This most beautiful system of the sun, planets, and comets [is not
to be attributed to some] blind metaphysical necessity, [but] could only proceed from the counsel and dominion of an intelligent and powerful
Being, [who governs all things], not as the soul of the world, but as Lord
over all.

Sir Isaac Newton, Mathematical Principles
of Natural Philosophy

During the Enlightenment, there was a sustained and penetrating assault upon Christianity and the "fanatical" mindset many claimed it fostered. Thinkers like Voltaire and Diderot savagely criticized the superstition and irrationality that characterized portions of the Christian worldview. In the wake of this devastating assault, a new image of Jesus emerged as the Teacher of Common Sense. The beauty and wisdom of Jesus’ message, many Enlightenment thinkers insisted, lay not in its other-worldly origins, but in its universality and its compatibility with reason. Philosophers dissected the New Testament and pored over historical documents in their attempts to discover the "true Jesus," the flesh and blood individual whose eminently rational teachings were seen as the distillation of a supremely sensible individual. Jesus’ teachings had authority not because they were uttered by the messiah, but because they were intrinsically worthwhile.
Canadian Heritage Information Network, The Provincial Museum of Alberta,

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