The Intellectual Crisis of a Good Idea

Journal of Religious Ethics 26 (2):263 - 268 (1998)
Abstract
Against those who hold that human rights find an adequate grounding in secular conceptions of human dignity, the author argues that the foundations of human rights claims are essentially theological. Against those who represent religion as the opponent of human rights, the author argues that though some religious communities have violated human rights, these violations can be seen as the culpable failures of sinful cultures and pagan or secular forces as much as the expressions of a critically held faith. Reason converges with some religious orientations to form theology, and theology provides the key resources by which we can judge the bad faith of religious communities and provide the moral architecture for civilization--including the convictions expressed in human rights discourse.
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