Abstract: This paper aims to explain why David Hume supported the religious establishment despite his anti-clericalism. First, the Church of England could be regarded as a happy medium between two forms of false religion: superstition and enthusiasm. Second, Hume’s concern over “the tyranny of priests” led him to advocate a spiritual establishment bound to secular authority. Hume’s Erastianism does not contradict his opinion that civil magistrates should maintain impartiality in religious matters: both views reflect his thoroughly secular attitude towards religious institutions. Despite alleged differences between Hume and Adam Smith, they shared much common ground in their approach to religious institutions.
Journal of the History of Ideas – University of Pennsylvania Press
Published: May 4, 2012