The eighteenth century is called the "Age of Enlightenment" in reference to the light of reason which is intended to enlighten the minds of the darkness of ignorance. The Enlightenment thinkers believe that man, despite being endowed with intellect, nor has not made good use. Their motto is 'sapere aude' (Dare to know), that is an incentive to take on an attitude of struggle against the authorities, political power, religions, superstitions, etc.. So criticize the passive acceptance of power. The reason is:
- Limited = can not reach to the field of metaphysics;
- Critical = everything must be subjected to the 'tribunal of reason', refusal dogmas and superstitions;
- Free = independent from any political and religious authority;
- Civil = serves not only to know the reality but also to change it.
The Enlightenment critique traditional religions: Judaism, Christianity and Islam; judges Moses, Jesus and Muhammad as three impostors who spread irrational dogmas. This attitude towards religion was born critic:
- From the theory that keep people in ignorance fueling: bigotry, intolerance and religious wars;
- The belief that, by cheating the people, prevent material happiness through the sense of sin.
Finally, again as part of his critique of religion, we distinguish two strands: deism and atheism, as opposed to theism.
Theism is the basis of positive religions: the idea of a transcendent God, prevvidente, creator and staff (intellect and will).
Deism believes in a religion natural and immutable; Voltaire: an impersonal God and officer (watchmaker metaphor). Atheism denies the existence of God; On Holbac: religion is a pathological phenomenon and irrational