On Christianity

Topics: Social class, French Revolution, Sociology Pages: 3 (641 words) Published: April 19, 2015
From The Philosophy of Enlightenment - The Christian Burgess and the Enlightenment by Lucien Goldmann

On Enlightenment v. Christianity:
“It is both easy and difficult to speak of the relation between the Enlightenment and Christianity.” (Goldmann 50) “In analyzing the conflict with the Church we must always remember that the attacks the Enlightenment was making on Christian belief were not attacks on the faith of the pre-bourgeois period, the faith that built cathedrals and preached the crusades. The philosophes were battling against a faith whose content had been taken from it by the very social and economic processes that had promoted the growth of individualism; this faith had accordingly acquired much the same structural character as the Enlightenment itself. Had it been carried to its logical conclusion, this attenuated faith would have ended in theism, deism, or even atheism; but, just because it was not thought out logically, it turned into superstition and bigotry.” (52) “The dialogue between Christianity and the Enlightenment was conducted for the most part on common ground, that is to say, it assumed the mental categories of the Enlightenment.” (53)

On the changing social values: The rule of the morality of Reason (Reason’s morality): “In the eighteenth century, the middle class, as the most important social group, succeeded in rationalizing a large part of its life and organizing it on an intelligible pattern. In this world the citizen no longer regarded his social position as the outcome of divine grace or punishment, but as the result of his own conduct; whether his actions were appropriate and successful or misdirected and profitless, they were, at least in economic terms, morally neutral and incapable of being judged by standards of good and evil. In the middle ages it was possible to talk in terms of “just” or “unjust” prices; in the eighteenth century there were only correctly or mistakenly calculated prices. The right price was...
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