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Does Human Rights Need God? [Paperback]

Barbra Barnett

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Book Description

Aug. 31 2005 Eerdmans Religion, Ethics, & Public Life
"When the Universal Declaration of Human Rights was drafted in 1945, French Catholic philosopher Jacques Maritain observed, ""We agree on these rights, providing we are not asked why. With the 'why,' the dispute begins."" The world since then has continued to agree to disagree, fearing that an open discussion of the divergent rationales for human rights would undermine the consensus of the Declaration. Is it possible, however, that current failures to protect human rights may stem from this tacit agreement to avoid addressing the underpinnings of human rights? This consequential volume presents leading scholars, activists, and officials from four continents who dare to discuss the ""why"" behind human rights. Appraising the current situation from diverse religious perspectives - Jewish, Protestant, Orthodox, Muslim, Confucian, and secular humanist - the contributors openly address the question whether God is a necessary part of human rights. Despite their widely varying commitments and approaches, the authors affirm that an investigation into the ""why"" of human rights need not devolve into irreconcilable conflict."

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Review

"Does Human Rights Need God? examines a timely question from a dozen expert vantage points -- each provocative and reader-friendly, together comprising a profound whole. Full of moral insights and well-honed argumentation, this book is certain to compel the attention of policy makers and the public alike." Madeleine K. Albright "This sophisticated engagement with the religious dimension of the moral foundations and political justifications of human rights is more urgently needed now than ever. The models of insightful and creative reflection presented here are as useful for policy makers and practitioners as for scholars and students of the field. "Abdullahi Ahmed An-Na'im

About the Author

Elizabeth M. Bucar is a doctoral candidate in ethics at the University of Chicago Divinity School and has served as research associate for the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life.

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