Implicit Beliefs, Explicit Practices?

How International Human Rights Law Manages Religion


  • Helge Årsheim University of Oslo



implicit religion, lived religion, religious freedom, human rights, European Court of Human Rights


In this article, I discuss how international human rights law (IHRL) interacts with the notions of "implicit" and "lived" religion. More specifically, I examine the capability of Article 9 on the freedom of thought, conscience and religion in the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR) to provide protection for rights claims that derive from "implicit" and "lived" forms of religion. I develop this argument in three steps: First, I provide a working definition of "implicit" and "lived" religion. Second, I assess the provisions on the freedom of thought, conscience and religion in the ECHR, asking what kinds of "religion" are most likely to gain protections under this instrument. Third, I review some recent cases to come before the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR), which monitors the ECHR, gauging which forms of religion have been recognized by the court.

Author Biography

Helge Årsheim, University of Oslo

Helge Årsheim, University of Oslo, Oslo, Norway.


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How to Cite

Årsheim, H. (2019). Implicit Beliefs, Explicit Practices? How International Human Rights Law Manages Religion. Implicit Religion, 21(3), 285–300.