Freedom of Conscience and Hinduism

Arvind Sharma

in Hinduism and Human Rights

Published in print January 2004 | ISBN: 9780195665857
Published online October 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780199082025 | DOI:
Freedom of Conscience and Hinduism

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This chapter analyses religious freedom as a universal human right. It argues that, in order to be truly universal, the concept of freedom of religion must take the Asian religious experience more comprehensively into account. Furthermore, the right to convert from one’s religion, as an expression of freedom must also be accompanied by an equally clear enunciation of the right to retain one’s religion. A contribution of Hindu thought to the discourse on human rights is to draw attention to the fact that whether religious freedom is ensured or not will depend on the rules of engagement depending on whether the parties involved are: (i) proselytizing religions, that is, Islam and Christianity; (ii) non-proselytizing religions, that is, Hinduism and Judaism; or (iii) proselytizing and non-proselytizing religions, that is, Christianity and Hinduism. The chapter advances three propositions based on Article 18 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

Keywords: religious freedom; human rights; Hinduism; proselytizing religions; Article 18; Universal Declaration of Human Rights

Chapter.  11286 words. 

Subjects: Human Rights and Immigration

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