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Reforming LiberalismJ.S. Mill's Use of Ancient, Religious, Liberal, and Romantic Moralities$
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Robert Devigne

Print publication date: 2006

Print ISBN-13: 9780300112429

Published to Yale Scholarship Online: October 2013

DOI: 10.12987/yale/9780300112429.001.0001

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Reforming Reformed Religion: J. S. Mill's Critique of the Natural Religion of the Enlightenment

Reforming Reformed Religion: J. S. Mill's Critique of the Natural Religion of the Enlightenment

Chapter:
(p.138) Chapter 5 Reforming Reformed Religion: J. S. Mill's Critique of the Natural Religion of the Enlightenment
Source:
Reforming Liberalism
Author(s):

Robert Devigne

Publisher:
Yale University Press
DOI:10.12987/yale/9780300112429.003.0006

This chapter recounts how John Stuart Mill developed his critique for natural religion and proposed a Religion of Humanity in his political philosophy. The chapter first begins, however, with answering two important questions, namely: Why is it that Mill's most comprehensive statements on revealed Christianity, natural religion, and the Religion of Humanity are found in his Diary, private correspondence, and posthumous publications (Autobiography and the Three Essays on Religion)? The second question is why are Mill's criticisms of Christianity an understated or subordinate theme in the essays, more particularly On Liberty, published during his lifetime? These questions suggest that perhaps it was Mill's practice of a literary strategy of indirection, a strategy that is suggested to be one of self-protection from persecution or fear of social dissolution. The chapter then moves on to discuss Mill's development of the Religion of Humanity and how it shaped his political philosophy.

Keywords:   John Stuart Mill, natural religion, Religion of Humanity, political philosophy, Three Essays on Religion, On Liberty, criticisms of Christianity

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