Conscience, Reformation, and Religious Freedom Across the Centuries

October 30, 2017

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On October 31, 1517, Martin Luther published his Ninety-Five Theses urging sweeping religious reforms and catalyzing the Protestant Reformation. The Reformation unleashed an intensified focus on freedom of conscience, with dramatic social and political consequences. It fostered new notions of religious liberty as well as new frameworks for civic life. At the same time, the Reformation built upon centuries of Roman Catholic and Eastern Orthodox theologies of conscience, dignity, and freedom in ways that are not always understood.

The Religious Freedom Research Project's conference, "Here I Stand: Conscience, Reformation, and Religious Freedom Across the Centuries," marked this anniversary. This week, the Berkley Forum asks conference participants to address the following and other related questions: How did the Reformation influence the understanding and development of religious freedom in the Western world? To what extent do Christian contributions to freedom arise from encounters with other religious or secular traditions? How is the Christian contribution heightened or undermined by persecution, both in the past and in the present day?

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