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Locke - Book Report/Review Example

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He was then urged to publish this letter on toleration; it was accordingly printed in Latin in 1689. In the same year it was translated into English and published in London. Locke's Letter aroused an antagonist--in Queen's College, Oxford--and led to a second and a third letter in 1690 and 1692. His death in 1704 prevented the completion of a fourth in defense of his position.
The stand taken by Locke made him a great champion of religious liberty. Locke believed that every church is orthodox to itself, that it is more important to root out immorality than to eliminate sects, that outward force cannot compel the understanding, that magistrates should be limited in their use of force to the preservation of peace. He held that the church might dismiss members, but that they should not be roughly used. Locke used interesting illustrations, he supposed that an Arminian and a Calvinist church in Constantinople acted as they have in western Europe, the Turks would laugh at them. Locke also supposed a small group of Christians settling in a pagan country, where they are tolerated, grow stronger, and assume power. "Are they then to overthrow idolatory" Locke's answer is an emphatic negative.
Moreover, John Locke discussed fully the limits of the civil power, a field in which he was very much interested. He then took up the various articles of faith, and the extent of toleration. Here the two men did not see eye to eye. Locke would not tolerate "opinions contrary to human society", or those, such as Catholics, who "arrogate to themselves some peculiar prerogatives", or a church so constituted that "its members, ipso facto, deliver themselves to the service and protection of another prince". Locke included Mohammedans under this head. Nor would he tolerate those who do not believe in God. He listed, as worthy of toleration, Presbyterians, Independents, Anabaptists, Arminians, and Quakers, but was doubtful about Socinians, though they are not specifically excluded. The famous Toleration Act of 1689 did not measure up to the wishes of Locke. Catholics, Socinians, Jews, and pagans were given no privileges; the Dissenters, who did receive some relief, were still excluded, legally, from public office.
Locke argued that the purpose of government was to protect the rights of its citizens, but not meddle on their religion. Whenever a government violates that trust, the people may replace it with a new one. Locke's writings sought to justify the revolt of 1688 against the Stuart monarchy and the establishment of William and Mary as constitutional monarchs, subject to parliamentary rule, on the English throne. John Locke's difference with Saint Augustine (354-430) lies in the latter's notable writings, among them Confessions and The City of God. Saint Augustine made Plato's philosophy the basis of Christian ethics. Augustine's system was two-sided. On the one side, the life of reason leads to temporal well-being; on the other, faith leads to salvation and eternal happiness. The divine center of St. Augustine's arguments maintained a twofold sovereignty over human life. One aspect of this sovereignty was the idea of divine providence. God was held to govern the unfolding of human events in every detail. But God's governance was not coercive, at least not ideally so, and this brings us to the second aspect of divine sovereignty in Augustine. God required that human beings recognize and conform voluntarily to his governance; that is, he called ...Show more


1. Locke's A Letter, etc is the foundation for the modern separation of church and state (and the first amendment for the US constitution). What two authorities does Locke invoke in stating his case What is the purpose of politics for Locke Of Religion Compare his approach with that of St…
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Locke essay example
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