History, Evolution, and The Darwin Debate

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A new Enlightenment?

January 20th, 2015 · No Comments

This issue resembles a similar discussion of the Reformation here, in relation to Islam and the West. The same difficulty arises with a ‘new Enlightenment’: its place in a fixed macrosequence and its progression into a new mode. And there is every possibility of devolution from the Enlightenment as history shows us.
The problem is the dialectical complexity of the Enlightenment and its lack of a fixed focus, between the seventeenth and eighteenth century.
Perhaps the point here is the way the new atheists and others have confused the Enlightenment with atheism or anti-religion and this has created a very sterile attitude toward religious history, including that of Islam. We should remind ourselves that the emergence of modern atheism was not a prime focus of the Enlightenment, and stood in conjunction with a whole series of parallel developments. I think that the French Revolution which was point at which the revolutionary character of the Reformation was lost to the reactionary challenges to the Revolution by the Catholic church. In any case we can’t confuse ‘secularism’ with atheism as with the new atheists who also claim to represent Enlightenment reason, etc…

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