Explain The Enlightenment

Submitted By paldans
Words: 1206
Pages: 5

The modern world is based on centuries of growth and development.
Through the curiosity of mankind, and the exploration of the human experience, society has been born again.
The Enlightenment was a period in time where the societal emphasis shifted from a belief and utmost dedication to God and a reliance on religion, to one where science was the sole provider of moral truth and the source of progress within society.
“Man was king and Reason was his crown.”(Yaffa Ganz – Award winning Contemporary Author)
The creation of various religious sects and the changing focus within the religious world is a direct effect of the Enlightenment, and thus can be named as an event that created significant change within society and religion.
Religion transitioned from being viewed as necessary in any lifestyle, to defying reason and being more of a lifestyle choice.
It can be argued that without an event such as the Enlightenment, the modern world may not have developed in the innovative ways it did.

A secularised world is one taken for granted by many, however is a direct result of the enlightenment.
The Age of Reason was the apex of scientific and critical thinking, which allowed for huge amounts of development.
This development is twofold; existing both in the constitutional systems and in the technological spheres.
The democratic, freethinking and advanced society that has granted the large majority of 1st world citizens their privileged lives can be credited largely to the enlightenment.

The Age of Reason (Enlightenment period) was sparked by a multitude of factors, predominantly political and cultural.
Europe was melting pot of values, beliefs and attitudes, and with the Enlightenment came significant individuals and events that expressed a shift of social values at the time.
The main conflict occurred against the Church which had ruled throughout the Middle Ages, a God-focused institution, was challenged by the Enlightenment’s focus on humanity – humanist values (renaissance)
The human mind (as opposed to the “God-appointed King” of the Church of the day) took centre stage with total focus on the individual rather than an “illusory” God.
Christopher Columbus’s journey to the new world was a turning point in the history of civilization. In the eyes of the Western world, the colonization of America was progress, wealth and freedom from the medieval bonds of serfdom, clericalism and hopelessness.
Scientific advances  whole new world and ways of thinking: ‘critical thought’ – the challenging of any unconceivable ideas
No longer a need to follow religion  scientific revolution, liberal democracy
Religion viewed as ‘against reason’
Isaac Newton
Events such as the 30 years war demonstrated the way in which beliefs were changing rapidly, with society devaluing the Church and engaging in a criticism of nationalism.
Although contributing to the development of the Enlightenment as a whole, two significant individuals had a profound impact on religion, in particular, Judaism.
The first of which is Freddrick the great, the Liberal Leader of Prussia, who Granted rights to Jews in his Edicts of Toleration.
He explained, “The noblest pleasure is to shake off old prejudices.” and this expresses how he truly believed, by redefining a Jew’s place in society, and creating a united people – Prussia could progress both politically and economically.
As well as this, Napoleon Boneparte, emperor of France - granted civil rights to Jews in order to assimilate them and create a unified France.
However is intentions were nationalistic and power driven. He valued religion, but did so with selfish intent as expressed in his the statement “Religion is what keeps the poor from murdering the rich.”

In a society dominated by religious teachings and rulings, a paradigm shift occurred.
Within the Jewish world, namely in Eastern Europe, the Enlightenment provided new