Night Waves - The Enlightenment
Rana Mitter and guests debate the question: Is the Enlightenment still relevant today? In recent years, a short period in eighteenth century European history has been noisily dragged out of the library and become contemporary and controversial. To its supporters the Enlightenment is the cornerstone of the modern world - a time when European thinkers like Voltaire, Rousseau, Hume and Adam Smith defined the core principles of modern Western life: the triumph of reason, the rise of human rights, the creation of the free market, and the roots of modern democracy. But to its critics, the Enlightenment has now become a twisted dogma - intolerant of the religious, anti-Islamic and hostile to those (non-Europeans) who don't share its values. Night Waves marks the end of six weeks of R3 Essays about the original Enlightenment thinkers with a debate that is essential to understanding today's arguments about Europe, its Muslim population and the place of faith in our global society. Rana Mitter is joined by a round table of historians, theologians and politicians to ask if we need more Enlightenment - or if it needs to be returned to the European library stacks once again.