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Philosophers did not set out to undermine religion Print
Letters to the editor
Thursday, Oct. 06, 2016 -- 12:00 AM

To the editor:

I am in agreement with Bishop Robert Barron in part two of “Christian apologists, wake up!” In all, that is, but one point. I do not believe the Enlightenment philosophers, Voltaire, Diderot, and Spinoza, set out to undermine religion.

Each did have an encounter with the Catholic Church. Diderot had considered becoming a priest, Voltaire had been educated by the Jesuits (1704-1711).

Spinoza’s experience was different. He was a Jew. His family migrated to Amsterdam from Portugal where, in 1498, they were forced to adopt Roman Catholicism (conversos).

What these philosophers were seeking was freedom of thought, as Kant said later, “Dare to know! Have courage to use your own reason!”

What these philosophers were facing then as we are facing today is a Church that had lost its ability to distinguish between pastoral care and the exercise of power.

If today’s Christian apologists address that issue, they may have success.

Tom Roberts, Madison