This part introduction presents an overview of the key concepts discussed in the subsequent chapters. The part explores the religious engagement with the democratic vision in two ways: first, by tracing its presence and struggle in three very different national and cultural contexts and, second, by inquiring into the troubled area of the religious relationship with the notion of human rights. It shows that, historically, the religions under consideration have been nervous of human rights, largely because of their association with secularism. Both scripturally and theologically, Judaism, Christianity and Islam can all trace their valuing of the human to their basic doctrines of creation. Religion can be examined both as an ideal system of beliefs and recommended practices and as a practical life-context from within which human beings pursue their dreams of a transformed world.