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To Be Free, Religion Should Keep Herself Free

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Chapter Summary

When we speak about freedom of religion, the first thought that comes to mind is that the government must guarantee this freedom. Religion should keep itself free from the state and also free from any other influence that could threaten its integrity. This chapter argues that this perspective is even more important than the calling of the government. It also argues that true religion is free in itself and cannot be touched by laws or actions of the government or people who have different convictions. In order to save this freedom, religion should have a specific attitude towards the state. The author builds the argument from a Christian perspective and, even more precise, from early Christian convictions. Since the fourth century, these convictions have been overruled by later developments, but - precisely because they were basic for early Christianity - they have been present in Christian thought until now.

Keywords: early Christian convictions; freedom of religion; government; state

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