more from Baruch de Spinoza

Single Idea 19927

[catalogued under 25. Social Practice / E. Policies / 2. Religion in Society]

Full Idea

No one would be obliged by law if he considered it against his faith, and everyone could claim licence to do anything. Since the law of the state would then be wholly violated, it follows that the right of deciding about religion belongs to the sovereign.

Gist of Idea

State and religious law can clash, so the state must make decisions about religion


Baruch de Spinoza (Tractatus Theologico-Politicus [1670], 16.21)

Book Reference

Spinoza,Benedict de: 'Theological-Political Treatise', ed/tr. Israel,Jonathan [CUP 2007], p.206

A Reaction

This is an era when British puritans emigrate to America, because the state is not sufficiently tolerant. The needs of sovereignty and of religion can be very far apart. You can see those with great religious devotion not liking this idea.