Sample Essay

The Enlightenment was an intellectual movement centered in Europe and focused on developments in science and logic. The focus was now on rationality and the goals that were worth striving for were freedom, knowledge and happiness. This application of rationality to religion was known as deism. The precursors of the Enlightenment were huge figures like Sir Isaac Newton who used just a few rules to describe the universe, putting a serious dent in traditional Catholic belief system. The belief generally was that man had the intellectual capacity to question the beliefs handed down to him and reevaluate them to achieve greater knowledge and basically grow intellectually and through this spiritually.

The enlightenment produced intellectuals like John Locke and Voltaire all of whom were very secular in their philosophies and beliefs. John Locke for example developed a way of thinking which was in total contrast to the concept of original sin which is a main pillar of Christianity. He instead claimed that man was born completely blank and then his morality was developed on the basis of his experiences. Other thinkers also moved away from the concept of sin and virtue by explaining that all people act only on their own selfish motives and their motivation is mostly personal gain and satisfaction.

Enlightenment also consisted of many thinkers and political figures like Thomas Jefferson for example who believe that all humans were equal and had the right to their own beliefs and ideas. This system of thought inspired revolutions for example Voltaire’s work in France.

The beliefs of the Enlightenment were powerful, the material from which revolutions are made. The Enlightenment period consisted of many intellectuals whose work and philosophies still holds meaning for many today.

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Essay: Enlightenment
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