Friday, December 07, 2012
The Enightenment and its influence on the U.S. Installment 2
Mathematician Rene’ Descartes, (1596-1650), had far more confidence in man’s ability to discover God. Descartes felt that reason alone could persuade humanity to accept the truths of religion and morality. He also saw this as the foundation of society.
Descartes used the principles of mathematics to prove God’s existence. Unlike other philosophers and believers in one God, he believed there was no design in nature.
He believed that the cosmos was completely Godless. In fact, the universe was completely chaotic, and revealed no sign of intelligent planning.
Descartes found evidence of questionability in everything. He felt that we could not be certain of anything in the external world. He absolutely believed that we could be certain of our own inner experience. From the very beginning religion had helped man relate to the world and to find their role in it.
The deification of natural forces as had been done by earlier man expressed the wonder and awe which has always been a part of man’s response to his hostile world.
Therefore he believed that a sense of mystery was to be avoided at all costs. This was because to him it represented a primitive state of mind that civilized man had outgrown.
I think this is very interesting. Descartes would explain clouds, wind, lightening, and all other natural phenomena, so as to remove any cause for marvel.
He said, this leads me to hope that if I explain the nature of clouds, in such a way that we will be better off. He felt that people would no longer have cause to wonder at anything that can be seen of them.
He felt they would no longer be mystified by anything that descends from them. We could then believe that it is possible to find the causes of everything on and above the earth.
Descartes was always careful to stay within the rulings of the Roman Catholic Church. He saw himself as an orthodox Christian. He saw no contradiction between faith and reason.
He argued that there was a system that would enable humanity to reach all truth. Nothing was beyond their grasp. All that was necessary in any discipline was to apply the method. He believed it would then be possible to piece together a reliable body of knowledge.
This would then dispel all confusion or ignorance. He saw as a problem as I do, that Beliefs in God had now been contained within a human system of thought. He believed that this was done purposely by organized religion. Life Today The Real Story "2005"