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Posted: 11/22/2003 10:09:43 AM EDT
Okay, this seems like a no-brainer. Everybody knows the Bill of Rights doesn't grant rights, it simply enumerates and offers to protect them. Our Declaration of Independence states that people "are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights." This is generally believed to be the case.

I don't get it, though. It's more than "if you don't believe in God, then from where do your rights come?" Although that's a good question, and it might server to help this, it's more than that. I'm a Christian. I do believe in God. And I have never seen anything where I'm given any unalienable rights. The closest I've seen is that I have no rights and that He gives and takes as He pleases, and who is the clay to question the potter?

I'm curious. Where do we get our rights? If it's from God, where does He say it? If it's not from God (this one is more aimed at those who don't believe in God), then from where?

I'm not interested in a "does God exist" fight. I wanna know from where you believe our rights come. If it's from God, I wanna see a cited source. If it's not, I wanna see a reasonable explanation.
Link Posted: 11/22/2003 10:31:26 AM EDT
Good question. I've thought about this before, because it's always been my contention, that even if the right wasn't written down in the Bill of Rights, doesn't mean you don't have it. It's really amazing that we so much follow the Constitution in law when really it's a shame that these rights had to even be written down in the first place. Scary if you think about it.
Link Posted: 11/23/2003 10:42:25 AM EDT
We are endowed by ourselves, by being human. By being able to have a cognitive mind and think about such ideas and express those with others. The ability to reason, intuition, etc.

You shoot a deer and a man comes out of the woods and says he & his family is starving. Your ability to communicate and discuss the situation is the same idea as where your rights come from.

Shoot the deer and have a bear come out of the woods, as far as the bear is concerned, you have no rights, only the basics of nature apply.
Link Posted: 11/25/2003 10:35:57 PM EDT
The founding fathers of this nation were heavily influenced by Enlightenment thinkers such as John Locke and Jean-Jacques Rousseau. The Declaration of Independence was virtually plaigerized from Locke's On Civil Government. "Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Property" were his words in that essay. You can literally read the two documents side-by-side. These thinkers, including the founders of our nation, were deists. Deism is characterized by the idea that God is like a clock-maker who designed the universe to act according to a set of natural laws and then set it in motion to operate autonomously according to its design. They believed the natural laws that govern the universe can be discovered and understood through reason. They also believed that man should be free according to natural law. Freedom of the Individual is a fundamental tenet of Elightenment thought. Each individual is free to pursue his own interests as he desires as long as his pursuit does not infringe on another's free pursuit. Therein lies the function of government according to our forefathers -- The government's one and only function in a free society is to ensure that each individual living in that society is free to do as he sees fit without fear of his freedom being infringed by another individual or entity (including the government). The people in a society agree to be governed only to protect their individual and collective freedom. So, there is the answer to your question according to our forefathers. According to natural law, you are a free individual and have the right to pursue your interests without interference, as long as your interests don't interfere with someone else's freedom. Our government is an Enlightenment experiment designed to operate according to the aforementioned principles. The design of the governement (i.e. the Constitution) was intended for the sole purpose of ensuring a society of free individuals. The Bill of Rights was written specifically to protect the people from their government. I personally agree with BKinsey. Natural law doesn't provide for a right to freedom. In nature he who is strong enough to be free is free, but the weak may have their freedom jeapordized. One must make himself physically stronger than another who wishes to force his will on him in order to remain free. Violence is inevitable in nature. That is why it is wise to arm yourself. It is also why you can have my gun when you pry it from my cold, dead hand.
Link Posted: 12/6/2003 9:55:37 PM EDT
Our Declaration of Independence states that people "are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights."
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I believe you've answered your own question, if you think about it. Within the constitutional context, this is so because the document says this is so. The Constitution says "this and that are true, signed, We the People." Voila - law of the land. This is one of the key assumptions upon which the framework of the Constitution rests, so as I said it's there because they decided to put it there. Notice that it doesn't say "God," but "Creator." To you this may mean a big bearded guy in a white robe riding around on a cloud tossing thunderbolts at the naughty. To some fruitcake in Kalifornia it might be one of those traffic barriers they've been known to worship out there. To an atheist, it might mean evolution. The point is, they are saying that man came into being with these innate freedoms already belonging to him, and the Constitution was created to preserve them because the framers knew that the business of all governments is to find ways to take those rights away, so they got "dibs" on them by establishing a Higher Authority which trumps mere government. Boy, those founding fathers were really a bunch of thinkers, weren't they?
Link Posted: 12/13/2003 7:07:56 PM EDT
I have to say that is one of the most interesting threads that I have ever read on the internet. I would also agree that our rights stem from cognitive abilities and our being humans. The rights that are enumerated in the Constitution are the result of people being able to communicate meaningfully with each other and live together in some cooperative manner. I believe that they are the unspoken basis for the social contract that we as humans have with each other that allow us to co-exisit peacefully. Without these rights we would become like animals and only those who were strong would survive. At some point people realized that in order to survive we would need to work together for hunting, defense, or just plain company and this I believe led to the beginings of the rights.
Link Posted: 12/15/2003 3:16:03 PM EDT
Originally Posted By Mr_Happy1: I have to say that is one of the most interesting threads that I have ever read on the internet.
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Thank you. Unfortunately, this thread hasn't gotten much traffic. I posted the same thread on [url=http://thehighroad.org/showthread.php?s=&threadid=51199]The High Road[/url] which got a much better response.
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