A Letter Concerning Toleration

In: Philosophy and Psychology

Submitted By louistw1234
Words 653
Pages 3
In John Locke's A Letter Concerning Toleration, he contends that government has no authority over people who neglect their souls, health, and estate (406). From Locke's perspective, government's only aim is to protect one's property. By making laws that protect the property of the people from the harm of others, a government makes its citizens more autonomous. However, government's authority to establish laws comes from the consent of people who forfeit some of their natural rights (Locke, 304). In a sense, people have to give up some of their right in order to achieve greater autonomous. Because Locke believes that each person is his or her best judge of what he or she wants, as long as a person does not damage other's body or property, government should not interfere with his or her life. With regard to the relationship between government and religion, Locke states that "the care of souls does not belong to the magistrate" (Locke, 405). Put simply, government should not coerce anyone into a certain religion or belief because the purpose of government is to protect people's property. Even though the only authority that religious groups have is to care for one's soul, religious groups should not force other people to believe in their doctrines because each individual has the freedom to choose his belief. Although Locke admits that there is only "one true way to eternal happiness," he believes that no man knows which path is right(Locke, 407). As the result, no one, not even the magistrate, should have a say to one's religious belief. In fact, Locke argues that it is up to the individual to discover his belief and care for his soul, and neither God nor the consent of men elects magistrates to guide men to the true religion. Although I agree with most of Locke's ideas, I disagree with Locke's argument that government has no authority over a person who neglects…...

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