Europe's isolation already started with Alexander the Great who made the Middle East into a huge barrier between Asia and Europe, by spreading the addictive ideas of Aristotle.
This barrier was strengthened 8 ages later by Catholicism (Council of Chalcedon), another 2 ages later by Islam (Muslim Catholicism), and now in Enlightenment 13 ages after Chalcedon is reinforced out of protestant corner.
Protestantism wasn't 'rational' in itself, but 'rationality' appealed to protestants. The Cult-of-Ra-tio (French: Temple de la Raison) was, during the French Revolution, a temple for a new RELIGION created to replace Catholic Christianity. By subsituting the abstract catholic 'god' (in practice the pope and catholic rulers), with the even more abstract 'reason'. 'Reason' is presumed to be 'objective' ( independent of bodily emotion).
The revolt was against religious and traditional catholic authority. Both had brutally suppressed the people. Catholicism treated the masses of believers as a huge herd of dum sheep, now 'Raison' values the 'individual'. That this would result in extreme egoism was not foreseen.
You might call this enlightenment revolt, where the catholic Fear of God is replaced with the 'rational' Worship of Ratio, a paradigm shift INSIDE the western paradigm. The Notre Dame church was renamed to Temple de la Raison.
To make things difficult, protestant 'rationals' stayed protestant.
Emotion-independent Religion of Reason
Puritan Protestantism in Enlightenment created an emotion-independent religion of reason, historians call the French revolution 'the reign of terror'. A statue of Liberty would replace the image of the 'Blessed Virgin', it is good to remember that the American Statue of Liberty is connected to mass bloodshed (reason versus emotion).
Especially men, but some women too, started to see emotion as weakness. A kind of psychopath cultural reality. Hiding/suppressing emotion became a way to show 'rational' strength. Cruelty became possible, as strong 'rational' judgement without considering emotion. King Louis XVI was beheaded. Power was shifting and the guillotine often couldn't keep up with the demand to remove heads. The Cult of Ra-tio was based on atheism, mind over body split, belief in superiority of human 'minds', ignoring of intuition, and on existence of 'understanding.
Enlightenment started a period of protestant dominancy in Northern Europe (England, Greater Germany, Skandinavia).
Because (to make things confusing) most 'rationals' remained protestant, and made their god into a 'rational god'. The Netherlands and Belgium were special cases, Holland and Flanders became dominantly protestant, but the Netherlands and Belgium as a whole dominantly catholic. This led to a peculiar unbalance, industry dominantly protestant and government mainly catholic. In much lesser degree this destructive split was found everywhere in Northern Europe. Though later catholicism (silently) accepted 'rationality' too, as being not religious (sick) and not conflicting with catholicism (true).
The Cult of Ra-tio or Cult of Thought replaced Catholicism, but the name 'Temple' (protestant church in French) suggests that the new movement was closer to fundamentalist protestantism.
The belief 'ratio' : law and order
Dare to know! (Sapere aude.) 'Have the courage to use your own understanding' is another motto of the enlightenment. This suggests that showing/using emotion is a weakness, and that strong behavior must be steered by 'intelligence' alone (and must be controlled by law).
The religion 'ratio' was supposed to be universal and to spread the ideas of the revolution, summarized in its main motto "Liberté, égalité, fraternité". The ritual language of this cult was: 'rational language'.
This new shape of 'oppression' smothered already initiating social revolutions against aristocratic and hereditary power. Language Imperialism replaced physical war (Imperialism) with 'addiction to words'. It was close to a major paradigm shift. People suddenly became willing to die for 'words' like 'freedom' (empty abstract concepts).
The former rule of life 'might makes right' was replaced by values around the word 'equality'.
A kind of zombie paradise.
'Rationals' emphasize the self. Equality of 'individuals', equality before the law, social justice, universal human rights and democracy for individuals. 'A man's word is his bond' was replaced with 'freedom of speech'.
Power shifted from the 'upper class' to an 'upper middle class', where shrude individuals (superzombies) proved to be masters in creating 'law and order' environments to controll all kind of equalities, but without restrictions on huge personal gains.
This system of 'rational' social principles raised the average standard of living in the west to never seen before levels. Rational technology realized 'miracles.
Practically all progress was realized by exploitation of people and resources outside the Western World for personal gain. But for a few ages this 'dark secret' was kept hidden from general attention, by usage of all kinds of myths. From 'stupid blacks are happy to serve as slave for western masters' to 'infinite growth'
The general idea was that by worship of Ra-tio, man could pass 'the final fronture'. 'The church' was replaced by a trust in logic and individuality, a puritan suppression of emotion.
This Cult of Ra-tio copied a lot from The Church of catholicism: schools as churches, universities as cathedrals, teachers as priest of reason, professors as highpriests, ratio as god, theory as belief.
New credo: life = pure ra-tio. Rules, police, lawyers, prisons and big brother can do the job.
Enlightenment worshipped Ra-tio in 2 ways: 1) practical Ra-tio (natural sciences, technical sciences); 2) humanistic Ra-tio (social sciences).
Humanistic rationality from the very start was split in a moderate part that was open to change and a puritan part. The part open to change evolved to modern social science, but is a church nevertheless.
Puritanism in hard shape fled from England via Holland to the New World. During the course of the early seventeenth century, however, increasing numbers of immigrants, extreme Calvinistic Protestants, managed to establish a group of autonomous North American colonies, including Plymouth (1620), Massachusetts (1628), New Hampshire (1629), Connecticut (1633), Maine (1635), Rhode Island (1636), and New Haven (1638). American Puritanism would become more severe than the European variant.
The position of Immanuel Kant end of Enlightenment is illustrative. Kant revived 'metaphysics', and following Aristotelian tradition in Catholicism and Protestantism adopts the view that our 'mind' determines the nature of our experiences (mind body split).
In fact Kant claims that 'intelligence' is 'in the mind', causing the belief that there is more than skill.
Since then the debates about 'intelligence', 'understanding', 'consciousness' show that it is not fruitful to discuss things that don't materially exist.
Kant about Enlightenment:
Enlightenment is the emancipation of man from .... incapacity to use his own 'intelligence' without external guidance.
Henk Tuten: Again presuming that immaterial 'intelligence' exist.
Puritanism echoes in American society today. The American Puritans changed the course of history.
In Europe outside England and Germany most of hard Puritanism (Lutheranism, Calvinism) disappeared, but in America it was the driving force behind slavery, Industrialism, Capitalism, Klu Klux Klan, ...
American Rationalism directly evolved out of hard Puritanism. After WWII American rationalism conquered Europe.
Cult of Ra-tio (Religion of Reason)
1. The Founding Fathers of the United States were heavily 'drugged' by Enlightenment-ideas like 'deism' (belief in Supreme Being) easily accepted slavery of non-christian human animals. The 'Law of Nations' was strongly influenced by the German 'rationalists' Leibnitz and Christian von Wolff. Much more than on the ideas of Locke.
2. European adventurers in Africa promoted the hunting down of men, women and children like beasts, and the burning down of complete villages to capture the inhabitants and sell them like cattle. Such slave traders presented Africans as murderous savages so that extremely brutal slavehunting and inhuman transportation to the Americas appeared as 'Christian concern' and 'enlightened' behavior. European 'Enlightenment' caused darkness in Africa.
Enlightenment made a cult around 'reason' (later: 'understanding'), and promoted 'liberty', 'science', 'rationality' and 'divine' or 'natural law' (the catholic view of life).
The Cult of Ra-tio resulted from the wish for individual profit (egoism) and tremendously expanded skill, but only in the Western World. It was based on belief in infinite growth, and in practice that mostly meant exploitation of the Third World.
Rationalism during Enlightenment was adopted by leading rulers and politicians, and thus weakened the authority of the Pope. In this way it broke down the defences of Catholicism.
Especially those who frequented the universities were affected by the victory of Ra-tio in Enlightenment. Everywhere throughout Europe, 'ra-tionalism' conquered the centres of education.
In 1946 German social theorist Max Horkheimer traced 'the collapse of a large part of the intellectual foundation of our civilisation'. back to the Enlightenment.
Defenders of 'rationalism' and 'individualism' often say: The Enlightenment brought us reliance on the individual, not God or nature
Replacing god 'God' by god 'Ra-tio' is not something to be proud of. And 'reliance on the individual' translated means 'egoism'.
Henk Tuten: You might say that a 21th billionaire relies on individual egoism and values his Ego and Ra-tio higher than the life of say 1 million people in Africa.