Voltaire on the Church, True R

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Voltaire an eighteenth century French philosopher and prolific writer is well known for his literary satirical attacks. One of Voltaire’s attacks was of traditional Christianity and the Catholic church in On Toleration. He criticized the church on the grounds that it was overly superstitious. There were many superstitions that were held by the church: a geocentric universe, the tides not being due to gravity, a rainbow not being a phenomenon of light, etc. Voltaire felt that the most grievous of these superstitions was the belief that only those who follow their own religion are given eternal salvation and all others will suffer eternal damnation. The result of this was severe persecution of those who had a faith other than their own. Voltaire’s satirical view of this is evident when he says, “And is it not evident that it would be even more reasonable to worship the sacred navel, the sacred prepuce, and the milk and dress of the Virgin Mary, than to detest and persecute one’s brother” (1109). Assuredly Voltaire believed that it was incredibly foolish of humankind to persecute their fellow men for having beliefs that did not coincide exactly with their own. His detest of such actions can be inferred from his suggestions that the worship of such bizarre things as the sacred navel, foreskin, and the dress and milk of Heavenly Mother being more sensible than the great persecutions of people based on religious pretext. Voltaire did not feel that this was what religion was about. He felt the true religion to be “The Golden Rule”, that is to love thy neighbor as thyself. This becomes evident in Voltaire’s Religion. In Religion Voltaire describes one of his meditations. During this experience Voltaire thought about an archangel which took him to a place where he came in contact with many great philosophers among them Christ. Voltaire met the resurrected Christ, covered still with the wounds from his violent...
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