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Locke, Toleration Letter

Locke, Toleration Letter - John Locke A Letter Concerning...

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John Locke: A Letter Concerning Toleration 10/03/06 I. A Letter concerning Toleration A. Locke's big concern is the same as Hobbes': order. 1. Hobbes said it doesn't matter what you do, but what you think. But people didn't buy this 2. Locke turns things around as says that peace is based upon accepting diversity. a. Both Hobbes and Locke agree that religion is a private matter. Hobbes thinks there must be something publicly uniform, but Locke disagrees. B. Locke says that oppression leads to sedition. The cause of disorder is not diversity of opinion (which is inevitable), but oppression (p. 55) 1. We cannot have conformity because it does not lead to order. We must not only accept religious diversity, but we must ignore it in the public arena. 2. But to do this, Locke must denote what is public and what is private and what Christianity is all about. II. In Locke's day, religion and government were one in the same. Religion was a political institution. A. Many people did not trust peasants with their own salvation. The elite felt that it was their job to instruct and educate the peasants on their salvation. 1. Locke says that this is wrong. We have two spheres of life: Public and private. a. Religion is private, and politics is public (p. 26) b. A civil authority's job is to advance society's civil interests. The church's job is to care for our soul's, which is no one's business but our own (p. 27) 2. We don't hurt anyone if we care for our soul's badly (p. 35). After all, there are many important things in an individual's life that the state ignored, so why should it not ignore an individual's salvation? a. There are certain things that are private (p. 34). Locke is trying to list the things that are of a private matter, and so the state should not bother us. B. (p. 23) Locke argues that religion should not be about political power, but about virtue. 1. One of the key reasons why we have a state is to regulate men's disputes regarding property. When man's interests collide, the state should act as an arbiter 2. But there is no reason why religious beliefs should collide with another's beliefs C. Locke also asserts that the ruler has no true knowledge to the route of salvation.
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