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Freedom, Religious Liberty, and the Church


Christianity plays a foundational role in shaping key concepts of personal, religious, and political freedom – concepts that are too often assumed nowadays to be secular in origin. The creation of all humanity in God’s image, God’s forging of covenants with Israel, Jesus's command to love one’s neighbour, and the Reformed doctrine of Common Grace – these and other key Christian beliefs catalysed subsequent movements defined by liberty of conscience and emergent forms of rights and democracy. Yet whereas these principles were rooted in profoundly communal commitments to church and godly society, certain Enlightenment philosophies came increasingly to present individual and societal freedom as freedom from belief in God and from the Church and its moral teaching.