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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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speak for yourself, buddy

I am not wicked. And I don't think I am better than other people, so I don't think most other people are wicked either.

"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

Grow Up

Then you need to grow up and take a look around you. Lying to yourself will get you no where.

The nature of man is indeed

The nature of man is indeed wicked.

This is why I don't think it wise to believe men about there being a magic man in the sky that I must obey or I must think the way they insist.

I only see men telling me to obey or to think a certain way, and that they write down in books what they insist I obey doesn't constitute 'evidence'.

I freely admit, plenty of people who say they are atheists, are quite religious statolaters.

Of course, sadly, there are too many Christians who claim they worship God, but really worship power over men.

I don't have proof there is a God, so I assume there is not. But I could be wrong.

If there is a God, he will not expect me to trust wicked men and will reveal himself to me in a way that does not require me to do so.

If you believe in this God and believe men are wicked you should very well understand that I should not trust wicked men to give me the truth. I am open to all information, except that which I can only achieve by trust in wicked men.

If we are thoughtful enough as human beings

to create religions--with all of their complexity, legends, characters, contradictions, etc.--surely we can define our own rights, based off our developed notions of right and wrong.

We are introspective and intelligent enough to expound upon "the basics" and weave parables, stories, and more to teach lessons of right and wrong to each other, our children, etc. as is done in mythology / religion(s), so it seems obvious.

What would the Founders do?

Where does π come from? Or c?

Where does π come from? Or c? Or DNA? Or anything else that exists at all, whether material, energy, abstract, or spiritual?

Rights exist.

They come from nature, whatever you wish to think nature is, whether of divine origin, or as result of the natural process of evolution which created man, who in turn can observe that there are rights.

Your question is wrong. It is interesting, and perhaps even expository to discuss the origin of rights, but put the way you did, it is a needlessly argumentative question.

It doesn't matter where they come from. So long as they do exist and they do not come from man's choice, and cannot be abdicated, nor transferred, there is no cause for argument.

We don't have rights without him.

Rights are defined by law not by whims of the majority nor by desires of the individual. Without the Law that was given by God we would have no absolute rights because rights would be determined by the individual or the majority depending on what current circumstances allow.

Humanity does not have a built in set of "rights" and as is evident by our current downfall and historical record the further we get from Gods law the further our rights are eroded. Humanity only rebels against lawfulness and the idea that rights come from humanity is ridicules.


So God is male? I thought most conceptions of God went beyond gender restrictions.

"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

Rights are not and cannot be

Rights are not and cannot be determined by the whims of the majority nor the individual.

Humans can determine what privileges are, and they are those things that must provided at the expense of someone else's rights.

Rights have nothing whatsoever to do with God nor lack thereof.

Do you need to believe in god to understand 2+2=4?

If you wish to believe rights come from God that is fine. I have no quibble with that. Don't project that on me tho.

Your argument is exactly what progressive, so called 'atheists' assert. Since there's no god then there can't be any rights outside of the government amirite?

It sounds as dumb coming from them as it does from you. I have more respect for you as a Christian, than I have for progressive 'atheists', so you shouldn't be selling their progressive crpa.


Our rights come from our humanity.
All valid religion is established for the purpose of guiding those who need guidance, but our humanity (Or elsewhere stated - OUR BRAIN) knows instinctively when we are violating the rights of others. Some people are still less human (more animal) than others, and thus the need to create religion. (not unlike the need to form government)

Now here's a follow up question: Did God create Man, or did Man create God? Seriously think this one through......



They come from our brain.

-Dr. Michael Edelstein

I'm skeptical if the whole idea of "God-given rights"

To be frank, the whole idea of defining rights as "God-given rights" strikes me as arbitrary, non-productive, and, well, dangerous.

If your only claim to having one certain right or another is "it's the way God wants it" then ideologically you're on the same page as a suicide bomber.

It's funny, I've probably heard 100+ times people claiming that this right or that right is "God-given". That claim has been made with such rights as the "right to life", the "right to health care", and yes, all the way to the "right to blow up a group of innocent people"...but I've never seen anyone even once attempt to write down an all inclusive list of specific "God given rights". To me, the fact that no two people in the world could agree on exactly what such a list would and wouldn't include is proof enough that any attempted list of rights isn't really "God's".

In general I think defining "rights" is not that productive. I view talking about "rights" as another form of politician-speech (a way of saying something agreeable without really saying anything). If you want to get down to the heart of the matter, you wouldn't be talking about the "rights", you'd be talking about the "duties" such rights would impose on everyone else.

For example, everyone agrees they have the "right to their life"...but what exact duties does that impose on everyone else? Does that mean everyone else has the duty to never let you die (I'd hope not)? Does that mean everyone else has the duty to attempt to save your life in any situation?..or in mildly dangerous situations only? Or does it simply mean everyone else has the duty to not actively attempt to end your life? Just talking about the rights without clarifying the duties imposed by those rights is really ambiguous (politician speech).

Don't get me wrong, I definitely want to see society based on everyone having the duty to not impose their will on others, the duty to not steal from others, and (generally speaking) the duty to leave each other alone unless interaction is voluntary. But I don't come to that conclusion because God told me in a dream. I come to that conclusion because my reason tells me and previous examples show me it works.


We all have natural rights to be free. People should not look to religion, nor government for permission for this inherent, and human necessity.

The notion of God granting you these rights (or any other rights or privileges), has been the basis of conflict, death, and destruction. Everyone perceives God differently, just look at all the various religions & beliefs in the world. Alternatively, this goes for government too. In which, is a religion all to its own.

Why can't we have natural rights to be free, simply because we are human?

www.coinaxis.com - ~ Learn more about bitcoin/litecoin, and how they relate to the liberty movement.

The very idea of a right

is that which is defined as one's ability to freely do by their government in the physical world.

in other words, the government gives the certain rights. These rights do not exist before a government tells you that you can do them (although prior to a right being established, one could say that a person has the ability to do anyhting, as it would be anarchy).

Governments however can not control every thing. Governments can say you can not murder someone for example, but in your mind you are free to act out any scenario you wish.

You're being funny right?

"the government gives the certain rights"
You're being funny right?

no, not really

if there is no god, and we are no longer in an anarchist evolution path (no longer animals) then rights come from society. And societies are ruled by governments. So our rights come from governments. Now if you don't like those rights, then you over throw the government, and put a different one in place, but as it stands, our rights come from governments.

Daily Kos called. They need

Daily Kos called. They need you back.

Rex, you need to educate

Rex, you need to educate yourself. The concepts embodied in the Constitution didn't start with the Constitution. They built on a bunch of ideas that had been getting a lot of attention in Europe prior to and during the American colonial period. Remember history class? Did you learn about the Magna Carta or the Age of Enlightenment? Natural rights challenged the prior claims that God demanded subservience to a monarch. Whether you use "God given" or "natural", it means the same thing. My rights are mine because I am, no gov't "gave" them to me.

Read some John Locke. Here's an intro... http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/locke-political/

Yes, I understand. I am

Yes, I understand. I am familiar with Locke, and Plato as well as several others whose ideas were studied and packaged by the founders during the making of America. I am familiar with Natural Rights. I'm not trying to dispute anything you are saying. The founders did often refer to "Natures God" in which they called a Christian God. The founders put "God" into the framework of America. It is to be interpreted however one may chose, but I am trying to make the case that it is there and should be acknowledged.

Ok, your OP didn't sound like

Ok, your OP didn't sound like you had heard of them.

Yes, the Founders did refer to "Natures God", but you're leaving out the "Laws of Nature and of" that usually preceded "Natures God".

Either interpretation translates to "Gov't does not give us rights, We have them because we exist." I don't see what case you're trying to make.

I want to make a distinction

I wanted to make a distinction between the two. Laws of Nature, and Nature's God. I believe when George Washington knelt, he was praying to his God/Creator. Not to the laws of nature.


probably because I consider myself an agnostic, not an atheist, but I have no problem with there not being a distinction. In a political context they mean the SAME DAMN THING.

"Laws of nature" = "not Gov't"
"Natures God" = "not Gov't"

works for me...

yes, and yes.

yes, and yes.

Look, here is the problem

It is ok if you believe your rights come from God. But how are you going to convince others? How are you going to convince an atheist that does not believe in God? How are you going to convince someone that believes that God grants a different set of rights? What if your fellow Christian believes that God grants a right to health care? How are you going to prove you are right?

Regardless of whether you believe that your rights come from God, you need another justification for your rights. For how did God decide which rights to grant you? How did God decide that you have a right to life and a right to property, but that you do not have a right for universal health care? Did not God, in his infinite wisdom, use some kind of logical process?

"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

You're missing the point entirely...

"It is ok if you believe your rights come from God. But how are you going to convince others? How are you going to convince an atheist that does not believe in God? How are you going to convince someone that believes that God grants a different set of rights?"

Quit trying to convince people their rights come from God or some thing. Rights are inherent and I declare that I have them based on my ability to do so. God does not dictate to me that I can accept his/her/it's bestowment of rights...I dictate my life, not yours or any other persons life, MINE!

Father - Husband - Son - Spirit - Consciousness

we're all individuals here

You want to conclude that all atheist agree with Marx? Ha i could do that too. Your beliefs to me seem to run parallel with Westboro Baptist Church. You see how rediculous that is?

Beep beep boop beep... I am a Paulbot... prepare for liberty and prosperity!

My rights...

come from my capacity to declare them! My capacity to declare such rights as life and liberty come from the innateness of survival and the yearning to survive in a peaceful environment. My innateness of survival and yearning to survive in a peaceful environment are derived from consciousness - I do not need to employ or worship or plead with deities in order to understand that I am consciousness or that my capacity for consciousness is self-evident by my awareness of it.

My rights are declared by my mind and mouth and spirit...the implication of this post is demonstrate that my rights by mind, mouth and spirit are declared by a power or being responsible for consciousness, which if true defeats the entire purpose of consciousness itself. If consciousness was simply created for me as a spiritual being to realize my innateness for life and liberty then it is a manufactured event and trite in it's endeavor. I am not manufactured! I refuse to believe that my rights are completely realized by my conformity and submission to the idea that someone or something made them so. If they are in fact made, then they can in fact be taken away and I disavow that premise, God or not.

Father - Husband - Son - Spirit - Consciousness

It doesn't matter where they come from.

They either come from G*d, if He exists or they come the mere fact that you exist. Read Murray Rothbard's "Ethics of Liberty". He goes into great lengths to explain this.

Whether G*d created you into existence or it was evolution, it doesn't matter. The moment you came into existence, you now have a right to be alive because you are. Given that all of us came into existence in a similar manner, no one can claim that they are special and therefore have the right to any authority over you or anyone else. This fact also applies to you.

Since this is the case, then you only have authority over your own life and everything that comes from it. This authority or "rights" include life, liberty, and property, which are produced out of your existence from your body.

It comes down to a simple question, "Who owns me?" Murray stated that there are three possibilities, someone else owns you, you are unclaimed property, or you own yourself. Since the first two cannot be proven, that only leaves the obvious answer. You own yourself.

good response

but I think someone so inclined could make a credible case that we are indeed owned by the state.

The fact is we can do very little with seeking permission from the state. The state claims the right to kill me, as I sleep, without due process.

Anyhow very good post and I think Murray nailed this point as you share.


Liberty = Responsibility

That is an assumption that

That is an assumption that the state is making without any provable evidence. The state derives all of it's "authority" at the barrel of a gun. Based on the non-aggression principle, this is a violation of every person who lives. Any argument in support of this, would be factually wrong because the state cannot justify or prove it's authority or it's ownership of you, it is simply being assumed. Unfortunately, most people are either to ignorant or unwilling(afraid) to challenge it.

BTW, I believe that it was Larken Rose that asked the question "Who owns me?". I believe I have who quoted it wrong.

I recommend that you read his book, "The Most Dangerous Superstition". He hits it on the head.