Religion in the Leviathan Term Paper

Pages: 4 (968 words)  ·  Bibliography Sources: 0  ·  File: .docx  ·  Level: College Senior  ·  Topic: Mythology - Religion

Religion in the Leviathan

The Leviathan is one of western philosophy's most interesting commentaries on religion. But before understanding Hobbes' comments on religion, first we must tackle his overarching principles in constructing the work in the first place.

Hobbes in Leviathan argues that civil peace and social unity are best found by the construction of a commonwealth through social contract. Hobbes' ideal society is ruled by a sovereign power tasked and empowered to protect the commonwealth's security and is assigned absolute authority to ensure the common defense.

Indeed, Hobbes invested so much in his idea of the commonwealth that he calls the commonwealth an "artificial person" and finds it a body politic that actually mimics the human body. Hence, the name Leviathan, or sea monster. That is the commonwealth's personified form.

The Leviathan has four books: Of Man, of Common-wealth, of a Christian Common-wealth and of the Kingdome of Darknesse. The of Man book contains Hobbes' most challenging and adventurous views on religion.

In general, Hobbes' believes that reason dictates that the universe was first set into play by a "Prime Mover." Although one cannot divine the Prime Mover itself by reason alone, the causes of all "things" emanating from the Prime Mover's initial work are discernible by philosophy.

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Of course, Hobbes believed that Christianity was the only true religion, the only venue for understanding the Prime Mover. Improper reasoning on the part of Man has produced the other (false) religions, and also engendered much confusion and political strife.

In fact, Hobbes takes pointed shots at paganism, incorporeal spirits, ghosts, angels and demons that are so integral, in his mind, to the false religions. He spurns them and argues that they cannot truly account for any observed phenomena.

Term Paper on Religion in the Leviathan the Leviathan Is Assignment

But Hobbes does not entirely dismiss the false religions. He does acknowledge that all religion has a similar purpose: they function to control fear and strive towards attaining peace. However, only Christianity, the true religion in Hobbes' mind, corresponds to the correct conclusions drawn by properly induced philosophy, and only proper philosophy can teach us how to attain and maintain a stable peace.

Hobbes himself writes, in Chapter 12, "Religion, in Man Onely Seeing there are no signes, nor fruit of Religion, but in Man onely; there is no cause to doubt, but that the seed of Religion, is also onely in Man; and consisteth in some peculiar quality, or at least in some eminent degree thereof, not to be found in other Living creatures." (Leviathan, Chapter 12).

Hobbes links religion inextricably to man. He does not need to actually use logic to defend the existence of religion, because he believes religion is the one true pre-logical occurrence. Only man appreciates religion - no other creatures do - and religion exists in a plane that does not conflict with logic or philosophical meanderings.

Hobbes continues with, "For being assured that there be causes of all things… [END OF PREVIEW] . . . READ MORE

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