Religious Freedom in a Secular Age

A Christian Case for Liberty, Equality, and Secular Government

by Michael F. Bird

On Sale: 2022-05-03

Book Summary

Religious Freedom in a Secular Age describes today’s complicated debates about religious freedom, suggesting a way forward that neither privileges nor punishes religion. Tackling many complicated topics, this practical book encourages Christians to stand up for their faith in a way that is humble and gentle, yet also courageous.

About the Book

Discover how to responsibly defend religious freedom for all without compromising your personal beliefs.

Religious freedom is a bitterly contested issue that spills over into political, public, and online spheres. It's an issue that's becoming ever more heated, and neither of the global political polarities is interested in protecting it. While the political left is openly hostile toward traditional religion, the political right seeks to weaponize it.

How can we ensure that "religious freedom" is truly about freedom of one's religion rather than serving an ethno-nationalist agenda?

In Religious Freedom in a Secular Age, Michael Bird (New Testament scholar and author of Evangelical Theology) has four main goals:

  1. To explain the true nature of secularism and help us to see it as one of the best ways of promoting liberty and mutual respect in a multifaith world.
  2. To dismantle the arguments for limiting religious freedom.
  3. To outline a biblical strategy for maintaining a Christian witness in a post-Christian society.
  4. To encourage Christians to participate in a new age of apologetics by being prepared to defend not only their own believes but also the freedom of all faiths.

While Bird does address the recent political administrations in the US, his focus is global. Bird—who lives in Melbourne, Australia—freely admits to his anxiety of the militant secularism surrounding him, but he also strongly critiques the marriage of national and religious identities that has gained ground in countries like Hungary and Poland.

The fact is that religion has a lot to contribute to the common good. Religious Freedom in a Secular Age will challenge readers of all backgrounds and beliefs not only to make room for peaceable difference, but also to find common ground on the values of justice, mercy, and equality.

Reviews

'Michael Bird is an astute and measured voice in today's discourse on religion and politics. This book's global perspective will challenge readers of all backgrounds and beliefs toward better arguments and better understanding.'

'With his characteristic wit, Michael Bird demonstrates that religious liberty is of interest not only to Christians but also to the marketplace of ideas that helped deepen faith while simultaneously making room for peaceable difference. With a keen assessment of cultural events and theological dexterity, Bird is now among those doing needed work to retrieve the forgotten ideal that is religious liberty.'

'Rev. Dr. Michael Bird's Religious Freedom in a Secular Age is a book long overdue--religious freedom has been eroding rapidly in Australia since 2017, after the legalisation of same-sex marriage. But this book is also very timely, arriving just as the Victorian state government determines to enact antireligion laws one after another to silence faith communities and just as the Australian federal government seeks to pass new laws to better protect religious freedom. This book will bring the much-needed debate over religious freedom--a challenging topic--to our discussion tables. Bird offers us a comprehensive, unapologetic, honest, and unbiased analysis from a historical, philosophical, biblical, and sociopolitical perspective. It's a must-read book for all Christians, pastors, church leaders, theologians, and seminary students living in this hostile and secular age--because it's not too late to turn the world upside down again, just like the early church did!'

Product Details

  • Imprint: Zondervan
  • On Sale: 2022-05-03
  • Pages: 224
  • Publisher: Zondervan
  • Publication Date: 2022-05-03
  • Trim Size: 212.000mm x 139.000mm x 8.000mm
  • Weight: 203.000gr
  • Category 1 : RELIGION / Religion, Politics & State
  • Category 2 : RELIGION / Christian Life / Social Issues
  • Category 3 : RELIGION / Philosophy