The Value of Human Life

John 8:31,34: To the Jews who had believed him, Jesus said, "If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples. Then you will know the truth and the truth will set you free ... So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed".

HUMAN RIGHTS AND HUMAN FREEDOMS

Many people speak of humanity in terms of human rights. This is not the case. We should more correctly speak of human freedoms. After all, at best a right is just a freedom guaranteed by law. In addition, the language of rights focuses on minimum legal requirements while freedom suggests potential and the possibility of growth.

The issue of human freedoms gets right to the heart of what it means to be human. Without freedom, we are just robots or dumb animals. When we are free, we are masters of our own destiny. We do not need to be victims of chance. When we are free, we can change ourselves by an act of will. No other issue poses demonstrates the meaning of being human as freedom. It cuts right to the core of our immoral, atheistic and materialistic society.

FREEDOM AND NATURE

In nature, the idea of freedom is a meaningless concept. Whoever heard of a chemical being able to choose whether or not to become involved in a chemical reaction? Nature is a place of rigid conformity. That is why people talk about the laws of nature. This is a bit misleading because human laws may be broken but nature's laws are constant throughout the universe and so would be more correctly called nature's constants. If you disobey nature's constants, things do not work. Some animals and many birds have a very rigid mating dance. If it is not done properly, they will not mate. There is little room for freedom and improvisation there. In aerodynamics, each and every plane has to conform to nature's constants otherwise it will crash. An example is Concorde. When the British designer, Sir Archibald Russel (1905-) was asked whether beauty had played any part in its design, he stated,

"When [someone] designs an airplane, he must stay as close as possible to the laws of nature. You are really playing with the laws of nature and trying not to offend them. It so happens that our ideas of beauty are those of nature. Every shape and curve of the Concorde is arranged so that it will conform with the natural flow as conditioned by the laws of nature. That's why I doubt that the Russian supersonic airplane is a [copy] of ours. The Russians have the same basic [limits] imposed on them by nature as we do" (Newsweek, February 16, 1976).

There is little room for freedom there either. In fact, no matter where you look, there is little room for freedom anywhere in nature. So, whenever man turns to nature as the basis for the meaning of his life, he finds that freedom is meaningless - and so is his life. Molecules are not free. Chemicals are not free. Animals are not free. So man has no reason to believe that he is free. It is for this reason that torture and loss of human rights are most widespread wherever materialists are in power. They do not believe in freedom because they see no freedom in nature.

So what makes human beings different from the animal world? Freedoms are based on the idea of something that is unique about humans: personality. It presumes that personality is more than just a product of our genes and our environment, that is, as something more than just physics. This should not be suprising as our lives are filled with other non-physical things: the mind, the emotions and even communication itself. All of these things are concerned with information - which is not dependant on the physical world. In the case of the personality, although the body may alter quite dramatically from a small baby to an old person, the personality remains the same throughout. People often confuse human skills with personality. This is not the case. A person may become more skilled at dealing with other people as he ages. But that is irrelevant because what matters most is how we use those skills - our style - just in the same way as Mozart and Beethoven both had great music skills but had very different styles to match their very different personalities.

Our society cannot handle freedom. It has nothing to base freedom on so it has nothing to stop it leading to chaos. But if people try to control freedom, they end up losing it completely. In addition, people want to pretend that they do not have freedom because that means that they are responsible for their actions. If we are controlled by our genes, by evolution or by the stars, then we should not be punished for doing something other people might disagree with, like murder. In this way, when people talk about freedom, it means freedom from punishment when we act selfishly.

HUMAN FREEDOMS

Freedoms are for everyone without distinction of race, colour, sex, age, language, religion, political opinion, national or social origin, property, birth or any other false division of humanity. Even our worst enemies deserve freedom.

  1. Freedom to life
  2. Freedom from bigotted, involuntary, lifelong slavery or other types of forced service
  3. Freedom from torture or degrading treatment
  4. Freedom from arrest, detention, exile or other restrictions of freedom without just cause
  5. Freedom of privacy
  6. Freedom of movement
  7. Freedom to full and equal nationality
  8. Freedom to marry without prejudice and to raise a family.
  9. Freedom to own property and to dispose of it how you see fit.
  10. Freedom of opinion, expression and religion
  11. Freedom to peacefully meet together and form groups.
  12. Freedom to do full, regular and valuable work and to rest (leisure) that is health-making and creative
  13. Freedom to health and wholeness by providing both adequate medical care and human-based architecture, technology and education
  14. Freedom to participate in the arts, sciences, sport or business.
  15. Freedom to laugh
  16. Freedom from deception by the media, MNCs (Big Business), the government or anyone else.
  17. Freedom to security of person
  18. Freedom of equality before the law, equal protection by the law, a fair trial and public hearing by an impartial court of law and of being presumed innocent until proven guilty
  19. Freedom to a place of refuge
  20. Freedom to minority protection to ensure equality before the law.
  21. Freedom from scientific and technological abuse and experimentation

Everyone is entitled to a social and international order in which these freedoms are fully encouraged.

Other areas of freedom include: the abolition of the slave trade; the prevention and punishment of the crime of genocide; the reduction of statelessness; the special responsibilities of freedom for children, the elderly and the disabled; freedoms of migrant workers; and freedoms of people caught in the middle of armed conflict

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