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Journal for the Study of Religion

On-line version ISSN 2413-3027
Print version ISSN 1011-7601


DUBE, Bekithemba; NKOANE, Milton Molebatsi  and  HLALELE, Dipane. The Ambivalence of Freedom of Religion, and Unearthing the Unlearnt Lessons of Religious Freedom from the Jonestown Incident: A Decoloniality Approach. J. Study Relig. [online]. 2017, vol.30, n.2, pp.330-349. ISSN 2413-3027.

The article interrogates and problematises the concept of freedom of religion in South Africa by drawing on unlearnt lessons from the Jonestown incident. The South African constitution provides for the right to freedom of religion; unfortunately, the implementation of this right has evoked various unforeseen trajectories, such as abuse, commercialisation of religion and violation of human rights. The article argues that freedom of religion is being misinterpreted and misunderstood; as a result, religion, as it is practiced, has caused it to become a social pathology. To problematise religious freedom, we earth this article in decoloniality, of which one agenda is to challenge all forms of coloniality as manifested through religious discourses. The main argument of the article is that freedom of religion in South Africa needs to be redefined, reconceptualised and reconstructed, not only through the lens of theological orientation, but also sociologically, constitutionally and with respect to human rights.

Keywords : Jonestown; decoloniality; commercialisation of religion; freedom of religion.

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