Human Rights and Religion

Develops discussions and publications related to the complex question of the relation between law and religion in the Protestant countries.

This group is part of the International research project Human Rights and Religion, which asks the following question:

What are the effects of religious convictions, rituals and practices on human rights attitudes among Christian, Islamic and non-religious youth at the end of higher secondary and beginning tertiary education in various countries, while controlling for relevant population characteristics?

The project is headed by Prof. Johannes van der Ven of Radbound University in Njimegen, The Netherlands. Research groups in 17 states on 4 continents collect information on these issues by disseminating questionnaires to hundreds of students, in order to probe the attitudes to human rights among teenagers in different cultures and religions worldwide. A general and concluding publication of the results of the project is scheduled between 2010 and 2012, to be published by the Dutch publisher Brill.

The Norwegian quantitative material has been collected by Dr. Pål Ketil Botvar from the Research Institue of The Church of Norway (KIFO). The material will serve as a starting point for further research by selected PluRel researchers into the larger questions of religion, law, secularity and human rights in the Nordic, Lutheran countries. The international project is based on a possible opposition between the (secular) human rights tradition and (confessional) religions. In Lutheran traditions, however, this opposition between secular law and confessional religion is dogmatically non-existant. The research group will develop discussions and themes to be published in a separate book dealing with these specifically Nordic Lutheran issues.


  • Professor Trygve Wyller (head), Faculty of Theology, UiO
  • Professor Eivind Smith, Faculty of Law, UiO
  • Professor Dag Thorkildsen, Faculty of Theology, UiO 
  • Professor Johannes van der Ven, Radbound University, Njimegen
  • Professor Lisbeth Christoffersen, University of Roskilde
  • Lecturer Anders Sjöborg, University of Uppsala
  • Dr. Pål Ketil Botvar, KIFO Research Centre, Church of Norway
  • PhD fellow Helge Årsheim, Faculty of Theology, UiO


  • May 20-21, 2010: Book Workshop (closed), Faculty of Theology, UiO
  • April 27-29, 2012: Book Workshop, (closed), Faculty of Theology, UiO


Published May 6, 2010 2:31 PM - Last modified May 11, 2011 10:43 AM