Sunday, December 18, 2016

Is the case for human equality religious?

Some argue that religious arguments should be excluded from public policy debate. But what happens when we do that?

Thomas Jefferson used a religious argument to argue for human rights, he said that those rights were endowed by our creator and that we were created equal. This obviously won't work if there is no God, since we weren't created, and therefore we could not have been created equal. Is it possible that the very principle of human equality itself, which is the basis for marriage equality, is based on a religious argument, and if you reject all religious arguments, you undercut the case for all forms of equality, including marriage equality.

Is it a consequence of atheism that the people with the biggest guns are entitled to determine who has what rights?

It can be replied that even though the concept of human equality had a religious source to begin with, we have discovered that the doctrine of human equality works out best for humans, so even if we discover that we got here by evolution and not creation, we should still respect human equality.  But how persuasive is that for people who have power and don't want to relinquish it?

25 comments:

Joe Hinman said...

there is a Christianity based case to be made. See Galatians. There is a social dimension to the Gospel.

IlĂ­on said...

"... marriage equality ..."

Wait! Since when were homosexuals, out of all the broken people on this earth, forbidden to marry? Since when were straight men allowed to marry another man, but homosexuals prohibited from the same act? Since when did any State's laws on marriage even enquire as to the sexual proclivities of the parties?

"Gay" mirage is not, and never was, about "marriage equality"; we already had that.

B. Prokop said...

I have to second Ilion here, Victor. You are (most likely unwittingly) falling into Orwellian language by using the politically-freighted and highly misleading term "marriage equality". Prior to Obergfell, all people were equally able to marry a person of the opposite sex. Just as all were equally prohibited from marrying one's own parent or child. There was no discrimination, no absence of equality, there. All were treated alike.

jdhuey said...

https://plato.stanford.edu/entries/equality/

Joe Hinman said...

Is the case for human equality religious?

where does the topic say "Marriage?" poor little right wingers so afraid of it all. obsessed with gays,

Joe Hinman said...

Schweitzer and the Death of Civilization 3 of 3

B. Prokop said...

Hmm... Ilion calls me a leftist, and Joe accuses me of being a right winger. Looks like I have achieved my desire to be a centrist!

Jimmy S. M. said...

Bob, would you object to someone using your same argument in Loving v Virgina? Whites and "Coloreds" were treated the same under the law..

B. Prokop said...

Yes, I would. The two cases have nothing in common with and are in no way analogous to each other.

B. Prokop said...

Besides, kindly show me where my argument is wrong. How were people treated unequally prior to Obergfell?

Jimmy S. M. said...

I didn't state a position on whether I think the cases are analogous, so I'd rather leave that aside;

My question is, how would you respond to someone who took the same tactic to defend miscegenation laws? Whites can marry whites, blacks can marry blacks, it's equal treatment..

What's the argument against that?

B. Prokop said...

By such reasoning any law that treats all persons equally can be labeled "racist" on the grounds of such false analogy.

All drivers are not permitted to pass on a solid double line. Wow, that must be a racist law, since it affects all drivers equally!

That's how I would (and do) respond to such nonsense.

(And why would you "rather leave that aside"? Perhaps because the analogy is indefensible?)

Jimmy S. M. said...

I'm sorry, I don't track what you're saying here

B. Prokop said...

I don't see how I could be any clearer. Read it again.

Victor Reppert said...

Assuming atheism, I see no good argument against miscegenation laws. Jefferson said that we were endowed by our creator with certain inalienable rights, and if we have no creator, then there are no inalienable rights. A right exists just in case there is a moral fact that requiring those with the biggest guns from exercise power over those lacking the biggest guns. However, if atheism, (or at least materialistic atheism) is true, then there are no such moral facts, and there is no obligation on the people with the biggest guns from disallowing mixed marriages if they so prefer. Thus, if the government under Trump wants to make America great again by making America white again, and part of that operation is to prevent mixed marriages in order to maintain racial purity, there is no moral fact that obligates them not to do so. Similarly if the people with the biggest guns like gay people then they will give them marriage licenses, and if not then not.

On the other hand, if there is a God, then God may have revealed to us the basis of the doctrine of human equality, then that is another matter. The concept of race has no basis in Scripture, and there is no religious reason at least in the Judeo-Christian tradition for treating people of different races differently and preventing intermarriage. The only ethnic identity God seems to care about in the Bible is the lineage of Israel, and the lineage of David, and in Judaism and Christianity that is best defined in terms of a special mission, not a special privilege. There was concern about intermarriage for fear of the Jewish people falling into idolatry, but that is not an issue for miscegenation.

On the other hand, in that context, we have to ask whether God intends for same-sex couples to marry.

Cal Metzger said...

VR: "The concept of race has no basis in Scripture, and there is no religious reason at least in the Judeo-Christian tradition for treating people of different races differently and preventing intermarriage."

Ephesians 6:5: "Slaves, obey your earthly masters with respect and fear, and with sincerity of heart, just as you would obey Christ."

Isaiah 42:6 (God to his chosen people, who are still somehow equal with all other humans?) "For you are a people holy to the LORD your God. The LORD your God has chosen you to be a people for his treasured possession, out of all the peoples who are on the face of the earth."

John Calvin: ""Predestination we call the eternal decree of God, by which He has determined in Himself, what He would have to become of every individual of mankind. For they are not all created with a similar destiny; but eternal life is foreordained for some and eternal death for others. Every man, therefore, being created for one or the other of these ends, we say he is predestinated either to life or to death." Institutes, Book III, Ch. XXI, Sec. 5."

Martin Luther: "I brief, dear princes and lords, those of you who have Jews under your rule­­ if my counsel does not please your, find better advice, so that you and we all can be rid of the unbearable, devilish burden of the Jews, lest we become guilty sharers before God in the lies, blasphemy, the defamation, and the curses which the mad Jews indulge in so freely and wantonly against the person of our Lord Jesus Christ, this dear mother, all Christians, all authority, and ourselves. Do not grant them protection, safe­conduct, or communion with us.... .With this faithful counsel and warning I wish to cleanse and exonerate my conscience."

--------

Shouldn't it bother you that you pronounce things about your religion that are so demonstrably false?

What's so odd about you is that, in another 3-6 months, you'll put out another post repeating yourself, despite the easy problems with your theory I present above. It's as if you're incapable of learning. Do you want to appear incapable of learning?

B. Prokop said...

"Shouldn't it bother you that you pronounce things about your religion that are so demonstrably false?"

No, but it ought to bother you that you have to resort to citing heretics and schismatics (Luther and Calvin) to make your (bogus) points. Try quoting from some Orthodox sources.

Your quote from Ephesians has nothing to do with race. The slaves Paul was referring to were the of the same ethnicity as their masters.

The "Chosen People" does not refer to any genetic trait ("God can raise up children of Abraham from these stones.")

Victor has no need to wait 3-6 months to proclaim the Truth, whereas you, Cal, will be spouting your error as soon as you make your next posting.

"Do you want to appear incapable of learning?"

Not a problem while you prove yourself incapable of posting a true sentence.

Gyan said...

Cal is right for once. There is no doctrine of equality in Christianity. In fact, given predestination and election, the Christianity asserts maximal inequality among people.
There is equality in Hinduism. Now, you are born as an upper-caste but you may be reborn as a lower-caste person. But, Christianity proclaims eternal inequality.

B. Prokop said...

"Equality" is a singularly undefined term in our discourse. I recall one of my history professors (this was way back in the early 70s) saying that the French Revolution, with its slogan of "Liberty, Equality" and Fraternity", was doomed from the start, because you could have liberty or you could have equality, but you couldn't have both at the same time - unless you redefined the terms so as to rob them of all meaning.

oozzielionel said...

Christianity Today published a short piece on this topic. http://www.christianitytoday.com/ct/2016/november/bible-never-says-all-men-are-created-equal.html?share=g%2brnb%2b4x0mVoxAFLRzdwmPoMFIDjAfpE&utm_source=ctweekly-html&utm_medium=Newsletter&utm_term=12207129&utm_content=482384924&utm_campaign=email&start=2

Concluding quote: "For all the good the Declaration of Independence has wrought, it’s misleading to claim that the New Testament shares its vision of equality. Scripture is after something far loftier than “all men are created equal”: oneness, partnership, communion, unity-in-diversity, joint-inheritance—and love across each and every dividing line."

Gyan said...

Prokop,
Not exactly true. There is Equality under laws in a republic. This is what the French Revolution means--end of the aristocratic privilege.

oozzielionel said...

We don't have "equality." We aspire to have some "equal rights" under the law. There is a big difference. Even these few rights are unequally granted or exercised. The effort to obtain those few equal rights requires admission of differences.

B. Prokop said...

In order for equality to exist, people must be compelled to alter their behavior, or share their possessions, or give way to others in specific circumstances (and thus a diminution of freedom). For freedom to exist, people have to be allowed to rise or fall to differing levels (and thus no equality).

As my professor said, either one or the other, but not both. Can't be done.

Joe Hinman said...


Blogger B. Prokop said...
Hmm... Ilion calls me a leftist, and Joe accuses me of being a right winger. Looks like I have achieved my desire to be a centrist!

December 19, 2016 6:10 AM

I was talking to idion

Joe Hinman said...

slave was not a racial category in the ancient world,. Luther and Calvin are not Scripture.OT says aliens are to be treated equally with Jews in Israel.