Theory of Religion and Radical Enlightenment Thinkers
European society of the eighteenth century differed much from medieval Europe. Church and faith that recently were the pivots of State and mighty instruments to influence and control the population. Enlightenment philosophers reviewed the significance of the church and reduced the religion to the level of simple superstition. According to them, religions aroused in primitive communities from fear and hope. They appealed to the meanest feelings of people and made them commit violent crimes against each other. Most philosophers of the period agreed that religion was a product of the underdeveloped mind and had to be condemned as dangerous deception in enlightened societies.
Friedrich Schleiermacher assumes that all intelligent people, along with him, should dislike religions in their contemporary state. However, according to him, there is a difference between the religion and simple
mythology, and most human griefs and difficulties come from the people's attachment to myths and wrong beliefs. Religion in itself cannot harm an individual or society because it is in a way kindred with scientific
knowledge. Thus, a scientist understands that everything in the world, including the appearance and existence of all objects, events, and phenomena, have one and the same cause, which is the activity of the universe. Pure religion sees the reason of all things in the god that thus can be equated to the universe or nature. The thing, however, is that “religion never appears in a pure state” (Schleiermacher). Both science and religion arose from the intuitive assumption that all things have one reason. However, while science has numerous ways to prove its premises, faith in a deity always remains completely intuitive. The corporeal world reveals itself through nature's pure product, which is its primal element, but “in spiritual things the original cannot be brought forth for you”
(Schleiermacher). In other words, there is no physical evidence of the existence of god. One may intuitively perceive the presence of the deity, but such arguments stem from the realm of personal feelings and emotions,
and can scarcely be accepted as valid proofs.
Nevertheless, Schleiermacher justifies the existence of religion until it makes an effort to explain the nature and substance of gods through the prism of human experience. Thus, when people perceive everything that surrounds them as the result of the god's will, it is a religion that “expresses its connection to an infinite continuity” (Schleiermacher). When guided by their limited knowledge of human psychology they try to create a personal story of the god and explain his actions, a religion degrades “into empty mythology (Schleiermacher). Thus, pure religion is useful as it reminds philosophy and ennobles people. Religion, in a contemporary sense of the word, is mythology, or simply a story that helps certain influential groups of people deceive and control
the rest of society.
Unlike Schleiermacher, David Hume …