The relationship of religion and human rights

Authored by: Malcolm Evans

Routledge Handbook of International Human Rights Law

Print publication date:  December  2013
Online publication date:  August  2014

Print ISBN: 9780415620734
eBook ISBN: 9780203481417
Adobe ISBN: 9781135055943


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Questions of ‘religion and …’ are prone to generate controversy. Consider, for example, the so-called ‘science and religion’ debate, focusing on whether ‘science’ and ‘religion’ (or, perhaps more accurately, whether approaches or understandings based on ‘science’ and ‘religion’) are ‘compatible’ with each other. 1 1

For perhaps the most prominent example of this controversy in popular writing see R. Dawkins, The God Delusion (London, Black Swan, 2007), which prompted a series of debates and responses, including works by A. McGrath and A.C. McGrath, The Dawkins Delusion: Atheist Fundamentalism and the Denial of the Divine (London, SPCK, 2007); K. Ward, Why There Is almost Certainly a God: Doubting Dawkins (Oxford, Lion, 2008) and, most recently A. McGrath, Why God Won’t Go Away: Engaging with the New Atheism (London, SPCK, 2011).

Juxtaposing religion with something else tends immediately to summon up a hermeneutic of opposition which, rather than facilitate an exploration of the nature of the relationship at hand, calls into question the legitimacy of there being a relationship at all. Nowhere does this seem to be truer than in the context of religion and human rights.

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