Where Do Human Rights Come From?

The atheist says1 that human rights come from the government. America’s founding document, the Declaration of Independence says:

<i>”All men are created equal and that they are endowed with certain unalienable rights among them the right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.”</i>

So who do we believe, the atheist who believes that everything just happened all by itself; or do we believe the geniuses who designed the American Republic, the greatest, most just, most prosperous, most technically advanced nation in human history?

The atheist goes on to say,

<i>”In reality, rights are granted by governments. Period. If a government does not grant and protect a right, it is not a right.”</i>

Why is this so wrong?

First, from the Founding to about the mid-1960’s American government was small and its citizens free. The Bill of Rights stated for the first time in history, the rights of citizens and limits of government. Human rights are stated as an undisputed given and then government is told explicitly to back off. Human rights exist first and take precedence over government.

Therefore, if human rights really came from government, America could have never come into being. The atheist stands refuted. Human rights do not come from government.

Then, where do human rights come from?

Human rights come from our human nature.

Human beings have the power to think rationally, to speak, to freely choose a course of action. When human beings organize politically into towns, cities and nations, governments are formed. Here, again from the Declaration of Independence concerning government and human rights:

<i>”That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving
their just powers from the consent of the governed, That whenever any Form of Government
becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to
institute new Government.”</i>

Government secures the human rights of its citizens. But American government derives its power from the citizen. Logically then, the citizen possesses human rights first and then creates government to secure them. We can easily infer that the citizen possesses human rights because he or she was born with them. Citizens organize politically to establish governments that will secure the natural human rights to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.

Human rights are actually the basic needs of the human creature. If the human being is allowed life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness, he or she will flourish. Life, liberty and happiness are inherent to the human creature. Human beings organize politically and form governments intended to protect human flourishing.

1 The Spartan Atheist Word Press Blog; Please visit. I have been banned from that site.


3 responses to “Where Do Human Rights Come From?”

  1. Reblogged this on Citizen Tom and commented:
    Silence of Mind has written an excellent post here. What do I wish to add in order to amplify my agreement?

    Observe that the Constitution is not our nation’s founding document. That honor belongs to the Declaration of Independence. Instead of the day the Constitution was formally ratified, that is why we celebrate July 4th. Whereas the Declaration stated why we needed a new government, the Constitution implemented the kind of government we need to protect our rights.

    Why did the people of the 13 American colonies believe their rights were God-given? The Bible tells us that we belong to God, and God commands us to love each other and to respect each other’s rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.

    Did Thomas Jefferson simply restate a verse or passage that he found in the Bible? No, but the ideas are clearly there.

    The Bible says God created us, and He made each of us in His image. So, we belong to God, and He created us as equals in the sense that each of us have the image of God stamped upon us.

    The Bible prohibits us from murdering each other. Therefore, we have the right to life.

    Does the Bible prohibit us from enslaving each other, taking the liberty of another person? Effectively, yes. The Bible prohibits stealing. If we take another man’s freedom, isn’t that stealing something most precious from that man?

    What about the pursuit of happiness, the freedom to use our lives as we each deem best? Do any of us have the right to pressure and force others to believe as we believe? No, The Bible tells us to do unto others what we would have others do unto us. Which of us would want some arrogant soul trying to force us to think and do like him? The Apostle Paul put it this way.

    Romans 14:4 New American Standard Bible

    4 Who are you to judge the servant of another? To his own master he stands or falls; and he will stand, for the Lord is able to make him stand.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Citizen, Your biblical take on the topic is most beneficial. The Bible is the foundation of Christian Western Civilization and its crown jewel, the United States of America.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Thank you! Most kind of you to say so.

    Liked by 1 person

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