Thursday, December 06, 2012

The Enlightenment and Its Influence on the U.S. Installment 1

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I think this would be the perfect time to discuss what civilization was experiencing during the 18th century. It is important to know how Americans felt when the Constitution was written and the country was founded.

 This occurred during the enlightenment and the feelings at the time heavily influenced the forming of our principles. In light of what we have experienced already we can be thankful for our founding fathers wisdom. With what you are about to read, it becomes obvious that the decision to keep religion separate from politics was a good one. The enlightenment was a confusing time for Religion.

With the advent of technicalization in the west an entirely different kind of Society was formed. a new ideal of humanity came about. This in turn would affect the perception of the nature and role of God. The newly industrialized and efficient west also changed the course of history. 

Other countries of the civilized world found it increasingly difficult to ignore the western world as it had in the past. The Muslims as we know are still unable or unwilling to come to terms with it.

No other civilization in the history of the world had achieved anything like this. The west therefore created problems that were completely new, and very difficult to deal with. 

Until the eighteenth century Islam had been the dominant world power in much of the Middle East and Africa. By the end of the eighteenth century Europe had begun to dominate the world.

 The very nature of its achievements made it impossible for the rest of the world to catch up. Europe began to colonize as much of the world as it could. They did this with the overlying prevailing thought being that western civilization was far superior to everyone else. 

They believed that with their vast religious and civilizational principals that they were beyond reproach. They felt that they were vastly superior and always were. We know now that this is not true and right for everyone.

 They also believed that any country would be better off under its guidance. We have surely found out the hard way that none of this was true either.

The process of westernization had begun. With it the view that the well being of society should trump any religious considerations became the prevailing thought. This, as we said, was the train of thought that prevailed when the Constitution was written, and our country was formed. 

The west was now no longer an Agriculture based society. We were no longer governed by the many nuances of climate, resources, and agriculture. Its technical innovations meant that it had become independent of local and world conditions.

 The Islamists as we all know are trying hard to turn this around.

The accumulation of Capital, and the process of modernization, led the west to a series of changes. It brought us Industrialization, an intellectual enlightenment, and social and political revolutions, as a natural occurrence.
 These many profound cultural changes affected the way in which men and women perceived themselves. This caused them to revise their relationship with what was to them, the one ultimate reality, God. This was just as it is happening today. 

Then, the religion change was due to prosperity in society. Today it’s occurring due to insecurity in society. The many changes ultimately created an unstoppable momentum. More and more people from all levels of society were necessarily drawn into this process of modernization that was touching every sphere of life known to civilized man.
Ultimately it became necessary to involve all levels of society in this process. It was necessary in order to continue, and even increase productivity. It was necessary as a result of the accumulation of capital. 

The expansion of mass markets, and advances in science and technology also made it a must do situation. This of course led to social changes in western society. Men and women on every level felt empowered and in charge of their own lives as never before.

 We also see the fear and anxiety that innovation and change has brought to traditional societies. We are right now experiencing this with Islam.

There was new optimism about humanity as control over the natural world appeared to be advancing in leaps and bounds. People began to think that a better education and improved laws could bring light to the human spirit.

 This new confidence in the natural powers of human beings meant that people began to think that they could achieve enlightenment on their own. They no longer felt that they had to rely on tradition, church, or a revelation from God in order to discover the truth.

Consequently innovative scientists and intellectuals felt obliged to work out their own theories of life and religion. They felt that their new found knowledge and effectiveness gave them the responsibility to look at traditional Christian explanations of reality and evaluate them for themselves. The new scientific spirit was based purely on observation and experiment. 

The western sciences could take nothing for granted. The people were increasingly ready to risk a mistake or to question established authorities and institutions. Of course this included the Bible, the Church, and accepted Christian principles.

The traditional teachings of the existence of God were no longer entirely satisfactory or acceptable. Natural scientists and philosophers full of enthusiasm to find out the truth, felt compelled to verify the reality of God. They did this in the same way they proved other unexplained phenomena.

French Physicist Blaise Pascal, (1623-1662), was brutally honest with himself. Unlike many of his contemporaries he was convinced that there was no way to prove that God existed. Pascal was the first person in this new enlightened environment, to concede that belief in God could only be a matter of personal choice.

 By making the decision to surrender to God, the faithful feel themselves transformed. They become faithful, honest, humble, grateful, and full of good.

 Somehow the Christian finds that life has acquired new meaning and significance, having created a faith and having found God in the face of hopelessness and despair. God is a reality because he works. Faith is not intellectual certainty but an experience that brings with it a moral enlightenment.                                        Life Today The Real Story "2005"

James Joiner
Gardner, Ma
http://anaverageamericanpatriot.blogspot.com 

1 comment:

Demeur said...

You only overlooked the accomplishments that came out of the middle east like algebra, geometry, and astronomy which is the basis of our modern science. What happened between way back then and now is the big question.

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