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date: 15 December 2019

Abstract and Keywords

Historical religion depends on “errour of reasoning” concerning invisible spirits and “trusting to other men.” Hobbes replaces the erroneous inference with argument for the existence of the “First Mover,” then replaces psychological subservience to purported spokesmen of God—a rhetorical faith—with rational trust in the Christian sovereign. Because worship of an imaginary invisible power, on whom man’s felicity and misery is thought to depend, is an inevitable production of human nature, it is a sovereign’s task to restrict worship within the bounds of the natural manifestations of honor and submissiveness and to purge it of all supernatural, metaphysical, and mysterious aspects invented by churches. Furthermore, religion must be purified from all theological “superstructures” involving an idea of God that goes beyond the simple affirmation of its existence as a being. Because of this strict distinction between first mover (cause) and world (effect), Hobbes cannot be technically defined an atheist.

Keywords: Religion, faith, God, First Mover, worship, prophet, Scriptures

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