Freedom of Religion: Definition and Importance

Nowadays people are living in the world of open borders, with human rights highly appreciated in the modern society. Therefore, most of countries separate religion from government control and give people a right to choose an appropriate religion by themselves. Although many countries still have a state religion, predominantly oriental territories with Islamic traditions, the majority of people in different parts of the world use their right to select religion answering the call of their hearts. The absence of religious freedom can be a serious reason to move to another country and even change citizenship or allegiance. Hence, it appears to be much better to live in a secular country that follows humanistic values and supports the idea that each citizen can choose a religion by himself/herself (or select atheism alternatively).

Freedom of religion gives people a feeling of safety first. The first thing to mention is that freedom of religion provides people with a sense of security and highlights the borders of their private lives. Moreover, it is known that freedom of choice in religious terms is not a new idea. For example, the right of religious freedom was declared by a Muslim religious leader Muhammad in the Constitution of Medina. It means that even in Islamic countries such as a well-known Ottoman Empire, there was no harassment or religious persecution because the representatives of other confessions had the right to continue practicing their own religious beliefs. Certainly, it could be one of the reasons for which people living in occupied territories did not strive for independence of their countries (Raman, 2009).


Certainly, freedom of religion is a sign of democracy evolution. Some scientists think that elimination of discrimination based on religion is a way to develop democracy all over the world. Certainly, they are right due to several reasons such as humanistic values on which democratic government is based, the opportunity to separate church from the governmental machinery and educational system, and, what is more important, the opportunity to practice religious pluralism. This is expected to lead to peaceful settlement of differences between representatives of different confessions, atheists and agnostics. Certainly, such basis is a good start for peace throughout the world, and it is worth supporting (Davis, 2013).


It is also vital to note that freedom of religion is good for business. This idea may seem strange, but the trick is that religious freedom gives rise to economic development. Brian Grim, the President of the Religious Freedom & Business Foundation, made a list of benefits of religious freedom for business. This list is short but substantial and includes such important factors as reduction of corruption, development of the economy, multiplication of trust between companies, etc. (Grim, 2014). Reduction of corruption is caused by the fact that business can be based on some religious values, morality, for example. Moreover, religious freedom is the basis to develop the economy of the country because various religious establishments existing in the country provide their members with best conditions for life, which, in its turn, leads to the development of entire state economy. Obviously, these are only a handful of reasons proving the importance of religious freedom, but these two are considered the most significant from the economic point of view.


Of course, freedom of religion, its importance, and benefits for modern society are a very disputable question. Atheists and representatives of different religious confessions may find different arguments for pros and cons of this idea. Nevertheless, it is obvious that religious freedom shows the intercultural tolerance and a high level of intelligence in a society practicing it.


References:


Davis, D. H. (2013). The evolution of religious liberty as a universal human right. Wayback Machine. Retrieved from https://web.archive.org/web/20080201105738/http:/usinfo.state.gov/dd/eng_democracy_dialogues/religion/religion_essay.html
Grim, B. (2014). 7 reasons why religious freedom is good for business. Religious Freedom & Business Foundation. Retrieved from http://religiousfreedomandbusiness.org/2/post/2014/05/7-reasons-why-religious-freedom-is-good-for-business.html
Raman, V. V. (2009). Truth and tension in science and religion. Center Ossipee, NH: Beech River Books.

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