By Michael David Rawlings
The First Great Awakening in England and America (roughly, 1725 to 1755), as lead by Jonathan Edwards and George Whitefield, was in some respects a reaction against the British empiricism of the Enlightenment which generally rejected the actuality or utility of innate ideas and traditions. While the revealed religion of Judeo-Christianity was perfectly compatible with a scientific methodology of observation and evidentiary experimentation, albeit, predicated on a mechanist naturalism, the idea that sensory perception and experience trumped the rational impressions of human consciousness signified a serious challenge.
It would appear that the art of human philosophy is the art of dividing human reason against itself: the schism of false alternatives. No sooner had the rationalist René Descartes concluded that he existed, the empiricist John Locke concluded that he knew substance via sensory perception.
The former's system of thought devolved into subjectivism, the latter's, into relativism.
In the meantime, Christians knew that they and God existed and that God was the ground of all existence.
For the most part, the Awakening was an evangelical revival that appealed to the human heart regarding the need of repentance and an intimate relationship with God. It was also a precursor to the American Revolution with its concomitant political concerns for a free press and religious freedom.