At the Transatlantic Christian Council in Washington, D.C., earlier this fall, Cardus executive vice president Ray Pennings had a conversation with Thomas F. Farr, director of the Religious Freedom Project at the Berkley Center for Religion, Peace, and World Affairs. A former American diplomat and leading authority on international religious freedom, Farr is the author of World of Faith and Freedom: Why International Religious Liberty is Vital to American National Security.

"I think our literacy may be fairly high ... but our understanding of religion has diminished quite a bit," says Farr. "What we've lost is the anthropology, if you will; the notion that human beings are by their nature religious."

"It's particularly ironic in my own country, the United States, where historically religious freedom has been thought to be the first freedom of the human soul—not just of the American constitution—but that's precisely why it's part of our first amendment. Our founders understood this as necessary for human flourishing and for the success of societies—we're losing that."