The Power Of Religion In Thomas Hobbes's Leviathan

715 Words3 Pages
Hobbes was an unusual Christian and presents himself as the first true political philosopher to offer exact knowledge of justice, sovereignty, and citizenship. Hobbes claimed that his systematic political science would build a more stable, peaceful, and productive society. Indeed, he was one of the first to recognize the potential power of religion to strengthen (as well as to undermine) the commonwealth. Thomas Hobbes’s Leviathan influenced the early modern traditional Christian political theology, and questions about Hobbes’s view on religion persist in his work, even until today. This paper will discuss Hobbes’s central work Leviathan and his perspective on sovereignty and the sovereign’s power in connection with religion (more specifically so, Christianity) found in a close analysis of Book 3 (in particular, in chapter 12). We chose these chapter as it offers his most direct discussion of religion and the sovereign power.
Hobbes 's own views of religion are the subject, to some degree, of scholarly debate. He was strongly opposed to scholasticism and Roman Catholicism and trended toward materialism and rationalism in his overall philosophy. Nevertheless, he does argue that his form of political absolutism is well-suited to
…show more content…
Hobbes insists that the sovereign must possess the authority to determine the public observance of religion. In Hobbes’s opinion, religion is a key threat to the public 's peace and thus Hobbes is concerned with Church authorities which make spiritual claims with political intent, as they call for an individual opinion to take priority over the common agreement represented by the political sovereign. Hobbes likens the obedience of subject to its sovereign to that of a monk to the pope, with the main difference being that the subjects owe only outward obedience to the commands of the sovereign. Hence, subjects must be allowed to believe whatever they want, as long as they do not try to influence public argument with their personal

More about The Power Of Religion In Thomas Hobbes's Leviathan

Open Document