Said my teacher, "The Enlightenment Movement had three basic principles. The first is to use the powers of reasoning that God has given to Man. Reasoning is the only source of true Knowledge. The Second Principle is that Man is basically Good. This is in opposition to the puritan notion that Man is born in sin and is therefore evil and unless saved by the Grace of Jesus, Man will always remain evil. The third principle is that Man is always capable of progress through unlocking the secrets of nature and abiding by natural law. This is opposed to the old Caste system that dictated that poor people should stay poor because they were born poor." The teacher goes on to explain that because of the enlightenment many people who latched onto this began to also adopt a belief of Deism which he described as believing that, "There is a God who made the universe. That God has set the universe in motion and made it self governing with the use of natural laws. That God does not interfere in the affairs of men. There is no Heaven or Hell. There are no Miracles." The problem I have with Deism is that there is nothing really separating it from outright Atheism. If a God does not do anything now, why have one in the first place.
On the opposite hand, the Religious Revival or Awakening was to get people to believe in God, his miracles, and his servants on earth. Something like that. I didn't take as many notes about this part because the class had exceeded my attention span of 2 1/2 hours.
All this got me thinking. I can see a reasonable middle ground between the Enlightenment and the Religious Revival.
I will start with Deism but pay close attention to the twist. There is a God who made the Universe. That God made a universe and made it as self governable as possible using natural laws that are self existent. That God does get involved in the affairs of men. That God Does perform Miracles. That God does communicate with All men irregardless of position or power. It is not for any man to find out if a Miracle came from God by asking another Man. If a Man wants to know about a Miracle he must consult God for only God can reveal the meaning of miracles to each and every Man.
The reason why miracles and divine intervention were denied was because people were sick of pastors and kings claiming that they had divine authority given them from God. There was no way in their belief system to verify that the pastor or king really held any authority because they could not consult God directly on the subject. With this new belief system, it is possible to have both a person endowed with authority in a church and the other members could know for themselves that said person has authority by asking God directly if this is so. Also each and every person could get guidance and direction directly from God. In effect No one has authority over you or your eternal destiny other than yourself, and it is all made possible because of God.
Now I will give My version of the three Principles of the Enlightenment.
1. Reason is the best source of knowledge when direct divine revelation has not been given. Aka, you have a question, reason it out, Ask God, Get answer, apply reason to the answer, Ask God, Get answer again, continue till satisfied.
2. Man is Basically Good. Man is also constantly tempted and is susceptible to the forces of Pride, Carnality, Anger, and Sloth, etc... And so cannot always be trusted to make the right decisions. Man in general will make good decisions. Man in general want what is best. Man however is not likely to be spontaneously educated, so most of the times Man must be educated by other educated men and further educated by God.
3. Natural laws exist. We have power to make our own choices. We do not have power to choose what the consequences of those choices are. The more educated a man is about the natural laws the more the man will understand what the consequences of their choices are. The more Man understands the natural laws the more he will understand about what choices he has to make to get the desired consequences.
I don't know what the point was I was getting at here. But I figure this Blog post is long enough as it is. Glean from it what you can, pass that knowledge on. Start the New Enlightenment.