Essay: Human Nature (Voltaire, Rousseau &amp Locke)

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Human nature (Voltaire, Rousseau & Locke)

According to Binga (2000), Voltaire regarded Christianity to be very detrimental and wrote many treatises, books, poems, and plays to that effect; and was known as the writer of the Philosophical Dictionary -- which, like many of his others, was publicly burned and banned in many areas; in this book he stated that "The truths of religion are never so well understood as by those who have lost the power of reasoning." Voltaire is regarded by various people to be one of the greatest Rationalists that ever lived for he constantly fought to counter to injustice and religious bigotry and attacked Christianity for the reason that of the bigotry and injustices caused by the collusion between church and state (Binga, 2000).

And because Voltaire was a complex, contradictory character and a tireless crusader in opposition to injustice and believer of religious and social tolerance, he was also ardently anti-Semitic, recounting the Jews as "an ignorant and barbarous people" and disagreeing that Africans are a separate species "as different from ours as the breed of spaniels is from that of greyhounds;" Voltaire persistently criticize the Catholic Church and the ruling class' double standards and not often stood by his own words -- preferring instead to state his works were incorrectly credited to him (Hewett, 2006).

As Voltaire denounce injustice, clerical abuses, prejudice, fanaticism and discarded the church that he perceived as credulous and unreasonable, even though as a deist who believed in a supreme being; he stressed reason, detested democracy as the rule of the mob, and believed that an free-thinking rule that informed by the counsels of the wise, was best suited to govern (Voltaire, 2008).

Nevertheless, nothing must be taken out of context for this was the period when the ideas of universal humanity and equality were mere not fully formed in arms and the France where Voltaire grew up in was one in which the monarchy, nobility and clergy reigned with an iron hand, maintaining the greater part of the people in a state of poverty and virtual slavery -- it was an age of burning of books and imprisonment without trial if the ruling class wished to. It is no surprise that Voltaire chose not to acknowledge his own words and less of an original thinker than many of the Enlightenment thinkers, he is particularly important for provoking the church and endorsing the ideas of John Locke and Isaac Newton in France; Voltaire proposed that humans is in-charge of their own fate or destiny and he rejected the idea that the divine interference steered history and this was the start of his rejection of religion -- a place that was certainly very dangerous to be in (Hewett, 2006). Nevertheless Voltaire made use of his intellect mainly opposed to corrupt society -- primarily the Church, his criticism was intended at revealed religion itself; with his frequent substantial sarcasm in these subjects must however be seen in the perspective of the terrible state of religious life in eighteenth-century France, chiefly among the educated classes -- the utilitarian deism that he endorse with highlighting on humanistic virtues, its denunciation of dogma and its lack of knowledge of the inner life, was the nearly unavoidable reply to the existing role of the church at that time (Voltaire, 2008).

As mentioned earlier, Voltaire was inspired by Locke who said that humans in the state of nature possess ideal independence to direct their doings corresponding to the laws of nature,… [END OF PREVIEW]

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