n International Journal for Religious Freedom - Human rights or religious rules?, Johannes A. van der Ven : book review




The author is chair of Comparative Empirical Theology at Radbout University, Nijmegen, the Netherlands. This book is the first of a series to be published by Brill on "Empirical Research in Religion and Human Rights." Van der Ven's conceptual framework contrasts lives and societies governed according to a 'human rights culture' that stresses 'direct, active, subjective rights that are rooted in the dignity of the human person' with those that have a predominantly 'religious rules' culture that stresses 'justice, solidarity and love.' He readily acknowledges that these two sets of categories are porous and can overlap, and he seeks to clarify their differences, similarities, tensions and compatibilities by means of 'historical, empirical and theoretical research,' wherein the empirical side is largely the use of survey research to elucidate people's attitudes, views and actions with respect to human rights.


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