- Created by: becky.65
- Created on: 30-04-20 14:23
- Argues for a secular state that doesn't concern itself with religious matters as powerful regions are despots
- Seeks to show the irrationality of persecution in the name of religion
- Does not question the continuing existence of powerful established religions
- There is no case for compelling people to follow any religion, even the true one
- Persecution is not the way to inspire religion as Jesus can't have enjoined persecution. He wouldn't have told people to do something that does not work
- It matters less what people od in matters of religion that why they do it: so long as they act out of their conscience and they act as God wants them to act there is no problem with religion
- Implies there is no true version of Christianity
- Celebrates religious plurality as long as they don't act badly
- As long as you're sincere in finding the truth and following it, you have satisfied God
- There is no ground on which to condemn your understanding of the truth, so long as it is sincerely held and manifests itself in virtuous behaviour. There is no reason to compare and judge religions.
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- Neither atheists nor Christians really act on their principles – everyone is really motivated by ‘our natural inclination to seek pleasure’, which is the same for everyone.
- Denied toleration to atheists
- Atheists cannot act on conscience because they do not believe in God so they cannot be tolerated as no truth has been revealed to them so they cannot act virtuously
- The state should not compel to a single religion
- Absolute certainty in religious matters is unobtainable, all God requires is that we act from conscience
- Morality is much easier to understand than religion, and conscience clearly tells us that persecution is morally wrong
- 'The care of souls' is not the business of the state
- The state is, in fact, unable to compel belief of any kind
- Even if the state were able to compel religious belief, to grant the state such a power would be, in most cases, to grant the state the power to compel false belief. Almost every country in Europe believes in a slightly different type of Christianity. If Catholicism is the only correct religion then everyone in a Protestant country will not be salvaged
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- There is no reason to think that the state has been authorised by the people to try to look after man's souls, therefore how could there be a single state religion
- There is no outward force that a state can use induce true and saving religion as it consists in the inward persuasion of the mind
- For states to have the power to enforce religion it would not helo to the salvation of souls because they may be forcing them to compel to a false religion
- The state is limited to civil interests
- There is a religious foundation but once you get past that there is a law of nature that we have our own rights to our property
- The role of the state is not to bring us into the kingdom of God, it is simply to protect us from invaders, life, liberty and property
- The church has no right to force its members to do anything against their will; in particular, it has no power over the property of its members; if members break the rules of the church, they can be excommunicated, and that is all.
- The state cannot impose rites and ceremonies upon a church, not forbid a church from doing what it wants
- It is not illegitimate to try to persuade people to embrace true religion
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- Rules out toleration to Catholics and Atheists
- Atheists cannot promise anything because nothing binds them to the promise because there are no consequences if they don’t stick to it
- Intolerance is irritation because it is not a possible means to the desired end
- Force can be used ‘indirectly, and at a distance’, to get people to consider matters that otherwise, whether through negligence or carelessness, they would reject without thinking the matter through properly.
- Therefore force can help people hear the 'true religion'
- Agrees with Locke that it is impossible to make people good Christians by fining them, imprisoning them, starving them, torturing them, etc.
- If you can save a single soul by forcing people to attend to the arguments that save them then surely you should be obliged to do it
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- The main issue was the moral outrages perpetrated in the name of Christianity, and the practical question was how to prevent Christianity from doing any more harm in the future.
- Suggests that all institutional forms of Christianity are inherently intolerant
- His question becomes how can society overcome Christianity
- Christianity is the problem, it is not human nature as he emphasises the most violent periods of Christianity
- True religion is very accessible, all you have to do is put away scripture and use your reason – everything else is just fabrication
- There is one true religion that everyone has always believed and people only disagree because they have diverged from the one true religion
- Against atheism because religion creates community and stops people from being unvirtuous
- The church is therefore practical as it keeps people in line, but it has no right to use coercion
- There should be a complete separation of religion from politics
- Real admirer of England because religious differences do not really matter anymore because everyone is focused on making money, more so than France
- Believes in there being multiple religions rather than one or two because this leads to harmony and peace rather than despotism or violence
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- Believes an enlightened age is an age of toleration, except for atheists
- To be enlightened it to recognise every human being as a brother, but not to recognise very human as a possessor of the same natural rights
- Trying to convert such a person to ‘true’ religion is not going to do any good
- Our best hope is to make the religious fanatic less sure that this world does not matter – to distract him from his obsession with heaven – to make him feel that he is part of, and will benefit from, social and political life – for religious fanaticism is a product of economic, social, and political disaffection and alienation.
- God has ‘revealed’ the True Religion to us. Not through scripture or the churches but through reason
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