Grab a cup of coffee and make yourself comfy because this little pas de deux between CNN’s Chris Cuomo and Alabama Chief Justice Roy Moore goes on for nearly a half hour. And while the subject at hand is gay marriage, the heart of the matter for readers here is the parrying the two engage in over the origin of our laws. Cuomo’s contention is that our laws are not God-given. Justice Moore parries by citing the Declaration of Independence (…all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights…). Not a day goes by around here in which the right to armed self defense isn’t cited, shouted and revered. But what’s its origin? Is it magnanimously granted by man or is the right to armed self defense God-given?

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319 Responses to Question of the Day: Does the Right to Armed Self Defense Come From God?

    • All of our rights are bestowed upon us by our Creator. This includes the right of self defense, and a right to the tools of defense. Yes, we have a Creator. The God of the Bible always allowed for the defense of innocent life.

      The statists believe that the State is supreme, that it is in a sense “god”. That is why they believe that it has the authority to bestow, or remove all rights.

      • Whose interpretation of which bible? Some faiths have determined guns are bad, while others support the 2nd Amendment. I submit determination of faith is as individual as each person.

        Damn, love me some MURICA!

        • Just read the book for yourself. Interpret the passages relevant to self defense with some common sense. Do it in a way similar to the way you would read the Constitution. The document clearly speaks for itself. The translation you use doesn’t matter too much (pretty much all similar), although I would recommend a more word for word translation such as the NKJV, NASB, ESV, HCSB, KJV, etc.

          They (Constitution and Bible) both say what they say, even if some pseudo scholars and dishonest judges and religious leaders wish to pretend that they don’t. There is no serious disagreement among informed Christians or Jews of all Biblically serious denominations regarding the right of armed self defense. Of course there are theological liberals who really do not accept the authority of the Bible just like there are political statists who truly hate our Constitution and simply give it lip service. Somehow the liberal unbelieving Christians/Jews etc. are often the same people that despise the Constitution as well. There are also Christian dumbasses who are not Biblically informed, like there are American dumbasses who are Constitutionally illiterate.

    • As an athiest – Self-Defense is still a “Natural” right. You can attempt to defend your life from attack with whatever tool is handy. Cats, Dogs, mice, rabbits, Deer, etc etc etc – all have weapons with which to use.

      People are part of the animal kingdom. We just happen to be the top of it, With the best toys.

      {and note, that’s just the right to try – doesn’t mean you’ll succeed of course}.

      • True! Atheists can and still should believe in a natural right to bear arms for self defense. All living things have a fundamental and innate right to try to defend themselves. If you believe that the forces of evolution have “created” you, then they have also given you the right to live, and try to protect yourself. It is still a “natural” right, and never one fundamentally given by the state. The state does not have the right to take it away either.

        • A very simple test as to the validity of a natural right for any living being to defend itself is to try the opposite. One can give up that right and see what happens. Historically, all animals that lost the ability to defend themselves, or humans that did likewise, by choice or not, have died out. Of course, there’s the exception of the cow, which is bred for the sole purpose of being eaten. One always has that choice…

      • {and note, that’s just the right to try – doesn’t mean you’ll succeed of course}.

        So why is murder illegal? After all, if we’re all just part of the animal kingdom – just on top of it with the best toys – and if human animals merely have the right to try to defend themselves, if one human animal succeeds in killing another human animal, how could that possibly be morally wrong?

        • “So why is murder illegal?” — It is illegal because the Ruler, using the auspices of the State, needs to protect himself. Even if the Ruler is the biggest, strongest, fastest and the meanest, he cannot always be awake. So he needs to direct others to do his bidding, by establishing laws. Morality was introduced when the State wasn’t able to keep as many henchmen on the payroll as was necessary to constantly protect itself. By canonizing Morality, the State found a cheaper solution.

        • Morality ends up being the best set of rules for a society to live by. It ends up that way because natural selection would remove people who fail to get along. One of the ways it does that is by good guys killing bad guys when bad guys try to pull shenanigans.

        • Because we couldn’t function as a society without outlawing murder and punishing those who murder.

      • As a PRACTICAL matter, whether/or-not there is a God and whether/or-not (s)he endowed humans with a right of self-defense matters rather little. What matters MORE is whether a society adopts a constitution to recognize that right. And, what matters STILL more is whether that society will UPHOLD that right or rescind it either formally (as constitutionally provided) or by abandonment.
        In the USA, our society – a couple of centuries ago – decided (almost by consensus) to guarantee the right to arms constitutionally. SCOTUS (and most laymen who have thought much about it) find its core purpose the right of self-defense. This formal ratification/guarantee of a right to arms is unlikely to be repealed constitutionally.
        What still matters is whether a majority of the People will abandon its formal decision in the 2A. Clearly, this occurred in the UK over the 20th Century. To whatever extent arms were a right of Englishmen, those Englishmen fully supported the decision of Parliament to use its constitutional authority to erase that right by law.
        Wherever that eraser by law or social convention may occur, what remains ONLY is whether the society’s breach of the “right” will be honored in the observance or the breach of the law. In the US, a majority of Americans honored Prohibition in the breach. Nevertheless, the Prohibition law stood for 14 years until – through the grace of Congress and our noble President – decided that the loss of excise taxes was too great a burden for government to endure.
        Prohibition (albeit authorized by a Constitutional amendment) is a lesson for us PotG. Complacency on our part will not stop the Antis from electing the best Congressmen they can buy. Loss of excise tax revenue on guns and ammunition will be endured for a very long time.
        Only two things will protect any right (whether natural, endowed by our Creator, or Constitutionally established by the People). These are the effective communication to: 1) politicians that they will not be elected if they repeal these rights; and, 2) a majority of voters that We will NOT Comply.
        Generally, genocides occur where it is clear that a majority of gun-owners will submit and comply with gun prohibition laws.

      • Denying someone the ability and means to defend themselves from one intent on doing them harm is tyranny at best, outright evil at worst. It’s really just that simple.

    • Well I don’t believe in unicorns either. I’d like to, but have nothing tangible to believe in nor even a scientific theory of the plane of existence that such a being might live in.

      I figure it as this…
      If I have the right to live, then I have the natural born right to defend my life.

      By telling me I cannot defend my life, the statists are saying I do not have the right to live.

      • Your statement is very true. Of course what the Statist politicians really do not recognize is that since they eradicate your right to self defense, so they will eradicate their and their loved ones right to self defense.

        • “what the Statist politicians really do not recognize is that since they eradicate your right to self defense, so they will eradicate their and their loved ones right to self defense.” — They don’t see it that way. They are above the plebeians and their armed bodyguards ensure of that.

    • I find it interesting that all the “gun nuts” I’ve talked to about gay marriage all pretty much say the same thing. “I have my personal view points on gay marriage, but my personal views shouldn’t dictate the freedoms and happiness of others. So if two men or two women want to get married who am I to get in the way.” I know a lot of you might think that’s strange, but think about it. Pro-gun folks have a god given right and a constitutional right to own and bear arms, but legislators are constantly interfering with our god given and constitutional rights. In a way we are oppressed just like the gays. I find a lot of “gun nuts” are actually very intelligent and typically approach problems in a logical and objective manner. Last observation I’ve found very interesting is that gun folk are charitable and really do care for others without the need for praise or recognition. Live and let live…don’t interfere with my rights and I won’t interfere with yours.

      • In a way we are oppressed just like the gays.

        Gays are not oppressed. They are not legally prevented from being in relationship with whomever they choose, or engaging in whatever acts they choose to engage in as consenting adults. They merely face resistance calling their relationships “marriage”. Contrast that with people who face very real legal restrictions to the exercise of the right to keep and bear arms. Two gay people kissing or holding hands in public (or doing anything in private) anywhere in the country will face no legal trouble. Someone caught carrying a holstered firearm in New York City will be convicted of a felony. And if ATF gets wind of someone in possession of an arbitrarily defined firearm may very well face a no-knock raid.

        Speaking only for myself: I couldn’t care less what two consenting adults do, and wish them every happiness in their lives. I don’t care who is in relationship with whom, lives with whom, sleeps with whom, etc. The only issue is calling that relationship marriage, which is a religious institution, with a religious definition. Marriage is defined as a covenant relationship between one man and one woman. I oppose government interference because it requires the government imposing on a religious practice.

        Homosexuals have a right to equal protection under the law – and that includes State benefits conferred to people in relationships (tax benefits, inheritance, visitation rights, etc. – most/all of which they currently do have). Homosexuals also have the right to social tolerance of their choices as free, consenting adults. The entire point of gay marriage, however, is to force societal condoning/acceptance of those choices – something for which no right exists.

        I will support equal protection under the law for homosexuals, and given that I am of the live-and-let-live philosophy, I certainly tolerate their choices as free, consenting adults. Again: as with my homosexual friends, I wish them every happiness, and still love and accept them as friends. But I’ll never condone their choices, because my faith teaches that those choices are sinful.

        When the government isn’t involved, that’s all well and good, because nobody needs me to condone any of their choices as free people, nor do I make it my business to interfere with those choices. Live and let live.

        All that said: I favor the State getting out of the marriage business entirely. Let the State recognize civil unions for all, and leave marriage entirely to the church. That way, the State can ensure equal protection for all, and can codify societal tolerance for whatever it wishes (and hey: if the Mormons and Muslims want to practice polygamy, that’s none of my business, either), while not interfering with deeply held religious beliefs.

        • There’s a bit of a difference here, because marriage (in legal terms) is a relatively recent thing. The government was not involved in who got married, or concerned with it. Common Law Marriage was the way things were done until the 1700’s, (we still have 9 states that recognise Common Law marriages) when it was legislated that it be done by the church or other authority, and then pretty much left alone again until modern times. In short, marriage has been a religious institution for only about 300 years, a bit longer than the United States has been an independent country. And I don’t know about you, but I got married by a boat captain, not a priest.

        • I agree the government should get out of the “Marriage” business and replace the word something like joint union or permeant partners. The “marriage” part should be left to the church through sacrament or ceremony. If XYZ church wants to perform marriage ceremonies between same sex couples that is their right. Just like if ZYX church does not want to perform marriage ceremonies between same sex couple that is their right. I’m a devout Catholic, but I would never force my beliefs on another. I am simply trying to make the point that government should always use reason, logic, objectivism, and ALWAYS be looking to give more freedoms through legislation then less. One last thing. As an NRA instructor I always teach women, children, and liberals Basic Pistol or Rifle course for FREE. Why? Because I’ve found if you want to change someones mind respect their view and let them discover for themselves how all there preconceived notions and political brainwashing is BS. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve done basic firearms safety and handling classes for a group of children with anti-gun parents sitting in the back that came up to me after and took me up on my offer to take them to a real shooting range with real guns. (I use GBB Airsoft guns throughout the class without BB’s to demonstrate the safety concepts )

  1. The antis love to quote Jesus’ “turn the other cheek” admonition. I love it when they quote scripture as it bites them in the butt. The thing they forget is that once we’ve turned the other cheek He did not address what we do next. They also conveniently forget about the passage where He advises those “without a sword” to buy one. I am not surprised by Chris Cuomo’s stupidity. It runs in that family.

    • He also cleared the Jewish Temple by chasing after people with a whip… The point of “turn the other cheek” is to avoid starting fights over minor insults. As the sword parable and the Temple incident indicate, however, Jesus had no issue with violence when it is actually required.

    • “Turn the other cheek” has absolutely nothing to do with self-defense. It is an admonition against responding in kind to harmless insult.

      “If someone strikes you on the right cheek…”: a right-handed person striking another on the right cheek is a back-handed strike, and then, as now, was considered an act of insult, not of physical assault. Thus, Jesus was admonishing his followers to turn the other cheek when insulted, rather than responding in kind with insult, or worse.

      • So far, two of you have missed the point of my post. Oh well. Something about antis quoting scripture when it suits them but denying scripture when it doesn’t? Did you not see that?

        • I did, I was just expanding on your point. Liberals quoting scripture is like a prostitute preaching about the benefits of abstinence.

        • It’s especially fun when they claim to be scriptural experts–like Howard Dean. He then went on to quote his “favorite verse from the New Testament”–which, as it happens, was a verse from the Book of Job…

      • Then what is it about? Even pacifist Mennonites take it as referring to literal swords–they figure the swords were to be used as defense against aggressive animals. No foolin’.

      • Ummm, clay, I beg to differ. Proofs in the actions, as well as the words. In Luke, ch. 22 verse 36. Christ is advising the disciples that if they don’t have swords to sell their cloaks to buy one. The disciples pull out two real swords and say look Lord here are two swords. All he says is it is “enough.”

        So what is the actions of which I speak? That at least two disciples carried swords during Christ’s ministry. That at Christ’s last supper, the two with swords had them within arms reach in case they needed them.

        That when he said to buy a sword if you don’t have one, when two real swords were brought out, did he say he was speaking in parables, that those real swords, those weapons of “mass destruction” were to be abandoned? No, he said it was “enough”.

        If Christ was alive today, it would be like two of the disciples were carrying hand guns during his ministry. If the carrying of personal defense weapons ,whether a sword or a pistol, was against Christ’s teachings, he never would have allowed the carrying of let alone advise to buy one once he was risen without making it very clear that was his message.

        Actions speak more powerfully than words. It is obvious where Christ stood as to the carrying of a personal defense weapon.

      • And Jesus said two would be enough. Enough for what? The context being that Jesus was going to be arrested, peacefully. Christians are always blasting cherry-pickers, yet here we are, cherry picking.

        The whole argument just doesn’t hold water.

        • Just like your whole premise that the United States is not a Christian nation based on one treaty in 1797? I for one never heard of the atheist colony in the original 13. 99% of the colonies population in 1776 was either Christian or Jewish, most of them came to America to avoid persecution. There were a number that were deistic such as some of the founding fathers but certainly a judeo Christian ethic runs clean through the founding documents. You must like Obama and the left. Revisionist historians will be the death of this country. As Washington said, the republic needed a Christian people. No other group would fit.

        • Your logic is “The founding population was mostly Christian, therefore this is a Christian nation”? You could also say that the founding population was mostly white, therefore this is a white nation. Where do the freedoms and system of governance in the Constitution mesh with the Christian bible? The bible clearly states that you shall not worship any other gods, yet we have the First Amendment. The bible clearly states that god put forth whoever is in government and to not rebel, yet the Revolution still occurred.
          There is a document, signed by founding fathers, that in no uncertain terms lays out that this is NOT a Christian nation. Where is your data to support your claim? Please present it here.
          YOU are the revisionist here. You probably believe “In God We Trust” has always been our motto, even though it wasn’t adopted until 1956!

    • All anti’s and many others use situational ethics and situational quotes They do not believe in anything unless for the moment it supports their ideology then they discount it otherwise.

    • I find it ironic that you chide those who misread the “turn the other cheek” comment, yet you miss the entire point of Jesus telling the disciples to get arms. This is the fulfillment of prophecy, not a call to defense.
      36 “But now the one who has a purse must take it, and likewise a bag. And the one who has no sword must sell his cloak and buy one. 37 For I tell you, this scripture must be fulfilled in me: ‘And he was numbered among the lawless’; and indeed what is written about me is being fulfilled.”
      38 They [the disciples] said, “See, Lord, here are two swords.”
      “It is enough,” he replied. (NRSV)
      Two swords are enough for the twelve of them since the purpose is to fulfill prophecy, not defend themselves from the authorities.

  2. the right to armed self defense is self evident like all human rights as all creatures inherently will protect themselves. i haven’t the wisdom or knowledge to say if it comes from the divine.

  3. No one gives you rights. You have a right only because you can defend it. Look at the people in Africa or the middle east killed off by the thousands. Do they not have the right to life liberty and happiness as we do? Or did god just leave them out?

    I think the more important question is “What freaking difference does it make?”

    • I think the more important question is “What freaking difference does it make?”

      You just defined the difference: the recognition that those who lack the power/ability to exert their rights still have a moral claim to those rights.

      No one gives you rights. You have a right only because you can defend it.

      So you are totally okay with African warlords being tyrants and dictators, merely because they have all the power? If not, why not?

      • The point he is making is that whether one has a “right” or not, is an academic issue if that “right” cannot be defended or enforced. It doesn’t help much for a slave to know that he is being treated unfairly.

      • “So you are totally okay with African warlords being tyrants and dictators, merely because they have all the power? If not, why not?”

        African warlords? How did we get to that? A bit of “Reductio ad absurdum” I think. Rights have nothing to do with the situation in Africa. There will always be warlords or their ilk out there and if you aren’t ready, willing and able to kick their ass, your rights are null and void. I am NOT “OK with that,” but I realize it is the way it is, the way it has always been.

        Out of 3,500 years of recorded human history,there has been a war raging somewhere (and all wars include the slaughter of innocents) about 92% of the time according to historians. Wars only stop when you win them.

      • The point is that a right that you cannot defend might as well not exist. That’s why the right to bear arms has no meaning if the restrictions on said right makes its exercise impossible and our unwillingness to defy said restrictions is non-existent.

        • I have always stated that when the 2A is nullified, the rest of the Constitution will be nullified.

      • Thank you for pointing out the underlying argument in the vast majority of the “God grants right” arguments: The belief that you must believe in God in order to have morals. No, I am not okay with people in power mistreating others, and it has nothing to do with my religious beliefs or lack thereof. I simply think “Gee, I wouldn’t want armed thugs killing and torturing my family and friends or myself, therefore, I don’t want it to happen to anyone else, either.” It’s called empathy, and if you need God to have it, you need some help. As far as a moral claim goes, by definition a right must be enforceable. If you can’t enforce it yourself and no one else will either then you officially have no right.

        • Thank you for pointing out the underlying argument in the vast majority of the “God grants right” arguments: The belief that you must believe in God in order to have morals.

          Where does the concept of “morals” come from, if not from God? Where does the concept of absolute right and wrong come from, if not from God?

          No, I am not okay with people in power mistreating others, and it has nothing to do with my religious beliefs or lack thereof. I simply think “Gee, I wouldn’t want armed thugs killing and torturing my family and friends or myself, therefore, I don’t want it to happen to anyone else, either.” It’s called empathy, and if you need God to have it, you need some help.

          Why is empathy of any worth, in the absence of absolute right and wrong? What makes your moral code, or mine, or the next person’s) any better than anyone else’s?

          s far as a moral claim goes, by definition a right must be enforceable. If you can’t enforce it yourself and no one else will either then you officially have no right.

          If a right must be “enforceable” in order to exist, then it is neither natural nor inherent. So, you assert that rights are not natural or inherent? In other words: rights aren’t actually rights, but acts of privilege?

        • >> Where does the concept of “morals” come from, if not from God? Where does the concept of absolute right and wrong come from, if not from God?

          From people, of course, same as the concept of God (which is just a personification of said morals and right/wrong, just like some pagan gods were personifications of things like rage or lust).

        • >> Where does the concept of “morals” come from, if not from God? Where does the concept of absolute right and wrong come from, if not from God?

          From people, of course…

          Thus, you admit that you do not believe in the concept of inherent, natural, unalienable rights?

        • I do believe in the concept of inherent unalienable rights, but not in a sense that you do. I do believe that there is a certain list of rights that everyone should possess by virtue of being a sentient person – hence inherent – and that are unalienable in a sense that they can be denied but not revoked altogether. But that list does not have any supranatural source, or, for that matter, any source outside of my subjective understanding of it. In other words, it is my list of inherent unalienable rights, which may not agree with your list or someone else’s. I’m still going to act on the basis of my list, because, well, it’s mine – I don’t really need any other reason than that. So if someone disagrees with me on said list, I will politely acknowledge that, and proceed to do what I need to do to implement mine.

        • I do believe that there is a certain list of rights that everyone should possess by virtue of being a sentient person – hence inherent – and that are unalienable in a sense that they can be denied but not revoked altogether.

          That’s fair. By sentience, do you refer to the ability to feel/perceive based on senses? Do you include the ability to reason? Self-awareness? Conscience? All of the above?

          But if there is a certain list (whatever that list may be) of rights that everyone should possess by virtue of being a sentient person, what of people who lack such sentience, or who have incomplete sentience, through physical or mental handicap – those who never obtain such sentience, or who lose it through some trauma?

          What of animals, that certainly have at least some modicum of sentience? What inherent rights do they have, by virtue of being a sentient being?

        • >> By sentience, do you refer to the ability to feel/perceive based on senses? Do you include the ability to reason? Self-awareness? Conscience? All of the above?

          A reasonable question. I don’t have a rigorous definition – and I would dispute that anyone who claims they do haven’t properly considered it – so it’s in the “I know it when I see it” category. I would include all that you’ve listed as the criteria, but also, and perhaps the most crucially, the ability to empathize (and be empathized with – someone I can “feel the pain” of, so to speak). I think that ultimately all those inherent rights stem from the Golden Rule, and empathy is the cornerstone of that.

          Of course, this is really just moving the goalposts, because even if that’s the way we define it, it still leaves the question of what exactly is “self-awareness” and “consciousness” and “ability to reason”. I think that our definitions of those are essentially arbitrary also, and it really all boils down to “sufficiently like us” on some subconscious level.

          >> But if there is a certain list (whatever that list may be) of rights that everyone should possess by virtue of being a sentient person, what of people who lack such sentience, or who have incomplete sentience, through physical or mental handicap – those who never obtain such sentience, or who lose it through some trauma?

          I don’t consider them as possessing full rights. For example, I don’t believe that embryos and fetuses, esp. in the early stage of development, have full rights, and in particular the unconditional right to life. Similarly, I don’t think that a human with most of their brain destroyed to the point where the body is still physically functioning, but is not sentient, has any more rights than an animal (and so euthanasia in such circumstances is not murder, even if the person is unable to give consent).

          To ascribe rights to such, would require an existence of some innate supranatural distinguishing quality to which those rights are attached – i.e. a soul. It’s only with the assumption that soul exists that a logical pro-life argument can be made at conception (and historically, this was actually recognized in religious practice, as various Christian strains’ position on abortion was largely tied to when they believed the soul to be bestowed on the developing fetus).

          >> What of animals, that certainly have at least some modicum of sentience? What inherent rights do they have, by virtue of being a sentient being?

          Some rights, certainly (e.g. I support animal cruelty laws). If “sentience” is not a binary thing but a sliding spectrum – which I believe it to be based on what we know so far – then it would make sense for rights to also be a sliding scale. I mean, we even do it for humans in practice, seeing how children aren’t effectively granted all the same rights as adults (no freedom of movement, limitations on freedom of speech etc) – so we already have that scale, it just needs to be extended further.

          And if some animal will be shown to be in fact fully sentient, and is capable of understanding the concept of rights and reciprocating them (i.e. can implement the Golden Rule), then I would treat them as proper persons with full rights of such.

        • its pretty easy to measure which moral code is the best, just look at the results. Some places are hell-holes and some places aren’t. The people in the hell-holes follow an inferior code. The reason the hell-holes are so hellish is because of the natural friction that occurs between people who don’t do moral things (which kind of does make morality absolute). Just be pragmatic about it.

        • “Where does the concept of “morals” come from, if not from God? ”

          Why not ask the MILLIONS of people who lived with morals long before the Jews were anything more than desert nomads? In all functioning societies, things like murder are outlawed because if people are constantly dying, then you can’t have a functioning society. It’s pretty freaking simple.

        • I do believe that there is a certain list of rights that everyone should possess by virtue of being a sentient person – hence inherent – and that are unalienable in a sense that they can be denied but not revoked altogether. But that list does not have any supernatural source, or, for that matter, any source outside of my subjective understanding of it. Sounds like Aynn Rand; which is actually OK. I think our rights coming from an imaginary deity is BS, as some of the worst totalitarian regimes believe in Allah. (ISIS).

        • “so far as a moral claim goes, by definition a right must be enforceable. If you can’t enforce it yourself and no one else will either then you officially have no right.”

          If a right must be “enforceable” in order to exist, then it is neither natural nor inherent. So, you assert that rights are not natural or inherent? In other words: rights aren’t actually rights, but acts of privilege?

          No, no no.
          You have inherent rights. Those rights exist whether you are able to exercise them or not. If it’s by choice, hey that’s your decision. But if it’s by someone else’s choice, then they are denying you your rights, which is an inherently immoral act.

        • “so far as a moral claim goes, by definition a right must be enforceable. If you can’t enforce it yourself and no one else will either then you officially have no right.”

          …You have inherent rights. Those rights exist whether you are able to exercise them or not. If it’s by choice, hey that’s your decision. But if it’s by someone else’s choice, then they are denying you your rights, which is an inherently immoral act.

          How do these two comments square? A right cannot be simultaneously both inherent and dependent upon enforceability in order to exist.

        • Chip, maybe you could help me out with a question about God’s will, primarily through Roy Moore’s interpretation. Roy Moore is a Southern Baptist, a denomination founded (in 1845) on the belief that by “precept and example” the Bible supports slavery and God ordained White supremacy.

          The vast majority of Southern Baptists don’t believe this anymore (officially repudiated in 1995), but has scripture changed? I ask, because in three generations, maybe shorter, Roy Moore’s descendants could engage in a similar shift over gay marriage.

        • How do these two comments square? A right cannot be simultaneously both inherent and dependent upon enforceability in order to exist.

          So rights only exist when you have the might to defend them?
          That’s not what rights are.

    • I think if you want to believe rights are God-given, or conferred by the Constitution, or handed down on stone tablets, that’s fine, suit yourself, but that doesn’t help gun rights today one iota unless you can turn it into legislation, court decisions or an armed revolution. If you can’t do that, your argument may be “right,” but it’s IMPOTENT and therefore irrelevant.

  4. I stand by the words of the Declaration of Independence. The right to life, and therefore the right to self-defense from which is derived the right to keep and bear arms, is inherent, natural, and God-given.

    Under any other scenario, the entire concept of natural rights is specious. If rights are not an endowment from our Creator, then “rights” are merely a human construct, and only belong to those with the power to exert them.

    • Chipper – And hence the left’s war on God and religion. God must die. Once they achieve that goal, they can do anything they want. Depravity shall have no boundaries.

      • Bingo.

        There are two classes of people who deny that rights are an endowment from our Creator: those who know the truth and merely deny it for political gain/power, and those who choose not to believe in God, but who are either unable or unwilling to think through the concept of natural rights to their logical conclusion in the absence of a Creator from whom those rights are endowed.

        • What does it matter whether our ‘creator’ is natural processes or a magic man in the sky?

          Either way, we are endowed by our creator (whether that be nature or God or Prometheus or a noodly appendage) with certain unalienable rights.

          I see no conflict here.

        • Either way, we are endowed by our creator (whether that be nature or a flying beardy dude) with certain unalienable rights.

          I agree that the key distinction is that inherent, natural, unalienable rights come from beyond/outside of man. If rights are merely a creation/assertion of man, then they cannot be inherent, natural, or unalienable.

        • @Chip,

          We agree on very little in this thread, but we agree on this.

          The way I like to formulate it is that rights were discovered by men not created by men.

      • “Then mankind would have become as the Great Old Ones; free and wild and beyond good and evil, with laws and morals thrown aside and all men shouting and killing and revelling in joy. Then the liberated Old Ones would teach them new ways to shout and kill and revel and enjoy themselves, and all the earth would flame with a holocaust of ecstasy and freedom.” H.P. Lovecraft.

    • >> If rights are not an endowment from our Creator, then “rights” are merely a human construct

      True.

      >> And only belong to those with the power to exert them.

      Also true. Which, if you stop and think about it, is precisely why RKBA is necessary. If God was in the business of defending our rights, we wouldn’t need to do so ourselves. And if he just wrote up a list without actively enforcing it, then what good is he, and why is his list any better than my list or your list?

    • Chip, to me, the most repugnant, the most antithetical to American values, the practice most diametrically opposed to the right of selfdefense is slavery. Could you please show me anywhere in the Bible, the source of all morality (you claim), where slavery is condemned. Until you can show me where The Godhead, The Christ, or Paul condemns slavery, I have a hard time taking your claims seriously.

      • Could you please show me anywhere in the Bible, the source of all morality (you claim), where slavery is condemned. Until you can show me where The Godhead, The Christ, or Paul condemns slavery, I have a hard time taking your claims seriously.

        While I would love to go down that rabbit trail with you, in this case, it is a complete non sequitur. In the comment to which you are replying, I never mentioned the Bible, the Godhead, the Christ, or Paul. Rather, I referenced the Declaration of Independence, “Creator”, and “God”.

        • Throughout these posts, you have claimed that without God, there can be no morality. I am just suggesting that the morality shown in the Bible is not all that moral from a 21 century perspective. I know of no passages where anyone in the Bible speaks out against slavery (sure, Jewsare not to own other Jews, but the institution of slavery is never attacked). To me, that casts a huge shadow over the claim of God being the source of morality.

        • Let me clear up the issue of slavery in the Bible. Slavery is a result of man’s sin where he exalts himself over others. Owning another human being is abhorrent, but because man is depraved, slavery existed and exists. Paul, in writing to Philemon, addresses slavery and urges Philemon to accept Onesimus back as a brother. As Christians, we are exhorted to be slaves of Christ. This means that we are no longer in bondage to sin and its consequences (death and hell), but now we are alive and free in Christ.

          Here’s a little story about sin and its consequences. One issue missionaries in Africa have faced is what happens when a man with multiple wives follows Christ. Is he to kick all but one out on the street with their kids? Some have and the women have turned to prostitution, crime, stealing to support themselves. Is that what the Gospel creates? Instead, some missionaries have realized that even though marrying many wives is wrong, there is a consequence to sin and the man should remain married to them so as to prevent a greater sin. They are excluded from church leadership however. Paul addresses this by saying that Pastors should be the husband of one wife.

          Getting back to slavery–slavery is sin, but certain parameters were put in place to deal with the sin. It’s not what God intended, desires, or condones.

        • “slavery is sin,” — Really? It seems that some of God’s favorite people were rewarded by God with many slaves.

  5. What a stupid wasteful point to argue. Kinda follows the cliché atheist and a christian together in a foxhole story. The lesson was it was not a point of meaningful focus under the circumstances.

    • What a stupid wasteful point to argue.

      Actually, it is an incredibly salient point to argue. If rights do not come from beyond man, then from where do they come? If they are merely a construct of man, rather than natural and inherent, then they are not rights at all, but rather are reduced to mere acts of privilege.

      • The very words you speak are a construct of man. Every thought you think is a construct of man. Every philosophy ever expressed is a construct of the intellect and the imagination. God is a method by which human animals give meaning to the meaningless, explain the inexplicable, and give structure to apparent chaos. Do animals live by the Ten Commandments? Or do instead do they live by the basic natural rules of the Four Fs–feeding, fighting, flight, and preservation of the species? Animals fight for self-preservation–and there is no rule of nature, other than superior force, that can take away their innate “right” to self-preservation, to life, liberty, and their own pursuit of happiness. As animals, humans, though living in more organized and social group, have the same innate (in born) rights–or in the words of the American rebels, are “endowed by our Creator”–as any other animal. But the fact that we may deprived of these rights by superior force does not denigrate the existence of such rights, because they are a part of our natural being, and the natural order. If you wish to equate Creator with “God,” of course you have every privilege to do so, but the creator need not be so. I think that you have to give meaning to the selection of words in the Declaration–the use of “Creator” instead of “God.” Thomas Jefferson was a brilliant man–and he did not chose his words lightly. The point is that you possessed these rights when you were born, irrespective of your (eventual) religious affiliation or lack thereof.

        • Mark please point to the dissertation that has refuted the proofs of God by St Thomas Aquinas. We are all ears.

        • Have you checked google? Because there’s a ton of ’em. Not that you’ll listen, because you are closed to new evidence.

        • Your the one ducking the argument. I challenged you and you brought up Google. Link your proof so we can get a good laugh. It is good for the soul to laugh heartily.

        • Are you actually reading to the comments that you’re replying to? I mean, you’re quoting them, so you’ve got to, but apparently not… Anyway, the link that is there is not to Google, it’s to Wikipedia; and it’s a direct link to that section of the article on Aquinas’ “proofs” that briefly lists the various refutations. For a detailed treatment, you can go here:

          http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/cosmological-argument/#3.2

          Or pick up any decent philosophy textbook.

        • Did you even read your link? It does not even begin to logically refute them. It is a messy rehash of failed philosophers. Why are all the new atheist devoting chapters and essays in their new books to this problem? Looks like the answers such as those you provided don’t cut it. Richard Dawkins is one of them. The hero of the left. Look it is simple. You can choose to call the first mover another name, most of us prefer to call that mover (who is outside of time and space) God. I will never convince you on the inter web but just once try reading the proofs for yourself.

    • “What a stupid wasteful point to argue. “

      Not really. In the present political context, it is a very practical point to argue.

      If rights come from God or are otherwise defined as “natural” rights all human beings possess, that is a direct challenge to the assumed sovereignty of “The State” that all Statists hold as central to their entire world view.

      If rights are NOT granted by God or naturally exist, they derive from Man himself. If that’s true, Man has control of those rights and can revoke them. The question merely becomes…which men have that control of revocation?

      It might seem like an academic question, but it is actually quite relevant to today’s political struggle.

      Who ultimately decides one’s “Right to Life.” The State? Or not?

      • Thank you for not falling into the false dichotomy that every single other commenter above you (I’ve read no further than this point, as yet) has jumped into.

        It’s NOT that the there are only two alternatives, God or the State. Many, many don’t believe in the first (which–practically, ends up amounting to some human being claiming to be god’s representative on earth and giving out orders), and refuse to be beholden to the second. Now one might deny that the latter option can even exist, but many people manage to follow it just fine.

  6. Yes, I believe armed self defense is a God Given, or as the founders preferred “natural” right. If we are all indeed created equal,our lives are all equally worth protecting.As such it is morally wrong to limit another’s access to the means to protect themselves and their loved ones.

  7. Wether there is a God or not, It doesn’t matter. It is a natural right, and no law of man can supersede it. Even a devout atheist will recognize what guides evolution: Survival of the fittest. In other words; Kill or be killed. This is a simple fact of our existence, whether you believe in a higher power or not. Fail to pay adherence to it at your peril.

    • Wether there is a God or not, It doesn’t matter. It is a natural right, and no law of man can supersede it.

      Sincere question: if rights do not come from God, from where do they come? What makes them “natural”? Why are they “unalienable”? What makes them anything other than a concept entirely made up by man?

      • I am a practicing religious person. But I realize rights are only what you win after you fight successfully for them. Nothing more.

        You can believe God gave them to you if it makes you feel all warm and fuzzy. But someone can come and take them from you anytime they’ve got the might to do it. Someone could perch outside your house with a rifle and take your right to life the next time you walk out the door. If rights are God given, how could that happen? They should be hit by lightning bolts!

      • I’ve already stated that. They are natural and unalienable because they are simply true. If you are attacked and do not defend yourself then you will die. Kill or be killed/survival of the fittest. This a natural law because because it is just that, natural law, natural order. Survival is a fight, a war. I have the natural right of armed self defense because the barrel of my gun says so. Do not be confused, I am not arguing for atheism. I in fact hate atheists. My point is that even an atheist can see that there is natural rights, even if they do not think there is a God.

        • If you are attacked and do not defend yourself then you will die. Kill or be killed/survival of the fittest. This a natural law because because it is just that, natural law, natural order. Survival is a fight, a war.

          But that natural law says that the one who wins the fight is in the right. The one with the gun – or the bigger gun, or the better gun skills – is justified, by natural law, in killing another, because in so doing he proved himself to be the strongest/fittest.

          Where in that natural law is there room for the near-universal human principle that murder is wrong?

        • “Where in that natural law is there room for the near-universal human principle that murder is wrong?” — On what basis are you making that claim? “Murder” is a form of killing. Killing, in various forms and under various circumstances, has always ranged from acceptable to glorified. Only when the act falls outside of the desires of the Rules that it is called “murder” and given a negative aspect. But “murder” is only a small percentage of greater killings that have been accepted by humans for ages. So, yes, the winner writes the rules and sets “morality.”

      • The entire concept of God is made up my man, as is our stories, writings, religions, civilizations, etc. The idea of a right as being something fundamental and natural is also made up by man, However, the natural impulse of any life form is survival and if anything can be considered a right that is it.

        • The idea of a right as being something fundamental and natural is also made up by man,

          This is a refreshingly honest statement.

          Now: what are the implications of that belief? Are we not defying natural order by asserting that murder is wrong? Or by acting to help those who are less fortunate, or the oppressed?

      • Chip, not sure why it won’t let me respond to your question below, but something I’ve noticed everyone is missing here about nature and the kill or be killed aspect. The reason why murder is “wrong” and other morality rules or perhaps a better way to put it, acts against natural law existence with out the presence of a god is pretty easy to explain. So many people who call out the whole “kill or be killed” and leave it at that are only looking at the lower intelligence range of animals. Intelligence breads more complex (and successful) survival behavior. Apes, dolphins all of these animals have learned that working together, protecting each other and collaborating are more successful than one on one power struggles. Groups gain greater trust when they don’t kill each other etc….so not killing the other monkey makes bonding tighter and keeps someone watching your back. Pure power plays work at times and fail at times, that’s why both power and kindness exist and thrive successfully in nature with out a god. Many documented cases exist for tribes of monkeys, where a very strong, dominant leader who abuses the other simply because he can, is often ganged up on by the tribe and gang murdered. The tribe then will often install a gentler leader who can still lead and protect the group successfully. There is a perfect example of moral/natural law evolving without god, developed by monkeys (not even men). The law develops for a very obvious and natural reason…it improves the survival of the group…and when survival is equally the same…it improves the enjoyment of life, which is important for more intelligent species of animals.

        • Sorry for the poor spelling (breeds not breads) and the poor phrasing…It’s late, I’m in a hurry and can only put so much effort into comments on a web site.

  8. And that, folks, is the Progressive dogma in a nutshell…
    EVERYTHING comes from the Government.
    You are GRANTED certain privileges, you aren’t born with RIGHTS.
    GOD isn’t GOD, the government is god.
    You didn’t build it, the government helped/allowed you to build it.
    You don’t own it, the government allows you to lease it (whatever ‘it’ is) as long as it chooses.
    You don’t choose how to raise your kids, the government guides you.
    This list goes on and on…

    In other words, put your faith in government, nothing else.

    • Exactly so.

      And this lies at the heart of our very struggle. We are either sovereign beings or we are chattel.

      This is my problem with articles like the one Dan Baum wrote a few weeks ago and all this “marketing” nonsense we’ve seen lately. We are not defending the right to engage in a ‘hobby.’ The struggle is much, much deeper than that.

      We are fighting to defend the very essence of existence transcendental to “government.” To us, government is a tool of man and nothing more. To some, government is, quite literally, their god.

      The difference is fundamental, and to ignore this fundamental difference in ‘worldview’ is to miss the entire underlying cause of why we even have to fight for 2A (or 1A or 4A or any others) rights.

      • To an atheist or some agnostics, god is simply another set of rules…made up by men, to try and control other men, it can be as evil as government in that regard, only it crosses international borders. As arbitrary as not wearing two different cuts of cloth or combining milk and shellfish.

  9. The real question is whether you believe your human rights are inherent in you as an individual, or your “rights” are merely privileges granted by the all-powerful state. The left tends to embrace the state-power side of the issue, since that allows them to remove your rights at their whim. The Founding Fathers pretty clearly believed in the individual rights side of the debate, and employed their military-style firearms to enforce that belief on the British king. They fought and died for their right to be sovereign citizens, not subjects of a sovereign.

    The Democrat Party and its leftist media enablers are the present-day Tories, who believe that the state is the sovereign. They have quite a bit in common with Stalin, Mao, Hitler, Pol Pot, the Chicoms, Putin, and a host of happy socialist dictators past and present.

    The question is who is to be the ruler of an individual’s thoughts and actions – the individual or the collective.

    “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.–That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the CONSENT of the governed, –That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. … when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their DUTY, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security.”

    What they said.

  10. Our laws come from men — including some really, really stupid men. Would any deity in his or her right mind have created the EPA? TSA? Common Core? I don’t think so.

    There’s a difference between our legal rights and our natural rights. Legal rights come from men, which explains why we cannot rely on them. They can enlarged, truncated or stripped away at the will or whim of men. Natural rights come from our DNA. I’ll leave it to others to argue about how they got there, but woe betide the men who try to take those natural rights away.

  11. A lowly animal like a mouse, when cornered and having no route of escape will turn and fight it’s attacker. I have seen rabbits do the same thing. Lions and bears will kill an animal that threatens their young. If these creatures have the sense and willingness to defend themselves and their families when attacked, then humans certainly were born with the same instinct, the same right to defend their lives and those of their family (loved ones).

    Just my 2 cent opinion, but this comes from our creator whom I choose to call God. If you don’t believe in God, I suppose you can give credit to Darwin’s theory that the strongest and fittest tend to survive and thrive, and the weak and timid that are unwilling to fight back tend to die off.

    • “Just my 2 cent opinion, but this comes from our creator whom I choose to call God. If you don’t believe in God, I suppose you can give credit to Darwin’s theory that the strongest and fittest tend to survive and thrive, and the weak and timid that are unwilling to fight back tend to die off.”

      It’s my two cents that those two “options” are not mutually exclusive. They are presented as a false dichotomy by those that wish only to divide. There is no logical, rational basis for the distinction.

      Science and religion have no conflict because they cover different aspects of human existence. One is concerned with observable input from our senses and the other is concerned with morality, ethics and purpose of being.

      This is not to detract from your point. I agree with what you posted. Just conversating….

      • I agree with your basic argument — there is no inherent conflict between faith and science. In fact, in many ways, they tend to support each other.

  12. The fact that I exist gives me the right to defend my existence. If you believe in God, then my existence comes from God. If you’re an atheist it doesn’t. All I know is that I exist, and I plan to keep existing, and I have a natural right to the means to ensure that.

    Rights are inherent, and can only be protected or ignored by government.

    • All I know is that I exist, and I plan to keep existing, and I have a natural right to the means to ensure that.

      Why? Why do you have such a natural right, if not endowed by your Creator with that right? Other than God, what gives you such a right?

      Among animals, the strongest wins, and has the “right” to kill the weaker: the lion versus the antelope, the bulls fighting over the doe. What separates humans?

      • Doors separate us from wildlife. Other than that, i don’t need to believe in god to believe i have a right to defend myself. Religion has worked hand in hand with governments to control the people and their wealth for centuries. If that means I’m hated because i don’t believe in god I could care less. I could also care less what you believe. That’s your right until it’s forced upon me. Therefore if i can’t defend my rights, they don’t exist.

        • Doors separate us from wildlife.

          That’s it? Our ability to build doors is what separates humans from wildlife? Birds can build nests. Beavers can build dams. Bees can build hives.

          Other than that, i don’t need to believe in god to believe i have a right to defend myself.

          But what gives you that right? Merely your ability to build a door raises man above the survival-of-the-fittest law of wildlife? If the laws of nature are kill or be killed, and survival of the fittest, why do those rules not apply to man?

          Religion has worked hand in hand with governments to control the people and their wealth for centuries.

          Why interject religion here? Discussing the existence (or not) of God does not require discussion of religion (which is merely man’s attempt to understand God). Every single religion in the world could be completely wrong about God, and yet God could still exist.

          If that means I’m hated because i don’t believe in god I could care less.

          No need to martyr yourself here. Nobody is talking about hating you for your belief (or lack thereof) in God.

          I could also care less what you believe. That’s your right until it’s forced upon me.

          Also no need for such animosity. We’re merely having a discussion.

          Therefore if i can’t defend my rights, they don’t exist.

          So, why did we fight a Civil War to grant freedom to slaves? By your logic, the slaves were unable to defend their rights, and therefore their rights didn’t exist. Neither could the Jews killed in the Holocaust, or the 50 million Soviets killed by the Soviet regime. Why should oppressed people all over the world be aided? Are they even “oppressed”, since the inability to defend rights renders those rights moot? By your logic, the concept of being “oppressed” must be as irrelevant as the concept of natural rights.

      • Well, nobody can prove the existence of God. However, sentience is a real, observable thing that is the byproduct of evolution. A further byproduct of sentience is empathy, in addition to logic. Empathy leads us to believe pain and suffering are inherently evil. Logic leads us to believe that less evil in the world benefits us as a species. This gives us a moral basis point of “do unto others as you would have them do unto you,” without needing the entirely unconvincing “BECAUSE GOD SAID SO” argument. Believe it or not, love and respect for your fellow man can happen without a Devine creator. In fact, many people are healthy, moral people and somehow don’t believe in God.

        Guess what societies have had shared morals far before the existence of western religion. And there’s no reason morality can’t exist without God. To claim otherwise is entirely devoid of logic, and I have no times for arguments without reason.

        • To claim otherwise is entirely devoid of logic, and I have no times for arguments without reason.

          And here, you started off with some fertile grounds for discussion, but then chose to shut down that discussion by invoking the logical fallacy of a false dichotomy to claim that someone who disagrees with you must be devoid of logic. Ironic, that.

      • Let me turn your question on its side: if the Creator God exists, what gives him the authority to grant you rights? The fact that he created you? Well, so did your parents – but that doesn’t let them define what rights you have or don’t have, or do you disagree?

  13. Yes.

    But even if you don’t believe in God you should still say yes. Rights don’t “come” from somewhere they just are. They are inherent to the creature. They are the axioms upon which our lives are built. If you have no right to property or life what have you?

      • Like I said. These are axioms. You either accept them as atomic. Like 1+1=2, or your propose something better.

        You got something better? I have yet to see anything. 🙂

        • Like I said. These are axioms.

          What makes them axiomatic?

          I’m not trying to create a false dichotomy (God, or nothing); I’m asking: if not God, then what is the alternative?

          Ralph has given one potential answer: sentience/self-awareness (and, I suppose: conscience?). But why do those things change the survival-of-the-fittest rules for humans? And why does human conscience tend to be united around some very basic concepts of absolute right and wrong?

          Unless those questions can be answered, then the concept of natural rights is specious.

        • There’s nothing about axioms that “makes” them axioms. By definition, they are unprovable assertions, the bare minimum that you need to then construct the rest. You can adopt an arbitrary set of axioms as the basis, the only requirement is that they’re not contradictory.

          In practice, for scientific purposes, we adopt the axioms that have experimental support. For example, the Euclidean parallel postulate is accepted as true because we can experimentally test it, and so far we haven’t found any cases where it’s not true.

          With the concept of natural rights, it’s a bit different. An arbitrary set of rights (i.e. axioms) can be adopted, and they can be implemented in real world, because there are no physical laws regulating ethics and morality. However, there are the evolutionary and ethological laws of the survival of individuals and their societies, and so those societies adopt such moral axioms that provide a local maximum for their survival at any given point of time. In that sense, they are objective, not subjective – but they’re still not absolute.

      • What makes them natural/inherent?

        What makes them natural rights is that they are not dispensed by kings or governments, although they may be recognized or wrongly denied by them. The phrase “natural rights” mean they are not manmade, but instead they are as natural and basic as breathing.

        Natural rights thrive in a legal and governmental environment that respects them. We refer to governments that don’t respect natural rights as “repressive.”

        Who sets them down and defines them? Nobody. That’s why they are called “natural rights.” Once they are reduced to writing, they become “legal rights.”

        • The phrase “natural rights” mean they are not manmade, but instead they are as natural and basic as breathing.

          Saying that what makes them natural is that they are natural is begging the question.

          If there is not something outside of man (i.e. God) that endows man with rights, what is it that makes them natural?

          And there are deeper questions. If there is not something outside of man that endows man with rights, why are those rights only natural for humans, and not for other forms of life? If those same rights apply to other forms of life, is it wrong for man to kill animals for food? Is it wrong for animals to kill each other when acting on instinct?

      • Where does the Christian god grant people the right to worship other religions? IIRC, it’s actually kind of expressly forbidden.

  14. If you believe in God as described in the Bible, then there are many verses that you can pull from to support God-given right to self-defense, use of violence in the defense of life, etc. (There are whole sections of canon law addressing this.)

    If you believe in God as described in other tomes – can’t help you there, I’m not a comparative religion scholar. But I will note that most if not all religions seem to have something or other used to justify use of weapons.

    If you don’t believe in God, then you can say that the right to self-defense is the birthright of all who survived to this point in our evolutionary history. Brains are arguably the “built-in weapons system” of homo sapiens, just as teeth and claws are for cats, wolves, etc. They have better teeth and claws; we have better brains. Asking a human to not use his abilities to make and use weapons is like asking a wolf not to use his teeth.

    Just my $0.03. (Inflation…)

  15. This issue has been around forever — because it can never be settled by mortal man. More importantly, it does not matter. If you are a believer, you may well assert divine source for “laws”. If you are not, you may assert the Darwinian biological imperative for self-defense and man’s attributes as a tool-maker and -user. Regardless of origin, the right to keep and bear arms for defense of self and others is a clear, logical, and essential attribute of being human.

    • That is an excellent question and quite relevant to a gun blog where a lot of energy goes into discussion of the RIGHT to Keep and Bear Arms.

      I’d say “yes, of course.” But the main obligation we have trouble actually exercising is the obligation to get out of the other guy’s business.

      OC and off-body carry and caliber wars are an examples of what I mean. Even within this group, bound by focus on RKBA, there is tremendous “mini-Statism” seeking to control the behavior of others.

      I think the Founders of the US understood just how hard this would be…to implement the level of personal liberty espoused in Lockian philosophy.

  16. The gun itself isn’t the right, it’s our human expression of it. Laws aren’t the same as rights, they’re just our human expression of rights and wrongs.

    The right to self-defense is even deeper than God. It’s a right that’s even deeper than rights. It’s a biological necessity. Even the most devoted pacifist can’t stop his body from fighting for its last breath. Life wants to live, and that’s all there is to it.

    Taking away someone’s ability to defend his own life and those he loves is a crime against God and nature — so, by extension, taking away the option of armed defense is morally indefensible.

  17. Self-defense is natural. Every creature uses every possible method at its disposal to defend itself from attack. Man is part of nature and has the same abilities and rights. It is even programmed into us. Our bodies go to great lengths to defend us from germs 24/7. It is unnatural to demand that someone not use every means available to defend themselves. More accurately it is EVIL to demand that someone not use every means available to defend themselves.

    While the natural argument is compelling, it still falls short. Without a Creator in the picture, human life is no more sacred than any other living, breathing creature. Survival of the fittest rules the day without God. Just as humans claim their station above animals to justify harvesting them for food, the ruling class — without God — can claim their station “above” the working class to justify “harvesting” the working class for the gain of the ruling class.

    For these reasons, we must insist that there is a God and that God ordained our right to defend ourselves. While nature illustrates self-defense, nature also illustrates survival of the fittest. And we need a God who ordains that ALL human life is sacred and precious, not just the lives of the “fittest” (e.g. the ruling class). In that light, self-defense is a God ordained right for every human being. And self-defense includes keeping and bearing arms in defense of self.

    • The right of kings and rulers of all stripes have been described throughout known history as having divine source and benediction, and in every culture, at least up until the Magna Carta for the English. The Japanese Emperor is still considered a deity,as were the Egyptian Pharaohs, the French kings, the rulers of Siam, the Incas and the Mexican warrior cultures and so on and so forth. That is why the ruler’s word was law–as it had the force of God almighty behind it. so you analogy fails, as rulers and elite have historically claimed a divine right to rule the rest, and depended upon that right against those who would challenge them. So your analogy fails.

      • I wasn’t making any analogies. I simply stated that a purely natural basis for rights fails to acknowledge the inherent sacredness and dignity of ALL human lives. And that makes room for evil people (like kings) to declare a “right” to exploit/consume “lesser” people.

        You will not find a single place in the Old Testament or New Testament of the Bible where God designed kings to rule over people, much less advocating for kings to exploit or consume “lesser” people. Did the Jews have kings in the Old Testament? Sure … when God finally installed a king at the insistence of the Jews after warning the Jews multiple times that kings are bad news.

        As for the Japanese, Incas, Egyptians, and so on … those people obliged the delusions of their “god-kings” at their own peril.

        • “You will not find a single place in the Old Testament or New Testament of the Bible where God designed kings to rule over people”

          Romans 13: Let everyone be subject to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God.

          Consequently, whoever rebels against the authority is rebelling against what God has instituted, and those who do so will bring judgment on themselves.

          (Hm, the American Revolution comes to mind…)

        • God ordained governing authorities to:
          — coordinate our national defenses against foreign invaders,
          — serve justice on criminals who violate our rights, and
          — operate courts to settle civil disputes.

          God did NOT ordain governing authorities to exploit and consume people.

        • Romans 13 clearly states that governments are ordained by god and you should obey them. It doesn’t make exceptions for exploitative governments.

        • And if you continue reading Romans 13 you will see:

          3 For rulers hold no terror for those who do right, but for those who do wrong. Do you want to be free from fear of the one in authority? Then do what is right and you will be commended. 4 For the one in authority is God’s servant for your good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, for rulers do not bear the sword for no reason. They are God’s servants, agents of wrath to bring punishment on the wrongdoer.

          The context of God-ordained governing authorities is to punish evil doers and leave righteous people alone. A governing authority which ignores (or even rewards) evil doers and punishes righteous people is not of God and we owe no allegiance to such “authority”. Otherwise you have to tell me that God ordained Hitler, Stalin, Pol-Pot, Mao, etc. to slaughter 10s of millions of people which makes no sense whatsoever because it goes against the very nature of God.

          If our governing authority ordered us to kill all of our first-born children, are we obligated to “submit to their authority” and follow the order? Of course not. Use a little discretion.

        • “Otherwise you have to tell me that God ordained Hitler, Stalin, Pol-Pot, Mao, etc. to slaughter 10s of millions of people which makes no sense whatsoever because it goes against the very nature of God.” — Well, many people do believe that everything is in the hands of God, starting with the Creation. It would be folly, then, to think that “Hitler, Stalin, Pol-Pot, Mao, etc. … slaughter[ing] 10s of millions of people” would not be in the hands of God or by his design, wouldn’t it? Or should we just pick and choose as it pleases us and throw the remainder to the Devil?

        • Alexander,

          God ordained righteous living AND free will. Evil people who reject God’s call to live righteously and instead exercise their free will to harm others is NOT God’s doing.

          Of course many people will ask, “Then why doesn’t God stop evil people from harming others? If he doesn’t stop them, isn’t he therefore responsible or condoning their evil actions?” The answer is that God is not responsible for nor condones evil people committing evil actions. That is a natural consequence of living our lives outside of God’s mandate to live righteous lives. We collectively told God to go pound sand and he honored our request.

        • “The answer is that God is not responsible for nor condones evil people committing evil actions.” — How convenient to ascribe to God those actions that we want, and to the Devil whatever’s left. That would have had some logic if God had given people free will and let them be, but God does threaten to punish those that use the free will in the way they choose to. So why have hundreds of millions of innocent people suffer unbelievable tortures at the hands of a relatively few monsters, only to have those monsters punished later? But certainly no effort to prevent the suffering of the innocent. With a God this kind, caring and loving, please, give me the Devil. At least he’s not as devious.

        • “The context of God-ordained governing authorities is to punish evil doers and leave righteous people alone. A governing authority which ignores (or even rewards) evil doers and punishes righteous people is not of God and we owe no allegiance to such “authority”. Otherwise you have to tell me that God ordained Hitler, Stalin, Pol-Pot, Mao, etc. to slaughter 10s of millions of people which makes no sense whatsoever because it goes against the very nature of God.”

          And where does it say that, exactly? I thought the language was pretty clear: ” Let everyone be subject to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established.”

          Let me repeat that: “For there is *no authority* except that which God has established.”

          Did you catch that? Do I need to repeat it again? “For there is *NO AUTHORITY* except that which God has established.”

          Pretty damn clear.

        • And in fact, Grindstone, verse 4 (which he chastised us for not quoting) continues in the same vein stating that the authority is God’s Will in action. Uncommon Sense’s attempt to put the verse you quoted into context makes it abundantly clear that God put bad authorities into power quite deliberately as well. Sure, it explains why God did so. But it also makes it quite clear it’s God’s will that we suffer under, and still obey tyrants should we find them over us.

  18. I know I’ll get flamed for this, but here’s my question:

    As far as I can tell, we don’t know if there’s a god and it looks like there most likely isn’t one. But what if, tomorrow, we KNEW for sure there was no god. I mean, forget what I personally believe or don’t believe, but what if tomorrow we had definite proof beyond any doubt that there never was a god. Would our rights cease to exist just like that? Would they turn into meaningless scribbles on paper? I don’t think so. So even though personally I don’t believe that rights are god given, I also don’t think it matters.

    We can endlessly debate whether we know right from wrong a priori or whether it’s a learning process. But either way, this does not depend on whether a supernatural being exists or not. And while a lot of you here hate atheists (yes, hate), rejection of belief in a deity is NOT the same as rejection of morality. Many folks here seem to equate those two, although I’m not sure why.

    • “it looks like there most likely isn’t one. “

      Where’s the data that “mostly likely” was based on? What numbers were used to show that ‘odds’ for no God are greater than 50%?

      Sorry, but that is a ridiculous statement.

      • I’m just talking about lack of proof. And since I can’t prove a negative, hence “most likely.” Sorry, old books with questionable content do not count as proof. But thanks for not addressing anything else from my post.

        • “Sorry, old books with questionable content do not count as proof.”

          Old books are not the reason many people of faith continue in their faith. Many people see the hand of God at work in the present, every single day, in their lives and around them. The Bible (or other “old books”) are not the basis of present faith.

          “No proof” cannot lead to “most likely.” I’m sticking on that point because it is important to me, as a trained scientist, to keep ‘eye on the ball,’ so to speak. “No proof” means “no data one way or another.” “Most likely” in this case is not based on ANY data, but is being presented as a quantitative conclusion that should ONLY be based on data. “Most likely” implies a probability has been calculated from an observed data set.

          If you don’t want people to pick up on and challenge provocative statements, don’t make them.

        • Semantics. Obviously I cannot prove that there is no god. I’d also never say “I know there’s no god” unless I had 100% proof. But from my experience and from the lack of proof and lack of any empirical evidence, I said “most likely.” You provide nothing but anecdotal evidence and that somehow trumps lack of any empirical evidence. I guess that’s as far as you got reading my original post, even though I said forget what I believe and answer my “what if” question that followed.

        • “Semantics.”

          No, it’s not semantics. You made a quantitative claim based solely on personal belief. If we are going to rag against the anti’s for doing that sort of thing, we have to maintain intellectual honesty and avoid doing it ourselves.

          ” But from my experience and from the lack of proof and lack of any empirical evidence,”

          That was the point of my mentioning those that see God in action around them every day. That’s their experience, and you would have no rational basis to contradict their conclusion.

          “You provide nothing but anecdotal evidence”

          As do you. You said “in my experience” and are ascribing to that some greater meaning than those whose experience differs from your…and that the conclusion “there is most likely no God” is warranted.

          The difference between us is that I am not making an assertion about the existence of God either way. I’m merely challenging your assertion of “most likely” as irrational.

          “and that somehow trumps lack of any empirical evidence.”

          Just what empirical evidence supports the conclusion that there is no transcendental being? And where did I ever say my ‘anecdotal evidence’ trumped such evidence?

          You are bringing straw men into the discussion.

          “I guess that’s as far as you got reading my original post,”

          You’d guess wrong.

          Just because I chose to comment on one particular statement you made you draw the conclusion that I did not read the rest?

          Is this “guess” the same logic used to justify a claim of “most likely no God” has some rational basis even though it is merely a reflection of your own personal belief?

          This statement about your guessing my reading of your post appears meant as a ‘dismissal.’ My point regarding the irrationality of a claim of ‘belief’ merits less attention and discussion, so let’s move on to your more important “what if.” Does that about sum it up?

        • Haha, I see this isn’t going anywhere. When I said “my experience” I meant what can be observed, tested and verified, either by me or by others, doesn’t really matter. No such empirical evidence exists, and if god existed, surely we could come up with some. Seems like that could be easily achieved. Yet somehow omnipotent beings have limits, it seems. Could I be wrong about this? Sure, but anecdotal evidence cannot meet the same standard as empirical evidence. You say you don’t make a judgment either way but you seem to put more stock in anecdotes. Don’t extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence?

          We’ve been trying to prove the existence of god for a while now, and so far, nothing. But we are convinced that rights are god given. That’s where I have a problem. I don’t pretend to have answers to where exactly morality comes from, how much is nature and/or nurture. But to me, saying “god did it” seems like an easy way out that isn’t based on anything tangible.

        • “No such empirical evidence exists, and if god existed, surely we could come up with some. “

          Tautological fallacies don’t interest me. But, that statement is an unsupportable assumption; it cannot be tested in any way.

          What is going nowhere is that you seem to think I am debating the existence of God with you. I’m not. I’m debating your assertion that your “experience” and your interpretation of “empirical evidence” is “correct” simply because it supports your belief.

          See…tautology again.

          You are trying to hide behind some appearance of logic and grander truth in the commission of a basic fallacy. This we cannot do. It undermines any claim to being the “logical side” in the gun control debate.

          Consider:

          “I don’t believe in God. I see no evidence God exists. Therefore, there is no God.”

          Compare to:

          “I don’t believe guns are good. I see no evidence guns are good. Therefore, guns are not good.”

          The conclusion is forced by the premise…tautological fallacy.

        • “I don’t believe in God. I see no evidence God exists. Therefore, there is no God.”

          Wait a sec there, I never said that. In fact, that’s exactly what I’m arguing against. All I’m asking for is evidence. Observable, verifiable evidence. I said there is none, therefore “most likely” there is no deity. Should I have said “probably” or “maybe” or…what? There’s no evidence for unicorns and spaghetti monsters either, so “most likely” they don’t exist either. Are you going to argue against that too? I mean, is it possible they exist? Sure, but if there’s zero evidence of their existence, I think it’s ok to say they probably don’t exist, or at least there’s nothing to persuade me of their existence. Same with god. It has nothing to do with what I believe, strictly speaking. I’m not sure why asking for verifiable evidence is wrong or illogical, as you claim. Therefore, my conclusion is that we have no proof that rights come from god. And it’s based on nothing to say that they do. But you’re free to provide me with empirical evidence and prove me wrong. How long should I wait?

        • As i posted earlier. Have you ever heard of St Thomas Aquinas? I suggest you look him up and refute for us the proofs of God. Have fun with that!

        • And, Mr. Quixote, int19h answered your earlier post. (it ended up not at the right indentation but there it is)

          So you can’t claim you couldn’t find it, I quote him here in entirety:

          You mean, the “proofs” that are basically all sophistry and word tricks?

          Anyway, here you go:
          http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Quinque_viae#Criticism

          (And while we’re at it, can the God create a stone that he himself is unable to lift?)

        • Mr. Pierogie,

          There are three compelling reasons to believe that God exists:
          (1) Scribes copied the books of the Bible (Old Testament and New Testament) thousands of times with extreme accuracy over thousands of years. There is no other example in history where men were able to accomplish that feet … which supports the idea of Divine action in their origin and preservation.
          (2) The Bible states a few facts of scientific origin thousands of years before anyone knew the particular facts. For example the Bible describes the massive currents in the oceans and that the Earth looks round (not flat) from above. How is that possible without an all knowing, all aware, all powerful creator?
          (3) Predictive prophecy: the Old Testament made very specific predictions regarding the lineage of the Messiah and the specific manner in which mankind would kill the Messiah … several hundred years before it actually happened. How is that possible without an all knowing, all aware, all powerful creator to make it happen?

        • For example, it is possible if someone made a time machine and used it. Nothing of what you describe requires that entity to be all-powerful, all-knowing, or the creator.

          (This is without even getting into the accuracy of your claims.)

          Also, just FYI, that Earth was spherical was well-known even in antiquity among educated people. E.g. Pythagoras, in 6th century BCE, already states it as fact. It is something that any culture discovers pretty quickly once they start sailing and observing the change of positions in stars and other celestial objects, as well as other optical phenomena (e.g. ships slowly disappearing beyond the horizon as they sail away).

        • @uncommonsense

          There are three compelling reasons to believe that God exists:
          (1) Scribes copied the books of the Bible (Old Testament and New Testament) thousands of times with extreme accuracy over thousands of years. There is no other example in history where men were able to accomplish that feet … which supports the idea of Divine action in their origin and preservation.

          Actually this isn’t true, and it’s not even remotely true. Looking over all of the extant manuscripts of the New Testament, there are more differences between them than there are words in the New Testament. To be sure, in most cases, the difference is an obvious error by the scribe where we know a line is missing (his eyeball skipped over it as he was copying) or a spelling error or some such. But in a number of cases the manuscripts differ on something of theological import and it’s necessary to use inference to try to figure out what is the original text.

          The entirety of John 7:53 through 8:11, the famous “let he who is without sin cast the first stone” does not appear in our very earliest manuscripts of John, indicating it is a later insertion. Also in 1John 5:7-8 there is a very famous later insertion, called the “Johannine Comma” that altered the older text from “There are three that testify: the Sprit and the water and the blood, and these three agree.” to the newer text “There are three that testify in heaven, The Father, the Word and the Holy Spirit, and these three are one. An there are three that testify on earth: the Spirit and the water and the blood.” The latter version is the ONLY unambiguous statement of the Trinity in the entire New Testament, and it appears in none of our ancient Greek manuscripts; it was inserted into the older Latin ones.

          So tell me again how insanely accurate the copying process was and that that accuracy is proof god was behind the whole thing?

        • int19h,

          So your explanation of predictive prophecy is that someone made a time machine, observed events in the future, and then went back several hundred years before those events, wrote them down in the language of the day (a miracle in and of itself), and then somehow convinced a bunch of scribes to make thousands of copies at a phenomenal expense. And of course there is not a single shred of evidence that anyone ever made such a time machine. Got it. You have more faith than I do.

          I suppose you will also claim that the Bible is not accurate or reliable because it is translations of translations of translations of translations? My Bible is translated from the original languages (Hebrew, Aramaic, and Greek) and original complete manuscripts (dating back to between 1,000 B.C. and 100 A.D.) where they exist. Where original complete manuscripts are not available, my Bible is translated from the oldest complete copies of the original manuscripts which have been verified to be 99.9% (or better) consistent with all fragments of original manuscripts. I have personally looked at a 1,940 year-old fragment (about 1 page) from one of the books of the New Testament written in Greek. My friend translated it on the fly and I immediately recognized the verses from the New Testament. Keep in mind that an ultra-liberal university (which hates all things Biblical and Christian) authenticated that fragment and dated it to around 70 A.D.

          Next, I suppose you will claim that the Bible is a just a bunch of folk lore and fairly tales rather than acknowledge that the Bible lists real people, places, events, and dates with exquisite detail and accuracy — verified time and again with external sources and archaeology.

          If you want to reject the message of the Bible because you hate the idea of an all knowing, all powerful, everywhere present God, that is your choice and I respect it. What you cannot do with any integrity is reject the accuracy and authenticity of the Bible. Saying it another way, you are entitled to your own opinions but not your own facts.

        • What I’m saying is that my time machine theory is sufficient to explain everything that you have provided in terms of arguments, and it’s still much easier to believe than the existence of some kind of omnipotent entity. So by Occam’s Razor it would be the preferred explanation.

          I’m not seriously suggesting that, because I’m well aware that all the things that you’re claiming are actually false. The Bible had the same staggering number of errors (and deliberate changes) creeping up in it as any other book that was manually transcribed; it does not paint a picture of the world cosmology even remotely similar to what we now know it is (for example, a literal reading very clearly indicates that Earth is flat); most of its historical events do not have any supporting archaeological evidence; and most of its prophecies are either too vague to be meaningful, or were “fulfilled” by stories also described in the Bible and having no outside confirmation, or weren’t fulfilled at all (e.g. that prophesied messiah was supposed to be named Emmanuel, not Jesus).

          So yes, I do completely reject the accuracy and authenticity of the Bible. It’s just a bunch of Jewish mythological fairy tales, very similar (in many cases, obviously directly copied, like e.g. the Great Flood story) to other such from the same region, and about as nonsensical and obviously inaccurate.

        • SteveInCO,

          So what is your claim? The Bible is nonsense then?

          Please explain how hundreds/thousands of scribes spanning centuries and hundreds/thousands of miles managed to create tens of thousands of manuscripts (some complete, some partial) copied nearly perfectly with nearly perfect internal consistency and verified countless times with external historians and archaeology.

          And please show me where there are glaring, egregious errors that totally change the message of the Bible.

        • Aah yes. That formidable fact finder wickipedia. I hand the floor to anyone who can bring that all sentient sage to the discussion. If you try I just might…..

        • “(2) The Bible states a few facts of scientific origin thousands of years before anyone knew the particular facts. For example the Bible describes the massive currents in the oceans and that the Earth looks round (not flat) from above. How is that possible without an all knowing, all aware, all powerful creator?”

          Uh, no. No. No no no no no. First off, Greeks knew the Earth was round long before the desert nomads wrote it down. Second, the bible says that the sky is a solid dome. Come on, now. You can’t be serious. The bible even gets Pi wrong.

          “(3) Predictive prophecy: the Old Testament made very specific predictions regarding the lineage of the Messiah and the specific manner in which mankind would kill the Messiah … several hundred years before it actually happened. How is that possible without an all knowing, all aware, all powerful creator to make it happen?”

          Gandalf predicted that Gollum would play a pivotal role in the destruction of the One Ring. How is that possible without him being a demi-god?

        • So what is your claim? The Bible is nonsense then?

          No, my claim is that your claim that it has been perfectly copied down through the ages is nonsense. You didn’t address that, you instead simply repeated your prior assertions. My statement that there are more differences between ancient manuscripts than there are words in the New Testament is backed up by modern scholars who have seen those manuscripts. To be sure it’s easy to see the nature of the error in most (but not all) of these cases, and simply disregard it. But you can’t claim those errors didn’t exist. (Well, I suppose you can make the claim, but you’d be wrong.) And those few other cases can truly have one uncertain what the original actually said.

          Then I mentioned specific cases (out of many more) of failures in copying manuscripts], and you addressed none of them. If you read either the NIV or NRSV you will see footnotes in the relevant sections backing up what I say. [In other words the scholars doing the translating themselves don’t agree with what you have to say about their translations. They do the best they can but they acknowledge that manuscripts frequently differ, a far cry from your 99 percent claim.] I could check more translations, if I had them, but the NIV and NRSV are at different ends of a broad spectrum of modern translations (many folks who like the NIV condemn the NRSV for being lib’ral, whilst many NRSV users regard the NIV as dishonestly papering over awkward passages). When both of these versions agree the relevant passages were later insertions (both drop the Johannine comma and reproduce it only in the footnote, and by rights both should also shitcan the “let he who is without sin cast the first stone” story as well), that should get one’s attention. Oh, and if you need another one, are you aware that the Gospel of Mark has two (NIV) or three (NRSV) different endings? It seems people felt compelled to add more and more to it during the first couple of centuries of the church. Again, you don’t have to believe me or the internet; pull your dead tree Bible off the shelf and look at it, check these translations!

          LA LA LA I CAN’T HEAR YOU and simply repeating your assertions of nearly faultless copying, that I have demonstrated are utter horseshit (and the translators of these bibles know it!), isn’t a response.

        • SteveInCO,

          My claim is that my Bible is translated from the original languages (Hebrew, Aramaic, and Greek) and the oldest complete manuscripts available dating from roughly 1,000 B.C. to 100 A.D. … and from newer manuscripts that match the fragments of old manuscripts dating again from roughly 1,000 B.C. to 100 A.D. I am unconcerned about something that someone may have inserted into a Latin version of the New Testament because my Bible uses the original Greek, not a Latin translation.

          Sure, scribes sometimes wrote a line of text twice or omitted a line. Or they misspelled a word or omitted a word. Those are simple transcription errors that do not corrupt the message of the Bible. Furthermore, we have thousands of manuscripts which enable us to identify and correct those transcription errors because the same transcription errors do not appear in all manuscripts.

          And yes, there are a few passages here and there with some uncertainty because there are very few original manuscripts (or fragments) available. Again, none of that changes the message of the Bible. Dozens of clear passages tell us without any uncertainty whatsoever that God tells us he is our Creator, that God is holy and loves us, that human life is sacred and valuable, that Jesus walked on this Earth, that Jesus died for our sins, etc. etc. etc.

          Let me know when someone finds hundreds of original manuscripts (whether complete or fragments) that utterly change the message of the Bible. Let me know when archaeologists find errors in the accounts of the Bible. Let me know when the mandates of the Bible such as the Golden Rule and the Ten Commandments prove to be destructive to the human race. Until that time, my claim stands that the Bible is accurate and reliable.

        • Grindstone,

          “Second, the bible says that the sky is a solid dome. … The bible even gets Pi wrong.”
          I have never read anything about either topic or any claims about them. Please provide citations.

          As for your Lord of the Rings reference, neither the author nor its readers ever claimed to be writing about actual historical events. And there are no external documents or archaeological evidence that corroborate the Lord of the Rings book as being true. External documents and archaeological evidence do corroborate the Bible.

        • Int19h,

          “The Bible had the same staggering number of errors (and deliberate changes) creeping up in it as any other book that was manually transcribed …”

          Really? So you have a series of manuscripts in the original languages (Hebrew, Aramaic, or Greek) spanning hundreds of years with errors “creeping up” that you can show us all? I would love to see that.

          And please show us these errors between the latest complete (or major portions of) manuscripts of the Old Testament and Dead Sea Scrolls which were written something like 1,400 years earlier. Certainly 1,400 years or so is plenty of time for errors to “creep up”, right?

    • Or, what if God actually shows up…

      Someone asks him, “Where do rights come from?”
      He might answer, “Oh. Those. They weren’t my doing. Rights are older than me. You had those all along.”
      “When I made you, I thought it best to not take them away.”

    • And while a lot of you here hate atheists

      Maybe, but I sense a lot more hate coming from the atheist point of view these days.

      rejection of belief in a deity is NOT the same as rejection of morality

      No certainly not. However, I will respect the morality of atheists a bit more when I see hundreds of atheist-funded childrens hospitals and relief societies all over America. I won’t hold my breath.

      • ” I will respect the morality of atheists a bit more when I see hundreds of atheist-funded childrens hospitals and relief societies all over America.” — If an atheist is a working, producing member of the society, then he does in fact have morals. If he is a welfare mooch – he does not. Altruism is hardly a qualifier or a quantifier of morals. It is more often than not simply self aggrandizement.

      • “No certainly not. However, I will respect the morality of atheists a bit more when I see hundreds of atheist-funded childrens hospitals and relief societies all over America. I won’t hold my breath.”

        You mean regular non-religious hospitals and charities?

    • To address your question (which no one else seems interested in doing), the answer is “probably not.” Biological imperative. Darwinism. Survival of the fittest. Whatever. We are hard wired in our brains with the Four Fs, three of which, feeding, flight and fighting, are necessary to individual survival. Whether or not this is a “right” or a “natural right” is up to debate–does an antelope on the Serengeti have a “right” to life unmolested by the lion? Probably not–the lion has just as much “right” to eat to survive. But it is indisputable that we are biologically, genetically, hard wired to strive to survive. And it is also fair to say that that antelope has every “right” to avoid being killed and eaten. To extend the analogy, each of us therefore has the “right” to fight against those who would take our lives and freedom.

  19. Rights come from nature, or if you believe, God. When men get to make the rights for other men you are living in a tyrrany. Which Chris and his bro would be all for.

  20. There are no rights.

    Rights are a concept that only exists in human law at the whim of mutual agreement to abide by the restrictions a person’s rights impose on the people surrounding them.

    In reality you only have the “right” to whatever you can take and then hold against being taken.

    Matter exists, Energy Exists, and Force exists. So burn some Energy to turn some Matter into a weapons so that you can exert the Force needed to keep the rights you define yourself as “having” from being taken.

  21. Nature is by no means an authority on right and wrong. The concept of a just and moral Creator is what undergirds the assertion that we have certain rights by virtue of our very creation. And this was a perfectly valid basis on which to assert the existence of such rights in the era in which our founding documents were composed. These days, when it seems that most people are basically their own god, the authoritative basis for this is up to debate.

    • The existence of a “creator” had literally jack to do with the Declaration of Independence. Rather, the point of the declaration was that the People, not the king, were sovereign, and the power to rule comes from the People, not from some God to a “sovereign king” to rule over the People. The declaration says, hey George, we are taking back the power that you have been abusing, and now we shall rule ourselves as free men. This was the fundamental precept upon which our whole form of government was founded, and was extremely radical in its day.

  22. Here’s an interesting point for this discussion: Whether they will admit openly or not, one fourth of the population of this world believes, because it is written in their scriptures, that they have a God-given right, indeed a God-commanded responsibility, to kill the other three fourths of the population if we do not follow their religious laws.

    If rights are God-given, how can we claim that our view of the rights God gives are the correct ones and theirs are incorrect? Saying they are wrong in killing us for not following Sharia would just be religious intolerance on our part. A recent op-ed by a radical imam said just that. That’s another reason I don’t buy the God-given rights argument. Then you get into “whose God?”

    • “Whose God”?

      There is the argument that there is only one God. All these “imperfections” you speak of in the revelation of God to Man is the result of man’s interpretations and misinterpretations of that revelation.

      In this framework, we have to be very careful not to ascribe to God those things are are Man’s failures and shortcomings.

      Try this as an exercise: Define “God” as “that which transcends Human in every way” and reframe your question. The question won’t make sense, because everything you are bringing up is a direct result of “Man’s will” or at the Hand of Man.

      • Even stipulating that there’s one god, it sure seems difficult to get any two people to agree on the properties of that god. In general, i tend to see “whose god” type statements as “whose conception of god,” i.e., they aren’t literally asserting that there really are multiple gods.

        Unfortunately, it’s people with different conceptions of god who manage to literally fight over these issues, and one or both sides are *thoroughly* convinced that they are right and the other side is *so* wrong they are dangerous and need to be violently suppressed. Even if only one side feels that way, peace takes two to tango, war can be had at the will of only one party.

        • “Even stipulating that there’s one god, it sure seems difficult to get any two people to agree on the properties of that god.”

          Indeed.

          The issue becomes then does one throw out the concept of God simply because Man cannot pin down what God is (by the very definition of God in the framework I mentioned above, where God=that which man cannot understand).

          ” In general, i tend to see “whose god” type statements as “whose conception of god,” i.e., they aren’t literally asserting that there really are multiple gods.

          Fair enough.

          One answer is to look for the commonalities and focus on them. All major (recorded) religions have some degree of overlap, and it interests me (personally) that those overlaps also correlate very well with fundamental truths people arrive upon on their own (in the absence of directed religious study, for example).

          That is…there does seem to be the existence of some ‘transcendental truths.’

          “Unfortunately, it’s people with different conceptions of god who manage to literally fight over these issues, and one or both sides are *thoroughly* convinced that they are right and the other side is *so* wrong they are dangerous and need to be violently suppressed. Even if only one side feels that way, peace takes two to tango, war can be had at the will of only one party.

          Very true. This brings the discussion out of the realm of pure philosophy and back to the practical.

          So, if one group of a nation’s population believes rights are natural and inherent in human existence (and government’s rightful role is to protect those rights) and another group believes rights are handed down by other men, ruling class or otherwise, where does that leave us? Condemned to war? Because each side seems to be saying “I’m not going to live like that” to the other.

          Wrapped up in all this, too, is the issue of ‘collective vs individual’ rights, or maybe that’s just a different way of saying the same thing.

        • Lots to comment on here.

          The issue becomes then does one throw out the concept of God simply because Man cannot pin down what God is (by the very definition of God in the framework I mentioned above, where God=that which man cannot understand).

          The fact that two people can’t agree on the nature of something is not a valid reason to dismiss its existence. Of course, there may be OTHER valid reasons to dismiss its existence. What you might more reasonably conclude from the two people disagreeing is that at least one of them doesn’t know what he’s talking about. That’s true whether or not the something in question exists. In other words, it’s an argument for rejecting people claiming to be authorities on the subject.

          One answer is to look for the commonalities and focus on them. All major (recorded) religions have some degree of overlap, and it interests me (personally) that those overlaps also correlate very well with fundamental truths people arrive upon on their own (in the absence of directed religious study, for example).

          That is…there does seem to be the existence of some ‘transcendental truths.’

          Of course there are a multitude of possible reasons for those commonalities to turn up. For instance, it could be that they happen (for whatever reason) to enhance the survival of groups of people that accept them, so other things could have been believed by sects that are now extinct. Looking for commonalities, in other words, will lead you to sets of ruls that work, but not necessarily demonstrate that they work because they are in fact divinely ordained. It could just be evolution in action.

          [Me} “Unfortunately, it’s people with different conceptions of god who manage to literally fight over these issues, and one or both sides are *thoroughly* convinced that they are right and the other side is *so* wrong they are dangerous and need to be violently suppressed. Even if only one side feels that way, peace takes two to tango, war can be had at the will of only one party.

          [JR]Very true. This brings the discussion out of the realm of pure philosophy and back to the practical.

          [JR, continuing] So, if one group of a nation’s population believes rights are natural and inherent in human existence (and government’s rightful role is to protect those rights) and another group believes rights are handed down by other men, ruling class or otherwise, where does that leave us? Condemned to war? Because each side seems to be saying “I’m not going to live like that” to the other.

          Indeed. Some differences in outlook cannot be reconciled and cannot coexist. The person who feels entitled to horn in on everyone else’s business won’t get along with people who really hate it when someone meddles in their business; the man who feels entitled to your posessions if he “needs” them won’t get along with you, who wants to keep what you have earned, the man who thinks his wife and daughter are his property won’t get along with a wife or daughter who believes they own themselves.

          Wrapped up in all this, too, is the issue of ‘collective vs individual’ rights, or maybe that’s just a different way of saying the same thing.

          I actually think of that as a very different (but of course related) issue. The first is “where do rights come from” and the second is “what is a right?”

          My yardstick of whether something is a right or not includes asking the question of whether the purported “right” obligates someone to take a positive action on your behalf (as opposed to obligating him to NOT do something TO you). “Health care” cannot be a right because if it were, another party can be obligated to provide it with their resources to the detriment of pursuing their own goals. “Self defense” can be and is, because my carrying a CZ-75 imposes no obligation on you whatsoever.

          Anyone reading this who wants to see a completely secular justification for a completely objective notion of rights (i.e., not based on human whim, as the statists and many, many religious folk seem to think it must be if god isn’t involved) can check out what Ayn Rand had to say about the matter. she’s pretty close to where I’m at, complete with identifying the necessity of having a government and defining precisely what its proper role is.

        • Oh and in all that I forgot to affirm that there is no such thing as a “group” right either. Rights are individual.

        • “What you might more reasonably conclude from the two people disagreeing is that at least one of them doesn’t know what he’s talking about. That’s true whether or not the something in question exists. In other words, it’s an argument for rejecting people claiming to be authorities on the subject.

          Very well said.

          in other words, will lead you to sets of ruls that work, but not necessarily demonstrate that they work because they are in fact divinely ordained. It could just be evolution in action.

          Super-duper-over-the-hill philosophically driven point: unless that is the very essence of divine…that which DOES work in this world where so much seems to NOT work.

          “My yardstick of whether something is a right or not includes asking the question of whether the purported “right” obligates someone to take a positive action on your behalf (as opposed to obligating him to NOT do something TO you). “Health care” cannot be a right because if it were, another party can be obligated to provide it with their resources to the detriment of pursuing their own goals. “Self defense” can be and is, because my carrying a CZ-75 imposes no obligation on you whatsoever.”

          Nicely put.

          This comes up a lot in the debate with the gun-grabbers. They seem to think we are trying to force them to own and carry guns or even to stand up for their own self defense. We, or the vast majority of us anyway, are not doing any such thing.

          But, they are exactly seeking to do that to us…because they don’t see the need or correctness in an action, they seek to impose a restriction on everybody. They hide behind “right to feel safe” as their justification, but their right to feel safe requires an action from US and NOTHING from them. It’s backwards.

          As I think about this, framing the definition of “right” in this way very specifically means rights cannot come from Man (through laws or government in any way).

        • >> The fact that two people can’t agree on the nature of something is not a valid reason to dismiss its existence.

          The problem is that, in this case, the nature of that something is basically what defines it… so if we can’t agree on the nature, are we even talking about the same thing at all?

        • @int19h.

          Sure.

          The point of what I said there wasn’t to shovel the issue under the rug but to assure the reader I wasn’t making the fallacious argument against the very existence of a god that some might have thought I was trying to make. (There are a lot of other arguments, of course, but I don’t care for fallacious arguments even when I agree with their conclusions.)

          The fact that few can agree on the nature of god is quite relevant to the present discussion for the reasons you cite, and that’s true no matter who, if anyone, is actually right on the matter. Or to put it another way, the mere fact that there is disagreement, is itself the point.

  23. Unless you live in total isolation in a cave somewhere natural rights do not exist. You, like all the other animals in the wild have no rights except what you can secure by brute force. A coyote gives two shites about a fawns natural right to live. It simply eats the ready meal.

    Human rights, civil rights, constitutional rights are given by society. If you live in a good society, great. If not……

    • “You, like all the other animals in the wild have no rights except what you can secure by brute force.”

      Very Hobbesian. Or, you and your neighbors can independently decide to leave each other in peace. People have been doing so for thousands of years, even though other people have done otherwise.

    • Accidentally hit “submit”…

      The US Founding Fathers most radical notion was not that rights come from God, but rather they do NOT come from some human jerkwad sitting on a throne.

      At the time they were writing things like the Declaration of Independence, the only other place they could see rights possibly coming from was God, if not a King or other dictatorial human source.

      Today we can see another possible source of rights: they might be inherent in what we are as very advanced social animals.

      Support for this view comes from the fact that we can actually see animals form packs/herds/pods/whatever that protect the civil rights of members of the group. Example: go to Alaska, find a pack of wolves, try and take away their dead caribou or whatever else they’re snacking on. You’ll find out REAL quick that they know exactly what “property rights” and “group defense” are.

      Pods of Gray Whales moving up and down the coast of California send out “scouts” in pairs (usually) up to 20 miles in front of, behind and to the sides of the main pod. Their job is to scope out threats and message back to the main pod about them and if necessary destroy that threat in advance of the pod’s movement. Picture two whales checking out your boat with little curly wires in their ears like they’re Secret Service checking you out.

      All of our nearest relatives that are still fully animals (chimps, gorillas, etc.) are group animals that protect civil rights together – same as we do.

      Therefore, our rights could easily be inherent to our biology, no “God” involved but also not dependent on human whims.

      • Well said, but don’t forget that the British crown (and most European monarchies) legitimized their power by claiming to be granted kingship by god. The royal “we” was in reference to the words being spoken by the monarch to have come from the mouth of god as well. Then there’s the whole various rules and laws laid out by the biblical god that don’t exactly mesh with the BoR.

  24. If our rights come from God, then He is our creator which means we didn’t evolve from space sperm as Frances Crick hypothetized. If we are creation, then we didn’t evolve. If we are created and made in the image of God, then we have souls and will one day give an account of our lives on earth. Perhaps the better “Question of the Day” is “If our rights are God-given, then where are you going when you die? Heaven or hell?”
    I make this point because the whole ‘rights argument’ is nothing more than a vicious attack on this nations Christian heritage. To accede the existence of human rights, accedes the existence of God and the responsibility man has towards God. Conclusion–Love guns, love God. Hate guns, hate God. Pithy, yes?

    • I’m hoping for Heaven, but I gotta say, the Muslims have those 72 virgins and that is quite a draw. I mean, I feel kind of gypped.

      Although my good buddy from the Navy who is an airline pilot, said after 9/11, “What would I want with 72 virgins? Just give me one flight attendant who knows what she’s doing!”

      • That’s what the current Pope is saying. The concept is called “guided creation” I guess, where “evolution” happens but under an intelligent guided plan.

        • Strictly speaking, evolution does not have to be ‘guided.’

          If there is a Creator of all and everything within human perception, that would include the creation of randomness. There is therefore no reason to subscribe to a belief that everything (including evolution) has to be ‘designed’ or ‘directed.’

        • It’s not just the current Pope, it has been the official Church position since John Paul II. The only thing that Catholics claim to be directly God-created is the soul.

          And yes, “divinely guided” evolution doesn’t necessarily mean intervention. It can also simply mean that the laws guiding natural selections (and ultimately the chemical and physical laws underpinning all that stuff) were designed so as to yield a certain result.

    • this nations Christian heritage

      Many of the Founders were deists. They believed in a Creator and in certain principles common to Christianity and Judaism, but not in supernaturalism and miracles. John Adams, George Washington, Benjamin Franklin, James Monroe and Thomas Paine were in this category.

      We do as a nation have a Christian heritage, but maybe not exactly in the way you think. In fact, it might be just as accurate to say that this nation has a Masonic heritage.

      • +1

        This is a nation with a lot of Christians in it. It was back then (though I believe there were more non Christians back then than today). But this nation was not founded on Christianity or our founding documents would have clearly said so. Instead there is no mention of the words “God,” “Jesus,” “Christ,” “Savior,” et. al. except for one formulaic reference to “Year of our Lord” which is how dates were customarily given. It is of no more religious significance than the references to “Tuesday” (Tiu’s Day). If this nation were intended to be founded upon Christianity it would surely have said somewhere that “The United States shall be founded on the Christian faith.” Instead the one clear reference we have in the main constitution is an explicit ban on religious tests used to qualify people for public office.

      • Bu-bu-but muh revisionism!

        Seriously, though. The Treaty of Tripoli straight-up says the US was not founded on Christianity and was signed by founding fathers. These revisionists are a plague.

  25. As a Christian, I believe in God.
    So yes, our founding fathers had it right.
    Cuomo can live in his statist world and lick the hand that feeds him.

  26. If you are alive you have the obligation to keep yourself alive.
    If you want to say the source of your life is God that’s fine.
    Every living thing flees or fights to preserve life. We’re no different.
    Nobody gives that to us. Nobody granted that to us. It’s a base obligation and instinct.

  27. Did you see how Cuomo quickly shifted from Rights to Laws. To him rights are granted by laws and laws are granted by man the two are coexistent. To the Judge the inalienable rights preexist later laws that are made by man. There is the difference between the two. And the refusal to grant any Christian influence or even John Locke influence on the statement of human rights as they are naturally and echoed in the Bible.

  28. Yes, the right to self-defense is a God-given right, as are all others. And it’s not limited to just what the Declaration of Independence says, like the wording in the DoI suggests. God had those rebuilding the wall of Jerusalem carry swords on them. Jesus recommended once that the disciples carry swords when He sent them out. Right before Jesus was crucified, He armed His disciples.

    Now I realize not everyone subscribes to belief in God. That’s fine. But I do, and yes, I believe this right, and many others, come from God. God gave us free will and a brain for a reason.

    And I CWL in church in FL by the way 🙂

  29. Total fail thread.

    Secular humanism has been around for hundreds of years and you people are still giving the gun-grabbers an opening by thumping your bibles and talking about how “God” gives people the right to defend themselves.

    Not a smart idea to hinge your entire argument on a fictional entity.

    • “Not a smart idea to hinge your entire argument on a fictional entity.”

      Not a smart idea to make bold statements as truth that you cannot support in any rational way.

      You believe God is a fictional entity, but that belief is no more valid than those that believe God is real.

      Nice trollish comment from start to finish though. Cool way to show an “open mind” with the “Bible Thumper” insult. I’m guessing when one’s mind is that closed, any conversation about philosophy, God or otherwise, is over before it starts.

      • Can you rationally prove that your God exists? Didn’t think so. By parity of argument, all organized religion is trolling.

        LOL @ open mind, because this isn’t a question of accepting new ideas. It’s the issue of giving the gun-grabbers a massive opening to make stupid arguments like “Well, my God told me guns are bad”.

        Truly a stupid way to make discourse. If you can call it that. It’s like arguing with schizophrenics.

        • Blaine, It’s really not about personal beliefs.. it’s about what the founding fathers proclaimed when they wrote the declaration of independence concerning rights…they claim rights are god given.. they wrote the rules, it was ratified.. the Country was founded on that.. it’s just the way it is… you may not like the idea of A God, you may not believe in A God, the Founding fathers were OK with that too….. but the facts concerning rights in this Country are very simple and very well spelled out..

        • The second amendment is a legal doctrine. The law is the domain of the state. The same founding fathers declared a separation of church and state. The only time a deity is mentioned in the Constitution is in the signing date.

          You can use “God” to make your *personal* arguments on self-defense, but don’t expect such arguments to hold up in court, which is what really matters.

          As I said, opening a religious angle on 2A is a waste of time and simply opens the door to anti-gunners to muddy the waters.

        • “Can you rationally prove that your God exists? Didn’t think so. “

          Can you prove God does NOT exist?

          No, you cannot.

          (Don’t pull that ‘prove a negative’ non-sense…data can be shown to show something does not exist).

          No one here, in their own beliefs, has a greater “burden of proof” to justify them. The acidity of your tone on this topic demonstrates the tolerance for the beliefs of others of a completely closed mind.

          This does not surprise me. See Ralph’s statement above on the too-common attitude of atheists…

        • >> Don’t pull that ‘prove a negative’ non-sense…data can be shown to show something does not exist

          Only if that something has a well-defined nature. For example, if you were to say that God is a huge bearded guy floating above the Earth at 100km, then we have definitively disproved that. But the modern understanding of God is something else entirely.

          And especially as God is also claimed to be omnipotent, it’s literally impossible to prove anything about him because for any observation that you may make, one of the possible explanations is “God made it appear that way”. Some Young Earth creationists, for example, claim that when God has created stars 6000 years ago, he did in fact create them millions of light years away – and he also created the starlight from them, already in motion, as if the world was millions of years old, just so we could enjoy the pretty sight. It’s impossible to deal with such logic, because it can explain away any observation and and experiment.

          In other words, the hypothesis of an omnipotent God is not verifiable – there’s no way to put it to a test such that some result would unequivocally force you to admit that the hypothesis is wrong.

        • “It’s impossible to deal with such logic, because it can explain away any observation and and experiment.” — this is the mirror image of the Progressive/Liberals/Socialists who simply wish for things to happen. It is impossible to use logic when one is sunken in his beliefs.

        • Int19h: Well said. You are echoing my point. This is exactly why all the claims that get made regarding “proving” God exists/does not exist are so irritating.

          That question is simply not testable, so no proof (either way) is possible.

    • “We” people are not a monolithic block that thinks and believes the same. As far as gun grabbers go. They are after our rights no matter what we say or do. To worry how they will interpret our words is a waste of energy.

      They will simply keep coming after our rights and the rights of all. Believer, non believer. Gun owner, gun hater. The grabbers don’t care. They want your rights.

    • There are Countries that embrace the secular Humanism, Like China, But this Country was founded on Judeo-Christian Beliefs.. So while you may embrace the secular Humanism argument… It doesnt qualify as a valid self defense argument in this Country… the fact is, it is hinged on the belief in God by the Founders of this Country.. you may not like it, or believe in God…. but thats Just the way it is…they wrote the rules of the game.. you are free to believe whatever you wish, But it’s impossible to unring the bell.

      • This is a joke, right? Calling communist China “humanist” is beyond absurd.

        Fee free to point out where the text of the 2nd amendment uses “God” to justify the right of the people to bear arms.

        • No, It’s no Joke, But you may be wringing your hands in outrage at being disagreed with…

          .Secular humanism is atheistic virtue, Many Chinese are Atheists and believe in it. it is also sanctioned by the Government, who rely on the indoctrination of the people

          I dont think I referenced the 2A.. i believe I referenced the Declaration of Independence…

        • Try reading a book sometime instead of making stuff up.

          Humanism is the idea of placing value in individuals and people, something that the communists utterly reject.

        • Fuque, you literally have no idea what Humanism is.

          Also, nice handle for a “loving, moral Christian”.

      • “But this Country was founded on Judeo-Christian Beliefs”

        Is that so?

        Treaty of Tripoli, 1797, ratified by congress and signed by Founding Fathers: “The Government of the United States is not, in any sense, founded on the Christian religion”

        So, yeah. About that…

        • What, you expect the people who claim this is a Christian country to actually address this piece of evidence?

          Or explain why the Constitution, an acme of clarity (only statist judges have problems reading it, or maybe they are wearing their secret goggles that let them read the invisible ink), somehow forgot to mention the United States is founded on Christianity?

    • What do we call someone who shows up at a gun site to comment on politics — which by itself is fine — but never comments on guns?

        • You seriously lack understanding of what you oppose.. We aint talking North Korea here we are talking China……But you may want to reference them to support your diluted argument. If you think the Chinese dont value their people, stay away from Forbes.. because some of the richest people in the world Live in China. Most have College degrees, and out perform Americans.. You really need a 21st century education.

      • It reminds me of the unfamiliar names that post “I support the Second Amendment, but…” comments in just about every OC story.

        Lot of people seem to watch this blog for certain hot-button posts…

      • We call it a TROLL Ralph. Like the endless vile posts on American Sniper/Chris Kyle…Sorry I’m late to the party-been to the doctor. Yes Our rights come from God. The Christian bible is true because of the fulfillment ofprophecy…We are in the last hours of the last days. Deal with it…

        • Every single generation of Christians since 30AD has had large numbers of people convinced that THEIR generation would be the one to see the end times.

          What makes you think you just happen to be right?

          Incidentally Christ Himself is repeatedly shown in the Gospels to say it would happen in the lifetime of his own disciples. If He was wrong about that, then surely you should question your own judgment.

        • I’m fine with that, so long as you let me revel in my disbelief, debauchery and immorality in those last days.

        • Since it’s the last days, I wonder if any of those Christians will give me their guns for free? Not like they need them, right? Also their money would be cool, too. After all, money is evil!

        • “Since it’s the last days, I wonder if any of those Christians will give me their guns for free? Not like they need them, right? Also their money would be cool, too. After all, money is evil!” — Nah, they’ll take them with them. I’m sure the Afterlife will have high taxes (10% to start, but they always go up) and with so many bad people there, one need them to protect our unalienable rights!

  30. God-given rights cannot be taken away. Rights given by the government can. Which would you rather have as the foundation for our laws? I don’t trust the government to always stay the same, but I know God will.
    Interestingly enough, Jesus told us to be armed in Luke 22:36. He said to them, “But now let the one who has a moneybag take it, and likewise a knapsack. And let the one who has no sword sell his cloak and buy one. Jesus wants you to be kitted up, if you are going out into the world. The context here was the disciples were going out to preach the gospel, and Jesus told them to be armed. That’s Bible! 🙂

  31. Our rights are god given… But Our government is responsible for making sure they are secure..they fail miserably at it .

  32. Any good liberal (I know, there are NO good liberals) can tell you that there is no God, and that rights are bestowed by the Rights Fairy.

    • If you could, kindly cite the biblical passage where god says anything about humans having the freedom to worship?

  33. The belief in one is not necessary to support the other, while the negation of one does not negate the other.

    It’s a rights issue. If you have rights, justification is not required. I would only say it is important to defend all rights zealously. Especially the ones that are the most hotly debated and the ones that are feared.

  34. So, if one agrees that certain rights are endowed not by man but by some other (power, entity, whatever), then what do we do when man infringes upon those rights? I mean really, why have DC residents not rallied en masse with guns strapped on to speak with one voice? We call our founding fathers patriots. What they really were was traitors and, in the eyes of the crown, criminals. They stood up for what they believed in, with dire consequences on the line. Are we not up to the task? Or are we not worthy. Tyranny abounds in this country. Unjust and unconstitutional laws and judges. Lying politicians. And all the while our children’s inheritance is being raped. What can we do? What will we do?

  35. The answers to this, and other such questions, are found by doing a bit of reading. The political philosophers, founders of the US, and intellectuals of the Scottish Enlightenment who informed much of the Founding Fathers’ ideas, left behind a pretty wide and deep paper trail. The teaching of this material used to be done in schools, but as I understand it now, such material has been displaced from school curricula by lessons in how to apply condoms, dressing like a streetwalker, critical review of rap “music” lyrics and other such pressing and critical modern knowledge.

    As it is, I doubt that most people under the age of 40 have either the vocabulary or skills in the English language to understand the written word of the 17th and 18th centuries, and they might be ill-equipped to undertake such a project. But I have faith in the younger generations! I’m sure if young people applied themselves outside of the clutches of public school teachers and the even more feckless public school administrators, young people could teach themselves how to read English quite fluently again.

    Here’s a hint, though: Most of the writers of that era felt no constraint to limit their thoughts to 140-character utterances. Sometimes, these ancient writers tended to take a page or two to fully express a thought. Persist. It can be worth the effort.

    • >> Here’s a hint, though: Most of the writers of that era felt no constraint to limit their thoughts to 140-character utterances. Sometimes, these ancient writers tended to take a page or two to fully express a thought.

      Yes, and this in fact makes it easier to read, not harder, because they really spell it out in such excruciating detail that you’d have to be literally retarded to not comprehend what’s written there (whether you agree or not is a different matter entirely).

      This doesn’t just go for the Founders, by the way, but of many other works from that era. “Wealth of Nations”, for example, is similarly easy to understand, written in a very verbose style with an abundance of examples illustrating every point. And even mid-19th century, that trend was still there – “The Capital”, for example, is also easy to comprehend, other than its length.

  36. Amid Cuomo’s statist/progressive yammering, the Judge’s logic rings true. By extension, just as defending traditional marriage is something righteous, self-defense is the righteous protection of the individual who, in the eyes of God, is a being sacred to Him.

  37. It would be irrational for an atheist to claim that the right to self defense is God-given. That doesn’t mean that it’s not a basic human right deserving of respect independent of religious beliefs.

  38. OH come on. The Government believes that the Constitution is a living breathing document. Our President just as well be using it for toilet paper. As the POTUS is one who must believe that our Constitution is a living breathing document, he must think that the right to keep and bear arms means that the Government can not amputate the limbs attached to our upper body.

    As to the question of this article. YES. And the Founders believed in only one God. For indeed no where in Washington does it say in Mohammad we trust, or Buda, ect. ONLY in God We Trust.

    I will keep my guns and arms ( The right to bear arms included a cannon when the Constitution was written ) and if anyone tries to take them from me, I guess you will be able to say I committed suicide by Cop!

      • I can’t take the suspense.

        It’s D: 1956!

        The founding fathers had various beliefs, but all chose to keep them out of government. No where does any of our founding documents ever refer to the Christian god as being the source of our liberties. Instead, the Treaty of Tripoli explicitly states the US was NOT founded as a Christian nation.

      • D 1956

        Believe it or stuff it.

        “In God We Trust” did not appear on coinage until 1864 and there were coins as late as 1938 that did not include the motto (the “Buffalo Nickel”). Picture that. No framer of the Constitution, no signer of the declaration of independence ever spent a coin with “In God We Trust” on it.

  39. A socialist like Pol pot, Stalin, Hitler, cheva , etc all said rights came from them. Personally I glad god fearing Christian’s organized to end slavery in american. I guess they got the idea from some “old book”. Can anyone tell me what godless leader lead a freedom movement? Rev. King, no. Gandhi, no. Wilberforce, no. All these people were believes. And what godless book did this godless leader use as a reference?

  40. Let’s start with a simple premise: Man exists.

    Whether you believe that God created man, or man evolved from other creatures (or both), or even some other theory (e.g. man was transported to earth by other creatures), humans exist. We are alive. To deny that we exist is absurd. If we are to have a rational conversation about rights, we have to accept the premise that we exist.

    By our nature (and the nature of all creatures) we attempt to continue to exist – to continue to live. From this follows the idea that we have a “right to life.” We have a natural right – or if you prefer, God-given right – to attempt to continue to exist.

    Now, the right to life is violated many times each day by many people (notably murderers, warlords, dictators, etc.). It doesn’t change the fact that the right to life exists – but it does mean that to ensure the right it must be defended.

    The right to self-defense follows from the right to life. When one person attempts to limit another person’s means to self-defense, they are infringing upon that person’s right to life. While they may have the power to do that, they have no natural right to.

    For one to suggest that rights are granted by one man (or group of men) to another man (or group of man) is absurd. You’d have to explain how one man – over others – obtained the authority to grant “rights” to other persons. You’d also have to make the claim that no man has a right to his own life.

    One man on an island has a right to life as much as one man in the middle of a big city. Neither man’s right to life is granted by another – it is inherent. But also, neither man’s right to life is guaranteed – each one must defend it.

    While one can authorize others to assist in defending one’s own life (e.g. authorizing police to come assist in a time of need, or authorizing a military for a collective defense), one never loses his/her own right of self-defense. You don’t “give away” your right to self-defense when someone else is authorized to defend you.

    No one man has the right to infringe upon another’s right to self-defense. That doesn’t change when the one man gets lots of his buddies (even a majority of the people in a given geographic area) to agree with him. (This isn’t to say that the infringement doesn’t happen – it obviously does, in every country in the world – but it doesn’t change the fact that people have a right to self-defense.)

    Going back to the original question … if you believe in God, you presumably believe that the right to armed self-defense comes from God. If not, you most likely believe it has to do with the nature of man. These positions, in my opinion, are NOT in conflict with each other. Both essentially argue that rights are based on human existence. If you believe the source of human existence is God, then the rights are God-given rights. If you believe that the nature of man is simply based on natural processes, then rights are simply natural rights.

    [A side note: legal privileges that are generally referred to as rights, e.g. the “right to a trial by jury of one’s peers,” are not natural rights. They are indeed granted by men to other men, and I would refer to those as “political rights.” The right to life – and subsequent right to self-defense – is not a legal privilege. It is natural.]

    • No one man has the right to infringe upon another’s right to self-defense.

      Here’s where things get tricky.

      If I may attempt to distill your line of reasoning: the right to life (and therefore, self-defense) exists for all beings that exist, merely as a result of their existence. Humans, being sentient, recognize this natural right, and therefore act accordingly – toward other humans.

      But what of all other life? Why does the right to life not extend to animals, merely as a result of their existence? Why is it wrong for humans to kill other humans, but not for humans to kill animals?

      Does the right also rely on their ability to recognize and assert that right? If so: what of humans that are incapable of recognizing and/or asserting that right? If murder of infants or the elderly wrong? Is murder by a sociopath wrong? We would agree that the answer is: yes, those murders are wrong.

      Why are they wrong for humans only?

      Or, an interesting, related question: why is it generally not considered morally wrong for an animal to kill a human? If it is because animals are acting on instinct, and are incapable of knowing or acting differently – what of the sociopath human who likewise acts on instinct and is incapable of knowing or acting differently?

  41. Who’s God? Jesus tells us to turn the other cheek and willingly laid down his life for those who persecuted him. Seems like a poor argument for self defense. You can claim Tha 2A comes from God, but that ultimately requires that we agree upon what god that is, which means that laws ultimately come from consensus. A law that no one agrees to follow is not a law at all. This is why it is necessary to engage our fellow citizens and bring them around to our point of view. Being an isolated “gun nut” hiding in a cabin out in the woods won’t ensure the protection of your rights. Also ensisting that everyone must worship your version of God and use your book as the basis of law alienates many lovers of freedom who might follow a different God with a different book. I know a few atheists who are ardent supporters of the Constitution and the 2nd Ammendment as well. There’s no reason to alienate them.

    • “Being an isolated “gun nut” hiding in a cabin out in the woods won’t ensure the protection of your rights.” ‘

      I don’t know what movie you’re watching, but that isn’t what’s happening, nor is it what we’re discussing. Find another, perhaps less obvious, straw man.

      “Also ensisting that everyone must worship your version of God . . .”

      In our history as a Christian nation, based on freedom OF (not from) religion, we have been militantly opposed to requiring “that everyone must worship your religion”.

      ” . . . and use your book as the basis of law alienates many lovers of freedom who might follow a different God with a different book.”

      Well, that’s just too bad. This is our country and it’s essential ideas of freedom are based on Christian values. If people are alienated by the fact that their individual freedom is predicated on Christian values, let them go start their own damn country. This one’s taken.

      • In our history as a Christian nation

        Bzzzt!

        it’s essential ideas of freedom are based on Christian values. If people are alienated by the fact that their individual freedom is predicated on Christian values,

        and dead wrong again.

        Check out the Treaty of Tripoli, signed in 1796 (during the Washington Administration) and ratified under John Adams in 1796. Also, find me a statement in the Constitution supporting your claim that this is a Christian nation. Given how clearly the founders put things, I’d expect it to be pretty directly stated: “The United States is a Christian nation.” It’s never said.

      • “This is our country and it’s essential ideas of freedom are based on Christian values.”

        Kindly quote the Christian bible passage that references freedom of worship.

        Also, kindly review the Treaty of Tripoly, as ratified by the founding fathers.

    • Who’s God? Jesus tells us to turn the other cheek and willingly laid down his life for those who persecuted him. Seems like a poor argument for self defense.

      But it makes for one hell of a straw man to demolish, apparently.

      You can claim Tha 2A comes from God, but that ultimately requires that we agree upon what god that is, which means that laws ultimately come from consensus.

      Why? Why must we agree on the precise nature of God, in order to agree that God has decreed that human life is sacred, and that God, whomever that may be, has endowed man with certain unalienable rights?

      And yes: laws do come from consensus – at least, in a free society. Laws that are enacted by force represent tyranny. But laws and rights are two separate concepts.

      Also ensisting that everyone must worship your version of God and use your book as the basis of law alienates many lovers of freedom who might follow a different God with a different book.

      What religion, exactly, is the basis of “…all men are created equal, and are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights…”?

      Who, aside from atheists making straw man arguments, claim that God must be worshiped, that a specific “version” of God must believed in, that a certain set of scriptures must be used as the basis of law?

      Note that the original question was “does the right of armed self-defense come from God?”, and not “does the right of armed self-defense come from the Christian God?”

      • “What religion, exactly, is the basis of “…all men are created equal, and are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights…”?”

        Great question! I was wondering that one myself. Because it’s certainly not Christianity.

  42. Self defense is a natural right. Wethersfield you believe that comes from god, science or some combination of the two. Every living creature on this planet must defend itself from threats to ensure its survival. They all posses some mechanism, some tool to carry that out. It just so happens that firearms are most effective tool we as humans have for self defense. Therfore it is or natural, God-given right to keep and bear arms.

  43. Of course not!

    Rights come from what you are able to defend.

    There was a comment way up earlier that noted the question of whether or not you have a “right” to something is mere academic navel-gazing if there is someone with power who prevents you from exercising that right. Sure, you can debate the morality of it until the cows come home. Won’t make any difference between “I am physically not able to exercise this right without retribution.”

  44. The rights are “inalienable” and it is unnecessary to discuss from whence they come. That’s the reason that word was used by our government. Freedom of and from religion is also an inalienable right.

  45. I’m not going to wade through a half hour of CNN. Consider it a tl;dw.

    However, that said, there’s a fundamental difference between a LAW and a RIGHT. Our laws are made by men, in pretty buildings with domes on them or in glass-fronted skyscrapers, or in old be-marbled and hallowed halls. LAWS are not from God. But the rights the laws may secure and protect ARE from our Creator. We have an inherent right to defend ourselves from harm, and to utilize force-multiplying tools in our defense, just as we have an inherent right to use force-multiplying tools to plow a field to plant crops, or to cut and assemble lumber into a house. We enact laws not to GRANT rights, but to SECURE them — to detail that the rights exist, and that infringing upon those rights is unacceptable. Those laws list the sanctions that we will place upon a member of society who violates those rights, breaking the law protecting them.

    It’s important to understand that laws do not GRANT anything. The Constitution did not GRANT us any rights at all, not even the Second Amendment. But the Constitution DOES officially recognize that we have certain God-given rights, and that we have formed a government for the purpose of safeguarding those rights. In the Second Amendment, we are not granted by the government a right to keep and bear arms. It acknowledges that we have the inherent right to such, and admonishes the government not to make any laws infringing upon that right.

    A prog will claim that the law can do anything by “the will of the people”, except that the “majority rules” principle is not in force in our Republic. A pure democracy might suffer from that disease, but we are far from a pure democracy — we are a republic formed in a democratic style, i.e., we have elections, and those we elect make laws. But the key to a republic is that it does not allow the majority to infringe upon the rights of the minority, simply because they ARE the majority. So a prog will then lie to us, and tell us that document X granted us that right, and with a stroke of a pen or a call on a phone, it can be un-granted. This is not true. Even were the Second Amendment repealed, that would not remove the right itself. It would only remove the government’s official recognition and restriction from infringement upon it. The right itself is inherent in the very fact of our being people.

    Of course, the progs also go to great length to dehumanize those they don’t like, so they can get past that by claiming we AREN’T PEOPLE.

  46. I believe that God Almighty is my creator and his son Jesus Christ is my lord and savior.. And that all my abilities are endowed by him who created me… That being I have the ability to load mags, hosted a pistol, and for down range. If God didn’t want me to defend myself and family he wouldn’t have given me the ability

    • “If God didn’t want me to defend myself and family he wouldn’t have given me the ability” — Now, that’s not a very intelligent thought…If you, sir, claim to have your faculties derived from God, please use them so that God will not be ashamed of them. If God gave/gives/given you an ability to murder, should that be your excuse for accomplishing it? Sounds as if you’re taken it right out of the Koran – if Mohammad wants to rape his brother’s wife, that’s perfectly fine because God gave him that thought.

  47. I’m an atheist so the way I see it is like this:

    A bear has claws, an eagle has talons, a rhino has horns, an elephant has tusks and human beings have our brains. Firearms and any other arms for that matter are the weaponized extension of our brains and take the place of the claw or talon. You wouldn’t declaw a mountain lion, so don’t attempt to declaw a human being by denying them the basic right to defend themselves with extensions of the brain.

  48. Romans and Greeks had the concept of citizen’s rights without any input from some desert nomads.

    The Christian god does not acknowledge any rights, infact he clearly lays out that one must obey the state and follow specific arbitrary rules. Don’t eat shell fish, don’t wear blended fabrics, kill your disobedient children, pay your taxes. The god of the bible, both OT and NT is one hellova statist.

    • “The god of the bible, both OT and NT is one hellova statist.” — Not only that, but after giving Man a Free Will he kills and punishes the Man for using the Free Will. That’s hardly turning the other cheek, is it?

      • And eye for an eye. “Rubbed one out thinking about your neighbor’s hot wife, did you? INTO THE ETERNAL FIRE WITH YOU”

        • I guess Dirk will get off (er, so to speak) unscorched then, as Shannon is neither his neighbor nor particularly hot.

  49. God and religion are man made things when we can’t explain things, which was fine back in ancient times, but nowadays we know for a fact we are the result of 3.8 billion years of evolution. And yes, the right to keep and bear arms were created and protected by our forefathers. It is ours to protect.

  50. I think using the argument that “God” endowed us with the right arm ourselves for self-defense is inherently problematic, for a number of reasons. You shouldn’t try to use religion as a reason to enforce or repeal a law. Not only does it make it sound like we can’t think of any other reasons the 2nd Amendment should be protected other than “you’ll make God mad”, but it has the potential to alienate 2nd Amendment advocates that are atheists, or agnostics, or even Hindi or Buddhist.

    Now, if you believe in God, that’s fine, and if you want to make that idea one of SEVERAL arguments for protecting the 2nd Amendment, that’s fine too. It might help convince some people, and if it’s something you personally believe, I’m not going to tell you you’re wrong. But I would say that you should be careful that you don’t use it as a crutch, because it is not a be-all end-all argument, and it won’t do anything to convince people who don’t believe in a higher power–and, in fact, may make them even less likely to even listen to you. I’m sure I would have far more success trying to convince fence-sitters or even anti-gunners of the necessity of protecting the 2nd Amendment using logical arguments and statistics instead of pointing to a Creator, regardless of whether the person I was trying to convince was religious or not.

  51. If not by God then by Nature. The proof of this can be seen in the wild. If there was no right to self defense then gazelle would feed themselves to lions.

  52. If not endowed by the Creator, and only provided by Man, then Man can change the right at any time.

    Oh yeah, and that whole blatant ignorance of the structure of our Constitution is mind-numbing.

    • Question, where was the Bill of Rights for the tens of thousands of years until 1791? Are people’s freedoms not changed around the world on a near daily basis? Further, which creator? May I guess that you refer to the Christian god? If so, where does the Christian god provide for freedom of worship, as recognized as a right in the BoR?

      • Nope. Not necessarily referring to the Christian God. In fact, we could say Man is endowed by his Creator, the Flying Spaghetti Monster (FSM), if you’re a Pastafarian, with what ever rights.

        The entire purpose of that phrase it to make it clear these rights are inherent in the status of your being alive. Therefore, they are not subject to being over-ruled by Government.

  53. Not really clear on how ‘rights’ play into this discussion. It just seems to me that if your intention is to have a society that doesn’t disenfranchise the common and allow it to be potentially if not inevitably held hostage by the powers that be, allowing people to have reasonable means of self-defense seems like a good place to start. (Here I’m only talking about a set of hypothetical imperatives, not categorical ones. So even an ethical antirealist shouldn’t necessarily disagree with the previous sentence) Not sure where the discussion of “God” need come into it. Frankly, in general, I’ve never really understood the whole business of equating God with morality – few metaethicists today (even theistic ones) think that moral properties, if they exist, somehow “come from God.”

    • “I’ve never really understood the whole business of equating God with morality…” — I think that an argument can be made that following religious rules (dogma), one is not being moral at all. He is not being amoral – just neutral. Morality requires a conscious decision, a choice between good and bad. Following a religious dogma, one does not make a choice (short of willingly accepting to go to hell and suffer eternally), but simply acts on predetermined paths. Making a moral decision requires one’s own judgement and evaluation.

  54. The foundation of our federal government is built upon the premise and theory that God has given rights that all men are born with.
    This was part of the Natural Rights theory that was popular at that time.
    Natural Rights theory did not require a belief in God as this theory went all the way back to Aristotle.
    This theory is based on the belief that Mans Laws have to be based on principals from a higher authority than man because if laws are merely based on man then our laws are just based on whoever has more power, more force gets to make the laws. And these laws are just merely arbitrary. It even breaks down to just “might makes right”.
    Our Founders knew of the “tyranny of the majority”.
    All humans may not believe in a god and a standard for morality, but they certainly live their lives as if they do.
    All of us are born with some sense of morality. Although this does not prove there is a god, it certainly is reasonable to see how a god built us in order to live in a moral way.
    The journalist is correct.
    If there is no god then there is true basis for a right and wrong or theoretical principles of our laws.
    However, our laws, our constitution is built on this theory of a god granted us inalienable rights.
    If this fundamental truth is wrong, then our whole political system has now foundation and is invalid.
    So, if there is no god and now validity to our laws,
    then we scrap the whole thing and start all over again.
    Since this fundamental change will not occur peaceably it will require a bloody civil war.
    So if the people who do not believe in inalienable rights in all persons, I say you will have to back
    that up with the barrel of a gun.
    Go ahead and fire the first shot.
    Be my guest.
    Try it if you dare.
    Until then, you live according to our standards or get out of my country.

  55. It’s really not a matter of rights being from any one place as much as it is that rights aren’t privileges given to use by the state. Privileges are things that the state can place a limit upon at any one time. Rights are things that the state are bared from taking without the due process of the law.

    • And that is the essential distinction here. A right cannot be a grant from the state. I can get along with those who think differently on what they are (grants from god or a consequence of our being rational beings in social context) so long as they don’t believe that, because believing that implies that the government can legitimately abrogate rights. (Clearly governments are metaphysically capable of doing so; they just can’t do so and be in the right.)

      (I’ve argued with a lot of people here on a different issue, the issue of whether this is a “Christian Nation” and I’ve also argued against people who assert the New Testament is a flawless copy of the originals, but again, that’s a very different question than “where do rights come from?”)

  56. I always thought that Ayn Rand had some good observations on the points of individual rights and the purpose of the state.
    Man’s Rights by Ayn Rand
    The Nature of Government by Ayn Rand

    • Indeed.

      And somehow she manages to show all that stuff and make solid arguments for it without invoking God.

      Wait though. Clearly, I must be mistaken about that since so many people have clearly stated here that it’s impossible to do so without invoking God.

  57. No Moral Law Giver = No Moral Law

    If there is no God there are no moral imperatives as there is no transcendent morality . . . Or beauty, or justice, or right, or wrong – there is nothing more than utilitarian muscle.

    God’s transcendence is why the rights man possesses are “inalienable”. They are rights not privileges that can be taken away by a group when deemed inconvenient.

    Something made of something tangible cannot bestow something that is intangible. The Founding Fathers of these United States got this as most were Christians and arguable all were Theists (even Franklin) . . . endowed by their Creator.

    • Don’t follow your logic as to morality being derived from God. Religions have existed since Man has been self aware. Judeo-Christian God has been around for at least several thousand years. Yet, the unalienable rights described in the Bill of Rights have never poped up until the late 18th Century. Have Gods been asleep all these millennia?

      • They have “popped” up before but the Bill of Rights articulates them best. The gods and the God of gods have not been asleep all this time. It just took man thousands of years to catch up w/ His handy work. They were around before. Just because man did not know that the planet Neptune was there does not mean it did not exist. Or bacteria, or DNA . . . etc.

        • ” Just because man did not know that the planet Neptune was there does not mean it did not exist.” — The knowledge, or the lack of knowledge, of the existence of planet Neptune hardly had much of an effect on the lives of billions of people. However, God keeping them in the dark about the existence of their unalienable rights, if indeed granted by God, is indeed a crime.

    • On top of that virtually 100% of the colonies actual populations were Christian of one denomination or another. Maryland of course was the catholic, New York the Calvinist going back to the Dutch. I could name others but you get the point. That being said I never read about that colony of atheists or secular humanists. I love how the atheists love to bring up one treaty from 1797 as proof that the country was not founded on judeo Christian heritage. Ever read a speech by Lincoln? Or Washington? Please.

      • We bring up that treaty because it was written and ratified by many of our founding fathers (signed under George Washington? Ratified under John Adams?), who in its text are directly and unambiguously–as unambiguously as “shall not be infringed”–contradicting your assertion as to what they thought they were doing when they founded this country. I can listen to, and believe, what they had to say about their intent, in a ratified legal document. Or I can listen to what you have to say about their intent–if I am a complete and utter fool.

        So we have this, in a document that was the law of the land (second only to the Constitution itself) while George Washington, John Adams, Thomas Jefferson, etc, were all still alive.

        What’s the correspondingly strong evidence on the other side? What part of the law of the land from the founding fathers can you point to? Zilch. You’ve yet to bring up any statement as unambiguous as this in the constitution that the US is intended to be based on Christian principles. You haven’t, because you can’t. It’s not there, anywhere, in a document renowned for its clarity. Therefore, it simply wasn’t the case, and your repeatedly saying so won’t make it true. But we’ve seen in your treatment of the refutations of Aquinas’s so called proofs of God’s existence, that you seem to think repeating your arguments in the face of contrary evidence is somehow good enough.

        I don’t dispute that the majority of Americans at that time were Christians (though I seriously doubt it was anything like the “virtually 100%” number you seem to subscribe to), but regardless of the size of the majority, that’s not the same as basing the foundational principles of the government on Christian dogma or principles. People actually complained, at the time the Constitution was ratified, that it was NOT a Christian document. What is it that they saw, that you refuse to see?

        Here’s some quotes from our founding fathers that you will absolutely hate.

        http://www.addictinginfo.org/2013/07/04/35-founding-father-quotes-conservative-christians-will-hate/

        And here’s discussion on people complaining in 1831 about non-Christian presidents (Washington through Jackson) and God having been left out of the constitution.

        http://americancreation.blogspot.com/2008/07/correction-in-historic-record-needed-on.html

        (I should note that the fact that this guy complained about irreligion in our presidents doesn’t prove that they were (he certainly couldn’t read the minds of Geo. Washington, John Adams, Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, James Monroe, John Quincy Adams, and Andrew Jackson to know what they really thought), BUT the key thing to take away from this was that back in that era, the perception was that the United States government was, indeed, NOT founded on Christianity and that many of the founding fathers were distressingly NOT Christian.)

        • The text may not state God explicitly in the Constitution but the foundations of the constitution are Christian. Why do I say that? Because virtually ALL of the founding fathers were Christian or at a minimum deists. The strict separation of Church and state was to stop any one religion from lording it over the others, they were concerned of the experience of the european wars of religion. It was a given for them that the population would remain Christian, it was their Christian formation which gave them the moral foundation to depose the despotism of king George. I will give you maybe 10% of the population if you include the Indians but even they worshiped the “Great Spirit.” As for Saint Thomas I challenge you to read this. It destroys Bertrand Russell and the quotes that people linked to earlier. That is why I brought him up. It is not my fault if people will not read for themselves. A person has to repeat himself here. http://www.realclearreligion.org/articles/2014/10/08/thomas_aquinass_proof_of_god.html

          As for your tripoli quote here are some others that speak very differently about the founding fathers and their intentions. Please read them. There are many many more. As I stated above, there was no colony founded on the principles of atheism. Look at Washington’s farewell address in 1796 to get the true view of that great man. You may like the way that our republic was set up. I surely do. But to omit the role of Christianity is pure revisionism which is something that the left continues to do with every tradition in this country. One of those is firearms.
          Some Quotes:
          “Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other.”
          – John Adams

          George Washington – first President of the United States of America

          In a speech to the Delaware Indian Chiefs on May 12, 1779, Washington encouraged them to learn the religion of Jesus Christ:

          “My ears hear with pleasure the other matters you mention. Congress will be glad to hear them too. You do well to wish to learn our arts and ways of life, and above all, the religion of Jesus Christ. These will make you a greater and happier people than you are. Congress will do every thing they can to assist you in this wise intention; and to tie the knot of friendship and union so fast, that nothing shall ever be able to loose it.

          – George Washington, speech to the Delaware Indian Chiefs, May 12, 1779.

          “It is impossible to rightly govern the world without God and the Bible.”

          – George Washington

          “It is the duty of all nations to acknowledge the providence of Almighty God, to obey His will, to be grateful for His benefits, and humbly to implore His protection and favor.”

          – George Washington

          “Of all the dispositions and habits which lead to political prosperity, Religion and Morality are indispensable supports….Let it simply be asked, Where is the security for property, for reputation, for life, if the sense of religious obligation desert the oaths, which are the instruments of investigation in Courts of Justice? And let us with caution indulge the supposition that morality can be maintained without religion. Whatever may be conceded to the influence of refined education on minds of peculiar structure, reason and experience both forbid us to expect that National morality can prevail in exclusion of religious principle.”

          – George Washington, Farewell Address 1796

          “Oh, eternal and everlasting God, direct my thoughts, words and work. Wash away my sins in the immaculate blood of the Lamb and purge my heart by Thy Holy Spirit. Daily, frame me more and more in the likeness of Thy son, Jesus Christ, that living in Thy fear, and dying in Thy favor, I may in thy appointed time obtain the resurrection of the justified unto eternal life. Bless, O Lord, the whole race of mankind and let the world be filled with the knowledge of Thee and Thy son, Jesus Christ.”

          – George Washington, Prayer

          “True religion affords to government its surest support.”

          – George Washington

          Samuel Adams, Signer of the Declaration of Independence

          “I … [rely] upon the merits of Jesus Christ for a pardon of all my sins.” – Samuel Adams

          “We have this day [Fourth of July] restored the Sovereign to whom all men ought to be obedient. He reigns in Heaven, and from the rising to the setting of the sun, let His Kingdom come.”

          – Samuel Adams

          “The name of the Lord (says the Scripture) is a strong tower; thither the righteous flee and are safe (Proverbs 18:10). Let us secure His favor and He will lead us through the journey of this life and at length receive us to a better.”

          – Samuel Adams

          United States Congressional Endorsement of the Bible and God

          Congress printed a Bible for America and said:

          “The United States in Congress assembled … recommend this edition of the Bible to the inhabitants of the United States … a neat edition of the Holy Scriptures for the use of schools.”

          – United States Congress 1782

          “Congress passed this resolution: “The Congress of the United States recommends and approves the Holy Bible for use in all schools.”

          – United States Congress 1782

          “By Law the United States Congress adds to US coinage:”

          “In God We Trust”- United States Congress 1864

          John Adams, President of the United States of America, First Vice President, Signer of the Declaration of Independence, Signer of the Bill of Rights, and Signer of First Amendment

          “We recognize no sovereign but God, and no King but Jesus.”

          – John Adams and John Hancock

          “The Declaration of Independence laid the cornerstone of human government upon the first precepts of Christianity.” – John Adams

          “The general principles on which the fathers achieved independence were the general principles of Christianity. I will avow that I then believed, and now believe, that those general principles of Christianity are as eternal and immutable as the existence and attributes of God.”

          – John Adams

          “The highest glory of the American Revolution was this: it connected, in one indissoluble bond, the principles of civil government with the principles of Christianity.”

          – John Adams

          “Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other.”

          – John Adams

          “I have examined all religions, and the result is that the Bible is the best book in the world.”

          – John Adams

          “The Christian religion is, above all the religions that ever prevailed or existed in ancient or modern times, the religion of wisdom, virtue, equity and humanity.”

          – John Adams

          “[The Fourth of July] ought to be commemorated as the day of deliverance by solemn acts of devotion to God Almighty.”

          – John Adams

          “As the safety and prosperity of nations ultimately and essentially depend on the protection and the blessing of Almighty God, and the national acknowledgment of this truth is not only an indispensable duty which the people owe to Him.”

          – John Adams

          “It is religion and morality alone which can establish the principles upon which freedom can securely stand. The only foundation of a free constitution is pure virtue.”

          – John Adams

          Abigail Adams, Wife of John Adams

          “The Scriptures tell us righteousness exalteth a Nation.”

          – Abigail Adams

          Patrick Henry, Early America Leader

          There is a book [the Bible] worth all the other books ever printed.- Patrick Henry

          It cannot be emphasized too strongly or too often that this great Nation was founded not by religionists, but by Christians; not on religions, but on the Gospel of Jesus Christ.- Patrick Henry

          John Jay, First Chief-Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court

          Providence has given to our people the choice of their rulers, and it is their duty – as well as privilege and interest – of our Christian nation to select and prefer Christians for their rulers.

          – John Jay

          The Bible is the best of all books, for it is the word of God and teaches us the way to be happy in this world and in the next. Continue therefore to read it and to regulate your life by its precepts.

          – John Jay

          John Hancock, Signer of the Declaration of Independence

          We recognize no sovereign but God, and no King but Jesus.

          – John Adams and John Hancock

          Benjamin Rush, Signer of the Declaration of Independence

          “The only foundation for . . . a republic is to be laid in Religion. Without this there can be no virtue, and without virtue there can be no liberty, and liberty is the object and life of all republican governments.”

          – Benjamin Rush

          John Witherspoon, Continental Congress

          “He is the best friend to American liberty, who is most sincere and active in promoting true and undefiled religion, and who sets himself with the greatest firmness to bear down on profanity and immorality of every kind. Whoever is an avowed enemy of God, I scruple not to call him an enemy to his country.”

          – John Witherspoon

          John Dickinson, Signer Constitution of the USA, Continental Congress

          “The rights essential to happiness. . . . We claim them from a higher source — from the King of kings and Lord of all the earth.”

          – John Dickinson

          Benjamin Franklin

          “Rebellion to tyrants is obedience to God.”

          – Benjamin Franklin

          Thomas Jefferson, President

          God who gave us life gave us liberty. Can the liberties of a nation be secure when we have removed a conviction that these liberties are the gift of God? Indeed I tremble for my country when I reflect that God is just, that His justice cannot sleep forever.

          – Thomas Jefferson, Jefferson Memorial

          The Christian religion is the best religion that has ever been given to man

          – Thomas Jefferson, Jefferson Memorial

          Daniel Webster, Early American Politician

          Education is useless without the Bible.

          – Daniel Webster

          Noah Webster, American Schoolmaster

          Education is useless without the Bible. The Bible was America’s basic text book in all fields. God’s Word, contained in the Bible, has furnished all necessary rules to direct our conduct.

          – Noah Webster

          In my view, the Christian religion is the most important and one of the first things in which all children, under a free government ought to be instructed … No truth is more evident to my mind than that the Christian religion must be the basis of any government intended to secure the rights and privileges of a free people.

          – Noah Webster, Preface Noah Webster Dictionary, 1828

          Supreme Court Justice Joseph Story

          “I verily believe Christianity necessary to the support of civil society. One of the beautiful boasts of our municipal jurisprudence is that Christianity is a part of the Common Law … There never has been a period in which the Common Law did not recognize Christianity as lying its foundations.”

          – Supreme Court Justice Joseph Story, Harvard Speech, 1829

          National Anthem of the United States of America, Francis Scott Key

          “And this be our motto, ‘In God is our trust’” – USA National Anthem, Third Verse

          Andrew Jackson, President of the United States of America

          “[The Bible] is the rock on which our Republic rests.”

          – Andrew Jackson

          Abraham Lincoln, President of the United States of America

          “In regards to this great Book [the Bible], I have but to say it is the best gift God has given to man. All the good the Savior gave to the world was communicated through this Book. But for it we could not know right from wrong. All things most desirable for man’s welfare, here and hereafter, are found portrayed in it.”

          – Abraham Lincoln

          “I am busily engaged in study of the Bible.” – Abraham Lincoln

          “I have been driven many times to my knees by the overwhelming conviction that I had absolutely no other place to go.” – Abraham Lincoln

          “This nation under God”

          – Abraham Lincoln, Gettysberg Address and inscribed on Lincoln Memorial

          “And whereas it is the duty of nations as well as of men, to own their dependence upon the overruling power of God … and to recognize the sublime truth, announced in the Holy Scriptures and proven by all history, that those nations only are blessed whose God is the Lord.”

          – Abraham Lincoln

          “We the people are the rightful masters of both Congress and the courts, not to overthrow the Constitution but to overthrow the men who pervert the Constitution.”

          – Abraham Lincoln, Lincoln Memorial

          “Whereas, the Senate of the United States, devoutly recognizing the Supreme Authority and just Government of Almighty God, in all the affairs of men and of nations, has, by a resolution, requested the President to designate and set apart a day for National prayer and humiliation…”

          – Abraham Lincoln

          How can a person fail to acknowledge the role of Christianity? I don’t see evidence of Guatama Sidhartha or Karl Marx. It looks pretty Judeo-Christian.

        • “it was their Christian formation which gave them the moral foundation to depose the despotism of king George.” — We seem to be running around in circles in this thread, but, please, again, how did you derive that the moral foundation against the legitimate ruler comes from the Christian foundation and writings? And, in any case, over the two centuries, our own American government is now more despotic (in all respects) than King George ever was – so was that progression (starting with, at least, Lincoln, who violated almost all of the Bill of Rights) based on the Christian morals of the United States’ citizens?

      • The Treaty of Tripoly is the most unambiguous document signed by Founding Fathers. Further, according to the Constitution, treaties ratified by congress are the law of the land. Therefore, it is officially US law, as signed by founding fathers and congress, that the US is NOT a Christian nation. Yet you think a couple of speeches invalidate the law and the Constitution? Also, Lincoln was not alive in the late 1700s.

        • Also, it’s very likely Lincoln was not a believer, though he certainly pandered to them in speeches from time to time, at the insistence of some of his staffers in the White House.

          Lincoln’s first law partner said, “He was an avowed and open infidel, and sometimes bordered on atheism. He went further against Christian beliefs and doctrines and principles than any man I have ever heard.”

          Another law partner said, “[Mr. Lincoln] never mentioned the name of Jesus, except to scorn and detest the idea of a miraculous conception. He did write a little work on infidelity in 1835-6, and never recanted. He was an out-and-out infidel, and about that there is no mistake.”

          I just love it when a Christian Revisionist tries to quote Lincoln.

        • I think all this misinterpretation stems from the general ignorance of how the role of religion in society evolved in US over time. Many people (and not just the “founded on Judeo-Christian beliefs” conservatives, but also many liberals and libertarians) believe that it was sort of a steady progression from a more religious society to a less religious one – with conservatives decrying the “falling morals” due to the abandonment of faith, while liberals cheer to more freedoms coming out of it.

          In truth, while there’s definitely an overall trend from more religious to less religious over a large period of time, it progressed in waves (and this in fact dates to before US, those waves also happened in Europe as well). US was founded on the wane of the so-called First Great Awakening, when the notion of impersonal God and deism in general, freethinking, and even outright atheism, was in vogue – and that is reflected in the attitudes of the people who set up the system and wrote the documents, and the system and the documents themselves. It was immediately followed by the Second Great Awakening, which was a religious movement directed squarely against all those things.

          Today, we’re in the middle of the fifth such wave, which is why the fervor in any discussion touching on religious issues is so high. But I think it has already reached its top, and is steadily receding now.

        • Anyone who brings up the Treaty of Tripoli as “proof” that these United States were not “Christian” in make-up seriously does not get “it”. Read the document again.

          “as it has in itself no character of enmity against the laws, religion, or tranquility, of Mussulmen”

          and

          “no pretext arising from religious opinions shall ever produce an interruption of the harmony existing between the two countries”

          The words that come after augment or focus the scope of the words precede them. The USA is not a Christian nation in that it is not a war w/ Islam.

          Also, consider . . .

          The treaty was broken by the Muslims thus nullifying it and new treaties were cut. The treaty in question here
          is as much law as various state ordinances regarding slavery.

          And . . .

          The various speeches the Founders gave regarding God and government do have bearing. They help to determine intent and thus meaning of the various legal documents that govern this country. It’s called the historical-grammatical hermeneutic look it up.

          This is not some rabbit-out-of-a hat for debating atheists. I use this with the anti-gun crowd in that what the Founders said/wrote about weapons helps to determine the original meaning of the 2A. They were solidly pro-civilian armament.

          Good God man the first generation of congress opened with prayer and John Adams instituted a national day of prayer and fasting. Throw us a bone.

          You may not agree w/ what I wrote above I think we can agree it is far from “Zilch”.

  58. people must realize the time in which this was written. people of that time were fundamentalist by large. so the only way they could conceive of something that no other man could take away, is by divine entitlement. lets not forget a good portion of our most influential founding fathers were atheists.

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