I once talked to my English professor about rights. She was a non-theistic, liberal feminist. She had given us an article to read about oppression which I was strongly unsatisfied with. After class, I approached her and told her that the article had not supported its claims well because it did not use the correct definition of oppression i.e. denying someone something that they have a right to. She disagreed with my definition for a while before she saw my point.
Finally, she said, “You’ve convinced me. We can’t talk about oppression until we talk about rights. That raises a problem. Who decides what rights we have?”
I hadn’t even known I was trying to convince her of something. All I knew was that there was something wrong with what she was saying. And since the teacher is always right, it created something of a painful cognitive dissonance in me that I was trying to dispel.
I shrugged at her question. I did realize that in her reality, rights would have to be assigned by somebody (like the way the constitution of the US assigns rights to its subjects) and I saw that those rights would be authoritative in the same way they would be if assigned by God.

So, I shrugged and replied, “God decides”.

Of course she disagreed, but she didn’t provide another solution to the conundrum. I still haven’t gotten an answer. That’s why I’m reblogging this post. Like John, I honestly want answers to these questions.

Sifting Reality

I assume many Atheists long for the day when a society would be universally populated by Atheists.  Maybe they cherish the thought of never having to hear about God in the public square, or have to deal with those pesky religious people always thumping their religious books scornfully in their direction.  Ahh… paradise.

But seriously, I’m curious as to what this society would look like, particularly when it comes to rights.

  • What would be considered a right?
  • How would rights be determined (i.e., by what process and line of reasoning)?  By vote? By elected representatives?
  • Would there be some rights that just are, and not up for debate?  If so, how are those recognized?  What is done about disagreement?
  • By what means would the rights be protected?
  • Would they be inalienable, or re-prescribed over time?

As you can see, how rights are determined, supported, and enforced would need to be…

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I’m Tracy

23 thoughts on “”

  1. The first sentence itself is a fallacy and a generalization. I don’t care about rights in America because I don’t live there but your friend and your comment underneath it is based on the fact that God gives rights, no … rights are a man made concept.Therefore man grants rights because he has created the structure to give it.
    This may seem a bit harsh but you have changed. You used to be so holy yet so nice.I remember when you felt guilty about some eraser issue with Gina someone.Now, reading your posts seem to reflect someone who has adopted a rhetoric I didn’t even think existed outside liberal propaganda.

    1. Yes, your comment is very harsh. But I don’t take offense at it because of that. My problem with it is simply that you have not substantiated your claim. You have implied that I am no longer ‘nice’. You have not told me why you believe so. You have also said that my posts ‘reflect someone who has adopted a rhetoric I didn’t even think existed outside liberal propaganda.’
      Pray, tell, what rhetoric are you talking about?

      If you mean that I say things that some people might not like, that’s not a problem as long as what I say is true. If you simply mean that I say things that you believe to be false, tough luck. You say things that I believe to be false. Everyone does.
      I’ll point out that I don’t believe in being politically correct. I believe that some things are true and some are false. Some people are right and some are wrong. And I believe in saying what I believe to be true.

      So, tell me, what exactly in my statements about the nature of rights do you have a problem with?

      1. The statement should have clarified. Should have said some.Generalizations to human beings are always wrong because they are always outliers. I have met many atheists that do not want that to happen . In fact most I have met ,because I am in England, like the status quo and are quite happy with it. If the author is referring to the separation of state and Church which I agree wholeheartedly- because no one thinks that religion also includes Islam,Sikhism and may more- then atheists do want that then he/she should have made themselves clear.I only saw this when I read the comments below..

      2. I explained about the statement of rights above where I said that rights were man made not from God because man has created the term , its definition and how to take and grant it.Something from God would be life,love,his grace, his mercy which human beings do not control.
        If I say things that you think are false , then call me out on it .I can be convinced. Political correctness allows you not to be called a nigger,or a slut or words like that.There are instances where it goes too far but I would rather it is there than not.Political correctness means society can ostracize a racist or sexist politician. You need a different word because I think you are saying that if you believe something is true , you do not hesitate to say it.That is being blunt
        My statement that you are no longer nice is judged upon your friends that is what articles you post. I thought because we have something in common we can become friends again.So when you have a blog post I usually go to the root and have a look through because I like learning. In the beginning when we clashed was on the issue of gay parenting and single parenting(a study done by a discredited scientist and one used to keep children away , while I didn’t agree with you I looked at the site where it came from where the man in question hated feminists … these are the people who enabled you to vote both in America(if you can) and in Nigeria(because they certainly got it from there) and people that make sure that when you get employed you will be paid the same.Then we had the marriage one where the original poster seemed to be arguing that man should be the head of the house so woman should be happy, a nice bit of concern trolling.Now this one where I also checked out the origin of the post .
        Now you can say that this just clashes with my view on the world but while I admit it does , I am not so blinded by it.These findings affect us .I like to apply every opinion I have to the whole world to measure how effective it is. Do you?
        I expected some kind of conservatism from you because let’s face it we are Nigerian and therefore naturally conservative. But you seem to associate with the deepest and extreme of them.I know this because I study american politics and ideologies.I love practicing and applying it. Of course we can disagree, I encourage it but don’t you see that you are just echoing these things, they are not new they belong to deeply conservative rhetorical . Studies discrediting gay parents, single mothers , single fathers, representing that man is the head-no though that a non-egalitarianism marriage can mean that woman is head.These are studies we go over in political science and examine how they affect the Us

      3. What I get from your comment is that you don’t like that I post on views that are to the right of you.
        I posted a peer reviewed article saying that being parented by homosexuals disadvantaged children. You disagreed with the article.
        I linked to a site whose author says thinks very little of the feminists of today and you took offense at that. Nevermind that he has no problem with people who say women should vote.
        I posted an article saying that non-egalitarian marriages which are promoted by the Bible) are happier than egalitarian ones.

        Now I posted an article suggesting that rights come from God, not man and you have a problem with it too.

        So, my conclusion is that you just disagree with the articles I post. Even when they are peer reviewed and supported by existing research. You don’t like that I sympathize with those ideas, much less agree with them.

        My friend, you are too easily offended. And I don’t think it is I who have grown more conservative. I think you are more liberal. Afterall, the Nigeria I remember opposes both homosexuality and single motherhood.

        Posting things that you disagree with does not put me in the wrong. If you think that gay parenthood does not hurt children, single motherhood is not bad for children, egalitarian marriages are happier than non-egalitarian ones, and rights come from man, not God, support your point with arguments.

        But don’t suggest that there’s something wrong with me just because you happen to believe I’m wrong.

      4. I fainted and my doctor’s appointment is in January, meaning they don’t think it is life threatening..I hope..so bummed about that. plus i have no idea where the medical centre is, and I have very painful ache in my limbs and ribs. To sum up, physical health is not good

      5. I know right.It was in supposed to be next week but they changed it.It baffles me. What are you doing? I am being very very bored. We are moving and I keep fretting over my books, my mother says she is going to give them out. Not even funny

      6. We should probably take this conversation somewhere else. I would give you my camera if you pay shipping and handling. I don’t use it anyway.

  2. True rights I believe are discovered, not assigned. Of course governments decide on things they will call rights, like the right to vote. But that’s more of an elevated privelage.

    The problem with trying to determine rights on an atheistic worldview is the same problem with trying to determine which is better: an end table or a floor. On naturalistic atheism everything is molecules. There is no way that isn’t arbitrary to say that one interaction of molecules is better than any other. Some will cite human flourishing, but that only address what works to achieve an end, like chess moves, some moves are good or bad but only in so far as it helps you win, they aren’t moral.

    Atheists must borrow the notion of morality and import it into their framework,it doesn’t flow naturally.

    Sure they might vote on what are rights, but what happens when a majority decide to take previous rights away? What happens if the majority decide slavery is good? Will it be? No, truly immoral things are so regardless of who thinks otherwise.

    I actually got into a twitter discussion who said Christianity is bigoted because it believes others are wrong. Well first, that’s not what bigoted means, but second, if one believes a thing to be true, then anyone who believes differently is thought to be wrong. That describes everyone. Everyone has a view, we can’t all be correct, some of us have to be wrong. But there is nothing wrong with thinking you’re right.

  3. Mimi

    The first statement is not fallacious. In fact there are many atheists who would desire such a thing. The term many is non quantified. And not the same as most. There is nothing wrong with the term many because it has no populative value. You are simply mistaken.

      1. I know they are meant for me but she is quibbling over words which aren’t important. The word some just like the word many they have no a they have no actual values. It’s not the same as saying most or a few . She used quite a lot of space to not actually say anything relevant to the topic. Atheists import from a theistic worldview. Atheists can only avail themselves to Darwinism, survival of the fittest and strict democracy. When coupled together, the weak are at the mercy of the strong.

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