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Enlightenment Views on Modern Terrorism Free essay! Download now

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Enlightenment Views on Modern Terrorism

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Downloads to date: N/A | Words: 766 | Submitted: 03-May-2011
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How terrorism contradicts the traditional western ideals rooted in the Enlightenment


Enlightenment Paper
Voltaire’s views of Islamic Fundamentalism and its effects on the modern society

Throughout the centuries, religious fundamentalism has harmed society by various means. Voltaire, one of the most prominent figures of the Enlightenment, identified the most obvious consequences of religious extremism as fanaticism that leads to ordinary citizen acting on blind faith, and persecution of the innocence. He also attributed the primary causes of these actions to the lack of tolerance. Even in the modern society, where many freedoms are granted and religious pluralism is celebrated, fundamentalism still haunts the people by acts of oppression and violence. Even though the most recent attempt to bomb the Time Square ended in failure, it served as a grim reminder of the terrorist attacks in 9/11, and act of fanaticism and intolerance that resulted in the death of thousands of ordinary civilians. And this leads directly to the Taliban, a government that not only supported terrorist groups but also oppressed its people in the name of God, preventing the population from accessing and developing their own intellects. Since religious Fundamentalism is still hurting society and people due to its intolerance and lack of rational thought, it is not surprising to find that Voltaire would criticize it because it contradicted all the key principles he believed in.

Fanaticism and persecution, Voltaire believed, are the two ultimate outcome of a society supremely ruled by the religious authority who lacked tolerance, and in many instances today, this belief is true. Voltaire held the Catholic Church responsible for the “most detestable example of fanaticism exhibited on the night of St. Bartholomew, when the people of Paris rushed from house to house to stab, slaughter, throw out of the window and tear into pieces their fellow citizens that did not go to mass”. The most appropriate modern day example of such a senseless and cruel act would be the attack of 9/11, where Ben Laden, who lead the entire terrorist attack, believed that the infidels are unlawfully occupying Muslim lands. He revenged in the name of God, by killing thousands of innocent civilians. Voltaire would be furious if he, by some means, learns that two centuries after he introduced his ideas of logic, intolerant fanatics would still commit unnecessary acts of violence on such a great scale. Voltaire would claim fanaticism, the acting of blind faith; and intolerance, the inability to appreciate other people because of their differences as the primary causes of such a bloody deed that took the lives of thousands of innocent people, again.

Voltaire also believed in religious tolerance and rational thought, which is a key value of western society today, yet it contradicts the core of the Islamic Fundamentalist belief. The most demonstrative of ...

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