Date of this Version

December 1997

Document Type

Research Report

Publication Details

Merrett, Alexandra (1997) Religious liberty as a paradigm for the development of human rights. Bond University : School of Humanities and Social Sciences : Centre for East-West Cultural and Economic Studies, December 1997, 29 pp.

Research paper series : Centre for East-West Cultural & Economic Studies ; No. 5.

© Copyright Alexandra Merrett and the Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences, Bond University, 1997


This paper examines the development of religious liberty as a paradigm of human rights. It will be argued that the development of the concept "freedom of religion" is in fact fundamental to modern notions of human rights. Examining the emergence of religious tolerance and then liberty through the era of the religious wars and subsequently the Enlightenment, it will be further argued that religious tolerance evolved due to political expediency as opposed to rational discourse. Liberal philosophy then established the rhetoric of religious liberty within popular consciousness, but itself lacked coherency. As such, modern notions of religious liberty, particularly as elucidated in International Law, lack a coherent philosophical foundation.