Because of the Age of Enlightenment we have a greater freedom of religious expression from persecution. Throughout history, tyrants and fascists have attempted to usurp these ideals. But it is Enlightened governance that allows for fundamental scrutiny of religion in a way that encourages free thinking and healthy debate. With the Age of Enlightenment, the freedom to hold forth on previous dogma became enshrined in legislation.Also known as the Age of Reason, most historians place the period roughly from 1715 to 1789. Emphasizing reason, understanding, individuation, healthy skepticis, and science, enlightened thinking helped give rise to Deism; the belief that God exists, but does not interact supernaturally with creation. A time of great change and new ideas, the Enlightenment / Age of Reason pushed European society away from feudalism and monarchies, providing a move toward societies based on liberty and equality. A line can be drawn between the Enlightenment and the French and American Revolutions.
Free-thinking academics and scholars defend the tenets of the Enlightenment. Discourse on the themes of individual liberty and human rights, religion balanced by secular scientific reason and enquiry — these are the gifts of the Enlightenment.
But be wary. These ideals need defending. Constant vigilance is required to assure society does not backslide into the ignorance preceding it.