Voltaire famously said that "if God did not exist, it would be necessary to invent him."
'Voltaire' was the pen name of Francois Marie Arouet (1694 - 1778) a hugely influential French Enlightenment writer and philosopher. His work influenced the people who took part in both the French and the American Revolutions. After being exiled from France for his satirical writings, Voltaire lived for a time in England, where he was attracted to the work of philosopher John Locke and the scientist Isaac Newton. After his return to France he continued to be persecuted by the government for his reformist ideas, although he corresponded with other monarchs including Catherine the Great of Russia and Frederick the Great of Prussia.