The Age Of Enlightenment By John Calvin And Martin Luther Essay

The Age Of Enlightenment By John Calvin And Martin Luther Essay

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The church’s robust grip on religious expression shattered as medieval society transitioned into a period known as the Reformation. Characterized by the rejection of common ideology, the Reformation sparked religious curiosity. Reformers such as John Calvin and Martin Luther offered interpretations of the Bible in direct opposition to the Catholic Church’s teachings, forcing Europeans to examine and formulate their own beliefs. This style of thinking was foreign to European society because up to this point in history Europeans were passive absorbers of Catholic Church ideology. Hence, it was natural that an era considered the Age of Enlightenment followed the period of rejection and questioning known as the Reformation. The Age of Enlightenment did not merely confine itself to religious expression, but spread throughout natural and social science. Thus, the Age of Enlightenment marked the beginning of academic and religious philosophy and allowed great minds to think free from restriction and condemnation of established institution. As the perception of natural science and religious expression shifted the problem of evil and suffering remained. Therefore, the enlightenment led writers and thinkers during its time to articulate their own interpretations of this complex social problem. Voltaire, a symbolic writer during the enlightenment, criticized his contemporary’s view of divine providence in the satiric story of Candide. In contrast, the late enlightenment writer Equiano uses his story as a mechanism to spark an abolition movement and as an example of God’s providence. Thus, the enlightenment provided an outlet for Voltaire and Equiano’s contrary view concerning the problem of moral and natural evil.
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... was betrothed to the ruling prince of Massa-Carrara. However, misery engulfed her life. Her fiancé was murdered forcing her to leave the country where she was sold into slave. Along the way she was raped by multiple men and witnessed the gruesome death of her mother. It is no coincidence Voltaire chooses to include the story of the old woman in Candide. As the daughter of Pope Urban X the old woman grew up in the moral teachings of the church. Voltaire mentions her purity as evidence, “The flower I had reserved for the handsome prince of Massa-Carrara was plucked by the pirate captain.” Thus, it was not acts of immoral promiscuity that caused to her to be raped by the captain. The old women just happened to be the victim of the circumstance. Hence, Voltaire attacks the “All is well” philosophy by showing it is not a comprehensive explanation of evil and suffering.

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