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On the Freedom of the Concepts of Religion and Belief

On the Freedom of the Concepts of Religion and Belief

Chapter:
(p.29) Chapter Two On the Freedom of the Concepts of Religion and Belief
Source:
Politics of Religious Freedom
Author(s):
Yvonne Sherwood
Publisher:
University of Chicago Press
DOI:10.7208/chicago/9780226248646.003.0004

Bringing together the frontispiece to Diderot and d’Alembert’s Encyclopédie with recent religion or belief legislation in England and Wales, this essay displays the always unstable tension between the modern secular settlement and an always shifting set of players representing the ongoing threat to that settlement, alternatively configured as theology, religion, or belief. “Belief” paradoxically figures in this uneasy settlement both as radically free, emblematic of a free people and as always threatening to a contained, domesticated democratic freedom.

Keywords:   religion or belief, belief, United Kingdom, enlightenment, equality regulation

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