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Updated by eric-lobalbo on May 09, 2016
Headline for Voltaire
eric-lobalbo eric-lobalbo
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Here are a list of topics for Voltaire and his disdain for the church during the Enlightenment Period.


Bust of Voltaire

Bust of Voltaire

This is a bust of Voltaire later in life.

Voltaire & Atheists

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Voltaire discusses Atheists:

  • Criminal acts in Politics/Religion? Then you have no God.
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Voltaire admires the Church of England:

  • Educated from Oxford
  • Morales are not compromised



Voltaire discusses the purpose of religion:

  • Orderliness of people
  • Ministers should not have power; only spiritual guidance
  • Coercion by the church is self-destructive

François-Marie d'Arouet (1694–1778), better known by his
pen name Voltaire, was a French writer and public activist who played
a singular role in defining the eighteenth-century movement called the
Enlightenment. At the center of his work was a new conception of
philosophy and the philosopher that in several crucial respects- list text here
influenced the modern concept of each. Yet in other ways Voltaire was
not a philosopher at all in the modern sense of the term. He wrote as
many plays, stories, and poems as patently philosophical tracts, and
he in fact directed many of his critical writings against the
philosophical pretensions of recognized philosophers such as Leibniz,
Malebranche, and Descartes. He was, however, a vigorous defender of a
conception of natural science that served in his mind as the antidote
to vain and fruitless philosophical investigation. In clarifying this
new distinction between science and philosophy, and especially in
fighting vigorously for it in public campaigns directed against the
perceived enemies of fanaticism and superstition, Voltaire pointed
modern philosophy down several paths that it subsequently
Some interesting facts:

  • Raised in a well to do family
  • Worked as lawyer's apprentice and to a French Diplomat before pursuing as a playwright.
  • His experiences prior to enabled him to establish connections in the literary community.
  • Was banned from Paris and fled to England because defamation accusations.
  • Bolingbroke's circle major influence in philosophical thinking.

Should the police be looking for him, Voltaire had an escape route planned, and money stashed in foreign countries. Voltaire - social reform writer.


View of Voltaire's residence

View of Voltaire's residence

Book Auction

Book Auction

Dissertation by Raymond Oxley
ROCKWOOD, R. O. (1931). THE APOTHEOSIS OF VOLTAIRE DURING THE FRENCH REVOLUTION (Order No. TM19706). Available from ProQuest Dissertations & Theses Global. (301867469). Retrieved from

Key points to Voltaire's attack on religion:

  • French Revolution, reform
  • Religious Intolerance
  • Freedom

Personification of Enlightenment, Voltaire (excerpt)

Key Points:

  • Current state of religion artificial
  • The church provokes war
  • The real casualties of war

Photo of University of Chicago

Photo of University of Chicago

University of Chicago Campus