John Locke And Simons : A Letter Concerning Toleration And The New Birth

John Locke And Simons : A Letter Concerning Toleration And The New Birth

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One a rationalized philosopher, the other more akin to an Old Testament preacher of fire and brimstone, show a surprising similarity on the subject of religion and tolerance. Locke and Simons, authors of “A Letter Concerning Toleration” and “The New Birth” respectively, lay out paths that both contradict and condemn the systems in place by the Catholic Church of their day. Comparisons can also be made on the two men’s viewpoints on the ever-increasing amount of Christian religions coming into existence, how to live a Christian life, thinking critically, and the treatment of others. Though their works were written more than a century apart, there is an obvious connection in the thought process of Locke and Simons.
The Catholic Church was vastly influential throughout Europe; the clergy saw themselves as speakers of God on earth and used this stance to manipulate people and governments for earthly treasures and power. Locke and Simons, learned men of faith, both saw the issues inherent with claiming to be doing the Will of God while perpetuating violence and ritualistic ceremonies invented by man. Locke, in his 1689 work A Letter Concerning Toleration, says this on the subject of the hypocrisy between religious texts and the actions committed by Catholics:
“If the Gospel and the apostles may be credited, no man can be a Christian without charity and without that faith which works, not by force, but by love. Now, I appeal to the consciences of those that persecute, torment, destroy, and kill other men upon pretense of religion, whether they do it out of friendship and kindness towards them or no?” (Locke)
Locke questions and condemns Catholicism throughout his work and attempts to persuade the reader to think critically about w...

... middle of paper ...

...r sick?” (Locke)
It is never stated as fully as other issues regarding life throughout these works but the intent to drive those readers towards thinking critically is there within every paragraph of Locke and Simons works.
Despite the many differences of these men, Locke and Simons, there is a common strand of how to live life buried within these two works. The ideas of loving and tolerating your fellow man are prevalent throughout both works as well as the want for humans to think clearly for themselves and not to be led astray by the overly powerful Catholic Church and its priests. They had a drive to attempt to improve the conditions of life for people here on earth and to direct them to what they believed would be an afterlife of eternal bliss because of their actions here. Indeed, these two thinking men would have had much to discuss had they had the chance.

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