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6 Religion and Human Rights: Redressing the Balance

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Chapter Summary

Religions comprise sets of beliefs (parts of which may be reduced to writing in the form of regulation) based on cultural, national, spiritual, moral and emotional sources. Human rights comprise sets of ideals (often reduced to writing in the form of regulation) based on rational, cultural, national, spiritual, moral and emotional sources. The similarity of the compositions and sources of both religious beliefs and human rights often make them competitors in beliefs, and in corresponding regulatory systems. But are there any developing themes or rules to help us know which, of religion or human rights, trumps the other, and if so, when? In beginning to ask and answer the question, this chapter reflects by way of example on some issues which are considered to be important within the Jewish religion, and also reflects briefly on whether there appears to be a Jewish religious approach to human rights.

Keywords: human rights; regulatory systems; religious beliefs



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