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10 Freedom of Religion and Belief in the Light of Recent Challenges: Needs, Clashes and Solutions

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Chapter Summary

Does God believe in human rights? In practice, it is not the question of whether God believes in human rights that really matters, but how the adherents of religions and beliefs perceive human rights. This chapter first examines why religions and beliefs matter, and what makes the freedom of religion or belief special. During the second half of the twentieth century, many adherents of traditional faiths, especially Christians, in Western Europe and North America, left their denominations, or at least stopped being active members. This was because social pressures to stick to traditional religions decreased, giving people a chance to seek their own ways of fulfilling their spiritual needs. Secondly, the chapter looks at a number of potential clashes between the precepts of religions or beliefs and human rights law. Finally, it tries to draw some guidelines for governments to overcome these tensions and clashes.

Keywords: potential clashes; religious beliefs; religious freedom; spiritual needs



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