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Article Title: What Is Freedom of Conscience?


Article Summary

This article talks about the authors opinion on freedom of conscience where she addresses various instances from the Anglo-American history to elucidate the same.The author starts with how she believes that conscience is a human trait widespread enough to be generally characteristic, not originating in culture though inevitably modified by it and also the belief that one’s actions are endorsed by conscience can inspire a willingness to stand against custom or consensus in matters that might otherwise be considered wrong or shameful.

Some people believe that capitalism is the solution for all problems but it does not keep in mind the loss of nature and humanity in this process . She believes that freedom and the sovereignty of individual conscience are ideas that, in early American culture and in precursor movements in England and Europe, arose together and informed each other in important ways and further explains the great conflict about the right to their own believes in the Middle Ages .

Her focus through this essay on the Anglo-American history with freedom of conscience reflects her own interests and limitations and not any assumption that these cultures were unique in engaging it or that they had a special gift for it ; To say that freedom of conscience had and is having a difficult birth would understate the matter radically. This helps us realise that it is the basic moral competence in people that makes conscience meaningful and is entirely consistent with the authors theology to believe that this capacity for moral self-awareness is the God-given basis for the freedom and respect we owe one another.

The author further gives various instances from history to prove her point and in the end concludes that to create a history answerable to the truth would be a gift of clarity, sanity, and purpose in life .The great freedom of conscience would be its liberation from our own cynicism, conventionalism, and narrowness of vision.

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Words to Learn from this article:

Epitome: a person or thing that is a perfect example of a particular quality or type

Pagan: a person holding religious beliefs other than those of the main world religions

Stigmatisation: describe or regard as worthy of disgrace or great disapproval

Slumber: sleep

Aggrandisement: increase the power, status, or wealth of

Polemically: of or involving strongly critical or disputatious writing or speech

Auricular: relating to the ear or hearing

Dissidents: a person who opposes official policy, especially that of an authoritarian state

Cataclysm: large-scale and violent

Congregation: a group of people assembled for religious worship

Conscience: a person’s moral sense of right and wrong, viewed as acting as a guide to one’s behaviour

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Lacuna: an unfilled space; a gap

Melancholy: a feeling of pensive sadness, typically with no obvious cause

Puritan: a person with censorious moral beliefs, especially about self-indulgence and sex

Fanatics: a person filled with excessive and single-minded zeal, especially for an extreme religious or political cause.

Crucible: a ceramic or metal container in which metals or other substances may be melted or subjected to very high temperatures

Bewilderment: cause (someone) to become perplexed and confused


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