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The deification of Nature, including man and his science, established itself in the religious ideas of the Enlightenment. The concepts of the Enlightenment - science as the road to truth; an orderly, rational nature that included man; the moral and intellectual dignity of man; usefulness and reasonableness as the standards to which every belief and institution had to submit - forced men to reexamine their religious ideas and promoted the development of the religion of reason or deism. [excerpt]


This is a part of Section X: The Eighteenth Century Enlightenment. The Contemporary Civilization page lists all additional sections of Ideas and Institutions of Western Man, as well as the Table of Contents for both volumes.

More About Contemporary Civilization:

From 1947 through 1969, all first-year Gettysburg College students took a two-semester course called Contemporary Civilization. The course was developed at President Henry W.A. Hanson’s request with the goal of “introducing the student to the backgrounds of contemporary social problems through the major concepts, ideals, hopes and motivations of western culture since the Middle Ages.”

Gettysburg College professors from the history, philosophy, and religion departments developed a textbook for the course. The first edition, published in 1955, was called An Introduction to Contemporary Civilization and Its Problems. A second edition, retitled Ideas and Institutions of Western Man, was published in 1958 and 1960. It is this second edition that we include here. The copy we digitized is from the Gary T. Hawbaker ’66 Collection and the marginalia are his.