The second reason that freedom of religion is important is because following Jesus Christ requires a freely made decision by faith.
As you will recall from Economics 101, a free market creates competition. Because businesses are free to enter the marketplace, they do so when they see an opportunity to make a profit. In other words, when they are able to take advantage of a situation where they have a competitive advantage and can create either a better product or offer a lower price, they are going to enter and compete. Because each business wants to win the competition for consumer dollars, the consumer is ultimately the one who is going to benefit by getting better products or lower prices.
Getting the same product for a lower price or a better product overall is a good outcome for the customer.
Let’s move this example to the marketplace of ideas then.
When there are many competing religions in the marketplace of ideas, each individual religion is going to be tested by its merits. Just as products are evaluated in terms of price or quality, worldviews can be evaluated and compared as well. CS Lewis is one example of a man who, before he ultimately converted to Christianity, studied various religions to try to find out which one seemed to be the most consistent with the world he found himself in.
As we talked about earlier, there is a competition for hearts and minds going on in the world. What the free marketplace does is allow those ideas to be compared on their own merits. When the state mandates a particular religion, you end up with a soft version of that religion.
What if everyone says that they are a Christian for example but they don’t understand how to defend that faith? Maybe they live in a country where it is illegal to go against the state religion, so there is never even the opportunity to critically evaluate their religious perspective.
You’re going to have a population that doesn’t understand why they believe what they believe, and isn’t the whole point of Christianity that the individual makes a decision to follow Jesus Christ?
If you missed part one of this series, here is a link to that post.