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Lecture 2

SOSC 3375 Lecture Notes - Lecture 2: Hijab, Idolatry, Omnipotence

Social Science
Course Code
SOSC 3375
Tanja Juric

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Locke had concerns about the freedom of expression and the preservation of individual
voice (from and to a group)
o He attempts to preserve the individual voice through limiting state authority over
individual concerns
Ex; religious beliefs/practices
See how they are labelled as either private or public concerns
Aka the separation thesis
Locke’s arguments regarding separation of state and religious beliefs
o A way to preserving individual rights and freedoms
Especially if their voice differs from the majority or those in power
o A way to advocate tolerance amongst a diverse citizenry
A way to ensure that we can manage a greater diverse in society
We don’t necessarily to agree but we have to allow people to have the
space to practice their own private religious traditions
To actively/forcibly convert others is un-Christian
o Preserve the freedom of conscious, freedom of decision, tolerance, etc
o He doesn’t want to put people in the position to look towards the state to
determine their private needs
“No one… neither single persons nor churches, nay, nor even
commonwealths, have any just title to invade the civil rights or worldly
goods of each other on pretence of religion”
No one has the right to invade your civil rights and how you can express
Not the state or the church
o Why does he say that it’s un-Christian to actively/forcibly convert others?
It is not Christian not to be tolerant
Forced Conversion would lead to a state of war between the parties involved
Does this apply to all religions? Would Locke say that all religions should refrain from
imposing conversion?
“I esteem it above all things necessary to distinguish exactly the business of civil
government from that of religion and to settle the just bounds that lie between the one
and the other”
Separation thesis and freedom of religion
o Basis for modern democracy
o Cornerstone for the American constitution
Which advocates the separation of the church and the state
Without a clear distinction between the two:
o Care of the commonwealth will be distorted by personal beliefs and will not be
the priority as it should be
o These are ideals and in practice, it is not so clear and it’s hard to always put
away your personal beliefs
Locke had a serious objection to atheists
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