Misconception about the Enlightenment as Irreligious

One prevailing misconception about the Enlightenment is that it is an irreligious or mostly secular age. How does Outram in chapter 8 challenge or complicate this overly-simple view?

Outram challenges the prevailing misconception that the Enlightenment was an irreligious or mostly secular age by portraying it as a time period of tremendous changes in thinking. Instead of discussing the Enlightenment as a mainly secular age, Outram discusses the rise of different religious practices that were found during the period. The Enlightenment was a period of tolerance and therefore a period in which many religious denominations and practices were embraced. For example, Frederick the Great wrote, “all must be tolerated…everyone must be allowed to choose his own road to salvation” (Outram 117). Though these changes challenged the dominance of the Catholic Church, they did not necessarily make the time period irreligious.

Outram, Dorinda. The Enlightenment. New York: Cambridge University Press, 2005. Print.

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