As expected my article on the Supreme Court was met with animosity and it comes from a particular person who has argued before with me ad nauseam that theology is subjective and that only which can be scientifically proven is objective. This is naturalism or scientism and so his naturalist perspective came into another discussion.
“In my view, natural rights are not of theology. To say that they are of theology is to set a dangerous precedent, and to bind them to an interpretation of the Bible, which may shift or be used to take rights away. These rights derive from reason, as we can loftily reason that life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness are independently conducive to human happiness. From my Protestant background, I was often taught not to tie my own fundamental rights to a centralized Yahweh or Jesus, such as the Catholic doctrine. Religion is the ultimate social contract, and it is strictly personal, for any contract derived from force is not a valid contract. It is truly only your consent that gives the Magisterium power, and I do not give it consent to take or claim my rights.”
So, this is anti-Catholic rhetoric at its finest. Not only that but it is empty and void of any substantial meaning but full of emotionalism and alarmism. I have already told this individual that I as most other Catholics are not interested in penalizing people for every single thing, but he feels the need to create a straw man of a dictatorship out of the desire for Americans to at least predominantly desire the same goal. So, I will explain each part of this statement.
“In my view, natural rights are not of theology.”
This runs contrary to his claim, “From my Protestant background, I was often taught not to tie my own fundamental rights to a centralized Yahweh or Jesus, such as the Catholic doctrine.” While it is obvious that Protestants would be taught to rebel against Catholic doctrine as they have for 500 years, it is completely contrary to Protestant belief that rights are not derived from God Himself who expresses these rights in natural law which theologians have studied for centuries. So to claim that rights are derived from reason alone is contrary to Christian belief in one God because it claims reason can come apart from God. This assertion seems to be a secular humanist influence on liberal Christians who are pressured into believing we can achieve rights apart from God Himself; so it either falls down to two things: (1) you either admit all rights come from God and your belief is Christian or (2) you do not believe all rights come from God and your belief is not Christian. You cannot be both believing in God and legitimately claim that rights can come apart from God.
“To say that they are of theology is to set a dangerous precedent, and to bind them to an interpretation of the Bible, which may shift or be used to take rights away.”
Again, this is emotionalist and alarmist in nature. I have stated to him before that most of us are not interested in using harsh punishments or stationing religious police everywhere to spy on people and he acknowledged my political belief on the issue and appreciated it, but has delved into the alarmist assertion that a country which professes all rights are “endowed by [our] Creator” must be a dictatorship which gives involved in every aspect of our personal lives. It also ignores what radical secularists and communists have done to take our rights away as if dictatorship were unique to religious zealots: look for example to the former Soviet Union, North Korea, China, Vietnam, Cambodia, Venezuela or Cuba for example where people were killed in large numbers for being religiously minded people who refused to accommodate their religious beliefs to be good secularist people.
“These rights derive from reason, . . .”
Rights do not derive from reason as reason is a product of God Himself. Even from the skeptic point of view reason is a product of creation that merely helps us better understand rights. To say “rights derive from reason” is to worship reason like God the way Atheists and Agnostics for example do. Not only that but reasoning alone does not make us mutually agree on anything. What we reason to believe is happiness could be different for somebody else: for example, communists view government control of property and the economy as necessary to bring about happiness. So who says what reason is if we don’t look to a common source to define what reason, rights and life are? Naturalism is thus much like Protestantism; it lacks unity in authority but in a very different way.
“Religion is the ultimate social contract, and it is strictly personal, for any contract derived from force is not a valid contract.”
I agree to a certain extent with this: I do believe the populace should consent to a government which seeks unity in faith. Religion being strictly personal is a false statement; not only was this claim a 400-year-old product of classical liberalism, but for most of human history countries all over the world have looked to religion as a force that bound the nation in unity and a common goal. A house divided cannot stand. Explain why the federal government was shut down for two months. There was lack of unity. The Founding Fathers themselves lamented lack of unity even though they viewed it as a necessary evil since they opposed the use of force to make others adopt their view which brings me to the next point. Who said anything about using force? I am opposed to a coup de grace as are the vast majority of religiously minded Christians. Again this creates a straw man. So let’s say hypothetically if a country predominantly did profess a particular faith and were okay with laws that are religiously motivated, would these people still say it was through force even though it was clearly through consent via popular vote and/or approval?
“It is truly only your consent that gives the Magisterium power, . . .”
Apart from being an empty statement since the Magisterium is the body of bishops with historical and apostolic succession to Christ and the apostles, whether or not I give my consent to something does not give it power. It has power by its very nature because of its apostolic teaching authority. The Magisterium is powerful without my consent which is why it influences many people. In fact anything is powerful even if it’s bad. Satan is powerful because his tricks are convincing to those who wish to do as they please. There is power in names because names imply meaning. To be technical the Magisterium is so powerful without having influence over a country’s majority that even where Catholics are the minority they are seen as a threat: e.g. in Iraq, Syria, Saudi Arabia, North Korea, China or the former Soviet Union. Such animosity to the Magisterium only proves the point that the Magisterium is powerful because they are threatened by the mere fact that a small number of people would oppose what they may do. I don’t need to give the Magisterium power; it has plenty of power by the mere fact of what it teaches and who founded it.