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Religion in the Age of Reason - I

It may appear almost inexplicable to many people with scientific bent of mind that religion with all its absurdities; incredibilities survives even in this age of analysis. How did it withstand the steady and determined onslaught of rationalism and reason? Religion is the last thing that intellect begins to understand.

To understand this we must also seek assistance from history.

The period - The Age of Reason (18th century) when religion was receding from the political domain to a mere moral domain. When Bible became just another piece of literature, miracles ignored, faith dethorned by intelligence and the concept of genesis laughable.

The philosophers of the age, chief among whom were Francis Bacon, Pascal, Galileo, Descartes, Leibniz, Locke, Voltaire and many others elevated reason to be superior to than faith and were against the Church's blinding influence which inhibited men from better mode of living.

The Church whose functioning was above all, was put to question. Through sheer force it was fighting a vain battle against them. While the battle by the philosophers was on grounds of reason and intellect the Church's inability to fight them on the same ground - where it mattered most left it with deep wounds. The powerful arms of force & violence humbled men, but not the idea. The idea lived on and prospered in the minds of the young.

That there was no evidence of the existence of God, no proof of the ancient history, no reflection of the benevolence of God in the world became the weapons in possession of these reasoners. While fighting back its increasing irrelevance Church was aided by a philosopher who freed faith from the robes of reason – forever!

At an age where everyone insisted on reasoning, came the rescuer who began to question the limits of reason itself. Reason after all is like a knife all-blade that cuts even the one which holds it. The weapon against faith was itself subjected to scrutiny.......

"Existence of God can neither be proved nor disproved" said Immanuel Kant, the greatest of philosophers who changed the entire course of the history. It is bits and pieces of his philosophy that the arguments in favour of religion rely on even today. Its interesting however to note that Kant was by himself never a religious man but undoubtedly had a high opinion of its power on morals of society. He didn't want the instructive & restrictive influence of religion to give way to anarchy of thoughts.

His point in essence was that when we know nature primarily through our senses only, how could one argue that the senses are all-perfect. When senses cannot sense the matter wholly, its senseless to argue either in favour or against it.

This was a liberating argument – but Church was horrified at this kind of salvation. This kind of arguments threw Church straight out its basion of political power with tremendous authority on masses to a moral ground in one's individual life. The clergy in Germany is said to have avenged this by calling their dogs Kant.

Thus began the journey of religion through the passage of time where it redefined its role, the Church to a politically weaker but morally stronger than never before.For an analysis on how religion stays resplendent in face of its distractors, on what makes even a hard nosed logician ponder over this wonder.....stay tuned for the 2nd part.


  1. Wonderful Maddy... waiting for Part 2!

  2. Myth is still the Majority Contributor than Rationalism. Lakhs of people going for Pilgrim trips across the globe, from all the religions is a living witness.

    Having said this, I play my part in adding to the confusion. I m a believer of Myth.



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