Did Locke and other classical liberals ground their theories in religious principles?

I would say that the primary influence on later classical liberals were earlier folks who grounded much of their thinking in religious principles. The philosophies of Locke, Hobbes, Paine, Smith, Price, Mill, Malthus, Rousseau, Montesquieu, Tucker, Paley and countless other influences on classical liberalism were profoundly anchored in Christian/Deist/monotheist religious convictions — albeit convictions that were moderated (or expanded, as the case may be) by the empiricism, humanism and rationalism of the Enlightenment. There are notable exceptions, of course, such as Hume and possibly Mandeville — who were nevertheless reacting to mainstream religion in much of their thinking, and so still shaped by it — but by-and-large the inspiration for classical liberalism can be traced to Christian philosophy and Deist/monotheistic sentiments. At the same time, we can also say that many, if not most of these thinkers railed against the institutional conformism and organized religion of their times. In this light, there is a certain irony that the evolutions and descendants of classical liberalism itself have become so pronounced in their essentially anti-Christian, greed-centric, hyper-individualistic ethos.

My 2 cents.

From Quora question: https://www.quora.com/Did-Locke-and-other-classical-liberals-ground-their-theories-in-religious-principles/answer/T-Collins-Logan


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