Reason and Truth's Relationship
For the most part, one can sufficiently argue that both Socrates and Voltaire have the same view of the relation between reason and religion. Such a view is best summarized as the notion that religion is within the bounds of reason. As such, each philosopher believes that religion -- including its creeds and tenets -- are subject to reason and to inquisitions that are based on reason. Moreover, these philosophers also subscribe to the notion that religion should not influence various areas of religion, such as government, unless it can do so in a way that is reasonable. Numerous people and institutions during the course of the respective lives of each of these thinkers would have argued differently: that religion could supersede reason in some instances and govern over aspects of life that have traditionally, and most prudently, been under the subjugation of reason. These two philosophers, however, would argue the converse and never put religion above reason.
Some of Voltaire's most salient beliefs are in accordance to this point of correlation that he shares with Socrates. Voltaire certainly believed in freedom of religious...
He did not believe in circumscribing the way that individuals expressed their religious conviction. More importantly, perhaps, Voltaire also held firm in the conviction that there should be a distinction between church and state. This notion has proved fairly controversial throughout the course of Westernization; one of the reasons that Voltaire maintained this conviction was because he was aware of the tendency of ecclesiastical powers to surmount reason in governing due to the unrestrained sort of influence the church could exercise.
Socrates' viewpoint regarding the relation between reason and religion is that the former can always question the latter. In fact, this Socratic method of his applied to nearly all aspects of life, including religion. An excellent example of this fact is found in Euthyphro, when Socrates is trying to determine what the nature of piety is and what "the general idea that makes all things pious" (Plato, 380 B.C.E.). He is able to ask a successful series of questions to Euthyphro that reveal that the very basis of religion -- the gods -- are arbitrary, conflicting, and contradictory in nature, particularly when their actions are subject to an analysis of the sort of profound…
Plato. (380 B.C.E.) Euthyphro. www.classics.mit.edu. Retrieved from http://classics.mit.edu/Plato/euthyfro.html
Plato. (380 B.C.E.) Crito. www.classics.mit.edu. Retrieved from http://classics.mit.edu/Plato/crito.html
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