The Enlightenment period, also known as The Age of Reason, was a period of social, religious, and political revolution throughout the 18th century which changed the thoughts of man during this “awakening” time. It was a liberation of ignorant thoughts, ideas, and actions that had broken away from the ignorant perception of how society was to be kept and obeyed thus giving little room for new ideas about the world. Puritan society found these new ideas of thought to be extremely radical in comparison to what they believed which was a belief of strong rational religion and morality. Enlightened society believed that the use of reason would be a catalyst of social change and had a demand of political representation thus resulting in a time in history where individualism was widely accepted amongst the new world. Puritan society believed strongly in myth, magic, and religious superstitions that was immensely used by the Puritans before democracy, capitalism, and the scientific revolution gave rise from the Enlightenment period.
Some of the new ways that branched out of the religious affairs were Pietism, Romanticism, and various ranges of Deism. As result, the role of the Church was being substantially declined. One of the first ways in which Christians modernized their faiths was by a new philosophy of religion called pietism. These Christians who became "pietistic," believed that it was more important to lead a simple Christ-like life, than to insist on any specific dogma. These Christians demanded that rational thought be subordinate to faith and that inner devotion was more i... ... middle of paper ... ...orld saw an evolution of the common faith as a result of new scientific thinking and the seeking of new ideas or alternatives to the present ones.
Knowledge gained through observation of nature slowly replaced blindly accepted religious explanations. The Enlightenment was not only guided by nature, but also changed humanities’ views of nature forever. As philosophes spread their ideas, fueled by science and reason, the Church increased its opposition based on faith. This time period sparked many important changes in thought. In countries such as France, where the Enlightenment thrived, the Catholic Church felt very threatened by the philosophes and their new age thinking.
A Scientific Understanding of God Two eighteenth century movements, the Enlightenment and the Great Awakening, changed American colonists’ views on reason and wisdom. The Enlightenment, led by philosophers such as John Locke, emphasized abstract thought to acquire knowledge. The European and American thinkers’ research led to a greater understanding of scientific phenomena and the questioning of the government’s rule. Similar to the Enlightenment, the Great Awakening changed colonists’ mode of thought through the concentration of emotion rather than wisdom. Reverend Jonathan Edwards, a Great Awakening revivalist, emphasized seeking salvation by recognizing one’s own moral corruption and surrendering to God’s will.
The scientific revolution had provided certainty about the natural world that had long been questioned. With these new developments came the progression and influence of thought, rationality, and individualism. These new ideas would be the hallmark for the Enlightenment movement that would shape most of Europe in the eighteenth century. Much to the dismay of the Church, two astronomers Galileo and Kepler had the audacity to challenge the authorities by suggesting that the sun-not the earth-was at the center of the universe. The church had a stronghold on the way the spiritual and physical world worked, so these discoveries only added to the Church’s resistance to their aims.
Governments were drastically reformed, art and literature changed in scope, religion was threatened, the study of science spread, nature was seen in a new light, and humanity evolved greatly. This new way of thinking was propelled by curiosity and observations of society and nature. The Enlightenment was a desire for human affairs to be guided by rationality rather than by faith, superstition, or revelation; a belief in the power of human reason to change society and liberate the individual from the restraints of custom or arbitrary authority; all backed up by a world view increasingly validated by science rather than by religion or tradition. 1 Several individuals have been credited and blamed for leading and contributing to the Enlightenment. These thinkers not only changed their views, but also spread revolutionary ideas to others.
The Enlightenment concluded that there was a science of man, and that the history of mankind was one of development, which could be continued with a forward way of thinking. The Enlightenment argued that human life and character could be improved through the use of education and reason. In this curiosity people began to break from their social class as a cast resulting in the creation of a merchanstalist middle class. The Enlightenment brought interested thinkers into direct conflict with the political and religious establishment which had up to then been in control of most cultural and social aspects. They challenged religion with the scientific and factual method, often instead favoring natural religion.
The philosophes of the time believed that “God’s relation to the universe was li... ... middle of paper ... ...y the universe and its traditonal views were seen. This new view questioned and contradicted the church’s old beliefs. Members of the church community were angered by these new ideas. The philosophes of the time started to question religion and the exsistance of God which brought about Deism and atheism among the citizens of society. The government and political views of the people where massively influenced by the Enlightenment ideas.
Enlightened science contributed to society by the destruction of the wide domain of medieval errors in method. A byproduct of this was experimental reasoning, which could be used to solve all of man’s problems. In religion it would cause such division and strife that the effects of debate are still felt even today. For during this period there would arise Deism and Materialism. The notion of the essential goodness of man, Humanitarianism, and Atheism.
The 18th-century Enlightenment was an era that symbolized the desire to change social order of Europe citizens. The Church was thought to have been the source of truth and condemned any person that went against it, but people were beginning to think separately and independently from the Church. Thinkers of the Enlightenment provided new ideas based on reason, science, and valued humanity. In addition, writers of the Enlightenment intended to alter the relationship of people and government. Although many welcomed the Enlightenment, five movements reacted against the ideas of the era.