This blog is seven years old today. Can you believe it? I kicked off my first blog on October 8, 2004 and started this blog on April 30, 2005. How the religious and digital landscape has changed! I wonder where I'll be in another seven years.
I must confess that the language of "human rights" makes me uneasy.
Not because I'm politically conservative (because I'm not) nor be cause I disagree with the concept of a fair go (because I don't).
I'm uneasy with the language of "human rights" because (1) it focusses attention on humans, (2) is awfully legalistic and yet (3) seems founded on modernist language, the universality of which is highly questionable.
Take something like literacy. Is literacy a "human right"? I can't help noticing that for most of human history, universal literacy has been a practical impossibility. Yet is universal literacy something we should aim for? In our society, absolutely! Why? Because in Jesus we discover that God seeks to empower the powerless.
But is this a right ... or a gift?
I'm uneasy with the language of "human rights" because it tends to leave the Creator (and the rest of creation!) behind in the conversation. I'm uneasy with the language of "human rights" because it can all too easily be twisted into talk of personal entitlement and me-ism. I'm uneasy with the language of "human rights" because it undermines the language of generosity and grace.
This post is part of a synchroblog on Theology and human rights.
"Many singles are the people most committed to Christ and yet most vulnerable in the culture and in the church...If you wanted to be married today you could be...If you had no criteria, no real guidelines, or no moral standards to speak of...Anybody who doesn't have any standards can get married...Singleness for the right reasons is not a matter of fate but of faithfulness, and we need to see it through the eyes of the Lord, who honours those who honour him with their whole being."
- Douglas Webster, How God Shapes us Through Relationships
Great quote don't you think? I came across this through Sarie King's article, Singleness: Not fate but faithfulness, which I thoroughly recommend you read in full. While not single myself, I have a number of friends who are and I think it's appropriate that their faithfulness be celebrated. Indeed I find myself disturbed by what I see as a distorted view of relationships in Protestant churches. Growing up Catholic I had issues with mandetory celebacy in the priesthood. Now as a Protestant I find I have issues with their equal and opposite tendancy: mandetory marriage. We should celebrate faithfulness in every form.
The Sydney Anglican Network recently observed that the Google predictive seach results for the phrase "Christians are..." are, shall we say, less than complementary. I'll let you read their conclusions for yourself, but I thought, what the hell, lets see what the predictive search results are for other religions. Here's what I found.
Buddhists are atheists
Buddhists are vegetarians
Buddhists are hypocrits
Buddhists are not atheists
Hindus are cowards
Hindus are vegetarians
Hindus are great
Hindus are bad
Muslims are taking over
Muslism are not terrorist
Muslism are allowed to lie
Muslims are bad people
Wiccans are crazy
Wiccans are satanists
Wiccans are stupid
Wiccans are evil
Atheists are wrong
Atheists are so stupid
Atheists are idiots
Where does this leave us?
So, we're all in the same boat it would seem. Google, or at least the people searching on it, are predisposed towards hostility. Which suggested a final predictive search...