Om Miltons Vision
No other writer is so grudgingly admired as Milton. He wrote great poetry, goes the received wisdom, but his creed was narrow, chilling, and inhuman. His reputation is that of a stereotypical Puritan and authoritarian. Yet Theo Hobson maintains that no one opposed religious authoritarianism with such vehemence. Indeed, he argues that no one was so adamant that political freedom is built into the Christian gospel. Milton insisted that Protestantism was compatible with political liberty-that the two ideas are complementary. By treating all ecclesiastical authority with suspicion, he helped to establish the modern ideal of secularism. He was a Christian libertarian who wanted every form of church to wither away, so that the Gospel might be completely free of coercion. Miltons Vision is thus a vital contribution to the contemporary debate about the place of religion in public life. There has never been a study of Milton that highlights his relevance to the core issues of our day: how religion gives rise to and interacts with secular ideals.