Voltaire (Francois-Marie Arouet) (1694--1778) was one of the key thinkers of the European Enlightenment. Of his many works, Candideremains the most popular.
"When we observe such things as the recrudescence of fundamentalism
in the United States, the horrors of religious fanaticism in the
Middle East, the appalling danger which the stubbornness of
political intolerance presents to the whole world, we must surely
conclude that we can still profit by the example of lucidity, the
acumen, the intellectual honesty and the moral courage of
--A. J. Ayer