On September 9, leading scholars of the world came together to discuss the ways in which Judaism and Christianity have contributed to building the foundations of liberty. “Judaism, Christianity, and the West: Building and preserving the institutions of freedom” was the fourth conference in the “One and indivisible? The relationship between religious and economic freedom” conference series. Sponsored by the Acton Institute and the Jerusalem Institute for Market Studies, this day-long event was a first for Acton, as the Institute has never held an event in the Middle East before.
Throughout the world today, freedom is often taken for granted. Yet freedom is the exception rather than the norm in human history. It is also the case that the institutions of freedom, and particular liberties such as political freedom, religious liberty, civil freedoms, and economic liberty in the West, were decisively shaped by Judaism and Christianity. Knowledge of these contribution, however, is dangerously absent from many public discussions of freedom, and its relationship to other important values, such as dignity and solidarity. How do we bring knowledge of these truths back into public discussion? What are the new threats to these forms of liberty in modern societies whose primary religious roots lie in Judaism and Christianity? (more…)