In A Letter Concerning Toleration, John Locke critically develops an account of the
religious toleration that aid explains the separation of state and eventually the church. In his
work, John Locke tried to develop a consistent as well as a logical defense that is associated with religious toleration. This conceptual paper explores the scope and deficiencies related to Locke’s project.
Though Locke advances a consistent as well as logical defense of religious toleration, it
is quite unfortunate that his argument is grounded on deficient definitions. Besides that, his
argument is based on tenuous assumptions about the concepts of reasoning, salvation and natural morality. Moreover, Locke’s view assumes superficial and often unclear division amid secular and different religious beliefs that fail to explain the correlation among government, churches as well as individuals in the society. Besides that, philosophy has been subjected to changes since the emancipation of Locke’s project thus it does not account for expansion of government, the concept of epistemology and religious pluralism.
Locke tried to clearly make distinction amid religious matters and the issue of civic authority upon which all this is not true. Though it may be thought that civil authorities can act without prejudice upon any particular organization, it does not indicate that citizens can refrain from making decisions that favor a specific religion for instance choosing of leaders. Though the role of the government in the model represented by Locke model is limited, sometimes the government is forced to intervene in the society in order to protect the interests of some religious groups.
In conclusion, religion is not autonomous according to natural revelation. On top of that,
epistemology has evolved beyond proto-empiricism and it is quite evident that Locke is after
simple natural revelation to account for social ethics. The role of church and the government are quite different in the present world thus his distinctions do not fit.