The Age of Reason
The Eighteenth century led to a new age of thinking. It has became known as the Age of Skepticism, the Age of Enlightenment, and the Neoclassical Period. The Age of Reason meant that traditional Christian ideas were no longer accepted on just faith. The Age of Skepticism produced a nation that doubted everything. Science, because of its solid results, became strong and with this strength deism was born. Although not everyone accepted these new ideas, many did. Benjamin Franklin was definitely a product of this new age.
Benjamin Franklin at the age of sixteen accepted deism as his religion. Franklin believed in the perfectibility of man. By altering his lifestyle he removed morals from religion in believing one should do good because it is useful in this world, not the next. Without having to consider original sin from Adam and Eve, which would have made it impossible to achieve perfection. Unlike Puritans who believed they had to reach moral perfection to please God. Franklins deism allowed him to strive for this perfection. His strategy for accomplishing his goal was by following his thirteen virtues. He made a little brown book so he could recorded the faults he had that day. In his Autobiography Franklin hints at his secularization of virtue, “vicious actions are no harmful because they are forbidden, but forbidden because they are hurtful”(818).
Franklin did not feel that he truly reached this perfection, mainly because, “inclination was sometimes too strong for reason”(913). Later stating that, “I was by the endeavor a better and happier Man than I otherwise should have been, if I had not attempted it”(917). As we look at Franklin’s thirteen virtues all of them deal with the betterment of oneself and mankind. Franklin has truly defined his secularization of virtues....