Surname 1NameProfessorCourseInstitutionDateThe Enlightenment and how it changed basic Western attitudes towards reform, faith andreason To be able to draw conclusions about what actually shaped western history, there is aneed to know clearly the connections that exist between cultural, social, political, intellectual andpolitical happenings in a given era of interest. One has to understand the wide variety of culturesthat led to western civilization and further place them together in a common context. This willhelp one to understand change over time and make up for the fundamental relationships ofdifferent times (Hunt, Martin and Smith 453). The enlightenment achieved almost total transformation of Western Europe. Theregion was set toward reform, making lose the tie n faith to more secular and broad reason.Philosophers were the main contributors of this enlightenment. In the recent past, the year 1997, archaeologists working in Ethiopiadiscovered fossilized skulls that dated at least 160 000 years from then. These remains were theoldest ever found after the discovery of Homo sapiens. This, as a discovery, raised considerableinterest to many scientists as it supported the idea that human beings originated from Africa(Hunt, Martin and Smith 363). Early human beings made innovations in technology, religion,
Surname 2trade, and in social organizations. It is these innovations that create a basis of the modern way oflife. The modern ways of life, including the emergence of war, may be traced back toinnovations of the ancient man. Continuous research provides the world with new informationabout the past, therefore, enlightening the thinking f how the past relates to the present. Enlightenment was an intellectual movement. The goal of the movement was tounderstand the natural world, and understand the position of man in this natural world, on thebasis of reason while avoiding turning to religious beliefs. The aim was to create an inquiringmind that has the urge to understand and know through reason, reason supported by evidence andproof. Western Europe valued reason as reflected in the philosophic ideas or else what we arereferring to as the enlightenment (Hunt, Martin and Smith 293). Faith in nature and the belief in human progress were among the most fundamentalideologies of the Enlightenment. The argument was, if people were free to make and exercisetheir reason, they would be naturally good and would act towards the betterment of others.Education is seen a significant bridge to reason and human progress, other than through faith andattachment to religion. This can be claimed to be one of the reasons why education is seen as aextremely crucial aspect of the society in the west, so much value and efforts is attached to theeducation system to enhance the value and quality (Hunt, Martin and Smith 117). The eighteenth century could have been referred to as the Age of Reason. In the latterdecades, there emerged a general reaction against rationalism. There was religious revival. Therevival substantially captured back so many wavering Catholics and Protestants. Anotherreaction was advocated for religion over the idea of reason but held the Enlightenment’s view onindividual liberty. Before the eighteenth century, Enlightenment was mainly confined in to Holland. The
Surname 3major spokesmen of the philosophy were religious refugees. Among these spokesmen wasFrench Huguenot Pierre Bayle (1674-1706). His skepticism and plea for religious toleration werewidely spread in the wider region of France. Enlightenment was mainly French phenomenonafter the Peace of Ultrecht (1973). The leading proponents were referred to as philosophes. Thesephilosophes did analysis of the evils of the society and sought counter reforms on the principlesof reason (Hunt, Martin and Smith). Freedom may also be defined as the ability to think rationally for oneself. Enlightenmentmade people to start thinking that, relying on obedience, faith, and superstition is a life ofunreason. The idea of questioning every aspect of life started dominating the minds of manypeople especially the elites. People started to make for the connections between faith and reason;which of the two should dominate the other? And what are the benefits of adopting one at theexpense of the other. The West became more independent as a result of societal reforms. There waswidespread of literature which gave the West an individual culture, creating its uniqueness.Music in the eighteenth century demonstrated baroque characteristics (Hunt, Martin and Smith).There are those who believed that Enlightenment was created for political reasons. Chartier(1991), claims that the French revolution leaders created a canon of basic text. They selectedcertain authors and identified them with The Enlightenment to legitimize their republicanpolitical agenda. Enlightenment at a glance produced basic principles about human life. Naturally, humanbeings are good. However, they can be educated to be made better. This view sees reason as thekey to truth, and religion, which relies on blind faith, as wrong. Enlightenment philosophers andthinkers were interested in technological change, prosperity according to them, was achievable
Surname 4and valid in the society. This became a driving aspect for social and political reforms. New ideastriggered changes in the beliefs and habits of many people (Hunt, Martin and Smith 37). With Enlightenment, came a new vision of the future. The presence of individualfreedom permits the operation of natural laws.
Surname 5 Works CitedLYNN HUNT, MARTIN THOMAS R , ROSENWEIN BARBARA H, R. PO-CHIA HSIA, and SMITH BONNIE G.. The Making of the West: Peoples and Cultures. United States: Bedford/St. Martins; 3rd edition (February 20, 2008), 2008. Print.