Something that has always bothered me, even when I was a Christian, is the idea that our rights are “God given”. No, it’s not your government that determines your rights as a person, but “God”. If that’s true, why are rights of people so different in the various countries around the world?
Maybe it’s because “God” doesn’t consider all the people he created equal and therefore do not all deserve the same rights. That has to be it, right? Or maybe for some peoples in the world, God is just testing them to see if they’re worthy of all of his blessings, including those that are considered natural rights.
I’ve actually asked Christians these questions and have never received any answer as to how they can believe that rights come from God, yet people around the world are treated differently. It’s ridiculous to me. It’s clear that people’s rights come from government, Men and women either elected to office that write legislation that is then enacted as law. In the U.S., our rights are defined in our Constitution, the part known as the Bill of Rights, which are the first ten amendments to that document.Any laws written have to pass that high bar and can be determined unconstitutional by a court. It keeps our elected officials in check.
But there was no God involved there, it was people that determined what the rights of citizens should be and those amendments adopted after the first ten, were ratified by the people as well. No God required. Of course Christians will always bring up The Declaration of Independence where it is written:
We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.
Maybe that’s what the founders and framers believed, but it’s not what they wrote into the Constitution: God is not mentioned anywhere. So for Christians to point to this part of the Declaration as proof that our rights come from God is forgetting the very next part which they conveniently like to leave out:
That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed,
No matter where you believe rights actually come from, it is government, not God, that institutes those rights by consent of those they govern. If our rights, as humans actually came from some God, then there’d be no difference, no matter where anyone lived. I think we’d have a better world if people just realized it is they that are responsible, not some God, for the outcomes of their lives. It’s time for humanity to grow up.