Voltaire: Natural Scientific Light Against Christian Criminality - Methodologies of Targeting

Abstract

ABSTRACTWestern thought, since the Renaissance, shows a repeated development of methods aimed at attacking Christianity, from Machiavelli’s Classicist militarism up to William James’ ‘empty’ Pragmatism. Methods have aims, and aims are subject to norms and criteria. A summit of anti-Christian enmity – in middle Modernity - was the pre-Revolutionary French philosophes, headed by Voltaire. In the previous article I have shown how the Neo-Classicist Voltaire developed a hermeneutic in which the Classical Greeks and Romans always appear as tolerant and virtuous, and Christianity is presented as misleading, intolerant, oppressive, violent and criminal – all through its history. In this article I investigate the nature of ‘light’ in the name ‘Enlightenment’, in order to understand Voltaire’s alternative to Christianity. I argue that the philosophical term ‘light’ was rooted in Plato, developed and adapted by Augustine and Scholasticism, and became a basis for group mystical elitism in Joachim of Fiore. In Modernity – specifically Voltaire – the light becomes a replacement of the Medieval divine Logos (Law-word) – a new light for elitist groups. Modernity separated the Origin (causa efficiens) from the Destiny (causa finalis): the divine was split between ‘Nature’ (origin) and (super-natural) ‘Rationality’ (scientific and civil); linked these two with the faith in progress. The ‘light’ was insight into ‘natural law’ a priori in consciousness; an ambiguous ‘natural law’ expressing the bio-mechanical and the basis of civility, driving humankind to progress. Thus insight into the laws of physics – from Logos Newton via Caesar Voltaire – provides the  basis for a rational society: scientific reason supports practical reason. Voltaire’s insistence on the natural right of women to be incubators of workers and soldiers (adopted by the French Revolutionaries) shows how difficult it was to derive the human from the natural. KEY TERMSLogos, light, Newton, Plato, Augustine, natural law, naturalism progress, scientism, causa efficiens, finalis, hermeneutics, 
OPSOMMING:Die Westerse denke, sedert die Renaissance, toon herhaalde ontwikkeling van metodes bedoel om die Christendom aan te val, vanaf Machiavelli se Klassisistiese militarisme tot by William James se ‘leë’ Pragmatisme. Metodes het doelstellings, en doelstellings is onderworpe aan norme en kriteria. ‘n Hoogtepunt in anti-Christelike vyandskap – in middel-Moderniteit – was die pre-Rewolusionêre Franse philosophes, gelei deur Voltaire. In die vorige artikel het ek laat sien hoe die Neo-Klassisis Voltaire ʼn hermeneutiek ontwikkel het waarin die Klassieke Grieke en Romeine altyd as verdraagsaam en deugsaam verskyn, en die Christendom voorgehou word as misleidend, intolerant, onderdrukkend, gewelddadig en krimineel – regdeur sy geskiedenis. In hierdie artikel ondersoek ek die aard van ‘lig’ in die naam, Verligting, om so Voltaire se alternatief tot die Christendom te verstaan. Ek argumenteer dat die wysgerige term ‘lig’ op Plato teruggaan, ontwikkel en aangepas is deur Augustinus en die Skolastiek, en by Joachim van Fiore ʼn basis vir mistieke groepselitisme geword het. In die Moderne era – in besonder Voltaire – word die lig ʼn vervanging vir die Middeleeuse goddelike Logos ((Wet-woord) – ʼn nuwe lig vir elitistiese groepe. Moderniteit het die Oorsprong (causa efficiens) geskei van die Bestemming (causa finalis): die goddelike is gesplit tussen die ‘Natuur’ (oorsprong) en die (bo-natuurlike) Rasionaliteit (wetenskaplik en siviel); die twee is verbind deur die progressiegeloof. Die ‘lig’ was insig in die ‘natuurwet’ a priori in die bewussyn; ʼn dubbelsinnige ‘natuurwet’ wat beide die bio-meganiese en die basis vir burgerlikheid uitdruk; dit dryf die mensheid na vooruitgang. Dus voorsien insig in die fisika se wette – van Logos Newton via Caesar Voltaire – die basis vir ʼn rasionele samelewing: die wetenskaplike rede ondersteun die praktikale rede. Voltaire se  aandrang op natuurlike reg van vroue om broeimasjiene te wees van werkers en soldate (deur die Franse Rewolusionêre oorgeneem) toon hoe moeilik deduksie van die menslike uit die natuurlike was.SleuteltermeLogos, lig, Newton, Plato, Augustinus, natuurlike reg, naturalisme-vooruitgang, scientisme, causa efficiens, finalis, hermeneutiek  https://doi.org/10.19108/KOERS.80.4.2243
https://doi.org/10.19108/KOERS.80.4.2243
PDF
Creative Commons License

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.