Title: "Hobbes’s New Religion?"
Hobbes’s religious views have puzzled his readers since the moment he published his works, and especially following the publication of Leviathan. His materialism and his denial of the reality of ‘incorporeal substances’ have led many to believe that he was an atheist, albeit somewhat closeted, and while at his time this was considered a slur, today it is a prominent scholarly interpretation. While the debate of Hobbes’s atheism might have reached a somewhat inconclusive peak, there is still a need to investigate further what he was (and was not) trying to do when he wrote about God. God, Hobbes argued famously, is incomprehensible to us, and therefore there is not much that we can say about Him. Yet, throughout his writings he approached the topic more than once and came close to describing God in a number of ways, including the notion of God as the first mover or even a watchmaker as well as the notion of God as a fluid and perhaps ethereal spirit. While it is not clear that these notions can be reconciled with one another, this paper will ask why Hobbes said what he did at specific points in time, and suggest that what was truly and primarily important for him was to expose the ways in which the clergy utilised God to gain independent political power.