Douglas Den Uyl
Publications by Douglas Den Uyl
In this essay we seek to discuss the relationship between religion and politics in the political theory of Spinoza. Since Spinoza’s politics is grounded in power, we must make an effort to understand the contribution both politics and religion make to the power of the state. In this connection our starting point is not one of arguing that Spinoza first seeks to undermine religion for the sake of some secular project. Rather, Spinoza saw religion as a necessary feature of political life. The problem then becomes one of reconciling some of the central features of religion with those of politics. This process of reconciliation alters the character of both religion and politics, and we outline the elements of that alteration. The concepts of justice and charity play a critical role in this process. We also examine the way in which piety and salvation are reconstituted. Finally, some speculation on the implications of a transformed religion and politics are noted at the end of this essay.
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