Tomorrow, I am attending a philosophy conference at Houston Baptist University. The funny thing is, the theme is Agency and Action in Philosophy and Theology, but I am presenting a paper on religious freedom. Hopefully, someone will want to come to my paper presentation, even though I’m not dealing with middle knowledge, quantum physics, or the neuro-biological challenge to free will.
In this paper entitled “Trends in the Justification of Religious Freedom, 1600-Present,” I will try to do four things: 1) present a brief historical overview to show that the principle of religious freedom has been argued on a theological basis since the first century, 2) show that in the twentieth century, the theological underpinnings for religious freedom have been taken away, leaving ambiguity and incoherence in its wake, 3) look at the Manhattan Declaration as an attempt to recover a theological justification for religious freedom, and 4) show that the Manhattan Declaration is not an inconsistent statement, but is a good start toward recovering the lost theological foundation for religious freedom.
In short, my argument is that theology has served as the basis for religious freedom for centuries until recently, and if those theological underpinnings are not restored, religious freedom will be a thing of the past.
Here is the paper if you’d like to read it.