Rationalism and the Enlightenment

“The Age of Enlightenment: Rationalism, Revolution, and Irreligion” Irreligion: indifferent or hostility to religion “an irreligious world”, synonyms: an apatheist, ignostic, atheistic, antitheist, unbelieving, nonbelieving, agnostic, rationalist, skeptic, heretical, faithless, godless, ungodly. Skepticism and or Rationalism Leads to Humanism and Atheism? Rationalism, Freethinker, Humanism & Secular humanism? Info gathered from From Wikipedia The Enlightenment has long been hailed as the foundation of modern Western political and intellectual culture. The Enlightenment brought political modernization to the West, in terms of introducing democratic values and institutions and the creation of modern, liberal democracies. This thesis has been widely accepted by Anglophone scholars and has been reinforced by the large-scale studies by Robert Darnton, Roy Porter and most recently by Jonathan Israel. The Enlightenment has always been contested territory. According to Keith Thomas, its supporters “hail it as the source of everything that is progressive about the modern world. For them, it stands for freedom of thought, rational inquiry, critical thinking, religious tolerance, political liberty, scientific achievement, the pursuit of happiness, and hope for the future”. Areas of study such as literature, philosophy, science and the fine arts increasingly explored subject matter that the general public in addition to the previously more segregated professionals and patrons could relate to. Thomas adds that its detractors accuse it of shallow rationalism, naïve optimism, unrealistic universalism and moral darkness. From the start, conservative and clerical defenders of traditional religion attacked materialism and skepticism as evil forces that encouraged immorality. By 1794, they pointed to the Terror during the French Revolution as confirmation of their predictions. As the Enlightenment was ending, Romantic philosophers argued that excessive dependence on reason was a mistake perpetuated by the Enlightenment because...