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The Legal Meaning of Religion and Belief

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Chapter Summary

Modern human rights law has sought to avoid much philosophical controversy by asserting that the terms religion and belief are meant to refer to both theistic views of the universe, as well as atheistic, agnostic, rationalistic and other convictions where religion and belief are absent. Religion, in general, has been too hard to define, the United Nations has adopted instead a catalog of rights in the sphere of religion, under the heading of freedom of thought, conscience, and religion. The same approach has been followed in regional human rights instruments. Victims of sects created associations that were aimed at trying to avoid the abuses of the freedom of religion and belief, while acknowledging "the need to regulate the psychotherapy market, where financial motives were often concealed under a religious label"..

Keywords: belief; religious movements; United Nations



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