TF, your heading is absolutely correct - without God there can be NO God-given rights. And no, I am not going to debate the existence, or otherwise, of any god but take a purely practical view of the premise.
The initial premise opens further questions, not the least of which is -
Does a non-believer (in that God) have access to those same rights?
If I were Hindi or Buddhist, would I have the right to carry a gun or would God in his wisdom withhold that right because I am not a believer?
This is not intended to be a smart-ass question. It bothers me when I try and consider the "attitude" that the Christian God has to non-believers. It bothers me that those God-given rights might be limited in their availability in the same way as God's redemption of sinners.
Now please, just stay with me here a bit longer because I am at the absolute limits of my ability to debate topics religious.
My mind ticks over from that thought to the next which – to me quite logically is –
If a God-given right – let us say to bear arms – is to be limited to believers, then how would that be communicated to man? Yep, OK, that is a slightly smart-ass question so I will put it this way –
How would the devoutly Christian population of America respond if SCOTUS were to decide (in its wisdom) that the right to bear arms is limited to those people who are certified members of approved churches?
Now just think about that for a moment. Consider the problems that it might solve.
Consider the idea that a Muslim, or an atheist, would not be permitted to carry arms in the US and therefore could be jailed in an instant if he did.
Equally to the point, Obama’s church could be excluded from the list of “approved churches” because of the beliefs of the Pastor.
Now, what might happen if that pronouncement of God's will were to be made by the Pope, or the Archbishop of Canterbury (tho' in his case I suspect that most would accept it as a joke and tune out) or the leadership of the Mormon Church?
And that leads to the next question of substance –
Who should actually decide or interpret God’s intentions?
No, don’t laugh. This is serious here. TF states at length his belief in God’s intentions, existence, and ability to guide the lives of men. It is from that belief that the fundamental premise of his article depends. There are a good number of people who hold the same belief, and like TF hold that belief very sincerely. But equally, there are many people who would argue the Pope as being the only rightful interpreter of God’s intent. At the other end of the scale, I can imagine a very large number of people getting extremely concerned should Obama’s Pastor be responsible for the task.
I don’t want to bog down in the metaphysics or paranormal phenomena that might be involved because the answer really (fundamentally) is quite clear to me at least.
Irrespective of the mechanisms, or the beliefs, involved it is eventually men or a man (and that is generic, please!) who will be the final interpreter, final arbiter of God’s intent. To that extent at least there is no difference between “God-given rights” and “Sharia Law”. To be brutally honest I would despair at the idea of such “rights” depending upon the idea of Papal Infallibility as just one example.
And that, dear friends, is why I started the comment to TF’s article with the words “By choice…”
I rejoice in the fact that I have that freedom to choose.
TF can argue that I would have the same freedom in the US, and I can not deny that. But how long might it be before someone in the US political machinery has the kind of epiphany that leads to a section of the community being excluded from “God-given rights” (on well based religious grounds, of course!)?
The following is – for me at least – quite an incredible rationalization of the fundamental laws of the Judeo/Christian faiths (also God given) with the “interpretation” of God’s will in the matter of gun ownership…
The social contract that Hobbes and Locke advocated so that law could hold sway rather than the law of tooth and nail only works when humanity forgoes the jungle. By rejecting God, men turn to the law of the strong arm and the rule of selfishness and strength.
In any society ruled by the tyranny of strength, there must needs be a factor that levels the playing field so the weak can compete with the strong. Colt made men equal in the jungle. Take away the equalizer and the strong will continue to prey upon the weak.
Enlightened souls tend to believe that all other souls are rooted in morality and ethical behavior. Some otherwise well meaning enlightened souls would have us believe that there is no jungle other than what we create out of our own fears and prejudices.
In other words – and Cold Pizza can debate this if he/she wishes – “law” only works at the sharp end of a gun. I doubt that anyone could argue that the world of Moses and the Pharoahs was a time further from the law of tooth and nail than that of Hobbes and Locke.
Equally, and more to my point, men of today (meant in the same way as cp has written) have never turned away from “the law of the strong arm and the rule of selfishness and strength.” Remember that what cp wrote was in support of the premise that “the right to carry a gun is God-given”. The God-given laws that “Thou shalt not kill, covet thy neighbours property, or his wife, commit adultery, …” and the rest of the 10 Laws that we all in the “enlightened world” are supposed to live by seem to be ignored, or at very least take second place to these "God-given rights".
It is a very long time since the probligo read Hobbes and Locke, and this (like the WITHON I commented upon earlier) is something that I should remedy.
"Enlightened souls tend to believe that all other souls are rooted in morality and ethical behavior." - Thank you from the bottom of my heart, cp, as this certainly was a fundamental in my mind until such time as I started working the 'Net in this form. I have met any number of souls who are not in their own ways rooted in morality and ethical behaviour. Some who masquerade as "experts" in their chosen fields are in fact charlatans and fraudsters with only self-interest and self-promotion at heart. Some who hold dear the beliefs in the four fundamental freedoms - belief, speech, movement and action - are in fact demagogic politicians who apply those freedoms in the form of "only as I say and do". I hasten to add that no one in TF's community - not even cp - comes even close to the two gentlemen I have in mind and with whom I have previously crossed swords.