Religion and Human rights

Religion and Human rights


God created Man or Man created God !

This question remained unanswered over decades . Adopting a specific form of god and offering prayers to it are human nature in his life time. However, until an understanding of the truth about god is achieved, no satisfactory benefit could be derived in the efforts to realize god. The relationship between religion and human rights is complex while most of the world’s religion supported violence, repression and prejudice, each has also played a crucial role in modern struggle for universal human rights. Lets discuss the relationship between religion and human rights in a brief way.

Religion is regarded as true by common people , By wise as false and by rulers as useful.

– Seneca

What is Religion?

         Which idea came first, god or religion. Every ethnic groups have specific spiritual practices. This forms the basic idea of religion. Later period, the religious practices also turned into superstition and taboos. From ancient to modern period, religion always suppressed human rights in many ways. In every religion women was treated inferior to men and religion criticized women as a materialistic object. The very word god is the referral of the entire universe. There is always a cold war between science and philosophy in accepting three factors namely god, imprints and life force. It is a treasure chest containing all the secrets of the transform process leading to the evolution of man.

Xenophanes believed that one god among gods and men the greatest, not at all like mortals in body or mind. Ancient people felt that no single god could possibly take care of all the needs of an individual. While polytheism means the worship of many gods, henothesim means the workship of one god in many forms. As with many cultural advancements and inventions ‘the cradle of civilization’ mesopotamia has been cited as the birth place of religion. It beliefs that human beings were co workers with the god. The gods repaid humans for their service by taking care of their daily needs in life. Egyptian religion was similar to mesopotamian belief. However, in that human beings were co workers with the god to maintain order. The divine concept of god itself has undergone self transformations under its own power and blossomed as the universe in its expansion.

Human Rights:

       Releasing from the fear is the essence of human rights


– Takhammark Jold

It is a right which is believed to belong everyone. a right is freedom of some kind, it is something to which you are entitled by virtue of being human. An individuals demand becomes right when they are accepted by others and recognized by the state. Human rights educate people about rights, issues and violation of rights and also provides safety and security to all. It deals with human race and they exist till the extinct of the race and it covers a very vast areas it is a universal one. Human rights are natural, non biased and it is enforceable in a court of law and protected by law. The origin of human rights are outlined below in a chronological order,

Ancient time:

  • Legal code of urukagima of lagash (2350 BCE)- mesapotamia
  • Neo sumerian code of ur nammu (2050 BCE)
  • Hamurabian code of law ( 1780 BCE)
  • Cyrus – the great persian emperor – cyrus cylinder
  • Asokan edicts speaks on human rights.
  • Greeks referred the citizenship rights.
  • Romans – cicero refers to the rights of slaves.
  • Law of manu refers to the natural equality of human beings.
  • Reference to rights in islam 610-661 CE ( consolidation of medina refers to human rights)

Middle Age:

  • Magna carta and bill of rights (england) – 1689
  • American declaration of rights- 1776
  • Virginia declaration of rights- 1778
  • Friendly declaration of rights – 1789

19th century to first world war:

  • Thomas paine, John stuart mill, hegal all the three given reference to universal hability of human rights.
  • Civil rights movement- america led by martin luthur king
  • Red cross movement- 1864 founded by hendry dwnant.
  • 1864- geneva convention laid foundation for international humanitarian law.

Between first world war and second world war:

  • Treaty of versalies
  • 1929- league of nations
  • International labour organisation which united many laws for the protection of labour rights.

After second world war:

  • Geneva conventions (between 1864-1949)
  • Hague convention
  • Universal declaration of human rights UDHR – december10,1948

Religion in India:

India is a secular state which respect and protect every religious beliefs. India is the home of at least nine recognized religions. Major religions are Hinduism, Christianity, islam, sikhism, buddhism and jainisim. Indian constitution embodies the positive concept of secularism, that is all religions in our country irrespective of their strength have the same status and support from the state. however, the western concept of secularism connotes a complete separation between the religion (church) and the state(politics). this negative concept of secularism is inapplicable in the indian situation where the indian society is multireligious. There are three types of states can be conceived of ,

Atheistic state:

The state is anti religious and it is against all religion.

Theocratic state:

The state is pro-religion and hence declares one particular religion as the state religion, as for example Nepal, Burma, Bangladesh, sri lanka, pakistan and so on.

Secular state:

The state is neutral in the matter of religion and hence , does not uphold any particular religion as the state religion, as for example USA and India.

 Violations in India:

Article 15prohibition of discrimination on the grounds of religion, race, caste,sex or place of birth.

This right was placed in fundamental rights but is it practised today ! the hot topic was the women entry in sabarimala tepmle. There is a confusion either to allow women to temple as per the fundamental right or to stop them for religious beliefs. They said many reasons and stories for this act. One of the reason was women have impurity within themselves. So they cannot enter into their pure bachelor god. But those men forget to know that the stain was the symbol of existence. Varna system was the basics for caste system in today India. Based on place of birth , people are categorized under brahmins, khastriyas , vaishiyas and sutras. Now a days castes are sub caste of above four. In this country anyone can enter into any place. But , still in many religious centers, other religious persons are strictly prohibited for example; the world famous meenaktshi tepmle, madurai which still allows only hindus to enter into garbakraha( main deity). these incidents are current violations of human rights. From ancient to modern hindusim practice many human rights violations especially against women.

Article25-28: right to follow any religion

Right to religious affairs was also a fundamental rights given by the Constitution of India. The worst practice that still exist is the Evangelism which means the spreading of christian gospel by public preaching or personal witness. Sometimes, this preaching causes disturbances to people. Christianity is followed by half of the world’s population. Even though , this religion is considered as more liberal than any other religion in world, but in 18th century Europeans blindly believed church. This led to famous civil movement by martin Luther king.

History owes an apology : India’s landmark on gay rights

Evil is the strong word in Christianity but it has been used by families to disown their gay children is certainly cruel and hurtful. Their attitude towards sex such as celibacy, sadomasochism, necrophilia is quite disgusting. It scrapped section 377 of the Indian constitution a colonial era law banning gay sex, ending the social pariah status of lesbian, gay,bisexual,transgender,queer(LBTQ) community in world’s largest democracy country.

Tripple talaq- gender discrimination in case of divorce

Tripple talaq or nikah halala assess Muslim women face gender discrimination in case of divorce. Muslim men are alllowed to practice polygamy, that is they can have more than one wife at the same time , up to a total of four. A man does not need the approval of his first wife for a second marriage. The testimony of a women is deemed in islam to be worth half that of a man. In muslim family, a women sphere of operation is the home and a man’s corresponding sphere is the outside world. The islamic law which allow men to practice polygyny clearly prohibited polyandry.

Rohingya refugee crisis:

The plight of hunderds of thousands of rohinya people is said to be the world’s fastest growing refugee crisis. The history of Burma is quite interesting. Like other Asian countries, burma(present myanmer) also a colony of british in 18th century. Muslim traders helps british and also settled down in burma, people of burma said they tortured them and become landlords with the help of Britishers. After independence , the native people rose against those muslims ( rohinyas ). Buddhism is widely perceived as a fundamentally peaceful religion. thus it has been shock for many to see Buddhist monks in myanmar to take prominent role in violence against country’s minority muslims. There have been anti indian and later anti muslim riots in burma since 1930s. they only worship buddha statue instead of following buddha’s dharma. It is important to see buddhisim is being misused to justify horrific abuses right now.


I strongly believe that there is a big gap between god and religion. Though every religion impose love, today’s religion only violates women’s rights and child rights above all the basic human rights. Religion has screwed us up for a long time and we’d be better off without it. We live in a world filled with bullying, racism, greed, hypocrisy and death- directly or indirectly religion and its superstition taboos played a specific role in it. The concept of god preach love alone but the religious beliefs make men blindly to belief in immoral activities. The world dosn’t need religion. It need god who gave love, peace and passion.

“Religion is a excellent stuff for keeping Common people quiet”

– Napolean bonaparte


  • Religion and human Rights – John witte
  • Religion: an introduction- M.Chrisian green
  • God and Genetic center- vethathiri
  • History encyclopedia- Joshua J.Mark
  • Indian polity- laksmikanth
  • The chruch on frontier of racial tension- martin luthur king 1961
  • Newspaper source- The Hindu   

Author: K Sangeetha,
Government law college, chengalpattu

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