New PDF release: Does God Believe in Human Rights?

By Nazila Ghanea, Alan Stephens, Raphael Walden

The place can religions locate resources of legitimacy for human rights? How do, and the way may still, spiritual leaders and groups reply to human rights as outlined in sleek foreign legislations? while spiritual precepts contradict human rights criteria - for instance on the subject of freedom of expression or with regards to punishments - which should still trump the opposite, and why? Can human rights and spiritual teachings be interpreted in a fashion which brings reconciliation nearer? Do the fashionable idea and method of human rights undermine the very imaginative and prescient of society that religions target to impart? Is a connection with God within the dialogue of human rights lost? Do human fallibilities with appreciate to interpretation, judicial reasoning and the certainty of human oneness and dignity give you the key to the indisputable and occasionally devastating conflicts that experience arisen among religions and the human rights flow? during this quantity, lecturers and legal professionals take on those such a lot tricky questions head-on, with candour and creativity, and the gathering is rendered distinctive via the additional contributions of a notable diversity of alternative execs, together with senior non secular leaders and representatives, reporters, diplomats and civil servants, either nationwide and overseas. such a lot particularly, the participants don't turn away from the boldest query of all - summed up within the book's identify. The completely edited and revised papers which make up this assortment have been initially ready for a ground-breaking convention organised by means of the Clemens Nathan study Centre, the collage of London Institute of Commonwealth stories and Martinus Nijhoff/Brill educational Publishers in London in February 2005.

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Why should they be denied the opportunity to do so? The answer is the need for States to order their affairs in the interests of all within their jurisdiction, rather than in accordance with the views of some, be they majority or minority. Tolerance, respect and pluralism are difficult values to cross swords with. Yet these values are not neutral: they carry with them a very real set of assumptions concerning the legitimate reach of religion in the public sphere. Even advancing these claims of human rights through the instru-the Universality Debate’, in R.

Nevertheless, the image of God doctrine that the biblical religions share delivers a belief in basic equality that 4 I have explored this topic in Human Rights and the Image of God (London, scm Press, 2004). 5 As, of course, does rabbinic theology – see below.  Whatever religion is professed, wealth, class, skin-colour, lineage, gender and other contingent differences are used to discriminate between persons and put them in hierarchies of dignity and worth. The doctrine of God’s image born by every human being has been, and remains in some respects, severely counter-cultural.

I think one of the areas in which this has happened over the last twenty or thirty years has been the realisation that human rights are not just negative rights. They are not just about stopping people being tortured, or imprisoned without trial and so on. There are also posi-tive rights, and these are enshrined in the UN Declaration on Human Rights as well as the European Convention. People have a basic right to a particular minimum standard of living, to healthcare and so on. Within Christian theology over the last two or three decades this has been a particular emphasis, especially with those Christian theologians regard-ing themselves as ‘liberation theologians’.

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