Is unethical missionary activity a problem? What constitutes unethical religious persuasion? How can we prevent and resolve such conflicts?

The activities of people promoting various religions and worldviews have frequently given rise to conflicting views. On the one hand such activities can in some cases violate the human rights of the target group or contravene the ethical standards governing the relations between followers of different religions or worldviews. On the other hand activities defined as missionary activities (and we note that these are more often intra-religious than inter-religious) are in some cases subject to draconian measures by local and national authorities – thereby violating the human rights of those who conduct such activities. Conflicts connected to missionary activities constitute a very sensitive aspect of inter-religious and intra-religious relations that have led to various forms of violence.


Through an inclusive process of seminars, meetings and internet communication, the Oslo Coalition project group on Missionary Activities and Human Rights has, since 2006, been exploring how considerations of ethics and human rights may lead to commonly agreed norms for missionary activities. This has resulted in a booklet of Recommendations for ethically based Ground Rules for Missionary Activities, published in December 2009. As the name suggests, the Recommended Ground Rules are not intended as a set of rules to be followed by all, rather as a stimulation to, and perhaps a tenplate for, internal discussion on the ethical sides of their activities within those organisations that have missionary activities as one of their main aims. Our challenge to Missionary organisations is that they should produce their own Codes of Conduct.


I would like feedback from the people reading these conversations and articles on this site.  Do you find such a document as is attached helpful in preventing and resolving conflicts that arise in the area of mission, evangelism and proselytism?  What could be included to make it more helpful? Are there weaknesses to it?  How can Coodes of Conduct strengthen the Religious freedom issues relating to faith presuasion and missionary activities?

Please comment.



Are L. Svendsen