Examine Burke’s Views on Religion and Toleration – Essay

However, he castigated all those who corrupted and attacked religion as being destructive of all authority, thereby undermining equity, justice, and order the foundations of human society.

Burke did not quarrel with the atheists as long as they did nothing to publicly attack or subvert religion. While he began to dislike Hume for his open contempt of religion, he remained friendly with the irreligious Smith, even though the latter blamed Roman Catholicism for impeding economic and political progress, but there was no denunciation or revolt against religion. Burke’s critique of the French Revolution was also due to the latter’s anti-clericalism.

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The famous cry “hang the bishops from the lampposts” during the early days of the Revolution was an indication of the “insolent irreligious in opinions and practices’.’. The nationalisation of the Church’s property by the National Assembly in 1790 was a move against traditional religion, and represented the larger goal of subverting establishing authority and civil society.

The revolutionary fervour only fostered hatred, animosity and suspicion, rather than affection and trust. It undermined the traditional civilising ties of the French citizens. Burke placed a great deal of emphasis on manners and etiquette that controlled passions and will.

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