It is not to men that I speak; it’s you, God of all beings, of all worlds and of all time. Voltaire – Prayer to God.
As we shall see, and contrary to what he announces in the preamble, VOLTAIRE talk to men, denouncing, ironically, the different religious practices that have drawn for millennia, men against each other .
Prayer to God VOLTAIRE
He puts all religions with the same bag (He is about to jump it into the river), even though, a priori, he talks about Christianity.
He shows that religions, in particular the three great monotheistic religions, far from what they have promised, have, since their inception, generate hatred, rivalry and jealousy. So he wants to return to the spirit of the text by inviting men to benevolence.
If allowed to weak creatures lost in the immensity and imperceptible to the rest of the universe, to dare to ask you something, you who gave everything, to you whose decrees are immutable as eternal, condescend to look pity on the errors attached to our nature. Voltaire – Prayer to God.
Voltaire The deist
VOLTAIRE seems the hypothesis of a God « not responsible » for the imperfection of its creation (man inhabited by evil). Hypothesis a bit surprising. The Christian God is by definition omnipotent and perfect. How Does a perfect being able to create imperfect beings?
In fact, he is a deist: the God of Voltaire is not the one of tje Bible; he is an inaccessible entity to man, forever mysterious, just behind the world. He can not say more:
The world embarrasses me, and I can not think That this clock exists and has no watchmaker. Voltaire.
..than these errors did not make our calamities. You did not give us a heart to hate us, and hands to kill us; do we help each other to bear the burden of a painful and transitory life. Voltaire – Prayer to God.
VOLTAIRE shows man the irrationality of their behavior. Addressing indirectly to him, and putting God to witness, he said, God has given you a heart (not the believer can deny); this is certainly not to hate your neighbor because hatred is foreign to God (this is obvious also to the believer). So the logic of reasoning is relentless and is likely to convince the believer to best use his heart, highlighting more consistent with his faith feelings such benevolence.
..que small differences in clothing that covers our feeble body, between all our insufficient languages, between all our ridiculous customs, between all our imperfect laws, between all our senseless opinions, between all our requirements so disproportionate in our eyes, and if equal before thee; all these little nuances that distinguish the atoms called men not be signals of hatred and persecution. Voltaire – Prayer to God.
VOLTAIRE highlights the ridiculous nature of hate debates between religions little trivial details like the color of a dress, set man against his neighbor.
..que those who light candles at midday to celebrate you support those who are content to the light of your sun; Voltaire – Prayer to God.
VOLTAIRE here refers more clearly Christianity. He is clearly ironic. He shows that it is the rational side of those who use the daylight to see, rather than those who lock themselves in black churches to light candles then.
..than those who cover their dress with a white canvas that we must love you do not detest those who say the same thing in a black wool coat; it is equal to worship you in a jargon composed of an ancient language, or in a new jargon; Voltaire – Prayer to God.
Voltaire refers again to the ecclesiastical and their habit of speaking in Latin that no one understands. It would be more effective to speak in French. Of course, the use of Latin, that Voltaire denounces allows the clergy to maintain its status as an intermediary between God and man and therefore to become indispensable to sinners who can not understand only the scriptures. It is a way to retain power.
..than those whose coat is dyed red or purple, which dominate on a small plot of a small heap of mud of this world, and have a few rounded fragments of a certain metal, enjoy without pride what they call grandeur and riches, and others see them without envy: for you know that there is in these vanities neither envy nor to be proud. Voltaire – Prayer to God.
VOLTAIRE speaks to the bishops and denounced their authority which they use to make money. It takes the text again to witness as it shows the bishops incompatible with their faith in their attitude, made of vanity and pride.
… May all men remember that they are brothers! They abhor tyranny over souls, as they abhorred robbery by force that delights the fruit of labor and peaceful industry! Voltaire – Prayer to God.
VOLTAIRE denounced the operation of the Church uses fear (from the last punishment) to keep the men under his moral authority. He compares religion to a tyranny in that it imposed by force a system of thought.
… If the scourges of war are inevitable, do not hate us, we do not tear each other in the midst of peace, and employ the moment of our existence to bless also in a thousand different languages, from Siam up to California, your goodness has given us this moment.
VOLTAIRE ends with a plea for peace: it proposes to consider all religions as equal, without distinction of geographic location or language. Life is too short to kill.
Here is an obviously topical text that should be sent to all fanatics.