Thursday, September 25, 2008
There are many injustices occurring in our world that need desparately to be fixed. From poor working conditions to genocide, from torture to sexism—we, as humans, must enact change for the better. There is no question about that.
But why do we need to act?
The concept of human rights is interesting to me. Exactly what rights people have and where those rights come from are notoriously difficult things to nail down. The Declaration of Independence asserts that people have the inalienable rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. That's a good starting point, but there are many more rights to add to that list (but what to add may be trickier than you think).
But even if it is possible to agree on what rights we all have, we are still left with the question of where those rights come from. The easy, Christian answer is that they come from God. We are created in God's image and, thus, we are endowed with dignity and worth.
But what happens if the God that gives us rights is latent? Does an uncertain God undermine our claim to God-given dignity? Since we can't quite put our finger on God, are human rights just out of our grasp as well?
Is there some other place where we can look for human rights? Or is there something altogether different that we should be looking for?