Deborah Gyapong: Can we have human rights without God?

Can we have human rights without God?

Can we have human rights without God, and a faith in a particular God?   There is one true God, who revealed Himself to the Jews, then became Incarnate in Jesus Christ.   Our whole Western Civilization and its understanding of human dignity and human rights is posited on the idea that man is created in the image of God, male and female, and thus our rights are inherent because we are God's creation, not a creature of the state.  No, these rights did not start with the Enlightenment, but the Enlightenment borrowed the notion and tried to strip these inalienable rights from the God-content.  (Supreme Court of Canada, please pay attention!)

But we are losing this notion that even Christian atheists like the late, great Oriana Fallaci realized was important for the proper functioning of the social order in the West.  Without this grounding, upon what basis do you assign rights?  The state defines them?  Watch out.  Real rights, God-given rights, limit state power.  They draw a line on where the state can go in interfering with them.   Sadly, we are shifting to a definition of rights as whatever the state deigns to grant us.  This is dangerous to human freedom, especially when the truth is no longer valued and is no longer a defence for freedom of expression. The whole reason why there is religious freedom and freedom of expression is in defence of Truth with a capital T.  Ever wonder why, in totalitarian countries, the Bible is the first book to be confiscated?

Well, here's a link to an article I wrote about one of Canada's prophetic voices on real human rights:

Farrow spoke of the way the understanding of objective reality and the truth of our dimorphic identity as male and female in the image of God has been damaged by the redefinition of marriage. He noted how Benedict XVI, now Pope Emeritus, last December had spoken about the trend towards replacing God’s gift of our biological sexual identity with the notion that sexual identity is merely a social construct. 
Those on the cutting edge of the social constructionist movement “are not interested in natures or essences,” Farrow said. “They are opposed to everything that smacks of essentialism.” 
“Man is not male and female,” in their view, he said. “The end game is the abolition of man’s nature.”
When calling man’s nature into question, social constructionists are also calling into question the “dignity that comes from God.”

It is vital Christians “order their thoughts and order them aright” concerning authentic freedom, which is grounded in the understanding God’s creating man, male and female, in His image and oriented towards expressing man’s identity through the good and the true, he said.
“Only the freedom that submits to the truth leads the human person to his true good,” Farrow said, quoting Pope John Paul II. There is a need to help our culture “understand the essential bond between freedom, truth and the good.”
Christians must also “stiffen our resolve to live according to the truth,” he said. He urged Catholics to read John Paul II’s encyclical Veritatis Splendor (The Splendor of Truth) on this its 20th anniversary in order to recover an understanding of the integral relationship of freedom and truth. “Right action ordinarily depends on right thinking,” he said.
Veritatis Splendor warned the “denial of God as the source of truth” could “lead to a democratic form of totalitarianism,” Farrow said, noting the present climate of threats and intimidation to force support for same-sex ‘marriage,’ abortion and euthanasia.


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