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Religion, Intolerance, and ConflictA Scientific and Conceptual Investigation$
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Steve Clarke, Russell Powell, and Julian Savulescu

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780199640911

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2013

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199640911.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM OXFORD SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (oxford.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Oxford University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in OSO for personal use. date: 21 June 2021

Freedom, Toleration, and the Naturalness of Religion

Freedom, Toleration, and the Naturalness of Religion

(p.163) 9 Freedom, Toleration, and the Naturalness of Religion
Religion, Intolerance, and Conflict

Roger Trigg

Oxford University Press

This chapter examines the relationship between religious freedom and toleration. It distinguishes between two different Enlightenment views of religion. The first sees religion as a source of intolerance and a threat to scientific knowledge which should be kept out of the public sphere. On this view, the state should remain strictly secular while tolerating private religious practice. The competing view holds that we have a basic right to religious freedom. The chapter supports the latter view and argues that it is unrealistic and authoritarian to try to keep religious concerns out of the public sphere. Recent work in the cognitive science of religion might serve as grounds for a natural right to religious freedom. Belief in supernatural agency and other aspects of religion arise from the normal functioning of our cognitive architecture and so are natural for us.

Keywords:   religious freedom, toleration, Enlightenment, religion, intolerance, public sphere, natural right

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