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Essay about Candide Religion

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“Ecrasons l’infame,” which is interpreted, “We must crush the vile thing.” This is the expression Voltaire used to articulate his feelings for organized religion. With many natural theists soon to follow his path, Voltaire expressed his hatred for cultural religions, opting for a universal God of nature. Given a few more centuries, Darwin would have given Voltaire the scientific theory to support his desire for atheism. But alas, with no other theory in place, intelligent individuals of 18th century France were forced to use creationism to explain the world in its beauty and organization. This, as previously stated, was not a problem for Voltaire. His issue was the moral implications that separated religious groups, often to the point of war with one another. Religious intolerance was a subject he dealt with in many of his works, especially Candide. The religious characters in this work were mostly negative with the exception of Brethren predecessor, the Anabaptist, and the old woman. His opinion of various religions was also established in Candide, although it was simply a vague one, clumping all organized religions into an “evil superstitions” category. The conclusion of this work also gave us insight on Voltaire’s view of religion as either positive or detrimental to society and the individual.
Throughout the book, Voltaire critiqued Leibniz theory that we live in the “best of all possible worlds.” Pangloss was our optimist philosopher, who contended for the Leibniz theory. He argued that, “since everything was made for a purpose, everything is necessarily for the best purpose” (Voltaire, 16). After Candide was beaten, his love raped, his tutor sick with syphilis; After earthquakes, shipwrecks, slavery, being exiled, and l...


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...andide came to the realization of the importance of living life as best as one can, despite the trials and tribulations of the world. Voltaire said more through Candide, though. This quote revealed a certain philosophical and metaphysical individuality. Voltaire wanted people to shut their ears to a world of so-called “peaceful” religions, instead focusing on performing one’s life and the duties therein the best that one can. “We” must do it ourselves. One should not leave it to religious authorities to determine their salvation. His call is for each person to work out his or her own way to God, and thereby reap what he or she has sown.



Works Cited

Maurois, Andre. “The Sage of Ferney, An Appreciation.” New York City: Bantam Dell, 1932. Voltaire. Candide. Translated by Lowell Vair. New York City: Bantam Dell, 2003.


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