In the Persian Letters, how does Montesquieu (through the characters Rica and Usbek) view traditional Christian, Jewish, and Islamic religion? Does he view their ancient beliefs positively or negatively?

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In Persian Letters, Montesquieu presents religions as being socially determined belief systems that cannot provide us with the absolute truth. Such an approach is entirely in keeping with the Enlightenment-era skepticism toward the foundational truth claims of religion.

In common with most Enlightenment thinkers, Montesquieu doesn't favor one religion over another; he sees them all as falling far short of rationality. The rational defects of (Catholic) Christianity are given to us through the eyes of the Persian Rica, who sarcastically relates to his correspondent Ibben how the Pope can make the king believe that three and one are the same number—a clear reference to the Trinity—and that bread is not really bread and that wine...

(The entire section contains 2 answers and 359 words.)

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