Natural Law vs. Secular Humanism: Do Your Rights Come from God or Government?
“The state of nature has a law of nature to govern it, which obliges every one: and reason, which is that law, teaches all mankind, who will but consult it, that being all equal and independent, no one ought to harm another in his life, health, liberty, or possessions...” - Locke, John. The Second Treatise of Civil Government. 1690.
The big problem with Secular Humanism is that it posits one form of collective relativism or another over Natural Law. In other words, whichever set of human beings that just so happen to wield the most power in a given time and place are the ones that set the rights for said society. As Os Guinness points out in his epic Time for Truth, without an absolute, transcendent standard for truth to which humanity can turn, there is only power. (Watch his lecture on this topic at Stanford)
For the moral relativist, the powerful institute the principles, and who or what is to decide that those principles are objectively defunct? A larger collective of humanity in general? Can you think of certain practices that are transcendently wrong for all peoples, in every culture, place and time? Even if the majority in power in each instance decided they were right? What, or, better said, Who decides those deeds are evil? Conversely, can you think of specific virtues that are inherently ordained for the benefit of every person, culture, place and time across the spectrum of human history? For example, what if every person on the face of the planet were suddenly convinced that self-sacrificial love sucks and the great new progressive Current Truth™ was to get yours and do the next person dirty?
The answers to those questions are self-evident, engraved in the conscience of every human being. Of course there are moral laws that transcend time, culture and government. No doubt there are universal standards that apply to humanity in every era of human existence. This is what the great philosophers mean by the term Natural Law. Natural Law is the objective standard for human morality that is, as Thomas Jefferson borrowed from John Locke when penning the Declaration: endowed by the Creator.
The fact that the conscience is suppressed in the interest of power and human beings have been routinely denied their Natural Law rights by governments throughout the course of human history, or the fact that individual devious, great thinkers such as Friedrich Nietzsche have been able to devise clever arguments against Natural Law, only serves to emphasize the existence and innate necessity of Natural Law. That is exactly how self-evident truths operate in God’s order for man. We intrinsically know that Mao ought not to have violated the individual rights of the Chinese people. We can implicitly recognize Nietzsche was wrong when he asserted that behind every moral virtue is a sniveling vice.
So, fellow Americans, where do our rights come from? God or Government? Perhaps I should put it this way: have we arrived at the level of cultural de-evolution that suggests we can select a counsel of rulers to high seats of power in our nation’s Capitol that are all smarter than God? That can dispense justice throughout the American populace with no need to recognize Natural Law and its Source? Is that what the Framers of the Constitution meant when crafting the First Amendment? As a nation, are we that far gone to our own self-righteous pride and moral depravity that the majority of our people would be in agreement with Secular Humanism and it’s inherent denial of Natural Law as the de-facto American State Philosophy, if sufficiently informed of the definition and implications of Secular Humanism, personally and culturally?
We Are Watchmen doesn’t think so, which is why with Watchmen Apologetics Resources (WAR) we have made it central to our mission to educate all that we can in a dire effort to win the cultural war on central, foundational battlefronts such as the existence and application of Natural Law. As Jefferson said, “The cornerstone of democracy rests on the foundation of an educated electorate.” We will not stand by idle and silent as the ancient wisdom our society was founded upon gives way to regressive ideologies that foster the foundations of tyranny.
Our rights come from God, not from the government / These politicians have forgotten that covenant / We the People demand that they trust in it / Before they drag us down with them into punishment
The ways of Satan have certainly found them / To reject God and try to fashion heaven without Him / In this fallen world will no utopia be found in / The time for this movement is now then