Kant's Essay: Use Of Reason And Religion In The Enlightenment

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Rajni Gupta Professor Prasanata Chakravarty M.A. (p) English Roll No. 2115020 The Enlightenment which began in the seventeenth century and flourished in the eighteenth is among the great political and spiritual movements in Europe. It has often been marked with emergence of science, abandonment of religion and birth of liberal politics. In this homogenous movement, a constant strain that resonates is the pertinent issue of reason and Religion in the Enlightenment. This essay engages with the various religious beliefs vis a vis the use of reason in faith during Enlightenment. It aims to chart the numerous thoughts and texts on the subject of reason and religion. In this effort, Kant’s essay on “What is Enlightenment” is used as an entry point to…show more content…
Leibniz claimed that evil forms a requisite part in the most complex fulfilment of God’s providential plan in choosing to create this world, which was the most perfect of all possible worlds. Leibniz’s pupil Christian Wolff and Pope’s Essay on Man (1733) helped to popularize Optimism. In his long philosophical poem An Essay of Man(1733-34) Pope tries to explain the seemingly contradictory nature of humankind (torn between reason and passion), and the role and place of humans in the perfectly designed world of God’s creation. A key them of the Essay is the attempt to reconcile man’s self-loving nature and limited reasoning and knowledge with the infinite wisdom of a God of love and reason. Poe portrays a world as a harmonious structure, a ‘Great Chain of Being’ with angels at the top of a long hierarchy that very gradually descends to the lowliest form of plant life. Humankind is regarded as the middle link in this chain, between angel and beast. The divine plan of nature cannot be fully known, seen or experienced by mankind, but, because it is God’s creation, it must be

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