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 A Biblical view of human rights

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Jonathan S.
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PostSubject: A Biblical view of human rights   Fri Mar 06, 2009 9:00 pm

The Declaration of independence says, "all men are...endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights." There has been some discussion on this forum as to whether the concept of rights is Biblical.
It is important to define rights before getting into a discussion of them.
So,
1) What are rights? How is a right defined in the dictionary and how do we define it on this forum? Are there any passages of scripture that can help us to define this word?

2) What does the Bible say about rights? Does the passage in Genesis 1 where God says "let us make man in our image" affect our view of rights? What other relevant passages are there?

In Christ,

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PostSubject: Re: A Biblical view of human rights   Thu Apr 16, 2009 10:26 am

My initial thought is that people have the right to do anything they want as long as it is not a sin or crime. (See archives for definition of crime.) The government doesn't have jurisdiction to punish or prevent sin unless that sin is a crime. (I.e. violates someone's life, liberty, and or property.) Thus, from the government's perspective, all men have the unalienable right to do however they please as long as it is not a crime. (See the Bill of rights for a partial example.) Again, this is my initial thought without having done any research.

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PostSubject: Re: A Biblical view of human rights   Thu Apr 16, 2009 11:10 am

caleb wrote:
My initial thought is that people have the right to do anything they want as long as it is not a sin or crime. (See archives for definition of crime.) The government doesn't have jurisdiction to punish or prevent sin unless that sin is a crime. (I.e. violates someone's life, liberty, and or property.) Thus, from the government's perspective, all men have the unalienable right to do however they please as long as it is not a crime. (See the Bill of rights for a partial example.) Again, this is my initial thought without having done any research.

To God be the glory,
-Caleb

The crime thread is in the table, not the archives. It is still not finished. We are waiting until we have come to a conclusion regarding OT Mosaic civil law. But I think that this discussion can still continue without that.

Webster's 1828 says:
RIGHT, n.
1. Conformity to the will of God, or to his law, the perfect standard of truth and justice. In the literal sense, right is a straight line of conduct, and wrong a crooked one. Right therefore is rectitude or straightness, and perfect rectitude is found only in an infinite Being and his will.
2. Conformity to human laws, or to other human standard of truth, propriety or justice. When laws are definite, right and wrong are easily ascertained and understood. In arts, there are some principles and rules which determine what is right. In many things indifferent, or left without positive law, we are to judge what is right by fitness or propriety, by custom, civility or other circumstances.
3. Justice; that which is due or proper; as, to do right to every man.
Long love to her has borne the faithful knight, and well deserv'd had fortune done him right.
4. Freedom from error; conformity with truth or fact.
Seldom your opinions err, your eyes are always in the right.
5. Just claim; legal title; ownership; the legal power of exclusive possession and enjoyment. In hereditary monarchies, a right to the throne vests in the heir on the decease of the king. A deed vests the right of possession in the purchaser of land. Right and possession are very different things. We often have occasion to demand and sue for rights not in possession.
6. Just claim by courtesy, customs, or the principles of civility and decorum. Every man has a right to civil treatment. The magistrate has a right to respect.
7. Just claim by sovereignty; prerogative. God, as the author of all things, has a right to govern and dispose of them at his pleasure.
8. That which justly belongs to one.
Born free, he sought his right.

9. Property; interest.
A subject in his prince may claim a right.
10. Just claim; immunity; privilege. All men have a right to the secure enjoyment of life, personal safety, liberty and property. We deem the right of trial by jury invaluable, particularly in the case of crimes. Rights are natural, civil, political, religious, personal, and public.
11. Authority; legal power. We have no right to disturb others in the enjoyment of their religious opinions.
12. In the United States, a tract of land; or a share or proportion of property, as in a mine or manufactory.
13. The side opposite to the left; as on the right. Look to the right.
1. To rights, in a direct line; straight. [Unusual.]
2. Directly; soon.
To set to rights,
To put to rights, to put into good order; to adjust; to regulate what is out of order.
Bill of rights, a list of rights; a paper containing a declaration of rights, or the declaration itself.
Writ of right, a writ which lies to recover lands in fee simple, unjustly withheld from the true owner.


So, in our context, a Right is something which it is right to have, and which it is wrong to take. It is right for us to live because it is wrong for us to take life (Gen. 9:6; Exo. 20:13; etc.). It is right for us to own our property because it is wrong for us to take other's property (Exo. 20:15; etc.). And it is obviously right for us to do right, so it is wrong to restrain someone from doing right (liberty). What do y'all think?

With joy and peace in Christ,
Jay Lauser

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I am Sir Emeth Mimetes (knighted to the warfare of truth by the calling of Christ, the Master of my order), and thus, though poorly is it ever met by my feeble abilities, is my mission: to combat those ideas that are rooted in mindsets that are contrary to my Master.
May I never forsake abiding in Him, and may His ways never cease to thrive within my heart, for He only is my strength and hope.
note: emeth is Hebrew for truth, right, faithful;
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PostSubject: Re: A Biblical view of human rights   Fri Apr 24, 2009 12:19 pm

Jay brought up a good definition using Webster's dictionary of which I would agree with. However, I would like to be more specific in this post as to what rights a citizen has.

Based on our definition of the purpose of government in conjunction with the definition of crime, we say that the government is to protect people's life, liberty, and property. Therefore, it follows that people have the right to life, liberty, and property. Using our definitions of life, liberty, and property, that means that people have the following rights as long as they do not unjustly infringe on another person's life, liberty, or property:

Articles 1-11, and 13 of the Bill of Rights

(I was going to right out what specific rights the people had, but found I would simply be copying these articles. So you can go read each one to know what rights I believe citizens do have.)

The other articles would only be enforced if fit in accordance with our proposed system of government and found to be necessary in protecting people's life, liberty, or property. (Example: the articles that pertain to the right of voting if we determine voting should take place.)

To God be the glory,
-Caleb
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PostSubject: Re: A Biblical view of human rights   Sat Apr 25, 2009 8:34 am

Quote :
So, in our context, a Right is something which it is right to have, and which it is wrong to take. It is right for us to live because it is wrong for us to take life (Gen. 9:6; Exo. 20:13; etc.). It is right for us to own our property because it is wrong for us to take other's property (Exo. 20:15; etc.). And it is obviously right for us to do right, so it is wrong to restrain someone from doing right (liberty). What do y'all think?

I think the word 'rights' is unfortunate. I believe that the better word is 'responsibilities' These focus precisely on the negative aspects above; while avoiding the problems.

The problem, as we have seen, with the word 'rights', is that they portray a postiive aspect to a person that forces other people to actually do things. Such as 'right to health care'.

Put in the other direction, 'responsibility to provide health care' the obvious question would arise, 'who has the responsibility to provide this health care?'

So instead of 'right to life', we have the question... what is our responsibility...?

We don't see 'rights' in Scripture, we have responsibilities, obligations... thou shalts, and thou shalt nots.
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PostSubject: Re: A Biblical view of human rights   Sat Apr 25, 2009 10:18 am

von wrote:

I think the word 'rights' is unfortunate. I believe that the better word is 'responsibilities' These focus precisely on the negative aspects above; while avoiding the problems.

The problem, as we have seen, with the word 'rights', is that they portray a postiive aspect to a person that forces other people to actually do things. Such as 'right to health care'.

Put in the other direction, 'responsibility to provide health care' the obvious question would arise, 'who has the responsibility to provide this health care?'

So instead of 'right to life', we have the question... what is our responsibility...?

We don't see 'rights' in Scripture, we have responsibilities, obligations... thou shalts, and thou shalt nots.

Excellent observation. I concur that "responsibilities" would be a better word than "rights." But, I would still say that people have the "responsibilities" of Articles 1-11 and 13 of the Bill of Rights. Maybe we could right a Bill of Responsibilities!

To God be the glory,
-Caleb
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PostSubject: Re: A Biblical view of human rights   Sat Apr 25, 2009 10:42 am

caleb wrote:
von wrote:

I think the word 'rights' is unfortunate. I believe that the better word is 'responsibilities' These focus precisely on the negative aspects above; while avoiding the problems.

The problem, as we have seen, with the word 'rights', is that they portray a postiive aspect to a person that forces other people to actually do things. Such as 'right to health care'.

Put in the other direction, 'responsibility to provide health care' the obvious question would arise, 'who has the responsibility to provide this health care?'

So instead of 'right to life', we have the question... what is our responsibility...?

We don't see 'rights' in Scripture, we have responsibilities, obligations... thou shalts, and thou shalt nots.

Excellent observation. I concur that "responsibilities" would be a better word than "rights." But, I would still say that people have the "responsibilities" of Articles 1-11 and 13 of the Bill of Rights. Maybe we could right a Bill of Responsibilities!

To God be the glory,
-Caleb

I think that was actually what the founders had in mind with the bill of rights. The 'right of the people...' really meant 'the responsibility of the government to not interfere with...
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PostSubject: Re: A Biblical view of human rights   Mon Apr 27, 2009 7:50 am

Greetings,

I wanted to start saying what I think, but I decided to do a Bible study on how the Bible views the concept of 'rights,' in context with how the Founding Fathers viewed them. My results were very interesting and fascinating. God's Word is indeed a treasure trove!

First off, I want to point out what I mean when I use the word 'right' in this context. The word has many different meanings and applications depending on context.

Webster's 1828 dictionary in its 5th definition of 'right' in its noun form: Just claim; legal title; ownership; the legal power of exclusive possession and enjoyment. In hereditary monarchies, a right to the throne vests in the heir on the decease of the king. A deed vests the right of possession in the purchaser of land. Right and possession are very different things. We often have occasion to demand and sue for rights not in possession.

In simple, a 'right' is the noun of the adjective 'right.' Meaning that which it is right to do or have, and which it is wrong for someone to stop you from doing or having. Basically: a liberty.

But is this concept found in the Bible? Or is the idea of 'rights' only a modern semantic fallacy, and should be replaced with some other term like 'responsibility.' Surprisingly, when the Declaration of Independence stated that we "are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights," the Founders were squarely resting on the Bible.

There are several words in both the Greek and Hebrew that mean 'right,' which are translated as 'right,' and used in the same way that the Founding Fathers used the term 'right' in the Declaration of Independence. But I will only go into two of them.

Strongs Hebrew 4941
mishpat -- mish-pawt' -- from 8199; properly, a verdict (favorable or unfavorable) pronounced judicially, especially a sentence or formal decree (human or [participant's] divine law, individual or collective), including the act, the place, the suit, the crime, and the penalty; abstractly, justice, including a participant's right or privilege (statutory or customary), or even a style: -- + adversary, ceremony, charge, X crime, custom, desert, determination, discretion, disposing, due, fashion, form, to be judged, judgment, just(-ice, -ly), (manner of) law(-ful), manner, measure, (due) order, ordinance, right, sentence, usest, X worthy, + wrong.


Many different applications of the word is used, but we can notice a couple things. 1) It is talking about a civil magisterial context and 2) it uses the terms 'right' and privilege' in the definition. This is a civil liberty, as I stated above. A liberty which is to be recognized by the civil magistrate. A right.

This is used and translated in this sense many times.

Deuteronomy 21:17 But he shall acknowledge the son of the hated [for] the firstborn, by giving him a double portion of all that he hath: for he [is] the beginning of his strength; the right of the firstborn [is] his.

Psalms 9:4 For thou hast maintained my right and my cause; thou satest in the throne judging right.

Psalms 140:12 I know that the LORD will maintain the cause of the afflicted, [and] the right of the poor.

Isaiah 10:2 To turn aside the needy from judgment, and to take away the right from the poor of my people, that widows may be their prey, and [that] they may rob the fatherless!

Jeremiah 5:28 They are waxen fat, they shine: yea, they overpass the deeds of the wicked: they judge not the cause, the cause of the fatherless, yet they prosper; and the right of the needy do they not judge.

Jeremiah 32:7 Behold, Hanameel the son of Shallum thine uncle shall come unto thee, saying, Buy thee my field that [is] in Anathoth: for the right of redemption [is] thine to buy [it.]

Jeremiah 32:8 So Hanameel mine uncle's son came to me in the court of the prison according to the word of the LORD, and said unto me, Buy my field, I pray thee, that [is] in Anathoth, which [is] in the country of Benjamin: for the right of inheritance [is] thine, and the redemption [is] thine; buy [it] for thyself. Then I knew that this [was] the word of the LORD.

Ezekiel 21:27 I will overturn, overturn, overturn, it: and it shall be no [more,] until he come whose right it is; and I will give it [him.]

Malachi 3:5 And I will come near to you to judgment; and I will be a swift witness against the sorcerers, and against the adulterers, and against false swearers, and against those that oppress the hireling in [his] wages, the widow, and the fatherless, and that turn aside the stranger [from his right,] and fear not me, saith the LORD of hosts.


Now for the Greek word that I will study:

Strongs Greek 1849
exousia -- ex-oo-see'-ah -- from 1832 (in the sense of ability); privilege, i.e. (subjectively) force, capacity, competency, freedom, or (objectively) mastery (concretely, magistrate, superhuman, potentate, token of control), delegated influence: -- authority, jurisdiction, liberty, power, right, strength.


This is even more clear in its delineation of a 'right' as a 'liberty.' It is translated as 'right,' 'liberty,' 'power,' and 'authority.' in the following selection of verses. Very clear.

Hebrews 13:10 We have an altar, whereof they have no right to eat which serve the tabernacle.

1 Corinthians 8:9 But take heed lest by any means this liberty of yours become a stumblingblock to them that are weak.

Acts 5:4 Whiles it remained, was it not thine own? and after it was sold, was it not in thine own power? why hast thou conceived this thing in thine heart? thou hast not lied unto men, but unto God.

Luke 20:2 And spake unto him, saying, Tell us, by what authority doest thou these things? or who is he that gave thee this authority?


Now I want to clarify some things about how we ought to view our rights. There is a popular sermon among preachers that condemns the modern concept of rights and the constant griping about our 'rights being infringed.' Some preachers even go so far as to say that the whole concept of rights is wrong. This conclusion is obviously wrong as I have shown. But how should we view them?

Matthew 5:38-47 Ye have heard that it hath been said, An eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth:
39 But I say unto you, That ye resist not evil: but whosoever shall smite thee on thy right cheek, turn to him the other also.
40 And if any man will sue thee at the law, and take away thy coat, let him have [thy] cloak also.
41 And whosoever shall compel thee to go a mile, go with him twain.
42 Give to him that asketh thee, and from him that would borrow of thee turn not thou away.
43 Ye have heard that it hath been said, Thou shalt love thy neighbour, and hate thine enemy.
44 But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you;
45 That ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven: for he maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust.
46 For if ye love them which love you, what reward have ye? do not even the publicans the same?
47 And if ye salute your brethren only, what do ye more [than others?] do not even the publicans so?

Romans 12:17-21 Recompense to no man evil for evil. Provide things honest in the sight of all men.
18 If it be possible, as much as lieth in you, live peaceably with all men.
19 Dearly beloved, avenge not yourselves, but [rather] give place unto wrath: for it is written, Vengeance [is] mine; I will repay, saith the Lord.
20 Therefore if thine enemy hunger, feed him; if he thirst, give him drink: for in so doing thou shalt heap coals of fire on his head.
21 Be not overcome of evil, but overcome evil with good.


These two passages make it very clear that we ought not, as Christians to try to defend our own rights. We ought to suffer for Christ, and not complain, and show that our peace transcends our circumstances. However Romans 12:19, quoted above, gives us a clue about what place our rights ought to have. We must leave our rights up to God: but what then?

Romans 13:1-5 Let every soul be subject unto the higher powers. For there is no power but of God: the powers that be are ordained of God.
2 Whosoever therefore resisteth the power, resisteth the ordinance of God: and they that resist shall receive to themselves damnation.
3 For rulers are not a terror to good works, but to the evil. Wilt thou then not be afraid of the power? do that which is good, and thou shalt have praise of the same:
4 For he is the minister of God to thee for good. But if thou do that which is evil, be afraid; for he beareth not the sword in vain: for he is the minister of God, a revenger to [execute] wrath upon him that doeth evil.
5 Wherefore [ye] must needs be subject, not only for wrath, but also for conscience sake.


The civil government is God's minister to do the avenging that is mentioned in the previous passage! So it is the government's responsibility to defend our rights (by punishing those who attack them, I.e. punish crime). So if we are a civil magistrate, or if we are discussing civil magistrates, we need to be discussing our rights. That is when we should be discussing our rights. Responsibility is the right term to use when looking at the government's end of things: it is their responsibility to defend our rights, but rights is the right term to use as well when you are discussing our end of the government.

I hope that that assists us in semantic clarity.

With joy and peace in Christ,
Jay Lauser

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I am Sir Emeth Mimetes (knighted to the warfare of truth by the calling of Christ, the Master of my order), and thus, though poorly is it ever met by my feeble abilities, is my mission: to combat those ideas that are rooted in mindsets that are contrary to my Master.
May I never forsake abiding in Him, and may His ways never cease to thrive within my heart, for He only is my strength and hope.
note: emeth is Hebrew for truth, right, faithful;
mimetes is Greek for an imitator or follower.
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PostSubject: Re: A Biblical view of human rights   Mon May 04, 2009 7:19 am

Quote :
The civil government is God's minister to do the avenging that is mentioned in the previous passage! So it is the government's responsibility to defend our rights (by punishing those who attack them, I.e. punish crime). So if we are a civil magistrate, or if we are discussing civil magistrates, we need to be discussing our rights. That is when we should be discussing our rights. Responsibility is the right term to use when looking at the government's end of things: it is their responsibility to defend our rights, but rights is the right term to use as well when you are discussing our end of the government.

An excellent study, but you seem to contradict yourself a bit here. At one point you say, " So if we are a civil magistrate, or if we are discussing civil magistrates, we need to be discussing our rights."


And then you say:

"Responsibility is the right term to use when looking at the government's end of things: it is their responsibility to defend our rights, but rights is the right term to use as well when you are discussing our end of the government."

I agree with the first part of the last statement: Responsibility is the right term to use when looking at the government's end of things".

I believe that each of the verses you post fit well into that rubric. The government, including family government (For some of the examples you list fall under the family jurisdiction) must exercise its 'responsibilities'.

Rights then, and the term must still be very carefully used in a modern context (see 'right to health care') are potential violations by one person of a responsibility they owe another. A widow owed money, for example, has a 'right' to the money, and a 'right' to fair adjudication by the civil magistrate.

And on the other side, the other party has a 'responsibility' to pay the money, and the judge has a 'responsibility' to be fair and impartial.
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PostSubject: Re: A Biblical view of human rights   Fri May 15, 2009 3:02 am

Von,

I am sorry for being little unclear, but I will try to clarify here.

Both words 'right' and 'responsibility' are valid to use in context with the government: they are simply two sides to the same coin.

I agree with you that the modern understanding of 'rights' is greatly skewed, and needs to be corrected. Rights are given by God, and no one else. We cannot claim a 'right to health care' simply because we want to. The only time that I can see (I am probably missing some) that there is a Biblical 'right to health care' is in an Ex. 21:19 situation.

With joy and peace in Christ,
Jay Lauser

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I am Sir Emeth Mimetes (knighted to the warfare of truth by the calling of Christ, the Master of my order), and thus, though poorly is it ever met by my feeble abilities, is my mission: to combat those ideas that are rooted in mindsets that are contrary to my Master.
May I never forsake abiding in Him, and may His ways never cease to thrive within my heart, for He only is my strength and hope.
note: emeth is Hebrew for truth, right, faithful;
mimetes is Greek for an imitator or follower.
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PostSubject: Re: A Biblical view of human rights   Fri May 15, 2009 2:36 pm

I agree. We do have rights, such as the right to life, the right to keep whatever property we make or buy, (unless it is taken as punishment for a crime), and the right to worship God. However, we do not have the right to health care, the right to stop working when we're 65, or the right to make $6.55 an hour, unless we earn these rights by paying for health care, saving enough money for retirement, and working hard enough that our bosses are willing to give us $6.55 an hour without the government telling them to.
The government has the responsibility to protect these rights, as well as many other rights that I didn't mention.

By the way, are there any human rights that the government does not have the responsibility to protect?

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PostSubject: Rights?   Tue May 19, 2009 1:49 pm

Is it not accurate to say that a right actually is a "non-right" of someone else? For example: the "right to life" actually means that it is wrong for someone else to kill you, not that somehow, before you existed, there was a debt owed you. (that debt being life)
This means that in one sense no "rights" are inalienable- for example, the "right to life" can be forfeited, but even a murder has the right to not be killed *unless he murders.* (though that isn't exactly relevant)

I hope that's not to scrambled or philosophical.
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PostSubject: Re: A Biblical view of human rights   Tue May 19, 2009 7:18 pm

I agree with Rutilus Regnum that before we exist, nobody "owes" us life. However, God has given us life (I'm pretty sure that's true of everyone who may be reading this) and we have the right (as well as the responsibility) to enjoy this gift of life and use it for His glory until He takes it away. I believe it is Biblical to say we have the right to use everything God gives us for His glory until He takes it away. Because we have this right, nobody except God has the right to take it away. It's true that this is a non-right of someone else, too, but murder is their non-right because life is our right; not the other way around. The thing I'm afraid of is that if we say that life is our right because murder is someone else's non-right, then we will start to ask why murder is a non-right. Of course we have the commandment, "Thou shalt not kill," but this makes it look like God just makes all sorts of random laws for no reason, which makes Him look like an unmerciful tyrant who makes rules based on whims. Of course God has a good reason for every rule He makes, and he said, "Thou shalt not kill," so that we could enjoy His gift of life for His glory until He takes it away.

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PostSubject: Re: A Biblical view of human rights   Wed May 20, 2009 2:42 am

Greetings,

Genesis 9:6 Whoso sheddeth man's blood, by man shall his blood be shed: for in the image of God made he man.

When one slays another, he is violating and destroying a gift from God. He has thereby forfeited his own right to that same gift. Thus, he is killed. It is true that one person having a right makes it not right for another to attack that right. But the derivation of that wrong is from the right. Good is never defined by its opposite: by evil. Good is defined by the nature of God. Evil is something that is contrary to the nature of God. So, there are non-rights like there are rights, but they are predicated off of the rights. So we need only define what rights lie within the civil magistrate's jurisdiction to defend, and the non-rights will be clear.

With joy and peace in Christ,
Jay Lauser

_________________
I am Sir Emeth Mimetes (knighted to the warfare of truth by the calling of Christ, the Master of my order), and thus, though poorly is it ever met by my feeble abilities, is my mission: to combat those ideas that are rooted in mindsets that are contrary to my Master.
May I never forsake abiding in Him, and may His ways never cease to thrive within my heart, for He only is my strength and hope.
note: emeth is Hebrew for truth, right, faithful;
mimetes is Greek for an imitator or follower.
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Rutilus Regnum



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PostSubject: Re: A Biblical view of human rights   Wed May 20, 2009 8:29 am

I think you may misunderstand me. I am not precisely saying that good is defined by evil.
[I do believe that moral good, (I.E. righteousness) can be defined as "a lack of evil," but that's a totally separate issue (and it does not contradict such concepts as "all evil things are corrupted good things.)]
What I am saying is that rights/freedoms to certain things- like life- do not so much belong to the person who receives them. Rather, they are protected (and therefore, maintain their existence) because of a lack of rights/freedom in all other people.

Dr. Hipopotamo said, "...we have the right (as well as the responsibility) to enjoy this gift of life and use it for His glory until He takes it away." This quote brings something to mind that I haven't yet said.
If anyone- even the greatest One, God- can take a right away, then that right is not truly inalienable. In an interesting way, this supports my previous point, because, if a right can justly be taken away for a reason not dependent upon you, doesn't it follow that the right didn't depend on you in the first place?
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PostSubject: Re: A Biblical view of human rights   Wed May 20, 2009 8:54 am

INA'LIENABLE, a. [L. alieno, alienus.]
Unalienable; that cannot be legally or justly alienated or transferred to another. The dominions of a king are inalienable. All men have certain natural rights which are inalienable. The estate of a minor is inalienable, without a reservation of the right of redemption, or the authority of the legislature.


An inalienable right is something which it is right to have or do, and which you cannot alter or transfer. It is right for me to live, and I cannot refuse that right (suicide). If someone kills me they have violated that right, and it is wrong for me to give them permission to do so (assisted suicide). God gives and God can take away, but we are talking about us, not God. The point is that the bully next door cannot revoke your rights to property or life.

The Biblical concept of a right is an exclusion of power over something. An exclusive power over your property, etc. This concept includes a concept of a 'non-right' of everyone else, so you are right. Mainly we differ on secondary semantics. Smile

With joy and peace in Christ,
Jay Lauser

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I am Sir Emeth Mimetes (knighted to the warfare of truth by the calling of Christ, the Master of my order), and thus, though poorly is it ever met by my feeble abilities, is my mission: to combat those ideas that are rooted in mindsets that are contrary to my Master.
May I never forsake abiding in Him, and may His ways never cease to thrive within my heart, for He only is my strength and hope.
note: emeth is Hebrew for truth, right, faithful;
mimetes is Greek for an imitator or follower.
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caleb
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PostSubject: Re: A Biblical view of human rights   Wed May 20, 2009 10:35 am

Here are some quotes from the Presidents in regards to 'rights'.

John Adams- "Property is surely a right of mankind as real as liberty."

"The right of a nation to kill a tyrant in case of necessity can no more be doubted than to hang a robber, or kill a flea."

Thomas Jefferson- "No man has a natural right to commit aggression on the equal rights of another; and this is all from which the laws ought to restrain him."

"The strongest reason for the people to retain the right to keep and bear arms is, as a last resort, to protect themselves against tyranny in government."

James Madison- "The rights of persons, and the rights of property, are the objects, for the protection of which Government was instituted."

James Monroe- "The right of self defense never ceases. It is among the most sacred, and alike necessary to nations and to individuals,"

Lyndon B. Johnson- "Every man has a right to a Saturday night bath."

To God be the glory,
-Caleb
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PostSubject: Re: A Biblical view of human rights   Wed May 20, 2009 6:09 pm

Rutilus Regnum wrote:

Dr. Hipopotamo said, "...we have the right (as well as the responsibility) to enjoy this gift of life and use it for His glory until He takes it away." This quote brings something to mind that I haven't yet said.
If anyone- even the greatest One, God- can take a right away, then that right is not truly inalienable. In an interesting way, this supports my previous point, because, if a right can justly be taken away for a reason not dependent upon you, doesn't it follow that the right didn't depend on you in the first place?

Right. God and only God can justly take away life (unless He tells someone else to do it). From a human standpoint, however, life is an inalienable right. Because God is the giver of all good things, He has the right to take them away, but nobody else does.
So here's what I propose:
Humans have the right to enjoy all gifts that are given by God until He takes them away. These gifts include life, liberty, and property. Anyone (other than God) who takes one of God's gifts away (without God's permission) is infringing on the right of him to whom it was given. From a moral standpoint, we have the responsibilty to use these gifts for God's glory and the right to dispose of property (but not life or liberty) as we see fit. From a legal standpoint, we have the right to do anything we want with these gifts, as long as we don't infringe on someone else's right. God will punish those who do not glorify Him with the gifts they have recieved. This is not the government's job, but God's. Thus, suicide is a sin, but cannot be outlawed. For one thing, how do you punish it?

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PostSubject: Re: A Biblical view of human rights   Thu May 21, 2009 2:07 am

Dr. Hipopótamo wrote:
From a moral standpoint, we have the responsibilty to use these gifts for God's glory and the right to dispose of property (but not life or liberty) as we see fit.

I agreed with everything you said but I think that you got confused. It is not possible to dispose of the right to property, or life, or liberty. But part of our power over our property, life, and liberty is to deal with others in them. So we give, buy and sell property. We make contracts binding our liberty to another's liberty, limiting each. And we devote our lives to another in marriage and etc. See what I mean?

With joy and peace in Christ,
Jay Lauser

_________________
I am Sir Emeth Mimetes (knighted to the warfare of truth by the calling of Christ, the Master of my order), and thus, though poorly is it ever met by my feeble abilities, is my mission: to combat those ideas that are rooted in mindsets that are contrary to my Master.
May I never forsake abiding in Him, and may His ways never cease to thrive within my heart, for He only is my strength and hope.
note: emeth is Hebrew for truth, right, faithful;
mimetes is Greek for an imitator or follower.


Last edited by Sir Emeth Mimetes on Fri May 22, 2009 5:30 am; edited 1 time in total
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PostSubject: Re: A Biblical view of human rights   Thu May 21, 2009 3:06 pm

What I was trying to say is that morally, we do not have the right to use our life, liberty, or property in a way that is not glorifying to God, but legally, we have the right to do anything we want with them as long as it does not infringe on another's liberty. So here's how I think our moral rights play out:

Property -We have the moral responsibility to use all of our property for God's glory and the right to do what we think is best with it. We have the right to dispose of our property if we do it with the right attitude. Jesus encourages throwing away things that cause us to sin, even if it's our own hand. Even if it's something we just don't want (but it doesn't cause temptation), we still have the moral right to throw it away. If God blesses me with the most hideous half-cat-half-barbie-doll toy I've ever seen, a right attitude would be to throw it away and be thankful that I don't ever have to look at it again. A wrong attitude would be to throw it away while complaining that I never get anything I like. So we have the moral right and responsibility to honor God with our property, and to dispose of it with a right attitude if we wish.

Life -We have the moral right and responsibility to glorify God with our lives. This may include devoting our lives to our spouse. This is using our life, not disposing of it. We do not have the right to dispose of our lives for no good reason. If I'm depressed, that doesn't make it okay to kill myself. God may still have a job for me to do on earth, and if He doesn't, He'll take me home when He's ready. If I'm in the Secret Service, and someone shoots at the president, I think it would be right to jump in front of the president to save him. In this case, I am giving my life for someone else. However, I'm not sure it is necessarily right to join the secret service if I have other responsibilities (maybe I'm a husband and father

Liberty -We have the moral right to use our liberty for God's glory. We can make a contract to work for someone for a day. This is using our liberty. We do not have the moral right to say to someone else, "I will do whatever you say, regardless." That means we are putting someone else's will ahead of God's, and that is idolatry.

Legally, we have the right to do whatever we want with our life, liberty, and property. That doesn't mean it is okay to commit the sins I have meantioned, or that "religion" is optional and adds "extra" rules. This means that these sins are outside the realm of government to punish and God will punish them (unless we are forgiven through Christ).

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PostSubject: Re: A Biblical view of human rights   Fri May 22, 2009 2:25 am

Dr.,

I understand you better now. I also agree.

Something that is interesting, is that it is our legal right to be a Muslim (as long as we don't go on a jihad), but it is not our moral right: it is not right to be a Muslim. This is because civil magistrates have no jurisdiction over the religion of the populace, only over their criminal actions.

With joy and peace in Christ,
Jay Lauser

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I am Sir Emeth Mimetes (knighted to the warfare of truth by the calling of Christ, the Master of my order), and thus, though poorly is it ever met by my feeble abilities, is my mission: to combat those ideas that are rooted in mindsets that are contrary to my Master.
May I never forsake abiding in Him, and may His ways never cease to thrive within my heart, for He only is my strength and hope.
note: emeth is Hebrew for truth, right, faithful;
mimetes is Greek for an imitator or follower.
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PostSubject: Re: A Biblical view of human rights   Fri May 22, 2009 4:33 am

So what about capital punishment? This form of punishment takes away someone's life, but it is a biblical method for some crimes. From what I'm getting from the above posts, only God can take the person's life away, we can't. Ultimately, I believe that God gives life and takes it away, but I still think the government can rightly take someone's life as punishment for a crime.

Quote :
God and only God can justly take away life (unless He tells someone else to do it).

Disagree. I do not believe in direct revelation in modern times. I believe that God has given us everything we need to know about life in the Bible and that He does not directly tell us anything that is not in the Bible. If what you mean by this is that we see OT laws which explain which crimes can be punished with death, I'll let you read my next post on OT law from a Bible study I'm doing on the subject when it is finished.

To God be the glory,
-Caleb
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PostSubject: Re: A Biblical view of human rights   Fri May 22, 2009 5:30 am

caleb wrote:
So what about capital punishment? This form of punishment takes away someone's life, but it is a biblical method for some crimes. From what I'm getting from the above posts, only God can take the person's life away, we can't. Ultimately, I believe that God gives life and takes it away, but I still think the government can rightly take someone's life as punishment for a crime.

Quote :
God and only God can justly take away life (unless He tells someone else to do it).

Disagree. I do not believe in direct revelation in modern times. I believe that God has given us everything we need to know about life in the Bible and that He does not directly tell us anything that is not in the Bible. If what you mean by this is that we see OT laws which explain which crimes can be punished with death, I'll let you read my next post on OT law from a Bible study I'm doing on the subject when it is finished.

To God be the glory,
-Caleb

Caleb,

I am sorry we were not more clear. I agree with you. When we were speaking of taking away the right to life we were talking about somebody saying that certain people do not have a right to life: dark skinned people for instance.

Genesis 9:6 Whoso sheddeth man's blood, by man shall his blood be shed: for in the image of God made he man.

The reason capital punishment exists is because life is a right given by God and not by man.

As to the Dr's statement about only God being able to take life (unless He tells someone to do it). He is right. But this does not imply that capital punishment requires a direct, verbal, specific command by God. Perhaps it would be better to say it this way: only those delegated by God to punish crime may execute someone. This is in accordance with Romans 13, which very clearly states that a true government is God's minister (a deacon, or delegated official) for punishing crime. Is that clearer? Thank you for pointing out the danger of the phrase.

With joy and peace in Christ,
Jay Lauser

_________________
I am Sir Emeth Mimetes (knighted to the warfare of truth by the calling of Christ, the Master of my order), and thus, though poorly is it ever met by my feeble abilities, is my mission: to combat those ideas that are rooted in mindsets that are contrary to my Master.
May I never forsake abiding in Him, and may His ways never cease to thrive within my heart, for He only is my strength and hope.
note: emeth is Hebrew for truth, right, faithful;
mimetes is Greek for an imitator or follower.
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caleb
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PostSubject: Re: A Biblical view of human rights   Fri May 22, 2009 6:03 am

Sir Emeth Mimetes wrote:

Caleb,

I am sorry we were not more clear. I agree with you. When we were speaking of taking away the right to life we were talking about somebody saying that certain people do not have a right to life: dark skinned people for instance.

Genesis 9:6 Whoso sheddeth man's blood, by man shall his blood be shed: for in the image of God made he man.

The reason capital punishment exists is because life is a right given by God and not by man.

As to the Dr's statement about only God being able to take life (unless He tells someone to do it). He is right. But this does not imply that capital punishment requires a direct, verbal, specific command by God. Perhaps it would be better to say it this way: only those delegated by God to punish crime may execute someone. This is in accordance with Romans 13, which very clearly states that a true government is God's minister (a deacon, or delegated official) for punishing crime. Is that clearer? Thank you for pointing out the danger of the phrase.

With joy and peace in Christ,
Jay Lauser

Ah, very good. I'm agreed. By the way, what exactly are we aiming for in this post? In other words, what is it we are determining about rights that would go in green for everyone to agree on?

To God be the glory,
-Caleb
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PostSubject: Re: A Biblical view of human rights   Fri May 22, 2009 7:52 am

Caleb,

Hmm... Well, we have defined what we mean by rights. And so we are able to use it ably on the rest of the forum now. If we try to go into defining what rights are biblical and which are not, which ones are in the civil magistrate's jurisdiction and what-not, this thread will be dealing with the Crime thread's stuff. So I think we should conclude this one with what we have already. Without delimiting any rights themselves, just what a right is. What do you think?

With joy and peace in Christ,
Jay Lauser

_________________
I am Sir Emeth Mimetes (knighted to the warfare of truth by the calling of Christ, the Master of my order), and thus, though poorly is it ever met by my feeble abilities, is my mission: to combat those ideas that are rooted in mindsets that are contrary to my Master.
May I never forsake abiding in Him, and may His ways never cease to thrive within my heart, for He only is my strength and hope.
note: emeth is Hebrew for truth, right, faithful;
mimetes is Greek for an imitator or follower.
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