Alan Charles Kors has written a twelve page article called The Enlightenment and the Secularization of Values which tracks the changing intellectual landscape of western thought from the end of scholasticism to the Enlightenment. He contextualizes ideas and encapsulates historical moments, moving from the abstract to the concrete, adding biographical detail and essentially making 300 years of shifting thought on a subject that is complex and still wholy relevant today, quite reader-friendly. His hand is even - athiests, deists, Christians and materialists are represented. As are French, British, Italian and Swiss thinkers. There is even a passing nod to Thomas Jefferson.
Can you trust this article? It comes from an organization called The Council for Humanist Secularism which publishes a number of magazines including Free Inquiry (the journal in which Kor's article can be found). The organization's mandate is to”advocate and defend a nonreligious lifestance rooted in science, naturalistic philosophy and humanist ethics”.
Can you trust the author? He is Princeton and Harvard educated, he currently teaches at the University of Pennsylvania. He writes for libertarian and conservative journals, is an ardent defender of free speech and has most recently published a book about witchcraft in Europe.
Professor Kors writes sensitively about beliefs - be they religious, political or moral. I trust him.