The Enlightenment Era: The Cause and Effect of Science on Religion

Essay by fonzo804College, UndergraduateA-, March 2004

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The Enlightenment was a term used to denote a turn away from the theologically centered thought inherited from the "dark ages" towards a broader, more rational self-understanding (Europe and the Enlightenment 2). The Enlightenment Era, which started at the end of the seventeenth century and ended at the end of the eighteenth century, was the age that brought focus on many of the revolutionary ideas that we are living through at this moment or have lived through recently. Many of the revolutionary ideas during this era were focused mainly on science. The philosophers and scientists of era, like Immanuel Kant and England's George III, had an effect on many of their surroundings. One thing that the scientific revolutions of the Enlightenment Era affected was the religion in Europe.

As mentioned earlier, the Enlightenment Era began in the seventeenth century, but what was the actual date that started this era? If there was a date set for the beginning of this period, it would most likely be 1687.

This year was the year that Isaac Newton published a widely admired publication called "Philosophiae naturalis of principia mathematica" (Mathematic Principles of Natural Philosophy). This is what seemed to spark the interest of others to bring their thoughts to a higher level.

One philosopher of this age wrote an article to a popular audience that explained the meaning of enlightenment in 1784. This philosopher was Immanuel Kant. The words in this article implied that man should be able to find his own way without paternal authority. He urged peopled to find out about their own nature and the natural world through the methods of science. What Kant actually wanted was for thinkers to not worry about the authority of politics and religion. Immanuel Kant, as well as many other philosophers...