Voltaire's Argument Against Church Authority And Dogma

Improved Essays
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
…show more content…
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

Related Documents

  • Superior Essays

    The confrontation against otherness, that is to say with someone who is different from us, places us instinctively in a situation of intolerance because acknowledging that someone else is right would be lived as a kind of humiliation since it would mean that I'm wrong. However, it also appears obvious to defend tolerance as a result of the mistakes from the different wars of religion. It is in this perspective that John Locke wrote his Letter on Tolerance, and I am going to try to analyse it. This Letter is part of the field of moral and political philosophy and its purpose is about religious tolerance. According to the Oxford dictionary, toleration is: ‘’The practice of tolerating something, in particular differences of opinion or behaviour’’.…

    • 1244 Words
    • 5 Pages
    Superior Essays
  • Improved Essays

    “Perfect love is the most fearful torture”(316). This oxymoron of a statement doesn’t seem to be in terms with what Christians view love as. But this statement doesn’t apply to those who follow the beliefs and ideals of a typical Christian. The main aim is targeted to the complete opposite of characters, one whose entire personality is at a discord with Christianity. For to be in such a state of hateful and sinfulness, the slightest element of love or Christ-like ideals would send them into a state of hostility, of which the only result would be trying to further themselves from such kindness, only resulting in more torment when such events arise again.…

    • 1041 Words
    • 5 Pages
    Improved Essays
  • Improved Essays

    He wrote The Spirit of Laws, which was a crucial novel in the revolution. Voltaire was an infamous philosophe. He was thought of as a deist, so he questioned Christianity because it was uninteresting and religion was supposed to excite intellect (Durant 715). He thought there were no miracles and condemned religion and the Catholic Church, yet he continually changed his views of God. Voltaire championed the human spirit and believed men should be restored to natural rights.…

    • 795 Words
    • 4 Pages
    Improved Essays
  • Improved Essays

    The Enlightenment was an intellectual movement which predominantly fuelled the events of the French Revolution. The political and social turmoil was inspired by the political philosophers of the Enlightenment movement. By criticising the common public’s scepticism towards intellectual expansion, Immanuel Kant ushered the revolutionary movement through the introduction of the importance of knowledge and reasoning. Kant endorsed the French Revolution, for it was essentially a representation of his principles exhibited in his essay What is Enlightenment (1784). Furthermore, the 1789 Revolution supported philosopher Jean-Jacques Rousseau’s ideals of a state directed by the “general will” of its people.…

    • 1084 Words
    • 5 Pages
    Improved Essays
  • Improved Essays

    When you hear opinions of the negative side of Evangelism, it seems that it brings out the hypocrites in a way, because they say no one other than Jesus can condemn you to hell or promise you heaven where as the Evangelists seem to believe that your lack of belief is what condemns you, the people fighting Evangelism are being just as judgmental. Or so it would…

    • 811 Words
    • 4 Pages
    Improved Essays
  • Improved Essays

    The Great Awakening Essay

    • 868 Words
    • 4 Pages

    Separation of church and state is essential to avoid preferential treatment to any one religion. Even today, we are faced with challenges of religious sects trying to impede on the moral and civil liberties of men. In Lund v.Rowan County, the commissioners have made derogatory remarks towards non-Christian believers creating a atmosphere that harasses religious minorities. We can look across the world see the damage tyrannical followers of religion can do. Religious uniformity takes away our religious freedoms and impedes on our civil liberties.…

    • 868 Words
    • 4 Pages
    Improved Essays
  • Improved Essays

    Genuinely devout individuals don 't simply lecture, for their activities talk louder than words. Unexpectedly, the individuals who dependably brag about and flaunt their devotion are not genuinely devout. Molière tells his group of onlookers that they ought to resemble Clante and practice religion respectably. Like Molière, Voltaire assaults religious false reverence. Be that as it may, dissimilar to Tartuffe, which encapsulates religious pietism in a solitary individual, Tartuffe, Candide concentrates on the religious bad faith of whole religious associations.…

    • 1406 Words
    • 6 Pages
    Improved Essays
  • Superior Essays

    These people who claim to be true followers of Christ might actually be wrong, but instead of accepting this, they build a wall of intolerance. “Instead of accepting another follower in the path to discovering the truth and service to God, these people push the individual way because he/she might be affecting their own ways of believing. This individual is altered to an outsider,” (Spong). This wall of intolerance rejects the very people, Christians are supposed to help. For instance the following: gays, transgenders, sinners, divorced couples, the rich and poor, non-believers, murders, etc.…

    • 1490 Words
    • 6 Pages
    Superior Essays
  • Improved Essays

    After reading Colson’s view I wonder what he would of thought about this upcoming residency, but I believe that he would see it as a good step away from liberalism. Colson’s views are similar to mines but not quite there regarding the separation of church and state. He views it as a conflict between morals of others and I see it as a divider to keep the rights of other citizens to freely practice without conflict of other religions. I do agree and believe that the state should follow the morals of christians such as the Ten Commandments. Colson has definitely challenged my opinions of God in government, but I still believe it would be messy to deal with at this time for our country.…

    • 735 Words
    • 3 Pages
    Improved Essays
  • Great Essays

    I am afraid that, because of my improper desires, I have become the man Lewis describes as “shirking”, as I no longer search for the truth of Christianity lest I either discover it to be false and lose the faith I value so much or discover it to be undeniably true, which would require me to change my perspective on what my faith is for (“Man or Rabbit”, 111). However, it is evident that this way of living is completely ignorant of the Christian doctrine and of Lewis’ perspective on false motives. Thanks to Lewis’ God-inspired writing, I’ve come to terms with this selfish purpose for my life and have begun to notice how this faith, which used to be a part of my self, must now become integral to my whole self for it to be authentic. Christ died and atoned for our sins so that I could flee from the desires of perfection to pursue honest relationship with…

    • 2064 Words
    • 9 Pages
    Great Essays