John Locke Tolerance Essay

Famous English Scholar Edward Forrester once said, “Tolerance is a dull virtue. It is boring. Unlike love, it has always had a bad press. It is negative. It merely means putting up with people, being able to stand things. No one has ever written an ode to tolerance, or raised a statue to her. Yet this is the quality which will be most needed”. Technically, one can come to “tolerate” only beliefs or practices of which one disapproves. For example, the U.S. tolerates pornography, but not such things as empathy, integrity, or intellectual achievement. But a proponent of a democracy the Framers supported recognizes the mere tolerance of those who are different, is inefficient and instead are concerned with extending to them equality and respect. …show more content…
Locke frequently argued an individual should have the ability to freely choose religious truth instead of being compelled to do so. In his Letter Concerning Toleration, Locke stated, “[N]o other human being or institution has any authority regarding the relation between an individual and God: each one stands alone before God, on the basis of his own conviction and conscience”. Locke stressed the freedom of an individual’s integrity was of upmost importance and any attempts by a government or a church to dampen such freedoms should be looked upon with disdain. According to Locke, the old strong-arm uniformity of church and state had to concede its power to liberty of individual conscience. Locke’s thoughts in regards to this liberty of conscience was Protestant, and theological, harping on religious reasons for desiring free conscience over the claims the church or government had been entitled to in the past. Nonetheless, Locke’s theological beliefs matured into legal and political principles. If Locke is correct, as the Framers believe he was, governments and churches cannot compel “religious truths” upon its citizens, such truth is reserved to the individual. Locke himself theorized, “[N]o side has good reasons to declare its own convictions the only truth and impose it on others by legal or political means”. Thus, arguments for separation of church and state, the encouragement of religious freedom, and tolerance for a wide plethora of religions, are present in Locke’s teachings. Locke however had limits to his tolerance, he believed atheists and Catholics, “…are not to be

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