Freedom of Religion
September 16, 2011
In his article "Freedom of Religion," Roger Trigg draws on historical examples, moral and political philosophy, and scientific research to argue for freedom of religion in the public sphere. After demonstrating how absolute neutrality toward religion is an illusion, Trigg addresses the danger that comes from trying to control or marginalize religion, employing cognitive science research to support the claim that because religion is deeply rooted in human nature, it is bad policy to try to control it. In addressing the conflict that often occurs between the right to exercise religion and other rights, Trigg emphasizes that the claims of religious individuals and communities must be taken seriously and that they should also be allowed to freely promote their vision of the common good. Finally, Trigg points to Europe's Christian heritage as an important historical source of political freedoms and rights for the West, and raises the concern that these will become increasingly fragile as religion, and Christianity in particular, become increasingly marginalized in Europe. The essay was published in Religion in the Public Sphere: Proceedings of the 2010 Conference of the European Society for Philosophy of Religion (2011).