The tension between authority and personal conscience can be seen in the citizen’s relation to political authority, the scholar’s relation to academic authorities, and the believer’s relation to the church. The relationship between authority and personal conscience is dialectic: the two are neither identical nor separable, and each is constantly informing the other. Dissent sometimes grows out of this tension. What examples do we have of dissent helping to build a religious community? What examples do we have of when it failed? How do we judge success or failure in these cases?
John Dominic Crossan, D. Michael Quinn