Universal Declaration of Human Rights Term Paper

Pages: 4 (1455 words)  ·  Style: MLA  ·  Bibliography Sources: 6  ·  File: .docx  ·  Topic: Mythology - Religion

Universal Human Rights

Federal Criminal Jurisdiction

It is necessary to have a published 'Universal Declaration of Human Rights' to which all countries must refer, because the Bible is not enough. In today's world there are very few purely religious states, and none of those states is Christian, which means that, even if the Bible did teach about universal human rights, it would not be a persuasive document for many of the world's countries. Moreover, the Bible itself is very murky on several human rights issues. For example, the Bible discusses, but does not condemn, many practices that are considered egregious violations of human rights in modern society. Furthermore, the Bible condemns certain behaviors that are considered, by many, to be essential to the full expression of human rights.

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First and foremost, it is extremely important for Christians to understand that the majority of the world's people are not Christian. Christianity is the world's most prevalent religion, but Christians account for only about 33% of the world's people. Therefore, almost 70% of the world's people would probably object to the validity of using the Bible as the basis for a human rights declaration. In fact, there are very few religious states, and only one of those states is Christian: Vatican City. Furthermore, Vatican City is only a nominal state, with very little political power and few civilians under its control. In contrast, the non-Christian religious states have a substantial number of civilians in their populations. These states include the Jewish state of Israel as well as various Muslim states. Moreover, the 33% of people in the world who are Christian do not all practice the same religion; in contrast, that percentile represents Christians of any denomination. However, there are several different Christian Bibles, and the books included in those Bibles varies, as does the doctrinal interpretation of the texts. Before one could even begin to suggest using the Bible as a declaration of human rights, one would first have to determine which Bible to use.

Term Paper on Universal Declaration of Human Rights Assignment

In order to understand why the Bible cannot substitute for the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, one must first gain an understanding of that declaration. It begins by asserting that all human beings are born free and equal, without regard to race, color, sex, language, religion, politics, or country of origin. (United Nations). These same tenets may be taught by some modern Christians, and may even be best accomplished by Christian nations, but the truth remains that they are not espoused in the Bible. Chuck Colson maintains that "This vision of human rights is only possible in a Christian worldview -- the one that shaped the founding of our own nation, one that sees man as made in the image of God and, thus, with certain inalienable rights, as our Declaration of Independence puts it." (Colson). However, he ignores the fact that the Declaration of Independence, itself, did not recognize the inalienable rights of all men, or of any women, for that matter, despite it being a Christian-based document. In fact, many Biblical passages speak to the basic inequality of humans. For example, after killing his brother Abel, Cain is sent away, after God places a mark on him. (Genesis 4:15). This mark has been interpreted in several different ways, to justify lesser treatment of people who look different. The most dramatic example of its use in that manner was to justify slavery in the Americas. In fact, the Bible frequently mentions slavery, without condemning the practice. Noah curses his son Canaan to become the slave of his brothers. (Genesis 9:24). In fact, God specifically authorizes the Jews to purchase slaves from other lands. (Leviticus 25:44).

The Bible also specifically condones the unequal treatment of women. For example, the Bible provides for Hebrew manservants to earn their freedom, but not Hebrew maidservants. (Exodus 21:7). In addition, the Bible condones the practice of polygamy, but not polyandry, and many of the heroes of the Old Testament, such as Jacob, Lamech, and Solomon had multiple wives. Moreover, men could purchase women to be their wives. (Hosea 3:2). Furthermore, women who lost their virginity before marriage could be stoned to death. (Deuteronomy 22:20-21). In fact, women could be stoned for being raped, if the rape occurred in a town. (Deuteronomy 22:23-24). Perhaps even more horrifying, a man could secure a wife by raping her and then… [END OF PREVIEW] . . . READ MORE

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