John Locke’s Views on Religion and Science
John Locke is one of the most renowned philosophers of the 17th century. He is known for his contributions to the fields of epistemology, political philosophy, and theology. In this essay, we will focus on Locke’s views on religion and science.
2. John Locke’s View Regarding Religion and Science
Locke wrote that there are two types of ideas namely simple and complex ideas. He explained ideas as the objects of one’s thought and understanding that exist in the human mind. Simple ideas are those that can be apprehended by a single sensation or a single reflection whereas complex ideas are combinations of simple ideas.
According to Locke, the source of all our Ideas is either Sensation or Reflection. Sensation is when the Soul is affected with an external Object and Reflection is when the Soul turns its View inward upon itself and considers what it perceives within itself ( Locke, 1690).
From these two sources combined, Locke believed that we get all our complex ideas. He further classified complex ideas into three categories which are substances, modes, and relations.
Substances are things that exist independently whereas modes are dependent on substances. Relations are established between substances and Modes (Locke, 1690). For example, the idea of human beings is a substance as humans exist independently. The mode would be what characteristics make up a human being such as height, weight, race, etc. The relation would be how humans interact with each other such as family relations, social relations, etc.
When it comes to religion, Locke believed that it was a combination of both revelation and reason. Revelation is when God reveals himself to humans through different means such as prophets or scriptures. Reason is when humans use their own faculties to try and understand God (Locke, 1690). For example, when trying to understand the concept of Trinity, we use our reason to try and comprehend it but we will never fully understand it as it is beyond our human capacity. However, we rely on revelation (scripture) to give us insight into this concept.
In terms of science, Locke believed that we should use our reason to try and understanding the natural world but at the same time, we should also be cautious not to overstep our bounds. He argued that there are some things that are beyond our understanding and should be left to God (Locke, 1690). For example, we may never fully understand how the universe was created but we can use our reason to try and come up with different theories.
John Locke was a renowned philosopher who made significant contributions to the fields of epistemology, political philosophy, and theology. In this essay, we focused on Locke’s views on religion and science. We saw that Locke believed that religion was a combination of both revelation and reason while science should be used to try and understanding the natural world but at the same time be cautious not too overstep our bounds.