Catholic Culture Liturgical Living
Catholic Culture Liturgical Living

Creationism 102: A Threat to Human Rights?

By Dr. Jeff Mirus ( bio - articles - email ) | Oct 09, 2007

As I noted in Creationism 101: Unscientific?, the Council of Europe recently declared that creationism and intelligent design should be barred from classrooms because “creationism could become a threat to human rights.” This is an indefensible position.

The very idea of human rights grew out of the Judaeo-Christian tradition. It is precisely within this tradition, where the human person is seen as the image and likeness of God, that a distinctive understanding of human nature developed, including an emphasis on the protection of the weak and vulnerable. No pagan society has ever demonstrated a similar concern for the rights of those who do not have the power to enforce respect. Moreover, the most massive abuses of human rights in recent times have been perpetrated in the name of neopaganisms such as Nazism and Communism and, more recently, a militant hedonistic secularism which drives us ever-deeper into a culture of death.

For these reasons, it is ludicrous for a political body to suggest that a theory which reveres God as the Creator constitutes a threat to human rights. Historically, those who hold the opposite view are far more likely to deny the notion of a fixed and common human nature invested with intrinsic dignity. They are also more likely to pit humans against animals or the environment as a whole, threatening the distinctively human by blurring the hierarchy of nature. The Christian tradition, with the Catholic tradition at its core, has been more consistent, articulate and eloquent in its defense of human rights than any other tradition or belief system.

Such obvious lessons notwithstanding, there is a growing movement among secularists to regard Christianity (to which Creationism is self-evidently indebted) as a threat to human rights. The reason is that secularists wish to co-opt the powerful Christian legacy of respect for rights in order to protect behaviors which are actually harmful to human dignity. Secularists understand that these behaviors have been condemned by the Judaeo-Christian tradition, but they do not perceive these condemnations as motivated by the need to preserve and foster man’s likeness to God, which is the origin and basis of human rights.

The list of behaviors militant secularists wish to preserve is no secret: fornication, homosexuality, same-sex marriage, easy divorce, contraception, abortion, genetic selection, embryonic harvesting, assisted suicide, pornography, sexual exploitation, unbridled consumption and other similar practices which both attack human nature and exploit the weak and vulnerable. Such practices undermine the dignity of the human person, distort our understanding of human nature, subvert the relationship between the sexes, and destroy the family, where dignity and worth—and love—are preeminently fostered. Without these, rights cannot survive.

The theme struck by the Council of Europe has become depressingly familiar in the once-Christian West, which now desperately seeks to preserve personal license in the name of liberty. But the techniques used—the constant redefinition of terms, the calling of white black and black white, the total confusion of freedom with slavery to the passions—these darken our understanding of everything even as they undermine the only basis on which rights can ever rest. I suppose it is true that God poses a threat, but only to the self-imposed slavery of those who hate the light. In contrast, the flight from God strikes at the very root of human rights by distorting the nature and meaning of man.

Jeffrey Mirus holds a Ph.D. in intellectual history from Princeton University. A co-founder of Christendom College, he also pioneered Catholic Internet services. He is the founder of Trinity Communications and See full bio.

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