Religion was an integral part of almost everyone's daily life in seventeenth and eighteenth century Western Europe. Yet new philosophical ideas were emerging, ideas that became the foundation of our modern world. Religion and the Enlightenment, designed for classroom use, reveals the roots of Enlightenment thought as well as their results, both positive and negative, with special attention to figures such as Descartes, Pascal, Rousseau, and Kant in the struggle for the soul of Western culture. Byrne masterfully elucidates the emergence of deism, skepticism, scientific empiricism, and a host of issues that challenged church orthodoxy.
James M. Byrne is Professor of Religious Studies and Chair of the Department of Religious Studies at St. Michael's College in Burlington, Vermont. He is the author of The Christian Understanding of God Today and God: Thoughts in an Age of Uncertainty.