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locke letter on toleration summary

Locke’s definition of a church helps us to see more explicitly a consideration that was implicit in his fourth argument for why the state cannot have a care of souls, namely, that the basis for the state’s toleration of the religions within its domain has nothing to do with a duty of the state to worship God. This makes sense, if we bear in mind that the only limit to the “state of perfect freedom” is the law of nature, which forbids a man from destroying himself and from harming the “life, health, liberty” and “possessions” of others. Merrill D. Peterson (London: Penguin Books, 1983. Benedict Spinoza, Theologico-Political Treatise, trans. As will become clear later, there are certain religious bodies which do not refrain from doing so, and therefore, there are exceptions to the rule of toleration. In this thesis, I shall attempt to show that the Catholic Church is right about the relation between Church and state and that Locke is wrong. – The Editors, Arise, be enlightened, O Jerusalem: for thy light is come, The fourth argument is that the salvation or damnation of one’s neighbor in no way advances or harms one’s civil interests. 17 likes. attack the laws and the liberty and property of the citizens. 54 0 obj << Its initial publication was in Latin, though it was immediately translated into other languages. It a slightly revised version of Derek Remus’s thesis at Thomas Aquinas College. /Length 1489 Here he says that prior to the existence of the state, men are in a state of nature, that is, “a state of perfect freedom to order their actions, and dispose of their possessions and persons, as they think fit, within the bounds of the law of nature, without asking leave, or depending upon the will of any other man.”[13] This “state of perfect freedom” belongs to all men equally, so that the state of nature is also a state of equality, “wherein all the power and jurisdiction is reciprocal, no one having more than another.”[14]   Further, the “state of perfect freedom” is not unlimited but is bounded by the “law of nature,” which obliges every man to preserve himself and “teaches all mankind…that being all equal and independent, no one ought to harm another in his life, health, liberty, or possessions.”[15] In other words, since all men possess the freedom to dispose of themselves as they please equally, the only limit to one man’s exercise of that freedom, aside from not destroying himself, is not to hinder another man’s exercise of that same freedom. I think indeed there is no nation under heaven, in which so much has already been said upon that subject, as ours. While the positions of Hobbes and Spinoza have more or less found expression historically in regimes such as those of Protestant England and the People’s Republic of China,[2] the Lockean position has perhaps found no better expression than in that of the United States of America. Klibansky, pp. Locke argues that civil unrest results from confrontations caused by any magistrate's attempt to prevent different religions from being practiced, rather than tolerating their proliferation. in Klibansky and Gough, pp. This relates to his central conclusion, namely, that the government should not involve itself in care of souls. ― John Locke, A Letter Concerning Toleration. Then came the Protestant Reformation. The two serve separate functions, and so, must be considered to be separate institutions. Start studying *Locke's "A Letter Concerning Toleration"*. It has not been committed to him by God because God has not given any man the authority “to compel anyone to his religion.”[22] But for the magistrate to have a care of souls would be for him to compel men to his religion, since the power of the magistrate “consists only in outward force.” Care of souls has not been committed to the magistrate by the consent of the people because no one may so “abandon the care of his own salvation as blindly to leave to the choice of any other, whether prince or subject, to prescribe to him what faith or worship he shall embrace.”[23] The reason for this is that “faith is not faith” without “the inward and full persuasion of the mind,” which cannot be effected by making someone “blindly” follow the dictates of someone else.[24]. Moreover, Locke does not explicitly refer to it as a new argument for the said conclusion, even though that is in fact what it is. The question was much debated in Holland during Locke's stay and in October 1685 Louis XIV of France Revoked the Edict of Nantes that had guaranteed religious toleration for French Protestants. If one’s neighbor goes to hell, one’s health or money, for example, will still remain fully intact. Outline of John Locke’s “A Letter Concerning Toleration” • Early, simple way of Christian Church: The earliest manifestation of a “Christian Church” involved believers of Christ meeting to share information and to worship together (there were many different Jewish … In fact, however, the main purpose of the Letter is to establish a general doctrine concerning the very natures of Church and state from which the unjustness of using the state to kill and persecute one’s neighbors on account of religion follows as a consequence. For the Catholic Church, a Lockean regime can turn out to be just as oppressive as a Hobbesian or Spinozan regime. [1]         Cf. [1] John Locke, on the other hand, took an apparently more benign position by calling not for the subjection of the Church to the state but for the total separation of the two powers. Most men, however, do not let others do as they like. [4], In Holland, Locke met Philipp van Limborch, a Professor of Divinity, and it was to be a discussion with Limborch that persuaded Locke to temporarily put aside his work on An Essay Concerning Human Understanding and put forth his ideas on toleration. There are cases, he says, when churches exist of which the members “arrogate to themselves…some peculiar prerogative covered over with a specious show of deceitful words.”[33] As an example of such a church, Locke mentions one which holds “that faith is not to be kept with heretics” and “that kings excommunicated forfeit their crowns and kingdoms.”[34] Such a church interferes with civil affairs and therefore affairs that are outside the proper domain of religion. xڝWM��6��W�V��Z%���t�N2I{�o�h�k�+��H��������M;ӓH�G�b�>b��/�O�o�/~}�/��,��Gi�&��QV�$��h�F_��͆���(�6�����Ǔ:υ߷�J�LD��%���1ã����M*X�0�ӀCi�{'D���sj�坙W`C�Q �2)EN����#�M���#|�Ԭ��( v�2��BK���y����0s�����$�F �Ɖ` �u��{��+�V�ʪ�Q�K �.D��IVC4���8����U�V�4���ތ��~4�VI���ק�=��@,�ϊDdi��gD�=�.54��

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