Friday, November 19, 2010

Voltaire's Theism

Today in class we discussed this quote of Voltaire's: “If God did not exist, it would be necessary to invent him." In this quote, Voltaire asserts that people need something to cling to; they need faith in a greater being to overcome the misfortunes in the world. Voltaire was a “theist” and therefore believed that God exists and is involved in the world. Theists believe in a personal God who is present and active in overseeing the universe. I think theism is a very interesting doctrine that Voltaire supports in his "Candide." Can you all think of any quotes in which Voltaire advocates his theist beliefs?


C-Sted said...

What about when Candide asks the old man from Eldorado about the religions of the country? The man responds, "Can there be two religions? I suppose our religion is the same as everyone's, we worship God from morning to evening."
The implication here is that all religions are fundamentally the same, worshiping (in Voltaire's opinion) the same God for the same purpose. Clearly, such an idea relates back to Voltaire's theist tolerance of alternate forms of worship of the one true God.

Olivia Celata said...

God can be viewed as an infinite source of information. When questions cannot be answered, usually by science or other means, religion can take over in order to clarify. This is comforting to some people, since it makes the unknown less vague and therefore less frightening.

chrissy said...

I agree with Voltaire. I often find the reason people attach themselves to a religion is because they need something to give them hope and security. Collin, I was thinking of the same quote. The Eldorado man's statement that there can't be two religions really does put organized religion into perspective, because, after all, everyone does worship god from morning to evening.