When Voltaire was an influential propagandist for Deism and had many disciples, his only serious rival was a set of books — the famous French Encyclopedia edited by Denis Diderot (1713-1784) The seventeen volumes of the Encyclopedia constituted the chief monument of the philosophies. They heralded the supremacy of the new science, championed tolerance, denounced superstition, and expounded the merits of deism. Diderot’s article on "Christianity" professed high regard for the religion of Jesus, but its effect was to stir the reader to a profound contempt for Christianity’s social failures. The preliminary weapon aimed at the church was "truth." "We think that the greatest service to be done to men," said Diderot, "is to teach them to use their reason, only to hold for truth what they have verified and proved."
[tags]BlogRodent, church-history, ChurchRodent, Deism, Denis-Diderot, history, Jesus, Voltaire[/tags]