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9 'Human Rights', 'Religion' and the 'Secular': Variant Configurations of Religion(s), State(s) and Society(ies)

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Chapter Summary

Having given some preliminary consideration to the meaning of the basic realities signified by the terminology of 'religion' and 'human rights' and the relationships between them, this chapter focuses on its central argument concerning the relationships between 'religion' and 'human rights'. In doing so, the central argument of the chapter is that, in a world existing on the other side of the impact of a historical condition known as modernity, the relationships between 'religion' and 'human rights' can only be appropriately considered within the context of a critical understanding of, and engagement with, the impact of another basic reality that is signified by the terminology of the 'secular'. It is often argued that it has been the rise of the 'secular' spirit and its increasing adoption by states and societies that has enabled some degree of religious co-existence to overcome the inheritance of religious absolutism.

Keywords: human rights; religion; secular spirit; societies; states



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