Famous Authors on Religious Freedom 

Writing is both a meaningful and artistic form and avenue of expressing one’s views, thoughts, opinions, sentiments and feelings that are hard to be shared personally and to be aired out verbally. This process gives a long-lasting effect and relief to the writer as his or her inner recesses are at a paced and stable track, his or her mind is at a momentum of stability and his or her in-depth reflections and realizations are stated clearly and categorically through the aid of the pen and paper. Thus, writing is one of the most used and applied forms of rejuvenation, relaxation and hobbies that assures every individual of tranquility, serenity and vigor as he or she continues to journey with life.

This is proven evidently, by the famous writers who wrote about religious freedom in their literary and published works during the past as retold by historical record, if given the opportunity to back track with the previous eras, ages, centuries and decades that both History and Literature provides.

In this article, we will discover the 4 most famous writers who aired out their views, insights, sentiments and opinions about Religious Freedom in their literary works, as well as their individual biography, and how their literary works contributed to the state of religious freedom at present. Let us begin.


A Brief Biography on Voltaire



Francois-Marie Arouet or more popularly known through his literary pseudonym “Voltaire” was a centerpiece of the limelight during his time as a French Enlightenment philosopher, historian, and writer. His attacks on the Catholic Church’s establishment, inner wit, and advocacy for freedom of expression, freedom of religion and on the separation of the church and state, gave him due recognition in the field that he devoted his life in, and that is Literature.

Voltaire was born in the year 1694, in Paris, France. He was educated by the Jesuits at the College Louis-le-Grand in the span of years 1704-1711. When the time came that he left the school, Voltaire came up with the decision of gearing into the direction of being a writer, in  which his centerpoint will be contradictory to the wantings of his father for him to become a lawyer.

But because of the constant pressure and prodding that Voltaire’s father placed on him, he managed to study law and at the same time, continued writing which were on historical studies and essays as outputs. In the year 1713, Voltaire’s father obtained him a job as the Secretary to a French Ambassador in the Netherlands. But because Voltaire was involved in a scandalous affair, he was forced to return to France. On an earlier part, Voltaire has experienced great trouble with the higher authorities because of his written critiques regarding the French government.

These activities wherein he had an active engagement in, has greatly resulted for him by being imprisoned twice, as well as on giving him a temporary exile to England. Below are some of Voltaire’s no holds bar and intentful criticisms and arguments as follows:

  • Through a satirical verse, Voltaire gave an accusation to the Duke of Orleans, in the person of Philippe II because he was engaged in an in incest with his own daughter. This accusation led Voltaire to be imprisoned for eleven months at Bastille in Paris.
  • Voltaire argued specifically on freedom of thought and tolerance. His campaign focused on eradicating the aristocratic-monarchical and priestly authority and on providing support to the constitutional monarchy that aims to protect people’s rights.

Voltaire is highly recognized because of his versatility in writing which is testament to all of the literary works that he has produced which includes novels, plays, essays, historical and scientific works and poems. With his wit and inner versed ability in writing, he wrote more than 2,000 books, pamphlets and more than  20,000 letters.

He was also known as an advocate who is very outspoken in image as he dealt with numerous liberties, despite the unwanted risk of placing him under the strict censorship laws of his time. On the other hand, as a satirical polemicist, he constantly made great use of his own personal works to criticize religious dogma, intolerance and French Institutions during his days.

The 2 Greatly Renowned Works of Voltaire that focused on Religious Freedom

The Treatise on Tolerance- (The Treatise on Tolerance on the Occasion of the Death of Jean Calas from the Judgment Rendered in Toulouse)

Published in the year 1763, this book that was written by Voltaire, called for tolerance between religions, as well as on its targets towards religious fanaticism most especially with the Jesuits, wherein he received his early education. The book also indicated all of the superstitions that surround the religions of the world.

How is the Treatise on Tolerance of Voltaire related to Religious Freedom?

The book speaks about Religious Freedom because Voltaire strongly emphasized the importance and value of religious tolerance that should be given to all of the religions in the world. The main character of the story incorporated in the book, in the person of Jean Calas (1698- 1762) brought into the limelight that prejudice and injustice should never be tolerated if religious tolerance is aimed to be achieved in a country and by its government.

 The Philosophical Dictionary (Dictionnaire Philosophique) 

This encyclopedic dictionary that was published by Voltaire in the year 1764, is composed of alphabetically arranged articles wherein the articles focally criticizes the Roman Catholic Church and other related institutions. The dictionary greatly represents the total culmination of Voltaire’s views on Christianity, morality, God and other core related subjects.

How is the Dictionnaire Philosophique of Voltaire highly related to Religious Freedom?

Voltaire’s Philosophical Dictionary greatly speaks about Religious Freedom because it aims to address the injustices of the Catholic Church and on his personal insights on how to address and eradicate these injustices during his time, as well as on promoting tolerance and freedom in the individual’s decision of choosing the religion that he or she will practice and live by in his or her life.

Karen Armstrong

A Brief Biography on Karen Armstrong



Karen Armstrong was born on November 14, 1944 in Wildmoor, Worcestershire, England. She is popularly known as a British author and commentator who is Irish Catholic in descent. She made a name for herself in the field of writing through her books that focused on Comparative Religion. Armstrong was a former Roman Catholic religious sister in a teaching congregation named The Sisters of the Holy Child of Jesus, wherein she stayed for seven years and became a member at the age of 18, in the year 1962. Armstrong was greatly conservative because of her liberal and mystical Christian faith. She had her education at St. Anne’s College in Oxford, England during her stay in the convent, and chose to take English as a major.

She decided later on in the year 1969 to leave the convent because of her claims in experiencing physical and physiological abuse inside the convent.  Her literary and written works were focused on the commonalities of the world’s major religions which are the Golden Rule and the very importance of compassion.

Because of her highly notable written and literary works, she received the US$100,000 TED Prize in February 2008. Armstrong made great use of the occasion to make an endearing call for the attainable creation of a Charter for Compassion, in which, brought by the call that she made, the said charter was unveiled in the following year.

The 2 Renowned Works of Karen Armstrong that is greatly focused on Religious Freedom:

The Battle for God: Fundamentalism in Judaism, Christianity and Islam

This book was written and authored by Karen Armstrong and was published in the year 2000 by Knopf /Harper Collins.  According to a statement released by New York Times, the book is “one of the most readable, penetrating and prescient accounts to date that deals with the rise of fundamentalist movements in Judaism, Christianity and Islam. The book gives trace to the history of the rise of fundamentalism in the three major monotheistic faiths. The analysis made by Karen Armstrong began with the developments in Judaism and it continuously traces to the fundamentalism in Christianity that leads to the adoption of a similar approach to the modernity in Islam.

How is the Battle for God highly related to Religious Freedom?

The Battle for God is highly related to Religious Freedom because of its context as a book that focuses on Religion, as well as, with its initiative of bringing together the believers and non-believers in a convening understanding that all of the religions of the world should be treated and viewed in an equal and even aspect, manner and form of acceptance, individually by every person concerned through its multifaceted fundamentals.

The Case of God

The Case for God is a book written and authored by Karen Armstrong in the year 2009. The book is a response to the recent claims that God does not exist, in accordance to what was claimed by Christopher Hitchens, Daniel Dennett, Sam Harris and Richard Dawkins. The context of the book covers the history of religion that traces back from the paleolithic age up to the present day that focuses on three Abrahamic religions which are Islam, Judaism and Christianity as well as on its apophatic theology in the varied religions.

On the other aspect and theme of the book, it deals closely as well with the intellectual beliefs versus practice. Karen Armstrong claimed in this book that fundamental reality wherein called on the later part as Tao, Nirvana, God and Brahman, continuously transcends the thoughts and concepts of the human being, and can only be personally known through devoted religious practice.

How is the Case of God highly related to Religious Freedom?

The book is highly related to Religious Freedom because it develops the human being’s religious practice by giving the reader a clearer picture on the fundamental reality of each religion that it is driven purposefully by God, Tao, Nirvana and Brahman. This means the book abolishes the claim that God does not exist because Religious Freedom incorporates the tenet that each religion has its own God to worship freely, thus employing the practice of free worship.

Arthur Waskow

A Brief Biography on Arthur Waskow



Arthur Ocean Waskow or also known as Arthur I. Waskow during his birth, is an American political activist, author, writer and rabbi that is greatly associated with the Jewish Renewal Movement. Waskow was born in 1933 in Baltimore, Maryland, USA. He earned his Bachelor’s Degree from The John Hopkins University in 1954 and his Doctorate Degree in American History at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Arthur Waskow started his career and worked as a legislative assistant to the Congressman of Wisconsin, in the person of Robert Kastenmeier from 1959 to 1961.

He also ventured into being a senior fellow at the Peace Research Institute from 1961 through 1963. He also made a great involvement by joining Marcus Raskin and Richard Barnet in founding the Institute for Policy Studies in 1963 and dually, gave his service as a resident fellow until 1977 in the same institute.

The religious initiatives performed by Waskow, led him to be a great advocate for Religious Freedom through the Jewish Renewal Movement. Through this movement, he also made initiatives in founding the Shalom Center in the year 1983, as well as the Fabrangen Havurah in Washington, D.C.

The 2 Renowned Works of Arthur Waskow that is greatly focused on Religious Freedom:

A Time for Every Purpose Under Heaven: The Jewish Life-Spiral As a Spiritual Path

The book was written and authored by Arthur Ocean Waskow together with his wife, in the person of Phyllis Ocean Berman, and was published in September 2003 by Farrar, Straus and Giroux. This book has carried greatly the cycle of the Jewish life from its birth up to its death. This book manifests a woven depiction of history, personal experience and spiritual guide, as well as of ancient ceremonies that brought in a forward direction the Jewish women of today, from a single pattern up to a larger scale of living a life that is in unison and well- lived daily.

How is the Time for Every Purpose Under Heaven highly related to Religious Freedom?

The basic tenet that this book supports in advancing Religious Freedom is a strong and grounded individual spirituality. With spirituality, the religion of a person is nourished and founded on its norms, that allows the individual to live out the religion he or she chose freely and without inhibitions.

Freedom Journeys: The Tale of Exodus and Wilderness Across Millennia

The book is written and authored by Rabbi Arthur O. Waskow together with his wife, Rabbi Phyllis O. Berman. This was published by Jewel Lights Publishing in the year 2011. The book is centered on the story of the Jews during the Passover and the victory and triumph of God who sided with the despised ones against a sombre emperor.

The story of the Exodus as a major incorporation in the book, did not only serve as a saga that resulted to the escape from slavery, but also it was a story that appraised celebration, courage and rebirth in a community wherein all of its people have practiced faith traditions that they can learn and continuously learn throughout time.

How is Freedom Journeys: The Tale of Exodus and Wilderness across Millenia highly related to Religious Freedom?

In the guise of Religious Freedom, here are the following dimensions and tenets wherein the book greatly relates and upholds the above mentioned aspect as follows:

  • It uplifts the state of social justice, ecological and feminist perspectives of religions around the world, basing on the story of Exodus.
  • It greatly connotes the spiritual resonance of the journey of the Hebrews during our present time, gearing on to the direction of living our religion freely.
  • It is impactful because the Passover story has been greatly adapted by the Christian, Muslim and African American communities all over the world, which proves its insight and inspiration in these communities.

Elaine Pagels

A Brief Biography of Elaine Pagels



Elaine Pagels was born on February 13, 1943 in California, USA. She is the daughter of Stanford University Botanist, William Hiesey. Pagels is popularly known as an American Religious Historian. She is a Harrington Spear Paine Professor of Religion respectively at Princeton University. Pagels is passionate about early Christianity and Gnosticism and this in-depth passion has greatly driven her to conduct an extensive research on these two dimensions. According to Elaine Pagels, ever since she was young, she has been very fascinated with the Gospel of John among the four spiritual Gospels of the Holy Bible. As she entered her College journey, she started to learn the Greek language, and read the four gospels of the Holy Bible in its original form of language. She earned both her Bachelor of Arts in 1964 and Master of Arts in 1965 at Stanford University. This makes her academically inclined as a person.

The Most Renowned Book of Elaine Pagels that is greatly focused on Religious Freedom:

The Gnostic Gospels

This book was written and authored by Elaine Pagels, and was published in the year 1979 by Kindle Edition. The book was a best-seller because its total context gives examination to the divisions of the Early Christian Church, as well as with the way that women have been throughout their lives, tracing back into both Christian and Jewish History.

How is the Gnostic Gospels as a book highly related to Religious Freedom?

The context of the book is focused on the tenet which is the historical development of the Early Christian Church. Every individual who draws himself or herself to the historical foundation of a religion, is more closely to respect the variation of every religion present in the world. And in that sense, the individual walks away from creating social hostility and harassment to that specific religion, and that is a guarantee of Religious Freedom.


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