Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Tertullian on Religious Freedom

I was reading through some of Tertullian this morning, and ran across this gem:
However, it is a fundamental human right, a privilege of nature, that every man should worship according to his own convictions: one man's religion neither harms nor helps another man. It is assuredly no part of religion to compel religion - to which free will and not force should lead us - the sacrificial victims even being required of a willing mind. (To Scapula 2; ANF translation)
Tertullian is speaking here of Christians being forced to offer sacrifice to Roman gods, but, as a member of a minority religion in the Roman Empire, develops this broader principle of religious freedom.  It reminds me a bit of the Quranic passage that "there is no compulsion in religion." 

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