voltaire was a French Enlightenment thinker who lived through the eighteenth century. The Enlightenment was a European movement of the late seventeenth century that emphasised reason and individualism rather than tradition. It is regarded on one hand as historical, and on the other as a set of values, which promotes reason, empirical science and progress. As described by Immanuel Kant, ‘Enlightenment
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This shows that one of Voltaire’s main arguments against church authority and dogma was the way they oppressed their followers to only believe the same things as them, taking away their freedom and making them scared to think any different. This is hypocritical of a faith that is meant to encourage equality, love and …show more content…
Treaties on Tolerance is a novel addressed to a high state official as a series of essays. Voltaire’s social campaigning underlies the book as he defends a Protestant man, Jean Calas, who has been accused of the murder of his son to prevent his conversion to the Catholic church when he committed suicide. Jean Calas was later found guilty and executed and so Voltaire wants to prove his innocence. The aim of Treaties on Tolerance is to show this injustice and again create the feeling of a need for change. This is achieved from the account being both enlightening and horrific in its detail. Therefore, through this Voltaire wants to achieve tolerance between religions. Consequently, intolerance is another one of Voltaire’s main arguments against church authority and dogma. As he states within chapter eleven of Treaties on

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