Hobbes and Public Religion
This chapter focuses on Thomas Hobbes’ theories of public religion. It argues that Hobbes’ particular take on the fundamental threat of religiously inspired violence to the security and civil peace of Europe allowed him to make a set of novel assertions about the proper relationship between state and religion, without any reference to the divine. The Hobbesian approach to public religion is essential to understanding the nature of the Enlightenment. It also opens up a historical perspective on an approach to contemporary conflicts over public religion. This perspective is preferable to the approach most widely adopted in the West: that spelled out in the works of John Locke.
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