O level Notes : FRS - Religion- Rights And Social Responsibility - Freedom Of Worship

This topic identifies advantages and disadvantages of freedom of worship and the relationship between rights and responsibilities. It again explains the role of religion in shaping leadership styles.



a) Provides a sense of purpose and identity.

Most people live their lives based on the foundation provided by their religion of choice. This is because religion often provides its devotees with lessons, guidelines, values, morals, and principles that need to be observed in order to achieve and obtain whatever promises, comforts, or rewards they believe good people deserve. Most people are attracted by other churches because of the lessons and values that the church instil to its believers. Because of this, some people become proud of their churches because they are provided with a sense of identity. Some churches are known for taking good care of their devotees especially in times of trouble or funerals, they don't feel rejected but there is togetherness because of the help which is given.

b) Government's non-involvement

Freedom of Religion allows individuals to select whatever religious beliefs they are most comfortable with, without having to face the onslaught and questioning from government bodies. That is, people can practice whatever religious traditions and observances they want and there is nothing officials and authorities can do about it. This means people are allowed to go to any church they want without the involvement of the government. People are given the freedom to choose.

  1. c) Ensures the survival of different religious practices

If each person was mandated to subscribe to a specific religion, then it could mean the end to less popular religions. Allowing people to choose what they want gives them the opportunity to explore all available options, ensuring the survival of lesser known religious beliefs and practices.

Disadvantages of Freedom of worship

a) People might use religion to justify wrong-doings

There are certain teachings in some religions that can be easily misinterpreted. Some individuals and organizations have been known to use these in order to justify their wrong doings. If an individual want to perform an immoral act, they can simply change their religion to one that might condone their actions. In Zimbabwe, there are some churches which manipulate people in the name of religion. They lie that God has said something yet that will be their way of taking advantage of others. It is said that some churches go to the extent of marrying many wives, some young, by lying that God spoke to them about it.

b) Creates division

Allowing people to choose their religion based on their own preferences means dividing communities. Because there are so many different religions, people will tend to associate with those who have the same religious affiliation and avoid those who are different. This means that leaders will do whatever they wish at the expense of their devotees. Also, it means that those who go to church X will be enemies with those of church Y just because of their religious differences. An example is of mainline churches with white garment churches. Because of their differences, they tend to take it personal, hence, creating divisions among citizens.


c) Promotes discrimination

People from different religions  look upon individuals with different beliefs  as inferior to them. This can create discrimination and hostility among people within communities. This discrimination is seen especially on dressing. Some churches wear nice uniforms while others don't, so this will result in discrimination.

d) Oppression of women

Some church members or leaders may do other practises which oppress or marginalise women in the name of religion. For example, some white garment churches can marry young girls or many women and justify those actions saying its God who spoke to them in the dream. Young girls and women will be exploited without reporting because they will be told that it's the voice of God which has spoken. And because women by nature are vulnerable, this means men can oppress them.