Religious Freedom and Forced Faith - Symposium 2021

This Symposium, organized by Fjellhaug International University College (FIUC), aims to focus on issues such as social control, religious compulsion, religious persecution, multireligious coexistence, Christian mission, and religious freedom.

Christof Sauer (Prof. FTH Giessen/ETF Leuven)

Todd Huizinga (Religious Freedom Institute)

Frode Ulvund (Prof. University of Bergen)

Ingunn Folkestad Breistein (Prof. Ansgar University College)

Other researchers are encouraged to present papers. The symposium welcomes research related to this topic from both various theological disciplines and other fields of research.

Wednesday, 22. September

10.00-10.30 Arrival and Coffee

10.30-11.00 Welcome and overview by Frank Ole Thoresen (rector FIH)

11.00-12.00 Plenary paper “Religious persecution: Definitions, scales and spectrums” by Christof Sauer

12.00-13.00 Lunch

13.00-14.00 Plenary paper “Global Religious Freedom, the United Nations and the West” by Todd Huizinga

14.00-14.30 Coffee Break

14.30-16.15 Papers

““Out of sight out of mind?”- examining the nature of women’s experience of religious persecution” by Vija Herefoss

“Contested religious freedom as a conflict about interpretative authority –The discourse about “sinicizing” Protestant Christianity in contemporary China” by Meiken Buchholz

“Do Protestants in Flanders Still ‘Protest’? Social Self-Presentations of the Recognized Protestant-Evangelical Religion in Flanders.” by Jelle Creemers

“Freedom of religion in the Danish Constitution” by Jesper Aagaard

17.00-18.00 Dinner

18.00-20.00 Coffee and conversations (Social)

Thursday, 23. September

08.00-09.00 Breakfast

09.00-09.30 Morning Prayer (optional)

09.45-10.45 Plenary paper “Toleration, Discrimination, and Exclusion: Religious Otherness within the Scandinavian Nation States, c. 1790–1960” by Frode Ulvund

10.45-11.15 Coffee Break

11.15-12.15 Plenary paper “Religious Freedom and Free Churches: Heritage and present Challenges” by Ingunn F. Breistein

12.15-12.45 Lunch

12.45-14.45 Papers, parallel session (classroom 4)

“Are missionary activities at all possible without coercion? A study of Human Rights documents” by Matthias Adt

“Persecuted Christians in Christian Education” by Tonje Belibi

“Attitudes towards persecution in Second Timothy” by Lars Olav Morstøl

“Did Jesus speak about martyrdom when he told everyone to “’take up one’s cross’?” by Sverre Bøe

13.00-14.30 Papers, parallel session (classroom 2)

“The History of Religious Freedom - From Ancient Athens to the 17th Century” by Peter Olsen

“Freedom of religion and Pietism in Denmark-Norway.” by Kurt E. Larsen

“The ‘Soft Totalitarianism’ of Rod Dreher and its Relevance in a Norwegian Context” by Simeon Ottosen

14.45-15.00 Closing Plenary


The symposium will take place at Fjellhaug International University College, campus Oslo, Sinsenveien 15, 0572 Oslo, Norway (link to location in Google maps).

Symposium Fees

There is no fee for the symposium.

Fjellhaug offer meals that can be bought separately.

Lunch 80nok

Dinner 140nok

Breakfast 50nok


A few rooms are available at Campus Fjellhaug. With single occupation the rooms (including breakfast) cost 550nok, and doble occupation 750nok.

Several hotels in different price ranges are available within reasonable travel distance, for instance:

Thon Hotel Linne

Statsråd Mathiesens vei 12, 0598 Oslo - directions to Fjellhaug.

Available via Subway (T-bane) from Vollebekk station to Løren Station (five minutes, plus fifteen minutes walking to and from stations).


Vulkan 22, 0175 Oslo - directions to Fjellhaug.

Available by foot (2,7 km) or via bus or tram (25-30 minutes door to door).

Scandic Vulkan

Maridalsveien 13A, 0175 Oslo - directions to Fjellhaug.

Available by foot (2,7 km) or via bus or tram (25-30 minutes door to door).