to see the Enlightenment's relationship with religion as simply adversarial. Late seventeenth- and early eighteenth-century English Protestants were not the hapless victims of a secular and rationalist onslaught. They were at least as worried about what they called religious 'enthusiasm'5 as they were about any supposed 'war against Christianity'.6 Tired of internecine Protestant warfare, and convinced of the need to protect civilized society from it, an influential group of English thinkers favourably disposed towards Dutch Arminianism began to view reason as a valuable ally against the resurgence of religious fanaticism and sectarianism. From the Cambridge Platonists and Latitudinari-ans to moderate Anglicans like William Warburton, these English Protestants elaborated an Enlightened religion which they then exported to the rest of Europe.
Their message was that the Christian religion was an eminently reasonable one. Reason and revelation could be reconciled by identifying and emphasizing the moral essentials of the Christian faith. Believing that such an approach would serve to unite Protestants, they also thought that the religious essentials could be confirmed by the study of nature. Thus they were among the earliest disciples of Newton and played an important part in the dissemination of his work. Many became enthusiastic proponents of physico-theology. It should be stressed that these Enlightened Protestants started out convinced that their religion would be strengthened, not weakened, by its association with science and reason. Following the English example, Enlightened Protestants elsewhere came to believe that reason could and should be adopted as an indispensable aid to religion in its fight against 'enthusiasm' and superstition on the one hand, and deism or atheism on the other. To them, Locke's Reasonableness of Christianity (1695) provided invaluable tools, in fact often serving as a kind of unofficial lexicon of the Christian Enlightenment.
Geneva provides a good case study of the Christian Enlightenment. Confronted with many of the same challenges as their English colleagues, Genevan theologians of the late seventeenth and early eighteenth centuries were anxious to defend the 'reasonableness' of their faith. The two most important Genevan theologians of the eighteenth century, Jean-Alphonse Turrettini (1671-1737) and his disciple and successor, Jacob Vernet (1698-1789), were central to this development. Turrettini argued that Christian doctrines could not contradict reason, even if they did, at times surpass it. 'Reason is even more necessary in theology than in human jurisprudence', he claimed, 'because it is possible that men make unreasonable laws that contradict one another, but it is not possible that God teaches us things that make no sense, or things that are contradictory'.7 In any case, not all dogmas were equally important and,
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