Member Rara Avis
How could transcendent personal rights not be contingent upon a transcendent personality?
How can a transcendent personality not be contingent on a prior transcendent personality, Stephen? That is essentially the same question you just asked. And when you answer my question you'll find the answer to yours.
And the fact that people believe in a human dignity and ethos that is more than opinion (including corporate opinion), IS a proof of God.
Ah, now that's a real pity, Stephen. Proof of God, after all, makes your faith redundant and meaningless.
Not proof in the sense of incontrovertible or inarguable (again how many western philosophers argued for their own non-existence??), but proof in the sense of 'darn good evidence'.
Oh. Okay. You mean like when you look out the window and see all kinds of darn good evidence for a flat Earth? You have a very strange definition of "proof," Stephen.
If you want to say that human rights implies the existence of God, we can call that potential evidence and explore where it takes us. If you say that human rights requires the existence of God, that is proof, not evidence, and there is little enough to discuss. You are arguing "If A, then B," and any acceptance of A necessitates an acceptance of B. My contention is that your argument is, at best, illogical and, at worst, incredibly dangerous. I would just as soon not give every non-Christian in the world a good reason to deny the existence of my human rights. My rights, your rights, and their rights, are not contingent on a common faith. That's part of what makes them rights and not privileges.
And again, it goes without saying that the authors of the Declaration of Indepedence disagreed with your statement about God and the justification of rights. You call it antiquated perhaps, I say it was insightful and wise.
Antiquated? On the contrary, Stephen, I think human rights go back a little bit farther than 1776. I think they go back farther than Jesus, and back farther than Moses. Jefferson didn't invent human rights when he penned the Declaration of Independence, any more than the Greeks invented lightening or the Norse invented thunder. Attributing observable phenomenon to either God, Zeus, or Thor doesn't prove the existence of God, Zeus, or Thor. Personally, I believe human rights is an obvious and very necessary corollary to God's gift of free will; you can't have one without the other. Belief, however, doesn't make it so . . . and much more importantly, being wrong doesn't negate the very real existence of either lightening or human rights.
A Christian need only open their eyes each day to see God. He's there in the beauty, in the love, in every small miracle surrounding the greater miracle of Life. Everything that exists, everything good or bad, everything tangible or ephemeral, exists to support and confirm the Christian's faith. Nothing, however, exists to obviate the need for that faith, Stephen. We can attribute those streaks of jagged light in the sky to a powerful god or to the inevitable consequence of a Big Bang, and we'll probably never really know, in this life, which supposition is right or, indeed, if both are right or both horribly wrong. And that's okay, I think, because when we walk out into the storm carrying a big metal pole it isn't going to matter much. The existence of lightning is its own argument.
I believe the existence of human rights, whether they stem from God or an exploding singularity, is equally obvious. Every choice we make is an invocation of those rights, just as too many of our choices are infringements of those rights. It's only in recent history that humanity has come to recognize human rights, and sadly, we have yet to find widespread respect for them.
We have harnessed the lightening in the night sky without ever once conclusively proving its source. But that was just a baby-step. The journey continues, and I think everyone -- Christian or not -- still has a whole lot of ground to cover together.