Hobbes believed that religion represented a serious threat to the stability and strength of government. He lived at a time when religious conflict was rife throughout Europe, leading to bloody wars that cost the lives of tens of thousands of people, most of whom were ordinary citizens.
As a crypto-atheist, Hobbes had nothing but contempt for the truth-value of religion but still accepted that it had an important role to play in minimizing conflict within society. To that end, the argued for the establishment of a state religion to which everyone in his ideal commonwealth would pay outward obeisance. Hobbes had no desire to quarrel with men's consciences, but he did believe that everyone should conform to certain religious practices so as to reduce tensions between the various denominations.
In Hobbes's system of government, the absolute sovereign decides what outward forms the state religion should take. How people worship, which passages from the Bible are to be preached from the...
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