Liberalism and Christianity



Smith, Matthew

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What is the relationship between liberalism and Christianity? In this thesis, I analyze this question from both a historical and philosophical perspective. Historically, liberalism owes something to Christianity, as liberal ideas were encouraged by the Reformation. However, we have reached a point today in our liberal culture where it seems that Christianity and liberalism are at odds. Examining works from Guido de Ruggiero, John Locke, Ludwig von Mises, L.T. Hobhouse, Alan Wolfe, as well as Supreme Court jurisprudence on religious free exercise, I trace the relationship between liberalism and religion over time. Ultimately, I argue that liberalism has become increasingly intolerant toward Christianity as a result of the liberal temper. This temper places the pursuit of freedom over any specific belief practices. Today liberals may seem to expect religious believers to sacrifice their convictions for the sake of the novel freedoms. In the end, both liberals and religionists bear a responsibility to address this dilemma moving forward.



Political Science., Liberalism., Christianity., Political Philosophy., Political Theology.