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Criticism of Religion in Voltaire’s Candide

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Length: 738 words (2.1 double-spaced pages)
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Criticism of Religion in Voltaire’s Candide


In his novel Candide, Voltaire often criticized religious beliefs of the times. His criticism of religion surfaces throughout the entire story. The kindness of the Anabaptist that Candide met showed the silliness of religious prejudices. The old woman's story of her father, Pope Urban X, and the life of wealth she lived as a child shows the corruption of the Catholic clergy. Finally, the conversation Candide and Cacambo had with the old man in Eldorado shows the benefits of a simple religion, a contrast of the European religions of the time.

During the eighteenth century, the Anabaptists were often persecuted and hated because of their radical religious beliefs. Voltaire attacked this custom with his description of the kindness of an Anabaptist by the name of James. Candide found himself in Holland, a Christian country, with no food or work, so he asked one of the Protestant citizens for some bread. After Candide did not admit that the pope was the antichrist, the Protestant yelled at him, "You don't deserve to eat... go you scoundr...

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