What did Voltaire say/think about dogma and superstition?
Although Voltaire was not an atheist, he was highly critical of the rampant obscurantism and superstition associated in his day with the Catholic Church. In common with many other thinkers of the Enlightenment, he believed that the Church cynically obscured or withheld the truth in order to keep people in ignorance—all better to control them.
That explained why the Church was often so hostile to new innovations in philosophy and natural science such as the groundbreaking work of Galileo. It wanted to maintain control over the minds of the people and perceived new ways of thinking as a clear and present threat to that control. Such an attitude was not just wrong, thought Voltaire, it had potentially dangerous, life-threatening consequences.
A classic example of this was provided by the case of Jean Calas, in which Voltaire became passionately involved. Calas...
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