• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

''What is boasted of at the present time as the revival of religion is always in narrow and uncultivated minds, at least as much the revival of bigotry'' - Review Mill's attitude to religion: authority, creed and the heretic.

Extracts from this document...

Introduction

''What is boasted of at the present time as the revival of religion is always in narrow and uncultivated minds, at least as much the revival of bigotry.'' Review Mill's attitude to religion: authority, creed and the heretic especially in the light of this comment. J S Mill was especially interested in 'on Liberty' with the important social matter of morality and conduct. As these issues are so widely influenced by the dominant religious belief of that time, religion morality is where Mill focuses his attention. As is all to clear from the title quotation, Mill did not share the common view held by the majority in the Victorian ages concerning religion. To fully understand Mill's view on Christianity, heretics and authority we must comprehend exactly what Mill recognised religion to actually be. Mill comes to a conclusion that religion is to be judged chiefly by the ideal they present of a Perfect Being, who is a guide to conscience. This results in the aspect which most regard as the thing that most greatly divides two beliefs -the presence or absence of transcendental beliefs- being pushed aside and not aiding the choice between two religions (Christianity and the religion of humanity is used as a comparison). ...read more.

Middle

(p.91/92 #18). This conclusion is reached as it follows that that the believers are only prevented from lying by the fear of hell. Mill was deeply aware of the fact that progression and long term fundamental change was driven by ideas and beliefs rather than legislation and economic powers. Those ideas that prevail, shape the future of the development of societies. Mill saw the church as producing a society that thought themselves were infallible, as their beliefs had never been questioned. To explain the 'mischief' this behaviour can cause Mill dipped into various ages to pluck out some examples where a good idea or an original personality has been crushed by the public coercion of infallible beliefs. 'History teems with instances of truth put down by persecution. If not suppressed forever, it may be thrown back for centuries. To speak only of religious opinions: the Reformation broke out at least twenty times before Luther, and was put down. Arnold of Brescia was put down.' Mill's first longer example is that of Socrates; 'the head and prototype of all subsequent teachers of virtue, the source equally of the lofty inspiration of Plato and the judicious utilitarianism of Aristotle'.(p.84 # 12) ...read more.

Conclusion

Is Mill asking for the impossible? For the Christian church to be dissolved, for people to have liberty regarding opinion, speech and actions and also for them to avoid the sways of others and remain original. Christianity is an institution in which many find immense joy and salvation, comfort and protection. To tell a nation that they are completely wrong and must not take what they think they know about morals and beliefs to be true may further deepen their ties with the church. Mill believes that education is the key, and the elite, cultured minds can lead the majority into a progressive, cultured society. It is not unreasonable for Mill to recognise that the church is a limiting factor on individuals freedom and wish for that limitation to be removed. - Mill believed a religion could occur if one believed in a theory, idea or anything not necessarily involving a deity. Bentham and Mill shared a basic belief that Christianity was corrupt and authoritative, this lead to the conclusion a new religion should be created. In 1801 Bentham remarked, 'A new religion would be an odd sort of thing without a name - I propose utilitarianism. ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our AS and A Level Christianity section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related AS and A Level Christianity essays

  1. The Ideas of Hell and Purgatory: A Wide Shift from Then to Now.

    "By developing his philosophy through the medium of poetry, Dante opened up new possibilities for Christian rhetoric that combined beauty with sacred truth . . .His poetic accomplishment in the Divine Comedy was widely regarded by Italian scholars as an advance in Christian philosophy" (Chidester 235).

  2. Compare and contrast the key features of Natural Moral Law & Virtue Ethics

    but the intent must also be moral (E.G. Altruism). For example lying to protect someone's feeling is a good interior act because of the good intent but a bad exterior act because part of the nature of man is to know truth and obstructing this is unnatural.

  1. With Reference to other aspects of Human Experience explore the claim that there will ...

    In 1959 the 14th Dalai Lama was forced into exile by the Chinese government. In 1951 the Chinese military pressured the Dalai Lama to ratify a seventeen-point agreement which permitted the People's Republic of China to take control of Tibet.

  2. Outline the Roman Empire's attitude to Christianity until the end of the first century.

    This time though the persecutions were different in nature in that he did not search out the Christian community as a group but sought out individuals by stealth. Domitian is described by Bernard as: "A jealous man who went in fear of his life.

  1. Define Religious Authority

    The longer tradition goes on for, the more authority it has which is shown in the Catholic Church where its authority stretches all the way to St Peter who was the first Bishop in Rome so therefore the first Pope.

  2. Gods omniscience and omnibenevolence are compatible. Discuss.

    God simply acts as an observer outside of time. As God?s knowledge does not force us to do anything- so humans do have free will- God is justified in judging and punishing humans. If this is the case, then omniscience and omnibenevolence are compatible. A number of philosophers questioned Boethius? understanding of an ?eternal? God, seeing past, present and future at the same time.

  1. Critically assess the view that sin always has serious consequences

    These two cases of the sin of homosexuality and its consequences show that over hundreds of years, the consequences of sin may becoming less serious.

  2. Christianization throughout History. I wanted to find out the true origins of the ...

    decided to adopt their rituals and give them Christian significance in order to make the transition easier. But perhaps there is another, more primitive reason. People enjoy celebrations and festivities, and do not care for the most part who or what the celebration honors.

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work