Does freedom of conscience, and perhaps freedom of thought generally, have religious roots? Ronald Beiner's Three Versions of the Politics of Conscience: Hobbes, Spinoza, Locke traces the idea of conscience as a factor in Western political thought to ideas that crystallized in the seventeenth century. Beiner examines three leading seventeenth century thinkers - Hobbes, Spinoza, and Locke - to explore whether conscience, or rather the idea of freedom of conscience, was specially a religious imperative for these thinkers: whether their religious commitments or their respect for religious integrity underlay and motivated their ideas about freedom of conscience.
Was It Science, Not Religion?,
San Diego L. Rev.
Available at: https://digital.sandiego.edu/sdlr/vol47/iss4/13