Sure, Hythloday spends a lot of time discussing religion, but it's also one of the subjects that keeps his readers guessing. Why? Well, it's a pretty hot topic, and since More was writing Utopia at a time of major religious upheaval (think Reformation, burning at the stake, heretics, all that scary stuff), you didn't want to be caught saying something too controversial on the subject. What we do know about religion in Utopia is that most people believe in a single, God-like, all-powerful being who instills in us a moral code. But (and this is a big but) there's religious freedom to believe what you want. What do you make of that?
Questions About Religion
- What are the specific connections between religion and morality that Hythloday describes? How do Utopians see those two things as connected?
- What's the relationship, if any, between the Utopian religion and these religious characters we meet, specifically the Friar and Cardinal Morton?
- Compare and contrast Utopian religious customs with the customs of other major religions. How different is Utopian religion? Why?
- What is Hythloday's opinion on religion? Other than reporting the practices of the Utopians, what else, if anything, do we learn about his own belief and feelings on the topic?
Chew on This
The Utopians don't actually have a religion; they just follow a collection of philosophical observations.
The fact that Utopians aren't Christian (the only acceptable religion in More's world) is proof that he didn't actually intend Utopia to be a model society.