The Religious Argument

Arvind Sharma

in Are Human Rights Western?

Published in print April 2006 | ISBN: 9780195679489
Published online October 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780199081714 | DOI:
The Religious Argument

More Like This

Show all results sharing this subject:

  • Human Rights and Immigration


Show Summary Details


This chapter examines the argument that human rights are Western because the operational concept of religion in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) embodies a Western understanding of the concept of religion, namely, that a religion involves exclusive adherence; or in other words, that one can only follow one religion at a time. In this context one could use Article 18 of the UDHR as the basis for advancing three propositions: (1) that the concept of religious freedom articulated in Article 18 presupposes a certain concept of religion itself, a concept associated with Western religion and culture; (2) that a different concept of religion, associated with Eastern and specially Hindu religion and culture, leads to a different concept of religious freedom; and (3) that unless human rights discourse is able to harmonize these two concepts of religious freedom, the clash of the two concepts might ultimately result in the abridgement of religious freedom in actual practice, India representing a case in point.

Keywords: human rights; Western understanding of religion; religion; Article 18; Universal Declaration of Human Rights; religious freedom

Chapter.  931 words. 

Subjects: Human Rights and Immigration

Full text: subscription required

How to subscribe Recommend to my Librarian

Buy this work at Oxford University Press »

Users without a subscription are not able to see the full content. Please, subscribe or login to access all content.