John Lockes Argument for Religious Intolerance

Submit a 1250 words paper on the topic John Lockes Argument for Religious Intolerance. When we look at Locke’s words through the screen of time, we find inconsistencies and can make several objections to his ideas about religious freedom as it was presented by him during the seventeenth century under the title of A Letter Concerning Toleration. It is possible that each person in the world could come up with their own definition of what is being intolerant and what is not therefore my definition may be different from someone else’s. With that in mind, I believe intolerance is the behavior exhibited a person or a group which does not accept or respect the differences they have with another person or group in matters of faith or personal opinions. While this definition is broad enough to include political opinions, the paper is concerned with religious intolerance therefore that will somewhat limit the scale of the discussion. Locke’s letter was first published in 1689 and he initially wrote it in Latin. It was considered radical for its time since the ideas presented in the letter were very liberal to the people who read them (Wikipedia, 2006). It must be kept in mind that society was totally different in those times and only a few hundred years before this letter, people were being burnt at the stake for their faith. Even during those times, persons from different faiths were being spat at in the streets and mocked in staged comedies. Religion had led to armed strife between nations since the protestant reformation in the church had led to wars between countries. Finally, the treaty of Westphalia had taken place just a few years before the writing of the letter to end a bloody war of religion. It was in this context that religious toleration was most required to prevent a relapse into civil war. Locke’s objective for writing about religious toleration seems to be less about the goodness of his heart or his hatred for the Catholics.

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