And Are Endowed By Their Creator With Certain Unalienable Rights

The first two paragraphs of the Declaration of Independence are a well-known set of philosophical statements that are pregnant with serious implications:

“When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.

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.–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, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn, that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security.–Such has been the patient sufferance of these Colonies; and such is now the necessity which constrains them to alter their former Systems of Government. The history of the present King of Great Britain is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations, all having in direct object the establishment of an absolute Tyranny over these States. To prove this, let Facts be submitted to a candid world [1].”

One of the several online courses I am taking with Coursera is taught by an irreligious professor of history at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem who believes that the fictions of scientism are absolute and objective truth and that the objective truths of scripture are imaginary mental constructs. Nevertheless, he does bring up the important point that the corrupt and evil and false views of evolutionists have dire consequences for human dignity for those who are deceived by such fictions and labor under such illusions. With an evolutionary viewpoint, there is no equality between mankind on any level, no rights, no freedom or liberty of any kind. In such a worldview, only those who have the power have any “rights,” the consequences of which would be the establishment of a wicked and unjust social order like that of the Confederacy, whose rearguard action against the truths expressed in the Declaration of Independence led them and their allies first to proclaim that the Declaration of Independence was a “self-evident lie [2]” and then to attempt to rebel against the social order of the United States rather than to submit to the slow and gradual extinction of its wicked social order.

One of the aspects of life that is difficult for those of us of an intellectual inclination to sufficiently understand as well as help others to understand is that ideas and worldviews and philosophies have consequences. To those who are not of an intellectual bent, ideas may merely seem like castles in the sky of words and of no practical importance, but ideas gain their power over the way in which they influence our behavior in the real world. The belief that Jews were no better than cockroaches, once it was believed and acted on, led to unimaginable atrocities in Nazi Germany and territory occupied by Hitler’s regime. Likewise, the widespread and wicked belief that an unborn child is a mere fetus of cells has led to the belief that the murder of innocent life is an unalienable right for women or for those men who can persuade the mothers of their children through one way or another to murder their children to spare them from the consequences of their own irresponsibility. We may think that the subject of human rights is one of airy and theoretical debates, but the consequences of one’s beliefs about human dignity matter greatly in a practical sense to the most vulnerable members of our societies, those who have the least ability to defend themselves.

We must candidly admit that the source of our freedoms and our rights is our Creator. We have the unalienable right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness (and whatever other unalienable rights we possess) because we are beings created in the image and likeness of God no matter whether we are young or old, unborn or elderly, male or female, strong or weak, rich or poor, of whatever ethnicity or people or tribe. This is not to say that we as a people, or any other people on this globe, had ever fully lived in obedience of this self-evident truth. However, it has always been a statement of our beliefs and intentions and ideals, so that our reality may ever more closely approximate those truths as we gradually overcome the pernicious effects of evil and unjust traditions and ever more closely live in accordance with our ideals and standards and beliefs. Apart from a belief in our common identity as children of the Most High God, Creator of the heavens and the earth, there are no rights that we possess as human beings apart from the power that we can engage on our behalf in order to defend them.

The practical consequences of that belief are everywhere. They are present in the coarsening of our protection of the vulnerable and defenseless, making life more perilous for the unborn, for children, and for the elderly, all of which become ripe for harm and a reduced belief in the value and worth of their lives. They are present in the ferocious struggle for political power, for control of Congress and the Presidency and the courts, so that our own ideas and worldviews and philosophies may be enforced against our rivals and our enemies. They are present in the decline of respect for the civic order and for institutions that help to defend that order, for the rise of conspiratorial behavior and vigilante justice and social instability. Without a belief in the ultimate justice provided by God, any existence of injustice in one’s eyes becomes intolerable and unacceptable because there is no future where wrongs may be righted and where suffering may be repaid with gladness and joy. Without that hope, everything must be done and done correctly in this life, and that is a strain that no human institutions nor any human governments may endure because of the flaws that we all share because of our fallen nature. We therefore ought not to take such matters as ideas and worldviews and political philosophy and theology as matters of mere verbal fencing, but we ought to recognize how essential right thought is to right action in our lives and in the larger behavior of our societies, while there is time to mend our ways.

[1] http://www.archives.gov/exhibits/charters/declaration_transcript.html

[2] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_Pettit

About nathanalbright

I'm a person with diverse interests who loves to read. If you want to know something about me, just ask.
This entry was posted in American History, Christianity, History, Musings and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to And Are Endowed By Their Creator With Certain Unalienable Rights

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