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Voltaire's God, morals and nature

Updated on January 24, 2012

Voltaire was a french illuministic philosopher during the early and mid 1700's. He was a hard critic and was best known for his criticism towards religion and metaphysics. He criticized the way religion viewed and represented God, their way to represent his acts and their way to adore Him; however, he was not an atheist he did believe in his own God which he pictured in different novels such as Candido , 1759. Voltaire was also a critic of the metaphysic point of view. He criticized it's arrogance in novels such as Micromega , 1752. Following his hard criticism on religion and metaphysics he wrote his ideals on his God, morals and nature which are going to be summarized and described in this blog.


Voltaire describes his God as a creator, because the earth needs to have been created; supreme intelligence, because earth is a never stopping machine that needs a over human intelligence to run it and because in order to create intelligent human beings supreme intelligence is needed; and immortal. According to Voltaire, besides the previous information nothing else can be said about God. Voltaire mentions how saying God does miracles is A way to insult him, it is telling him of being "weak and incoherent". The only religion to profess is the adoration and honesty to God, according to Voltaire.

God and metaphysics

Voltaire states that none of the metaphysical questions influences over the conduct of life. No matter the answer to this questions God is always our ultimate ruler. For example, "Is matter infinite or created from nothing?". Voltaire expresses that the answer to this question will have no effect on our existence, our life or our morals. "We must be equally virtuous in an ordered chaos or a chaos created from nothing"


As Voltaire grows older he becomes mora sceptic and bitter. And in 1755 when an earthquake destroys Lisbona, Voltaire admits "Evil is on earth". He now believes that finding the positive on every situation and being optimist is absurd. He dedicates his most famous novel, Candido , to the criticism of the optimism.

God and moral

For Voltaire, God has no connection with love, God is order and necessity. Voltaire states that moral can only be based on the human nature, reason. He realized that when men applied reason to life they all found the same moral: act out of goodness, honesty, justice and social obligations. These morals counterbalanced the egoism of men.

Moral and human nature

Voltaire believes in one only religion that he calls natural religion, this religion is based on the only moral that is human nature, that every human is born with Do unto others as you would have them do unto you. It is a moral that promises happiness, a better life for yourself and everybody around you.

Every of the reforms that Voltaire proposes are based on moderation. He searches for liberty, equality and humanity for everybody. He believes that the people are not mature enough since they let themselves be controlled by modern religion in the place of being controlled by God. According to Voltaire the church should be controlled by the state, where it cannot do any damage.



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