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Apr 11, 2013

Thoughts of John Locke on Holocaust Day


Recent articles on Holocaust Day have drawn comments that religion is a big contributor to violence and even genocide.  I think the problem is not religion itself, but rather the claim that what any individual believes to be the word of God should be held superior to other views by secular authority and forced on those who disagree.  I got this opinion while reading books by John Locke, starting in philosophy class in college.  The professor didn't think he was much of a philosopher, but I thought he was great.  Locke argued that government derives its power and legitimacy from the consent of the governed.  His views were extremely influential in the formulation of the government the US has today.  Please take a look at the wikipedia entry for John Locke, and in particular his views on religious toleration.   He was a very religious man who argued that human judges could not dependably evaluate competing versions of the word of God.  According to Locke, “No private person has any right to encroach in any way on another person’s civil goods because he declares his allegiance to another church or religion. Anything that a man has as a matter of human rights or civil rights is to remain inviolably his.”  Locke’s argument for toleration lead to the First Amendment provisions for freedom of religion.
Original article on Holocaust Day:
Wikipedia entry for John Locke
Source of Locke Quotation

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