The advancement of religion

When considering whether or not a system of belief constitutes a religion for the purposes of charity law, the courts have identified certain characteristics which describe a religious belief. These characteristics include:

  • belief in a god   or goddess  , or supreme being, or divine or transcendental being or entity or spiritual principle (‘supreme being or entity’) which is the object or focus of the religion
  • a relationship between the believer and the supreme being or entity by showing worship of, reverence for or veneration of the supreme being or entity
  • a degree of cogency, cohesion, seriousness and importance
  • an identifiable positive, beneficial, moral or ethical framework

Religion is a system of belief that has certain characteristics and religion includes:

  • a religion which involves a belief in more than one god, and
  • a religion which does not involve a belief in a god”

Examples of ways in which charities can advance religion include:

  • the provision of places of worship
  • raising awareness and understanding of religious beliefs and practices
  • carrying out religious devotional acts
  • carrying out missionary and outreach work

Examples from Registration Decisions

The commission’s guidance on the Church of Scientology found the purpose was not worship and thus they were not a religion despite the belief in one god.

In the case of Good News for Israel the commission found promotion of a particular religious doctrine is not necessarily advancement of religion in the charitable sense