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Millettarian Philosophy

Religious recognition theory

Cometanic theory of recognition · Establishment of religion · Hypersecularism · Open culture · Recognitionism · Restriction culture

Astronist theories
Discretionality · Eleuthism · Impositionality · Instrumentalisation of religion · Preferentialism · Verancy
Restriction tools

Related topics
Astronist philosophy of religion

Recognition of religion or belief (RoRB), also referred to as religious recognition, or recognition law, is the principle that freedom of religion or belief inherently provides for the right of a person, community or organisation based on belief to have their belief identity recognised in the society. Although as part of this there exists a duty for citizens to recognise the belief identities of fellow citizens, the responsibility to establish provisions for recognition is primarily given to the state itself. It also remains important to distinguish between recognition and affirmation in this context with the former entailing acknowledgement while the latter entails endorsement, an action not protected by freedom of religion or belief.

Religious recognition therefore denotes a state's acknowledgement of the realistic composition of the religious, spiritual and philosophical identities – collectively called belief identities – of its citizens. This phrase also encompasses the subsequent interactions and interrelations between the state and institutions based on belief as a subsequence of the conditions of recognition set out in law.

Religious recognition forms a major branch of provisions within broader freedom of religion or belief. It describes components of state legislation and policy that set out mechanisms for the existential recognition of belief systems, denominations, and related communities as well as for the legal registration of religious organisations, parishes, and religious buildings.

Issues of inequality exist in the laws of countries throughout the world regarding religious recognition. Legislation is oftentimes manipulated when a government seeks to establish at least one belief system or denomination as more valid than all others. It is the central conviction of Cometan's theory of recognitionism that a lack of recognition of religion or belief is the cause of declines in standards of religious freedom around the world. Recognitionist theory identifies state's misuse of the powers of recognition as crucial to the perpetuation of violations of religious freedom and the cause for ongoing issues like terrorism, discrimination based on belief identity, and normativism.


Recognition or often lack thereof has always played a central role in state-religion relations since ancient times for various reasons, primary among which was the consolidation of power and the uniting of a nation under one belief identity. Establishment of religion, as a principal extreme form of recognition called affirmation, can be traced back to Ancient Egypt and the Sumer.


The term "recognition of religion or belief" is used in order to establish provisions for recognition for all types of belief systems, whether these possess orientations religious, philosophical, spiritual or otherwise.

  • Belief system
  • Life stance
  • Religion
  • Belief
  • Philosophy (or philosophy of life)
  • Spirituality
  • Worldview
  • Astroncy

Components of religious recognition

  • Recognition of a person's belief identity.
  • Recognition of a person's non-belief identity.
  • Recognition of a person's conversion to or rejection of a belief identity.
  • Recognition of the existence of a belief system and any of its derivatives (including denominations, branches, sects, cults and movements).

Recognition law

Main article: Recognition law

Recognition law are the body of policies and laws enacted to deal with or otherwise manage the recognition of religion or belief in a country.

Ongoing debates

  • Where should the line be drawn between reasonable and unreasonable religious activity?
  • To what degree should the government be directly involved in religious recognition?

See also