`In every civilized community': Hume on belief and the demise of religion

This paper considers the claim that Hume washostile to religion and religious belief, andhoped for their demise. Part one examines hisapproach to belief, showing how commentatorstake him to see religious belief asnon-natural. Part two challenges thisconclusion by arguing, first, that Hume'sdistinction between natural and artificialvirtue allows the term ``natural'' to coverreligious belief as well; second, that Humehimself never denies religious belief isnatural, and, third, that he takes religion tobe a necessary part of any flourishing society. The target of Hume's critical remarks onreligion, it is then emphasized, are forms of``false'' religion, which arise from thecorrupting influence of passion, hypocrisy,bigotry, enthusiasm, and superstition. Atbest, it is concluded, the claim that Hume washostile to religion requires qualification,while the view that he was in favor of itsactual demise is largely unwarranted.
Keywords Hume  belief  religion
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DOI 10.1023/B:RELI.0000034612.68209.02
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Hume's Phenomenology of the Imagination.Timothy M. Costelloe - 2007 - Journal of Scottish Philosophy 5 (1):31-45.
A More Dangerous Enemy? Philo's “Confession” and Hume's Soft Atheism.Benjamin Cordry - 2011 - International Journal for Philosophy of Religion 70 (1):61-83.
The Potential Use-Value of Hume's ‘True Religion’.Andre C. Willis - 2015 - Journal of Scottish Philosophy 13 (1):1-15.

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