Criticism Of Religion : Voltaire 's Candide, Enlightenment Philosopher And The Religious Beliefs Of The Times

1058 Words Jan 20th, 2016 null Page
During the Enlightenment period the philosophers began questioning various topics; one of which they challenged is religion. In his novel Candide, Enlightenment thinker Voltaire criticizes the religious beliefs of the times. In fact, organized religion is one of the largest target of critique in Candide. His criticism of religion is carried out throughout the entire plot through the corruption of the church, ironic religious figures, and utopian-like beliefs.
By generating characters and situations that emphasize the corruption and greed of the church, Voltaire is exposing the hypocrisy of religion. The most notable and continuous example of corruption in the church is lust. Most, if not all, religions condone the act of copulation for pure physical benefit, especially in regards to significant religious leaders, such as the pope. Ironically, the most influential figure in the Catholic church failed to follow the absolute law of the job, abstinence. Not only does the pope engage in sexual intercourse, but later his own illegitimate spawn is pillaged of her own virtue by fellow religious figures. These alleged religious icons subjugated the Old Woman and her mother to strip searches upon being raided. This sexual act was depicted as " the law of nations from which they never deviate" (Volatire 25). This contrast between the preaching 's of religion and the actions of those who preach religion suggest that there is a large gap between the standards of religion and the…

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