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         The Early Enlightenment: 1685-1730   The Early Enlightenment: 1685-1730

The Enlightenment's important 17th-century precursors included
the Englishmen Francis Bacon and Thomas Hobbes,
the Frenchman Rene Descartes and
the key natural philosophers of the Scientific Revolution,
including Galileo Galilei, Johannes Kepler and Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz.

Its roots are usually traced to 1680s England, where in the span of three years
Isaac Newton published his "Principia Mathematica" (1686) and
John Locke his "Essay Concerning Human Understanding" (1689)
These two works provided the scientific and philosophical toolkit
for the Enlightenment's major advances.

Locke argued that human nature was mutable
and that knowledge was gained through accumulated experience
rather than by accessing some sort of outside truth.
Newton's calculus and optical theories provided
the powerful Enlightenment metaphors for precisely
measured change and illumination.

         The High Enlightenment: 1730-1780   The High Enlightenment: 1730-1780

Centered on the dialogues and publications of the French philosophers
( Voltaire, Rousseau, Montesquieu, Buffon and Denis Diderot),
the High Enlightenment might best be summed up by one historian's summary
of Voltaire's "Philosophical Dictionary" as: "a chaos of clear ideas."
Foremost among these was the notion that everything in the universe
could be rationally demystified and cataloged.
The signature publication of the period was Diderot's "Encyclopedie" (1751-77),
which brought together leading authors to produce an ambitious compilation of human knowledge.

It was also a time of religious (and anti-religious) innovation,
as Christians sought to reposition their faith along rational lines
and deists and materialists argued that the universe seemed to determine
its own course without God's intervention.
Locke, along with French philosopher Pierre Bayle, began to champion
the idea of the separation of Church and State.
Secret societies (like the Freemasons, the Bavarian Illuminati and the Rosicrucians) flourished,
offering European men (and a few women) new modes of fellowship, esoteric ritual and mutual assistance.
Coffeehouses, newspapers and literary salons emerged as new venues for ideas to circulate.

         The Late Enlightenment: 1780-1815   The Late Enlightenment: 1780-1815

The French Revolution of 1789 was the culmination of the High Enlightenment
vision of throwing out the old authorities to remake society along rational lines,
but it devolved into bloody terror that showed the limits of its own ideas
and led, a decade later, to the rise of Napoleon.
Still, its goal of egalitarianism attracted the admiration of many
and inspired both the Haitian war of independence
and the radical racial inclusivism of Paraguay's first post-independence government.

Enlightened rationality gave way to the wildness of Romanticism,
19th century Liberalism and Classicism, not to mention 20th century Modernism.

Romanticism Romanticism

Romanticism (also known as the Romantic movement or Romantic era)
was an artistic and intellectual movement that originated in Europe
towards the end of the 18th century.
For most of the Western world, it was at its peak from approximately 1800 to 1850.
Romanticism was characterized by its emphasis on emotion and individualism
as well as glorification of the past and nature, preferring the medieval over the classical.
Romanticism was partly a reaction to the Industrial Revolution,
and the prevailing ideology of the Age of Enlightenment,
especially the scientific rationalization of Nature.
It was embodied most strongly in the visual arts, music, and literature;
and driven by those devoted to such pursuis.

Liberalism Liberalism

Liberal Christianity is a movement that interprets Christian teaching
by taking into consideration modern knowledge, science and ethics.
It emphasizes the importance of reason and experience over doctrinal authority.
Liberal Christians view their theology as an alternative to both atheistic rationalism and
theologies based on traditional interpretations of external authority, such as the Bible or sacred tradition.
Liberal theology grew out of the Enlightenment's rationalism and the Romanticism of the 18th and 19th centuries.
By the late 19th and early 20th centuries, it was characterized by an acceptance of Darwinian evolution,
a utilization of modern biblical criticism and participation in the Social Gospel movement.
This was also the period when liberal theology was most dominant within the Protestant churches.

Liberal theology's influence declined with the rise of neo-orthodoxy in the 1930s
and with liberation theology in the 1960s.
By the 21st century, liberal Christianity had become an ecumenical tradition,
including both Protestants and Catholics.

Modernism Modernism

Perhaps Modernism is, in the religious context, best described by those antagonistic to it:
(extract from the Christian Courier website)

The history of Christendom for the past twenty centuries has been characterized by cycles.
One of those recurring cycles is that of theological modernism.
Modernism is a determined effort on the part of those who have lost
their personal faith in the divine origin of the Holy Scriptures
to convince others of their impoverished views.

For more than a century, modernism, in a very concerted fashion,
has gnawed at the vital organs of Christianity.
Consider some of the traits of this insidious system:
God's Nature
  Modernism repudiates the biblical description of the nature of God.
  The God of the Old Testament is seen as a hateful deity of vengeance and rejected.
  Albrecht Ritschl, for example, repudiated the Bible affirmations
  regarding Jehovah’s holiness and wrath and viewed the Lord solely as a being of love.
  This view overlooks the justice of God, failing to recognize that Jehovah will punish the rebel.
  Modernism attacks the scriptural account of creation,
  suggesting that the Mosaic record is simply an ancient myth.
  It denies that man has fallen from his holy estate.
  Rather, it asserts that humanity has actually ascended
  from a brutish state (via the evolutionary process) to its current status.
  Lutheran theologian Helmut Thielicke declared that he was not embarrassed to confess
  that his grandfather was a monkey and his great-grandfather a tadpole.
Higher Criticism
  Modernism adopts a higher critical attitude toward the Bible,
  which ignores the testimony of Scripture itself.
  For example, it is claimed that Moses did not author the Pentateuch,
  as both Old and New Testament evidence suggest.
  Supposedly, the first five books of the Bible are but a compilation of documents
Bible Not Historically Accurate
  Modernism contends that the Bible, as a historical record, is not trustworthy.
 Advocates of this viewpoint do not hesitate to assert that the Scriptures contain a host of errors.
 They believe that the basis of the biblical record is an ancient legendary tradition.
Bible Is Mythological
 Modernism seeks to de-mythologize the Scriptures.
 Anything of a miraculous nature must be explained away
as having some natural, though perhaps misunderstood, nature.
 According to this ideology, for example, Jesus did not walk upon the waves of the Sea of Galilee.
 Instead, he was merely walking in the shallow surf near the coast,
 and the disciples, from a distance, just thought he was upon the surface of the sea.
Bible Is Not a Moral Standard
 Modernism asserts that human conduct cannot be regulated by a rule book such as the Bible.
 Instead, one must individually make his own decisions on ethical issues,
  letting subjective “love” be the guiding principle in various situations.
 The Joseph Fletcher school of situation ethics has peddled this hedonistic ideology.
 There are additional modernistic traits that might be mentioned,
 but these will suffice for the present.

 It hardly needs to be pointed out that Modernism is actually just another term for infidelity.

Theological modernism was technically set forth in the writings of such men as
  F. D. E. Schleiermacher (1768-1834)
 and A. Ritschl (1822-1889).
 Later it was popularized in the works of men like Harry Emerson Fosdick (1878-1969).
Fosdick, an American Baptist minister, authored some thirty books,
including The Modern Use of the Bible and A Guide to Understanding the Bible.
He was quite influential in the liberal movement that now ravages modern Protestantism.
Many religious movements, to greater or lesser degrees, have been influenced by this insidious philosophy.

We may be left to wonder how such bounded opinions exist
in the age of space exploration and social media,
and whether any religion dependent on them,
has any realistic future.