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Religious freedom is a bitterly contested issue that spills over into political, public, and online spheres. It’s an issue that’s becoming ever more heated, and neither of the global political polarities is interested in protecting it. While the political left is openly hostile toward traditional religion, the political right seeks to weaponize it.
How can we ensure that “religious freedom” is truly about freedom of one’s religion rather than serving an ethno-nationalist agenda?
In Religious Freedom in a Secular Age, New Testament scholar and author of “Evangelical Theology” Michael Bird has four main goals:
- To explain the true nature of secularism and help us to see it as one of the best ways of promoting liberty and mutual respect in a multifaith world.
- To dismantle the arguments for limiting religious freedom.
- To outline a biblical strategy for maintaining a Christian witness in a post-Christian society.
- To encourage Christians to participate in a new age of apologetics by being prepared to defend not only their own believes but also the freedom of all faiths.
While Bird does address the recent political administrations in the US, his focus is global. Bird—who lives in Melbourne, Australia—freely admits to his anxiety of the militant secularism surrounding him, but he also strongly critiques the marriage of national and religious identities that has gained ground in countries like Hungary and Poland.
The fact is that religion has a lot to contribute to the common good. Religious Freedom in a Secular Age will challenge readers of all backgrounds and beliefs not only to make room for peaceable difference, but also to find common ground on the values of justice, mercy, and equality.
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