-7 votes

Questions for an Atheist. If there is no God/Creator where do our rights come from?

Our Founders designed America under the belief that our rights come from our God/Creator. These rights are to be unalienable and superior to government. If there is no God, where do you suppose our rights come from? Do we have any?

I believe everything was put on this earth as a gift from God, which in return makes human rights superior to animal rights. If the deer in the forest is not a gift from God, who's property is the deer killed by the hunter? What right is superior: the hunters right to provide food for his family, or the animals right to life? Without God, what right does the hunter have to hunt in the King's/State's forest? Where does this right come from, the King? Without God, could it not be argued that the hunter has no right other than to starve?

Updated 7/25. I have since edited-out a short section of my post stating Marx was an Atheist. I apologize. I've received a lot of comments stating if your an Atheist, you must also be a Communist, and I didn't mean to be interpreted that way. I wanted to stir up some discussion, but it was not my intention to offend anyone. I'm sorry.

Furthermore, I'm referring specifically to America's ethics and Natures God that the Founders often referred to as a Christian God, but at the same time was supposed to be universal/self-evident among all religions and individuals. This raises other questions. Why does Dr. Paul always refer to the "Christian Just Theory of War"? Does it not make a mockery of Dr. Paul and the Founders to talk so disrespectfully about a God that is the very foundation of America's values and morals? I believe the Founders left the term so broad that it could be interpreted by everyone, on and individual level, but certainly not denounced and made a mockery of.

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two words

Self Ownership

Our concept of "rights" come

Our concept of "rights" come from the same place as your religeon does: The human mind. One key differance is that the idea of "natural rights" come from human reason and simple logic; religeon comes from human imagination and emotion. One is birthed of a simple logical construct dirived from: "Do unto others as you'd have done unto you," (i.e. we all want certain freedoms and recognise that the only way some of us can get them and live in peace, is for all of us to have them.) the other is birthed of fear and an asnine hope in impossible things to help opiate people into believing that everything will be okay once they die, dispite how crappy it is now. Its the acceptance of earthly defeat in the hope of post-mordem paradise.

Natural rights are my choosen philosophy because they make logical sense as a way to coexist with other humans in society. I hold no illusions that they can't be stripped away however. While there is no guarantee you have them, and they are certainly no insurance against tyranny, they can never truly be killed because they are just an idea, and nothing more. For them to cease to exist, you'd have to erradicate everyone who knows about them. Even then, someone could just discover them again much in the same way the first primate figured out that 2+2=4.

However knowning about them won't help you one bit unless the number of people willing to kill for them can overpower those who are willing to kill to stop them.

In the end, you only have those rights you can keep through threat or application of force against those who would take them from you. Even if we win the political battle it won't matter if the collectivists still have a sufficient number of delusional thugs willing to pull the trigger for them in order to take our rights away by force. As we can all see, law is meaningless to the lawless, so we won't win the battle by citing law. We have to possess the abilty to kill our enemies if we want any hope of not having too. That's the only way we have "rights" instead of simply good ideas.

I'm agnostic - that means I

I'm agnostic - that means I admit I don't know and don't care to debate it...Our "rights" come from our instinctive desire for certain freedoms...In real terms our rights are whatever the people with guns permit. I really can't debate the animal rights comparison, I'm a vegetarian, but my assessment is it is simply a matter of us being the dominant species and having a near universal opinion that says their lives are worth less than ours. You can't live without destroying life of some kind so I just try to minimize damage.

Not an atheist anymore, now a Deist,

but when I was an atheist I believed that our rights were inherent and were ours by virtue of our own existence.

Simple Facts and Plain Arguments
A common sense take on politics and current events.


Was it Bill Hicks who asked what do

Atheists yell out when they have an orgasm?

Rights hahahahah

What you can defend what you can proclaim. The laws of this jungle, might is right.


We do have rights unless our

We don't have rights unless our current political situation allows us. "Without God, what right does the hunter have to hunt in the King's/State's forest? Where does this right come from"...pretty sure I have to ask the government to have this right in the form of a hunting permit. Enough people have to come to the logical conclusion that something should be a right before it can alter a government to make it truly exist. God did a great job of providing rights to black people at the start of america didn't he. What's god think about gays rights?


They are our natural rights. They do not have to be given by anyone. They come from our existence.

Jury Nullification is a power of the last resort against tyranny.

A rock exists, what makes your rights any better than it's?

A rock exists, what makes your rights any better than it's?


You exist, you have rights.

Google Philosophy of Liberty


correct and succinct

Phxarcher87's picture

This is

actually a great question, and hopefully the majority of the people in this article have sincerely asked it. Now i do agree the -2 downvotes applies to all the chatter below including mine, not the actually article above.

James Madison

Not an atheist, but I don't

Not an atheist, but I don't subscribe to the idea that rights are given by a Creator. I believe natural rights are self-evident to any organism that is self-aware. Whether self-awareness occurs by chance or by some divine plan is irrelevant. I also think these religious posts, regardless of intent, only serve to create infighting among liberty minded people. We're fighting for the freedom to believe whatever we wish, and personally I have little to no interest in the spiritual beliefs of others who share my belief in liberty. The debate between anarcho-capitalists and minarchists is much more relevant if we must have contentious issues to argue about.

That's easy

If there is no Creator, then our rights come From Kate Middleton's baby. Does his mother change his diaper, or does he get a Groom of the Stool like his great grandma does?

Cyril's picture

The truth is...

The truth is...

"Rights" do exist.

And they emanate from a single, common, known source:

The English dictionary, used in context of the referrer text, e.g., the Bill of Rights (which doesn't grant them but instead only acknowledges them and their pre-existence and, with emphasis, "SHALL NOT be infringed", their inalienability)

I noticed they're not the same as, and possibly very different from, "entitlements", because someone found relevant to define those differently, in the same dictionary... You know, for spatial convenience.

Observably, it has been too difficult for several U.S. governments to grok these simple notions anyhow.

Weird, no?

Maybe I missed something, though.

"Cyril" pronounced "see real". I code stuff.


"To study and not think is a waste. To think and not study is dangerous." -- Confucius

The Source of Rights

Rights come from the existence of individual Moral Agency.


Who loves God more…


"Our civil rights have no dependence on our religious opinions, any more than our opinions in physics or geometry."
~ Thomas Jefferson

"Rightful liberty is unobstructed action according to our will within limits drawn around us by the equal rights of others. I do not add 'within the limits of the law,' because law is often but the tyrant's will, and always so when it violates the rights of the individual."
~ Thomas Jefferson

"A democracy is nothing more than mob rule, where fifty-one percent of the people may take away the rights of the other forty-nine."
~ Thomas Jefferson

"Democracies have ever been spectacles of turbulence and contention; have ever been found incompatible with personal security or the rights of property; and have in general been as short in their lives as they have been violent in their death."
~ James Madison

"Rights belong to individuals, not groups; they derive from our nature and can neither be granted nor taken away by government."
~ Ron Paul

"Rights mean you have a right to your life. You have a right to your liberty, and you should have a right to keep the fruits of your labor....I, in a way, don’t like to use those terms: gay rights, women’s rights, minority rights, religious rights. There’s only one type of right. It’s the right to your liberty."
~ Ron Paul

"The most important element of a free society, where individual rights are held in the highest esteem, is the rejection of the initiation of violence. All initiation of force is a violation of someone else's rights, whether initiated by an individual or the state, for the benefit of an individual or group of individuals, even if it's supposed to be for the benefit of another individual or group of individuals."
~ Ron Paul

"When the taste for physical gratifications among them has grown more rapidly than their education . . . the time will come when men are carried away and lose all self-restraint . . . . It is not necessary to do violence to such a people in order to strip them of the rights they enjoy; they themselves willingly loosen their hold. . . . they neglect their chief business which is to remain their own masters."
~ Alexis de Tocqueville

"It is above all in the present democratic age that the true friends of liberty and human grandeur must remain constantly vigilant and ready to prevent the social power from lightly sacrificing the particular rights of a few individuals to the general execution of its designs. In such times there is no citizen so obscure that it is not very dangerous to allow him to be oppressed, and there are no individual rights so unimportant that they can be sacrificed to arbitrariness with impunity." ~ Alexis de Tocqueville

"The only way to make sure people you agree with can speak is to support the rights of people you don't agree with."
~ Eleanor Holmes Norton

"Can any of you seriously say the Bill of Rights could get through Congress today? It wouldn't even get out of committee."
~ F. Lee Bailey

"It is easy to make light of insistence on scrupulous regard for the safeguards of civil liberties when invoked on behalf of the unworthy. History bears testimony that by such disregard are the rights of liberty extinguished, heedlessly at first, then stealthily, and brazenly in the end."
~ Felix Frankfurter

"Liberty is meaningless where the right to utter one’s thoughts and opinions has ceased to exist. That, of all rights, is the dread of tyrants. It is the right which they first of all strike down."
~ Frederick Douglass

“There is a sacred realm of privacy for every man and woman where he makes his choices and decisions-a realm of his own essential rights and liberties into which the law, generally speaking, must not intrude.”
~ Geoffrey Fisher

"All men are created equally free and independent, and have certain inherent rights, of which they cannot, by any compact, deprive or divest their posterity; among which are the enjoyment of life and liberty, with the means of acquiring and possessing property, and pursuing the obtaining of happiness and safety."
~ George Mason

"The only guarantee of the Bill of Rights which continues to have any force and effect is the one prohibiting quartering troops on citizens in time of peace. All the rest have been disposed of by judicial interpretation and legislative whittling."
~ H.L. Mencken

"You have rights antecedent to all earthly governments: rights that cannot be repealed or restrained by human laws...."
~ John Adams

"Attack another’s rights and you destroy your own."
~ John Jay Chapman

"Any single man must judge for himself whether circumstances warrant obedience or resistance to the commands of the civil magistrate; we are all qualified, entitled, and morally obliged to evaluate the conduct of our rulers. This political judgment, moreover, is not simply or primarily a right, but like self-preservation, a duty to God. As such it is a judgment that men cannot part with according to the God of Nature. It is the first and foremost of our inalienable rights without which we can preserve no other."
~ John Locke

"It is the common fate of the indolent to see their rights become prey to the active. The conditions upon which God hath given liberty to man is eternal vigilance; which condition if he break, servitude is at once the consequence of his crime...."
~ John Philpot Curran

"The use of 'religion' as an excuse to repress the freedom of expression and to deny human rights is not confined to any country or time."
~ Margaret Atwood

"Human rights are not a privilege conferred by government. They are every human being's entitlement by virtue of his humanity."
~ Mother Teresa

"I am the inferior of any man whose rights I trample under foot."
~ Robert G. Ingersoll

"Among the natural rights of the colonists are these: first, a right to life; secondly, to liberty; thirdly to property; together with the right to support and defend them in the best manner they can."
~ Samuel Adams

"The spirit of liberty is not merely, as multitudes imagine, a jealousy of our own particular rights, but a respect for the rights of others, and an unwillingness that any man, whether high or low, should be wronged and trampled under foot."
~ William Ellery Channing

"The dearest ambition of a slave is not liberty, but to have a slave of his own."
Sir Richard Burton

"None are more hopelessly enslaved than those who falsely believe they are free."
Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

Nice collection


Lord Acton, Lord Chief Justice of England, 1875 - "The issue which has swept down the centuries and which will have to be fought sooner or later is the People v. The Banks."

What Rights?

Our rights are outlined on a bit of paper right now and have no actual teeth. I would argue we have very few actual rights at this point.

Our Rights came from our Forefathers

Who Fought (and won) a Bloody Revolution.

The concept of rights like

The concept of rights like any other concept was created by man as a guide to the proper role each person plays in regard to another person. Mind your own business and leave each other to live their lives as they see fit but don't tread on me!
To my knowledge Jesus never mentioned rights and neither does the bible.

If our rights came from god

If our rights came from god then everyone in the world would have them when they are born. I don't think that is the case.
The only free men are those who are willing to fight to the death to protect their freedoms. A full grown lion living in the wild in Africa is free because he will kill anyone who tries to cage him. If a lion cub is captured when it is small then it can be brainwashed into thinking it is normal to live in a cage. That is what has happened to anyone who is not free. They have been conditioned to believe that slavery is normal.

Source of the Rights of Man

There is only one source of freedom or "rights" and that is "Armed Freedom." "Rights" are only possible if men and women are "willing and able" to defend those "Rights." God's hand in all of this is "He" created "Colt" and "Colt" set man free. Also, the statue atop the Capital Building in Washington, DC, is named "Armed Freedom" because she holds out a "Peace Wreath" in her left hand to symbolize "Harm No One," and she rests her right hand on on a sheathed sword to symbolize "Let no one harm you." The source of "Rights" is man's willingness to defend them. Defend Liberty. Limit government by defending Individual Rights.

Let's see what our ol' pal Murray has to say:

"The statement that there is an order of natural law, in short, leaves open the problem of whether or not God has created that order; and the assertion of the viability of man's reason to discover the natural order leaves open the question of whether or not that reason was given to man by God. The assertion of an order of natural laws discoverable by reason is, by itself, neither pro- nor anti-religious."

Introduction to Natural Law by Murray N. Rothbard: http://mises.org/daily/2426

Check out the Laissez-Faire Journal at LFJournal.com

"The State is a gang of thieves writ large." - Murray Rothbard

Short answer.

We don't have "rights"...we just think we have.

that's like saying

We don't have beliefs....we just think we have beliefs. Or we don't have free will.....we just think we have free will.

There is no difference between having rights and thinking we have rights. Do you grok that?

"All our words are but crumbs that fall down from the feast of the mind." - Khalil Gibran
"The Perfect Man has no self; the Holy Man has no merit; the Sage has no fame." - Chuang Tzu

Cyril's picture

Either that or...

Either that or...

We do have "rights"... we just always end up neglecting, forgetting what links them together.

"Cyril" pronounced "see real". I code stuff.


"To study and not think is a waste. To think and not study is dangerous." -- Confucius

Atheism is another belief system/religion

Whether you are atheist or not, you have to agree that atheism is simply another belief system/religion that requires "faith". First, you cannot prove there is no God, so the assumption/belief that there is no God is a belief that requires "faith".

Now, let's not get into the fact that this "faith" atheists have are different than the faith of true Christians. Because the faith atheists have does NOT require proof. While the faith of Christians rests on the fact and prove that God is real and loving and kind and forgiving, and righteous, and holy and all the attributes and characters of God and what He had done for us. So Christian faiths relies on something real and solid, historically and personally (experimentally).

So indeed, the "faith" atheists rely on is actually an irrational or self proving belief that requires no objective validation. In fact, if you are rational and honest, you cannot be an atheist, because you cannot rule out the possibility that there is a God until you have proven beyond all reasonable doubt that there is no God. And I can say that for the past 6000 years of human history, the overwhelming majority of ALL human beings believed and experienced the reality of God or some other supernatural beings. So you have to be pretty hardcore to ignore and dismiss all those "evidences" or the "possibility of the existence of a god" to believe that you have proven the non-existence of God.

Now if you truly believe there is no God and the world is materialistic, then you should live your life to the full extend according to your belief and world view. The materialistic world view is Marxist and Communistic and Fascist in general. Those schools of thoughts all were based on the believe that this world is purely materialistic. In a materialistic world, a human being is amoral. Because there is no higher authority, God to judge what is moral and what is not moral. So the government became the final authority of morality and in fact, whoever is in power usurps the place of God. This is why totalitarian states exists. Because there is no God, no higher authority, no higher Judge, the government becomes the final voice in everything and since the government is made up of sinful fallen humans, you know what will happen, disasters and catastrophes.

As you all know, the largest lost of human lives came at the hands of atheistic governments: Soviet Russia, Nazi Germany, Communist China, Pol Pot, etc. So I think it is a pretty good prove that a pure materialist worldview doesn't lead to anything resembling a liberty and free society.

You pull out the classic

You pull out the classic religious argument against atheism. Without understanding atheism.

The worst argument is that since humans have had beliefs in supernatural beings for over 6000 years and therefor we should take that as proof of the possibility of gods existence.

Not that many hundred years ago we also thought the world was flat, raging at the people who claimed otherwise. Christians would burn witches at the stakes. Go on crusades to spread their faith through violence.

We have since then come to the conclusion as human beings, that it was a result of poor education and knowledge of the world. And that's not because of the bible. Since the bible is the same. We as a race have an extraordinary ability to search for answers to things we don't understand and evolve. The individual humans who have helped us understand so much of the world around us, are basically all atheists.

If the religious had complete control of the world, we simply wouldn't have an internet. We'd be sitting on the farm, making babies and have a life expectancy of 30 years still. Either die from diseases or as soldiers in some war about whos religion is better. Bringing up Pol Pot or Nazi Germany as proof is retarded since if there was an equal amount of people in the world back when the crusades were raging christians would have killed even more. And then I don't even count the number of people who'd die from not having access to science to help them when they get sick, since they'd leave that to god.

But in the end, what atheists believe in, are things that are evidence based. Show me a god, and I will believe in him. It's not harder than that.

Show Me A God and I will Believe

God is Reason. To know Reason is to know God. Jesus is Love - brotherly love and forgiving love. The holy spirit is the Spirit of Freedom. Taken together, these three "forces" are the God of the bible. These three forces determined "true" Reasoning and came to be know as the Gospels. The Gospels spread thru Europe overturning War Lord and Monarch rulers and brought the Modern Age we live in today. History only remembers the outrageous done in the name of the church and overlooks the tens of thousands of good things the church did to bring justice and prosperity to modern man. So, the God you can see and believe in is Reason, Love and Freedom - the Trinity.

Not that your argument isn't

Not that your argument isn't valid, but the "flat Earth" myth is just that. Ancient civilizations well understood they wouldn't "fall off the edge" if they traveled toward the horizon.


Please don't rely on modern myths as the basis of a rational argument.

I have the same issue with the frog not jumping out of a boiling pot of water myth. Also debunked.