Up@dawn 2.0

Saturday, April 30, 2016

Did Voltaire Hate God? Part II

Posted for Harrison Matteau, #6

Did Voltaire hate god? I personally think that Voltaire did not hate God

himself, so much as organized religion. I think that growing up and seeing the

anarchy of government and the protestant revolution in France during that time,

Voltaire simply grew away from religion as a whole and began to simply doubt

everything he saw before him. So is it hate or simply pessimism that drove his

satirical rampage that was Candide?

I think more of the later, Voltaire reminds me a lot of a modern day news

comedians such as John Stewart or Stephen Colbert, simply providing a vent to

everything they see, rather than holding actual resentment. So it was not more of a

hate, rather than a satirical observation of his surroundings, after all, he doubted

everything, why not doubt life and what he saw around him?

Another reason why I feel that he is simply being satirical is because of his

love of Locke and Bacon’s teachings as a boy, often lamenting at their influence on

his work and teachings. Taking into account Locke’s teachings on God as shown

below:

Locke’s contention is that the existence of God follows logically from the fact that we

exist and think. (Cogito sumque. Unlike Descartes, Locke sees these as two facts as equally

self-evident and therefore feels no need to derive one from the other.)

1. Something exists now; if nothing else, each person can be sure that he himself exists.

2. We intuitively believe that it is impossible for something to “come from” — that is, to

be temporally preceded by — nothing.

3. Therefore, since something exists now, there never was a time when nothing at all

existed. Something has always existed.

we can see that Locke has proved the existence of God through his logic and

reasoning, and if Voltaire is a true admirer of Locke and his teachings, he would

have taken this into consideration, even with this empiricism way of thinking,

because Locke’s views are strictly logical.

Finally, I feel that Voltaire, hard as he might try to get away from his

childhood influences, never fully broke ties with his childhood religion. Many times

we see people acting out in mockery to something they do not fully understand, and

I feel that Voltaire’s Candide did just that. By writing his book in a comedic fashion,

Voltaire is less to anger, and more to comedic relief, using this book as an outflow to

his thinking and philosophy. Something everyone, even devote Christians, do

almost every day.

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