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  1.    #1  
    The founders said:

    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.
    If there were (some would say 'is') no "Creator", what would be the legal status of those "unalienable rights"?
  2. #2  
    An interesting question...

    However, I feel it is moot as the 'Creator' referred to was intentionally left vague to dismiss such questions and to uphold the seperation of church and state for which the founders eventually fought.

    'Creator' could be anything from the Christian 'God' to the forces of nature evidenced by modern science.

    Those rights remain unalienable regardless of what 'Creator' one chooses to believe in.
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  3. #3  
    Quote Originally Posted by gksmithlcw View Post
    An interesting question...
    That it is.

    However, I feel it is moot as the 'Creator' referred to was intentionally left vague to dismiss such questions and to uphold the seperation of church and state for which the founders eventually fought.
    I would disagree as the phrase including the "Creator" comes from the Declaration of Independance, which was signed in 1776 while the specific phrasing of "separation" wasn't penned for another 26 years (1802). Ergo, the two remain mutually exclusive.

    'Creator' could be anything from the Christian 'God' to the forces of nature evidenced by modern science.
    Going back to the vernacular of the time when the word, "Creator" was penned. Exactly how often do we find such concepts (forces of nature) being referred to not only by a specific noun, but also one that is capitalized?
    Last edited by DL.Cummings; 03/11/2008 at 09:12 AM. Reason: grammatical error
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  4.    #4  
    Quote Originally Posted by gksmithlcw View Post
    An interesting question...

    However, I feel it is moot as the 'Creator' referred to was intentionally left vague to dismiss such questions and to uphold the seperation of church and state for which the founders eventually fought.

    'Creator' could be anything from the Christian 'God' to the forces of nature evidenced by modern science.

    Those rights remain unalienable regardless of what 'Creator' one chooses to believe in.
    I would be hesitant to ascribe such intent. Accepting, for the time being, that 'Creator' could apply to forces of nature (though I would be more inclined to go with causer rather than creator in that case), if the nature of said 'Creator' was inconsequential, why make mention at all?

    Would it not be sufficient to affirm that all men are endowed with certain unlienable rights...?
  5. #5  
    Since I assume the creator those WASP's referred to were Jehovah, that whole paragraph is a joke, since we know that He did not care a bit about some people being born slaves and dieing for the sins of their fathers.

    Its a good thing legal rights dont from from religious authority any more (at least in the west). We can safely ignore that paragraph.

    Surur
  6. #6  
    Quote Originally Posted by shopharim View Post
    I would be hesitant to ascribe such intent. Accepting, for the time being, that 'Creator' could apply to forces of nature (though I would be more inclined to go with causer rather than creator in that case), if the nature of said 'Creator' was inconsequential, why make mention at all?

    Would it not be sufficient to affirm that all men are endowed with certain unlienable rights...?
    Back then, they weren't too far from thinking the world was flat. I think they left it as nebulous as they could possibly conceive at that time. Yes, they believed in a Creator or god. Yet they tried to leave it as non-denominational as possible. But there is ample evidence that at least some of the founders had agnostic tendencies and we could easily speculate that some of the founders could well be staunch atheist in modern times.

    It's all about context to me. But I am not surprised that those that take the bible literally also take the constitution literally and those that interpret one also chooses to interpret the other. Who’s right? Perhaps this is why its been said that the constitution is a living breathing document as that very dynamic is the inherit genius of it all.
  7.    #7  
    Quote Originally Posted by moderateinny View Post
    Back then, they weren't too far from thinking the world was flat. I think they left it as nebulous as they could possibly conceive at that time. Yes, they believed in a Creator or god. Yet they tried to leave it as non-denominational as possible. But there is ample evidence that at least some of the founders had agnostic tendencies and we could easily speculate that some of the founders could well be staunch atheist in modern times.

    It's all about context to me. But I am not surprised that those that take the bible literally also take the constitution literally and those that interpret one also chooses to interpret the other. Who’s right? Perhaps this is why its been said that the constitution is a living breathing document as that very dynamic is the inherit genius of it all.
    So, in context, what would be the status of unalienable rights in the absence of said 'Creator'
  8.    #8  
    Quote Originally Posted by surur View Post
    Since I assume the creator those WASP's referred to were Jehovah, that whole paragraph is a joke, since we know that He did not care a bit about some people being born slaves and dieing for the sins of their fathers.

    Its a good thing legal rights dont from from religious authority any more (at least in the west). We can safely ignore that paragraph.

    Surur
    If I'm reading this correctly, the first paragraph is either a joke or obsolete (or both, I suppose). Given that, what is the legal status of the aforementioned unalienable rights?
  9. #9  
    As alluded to by the first few words ("We hold the truths to be self-evident") the "rights" are just a social construct.

    Fortunately "laws" are also social constructs, so they work together rather well.

    The short version is that this argument is similar to the one about how many angels can dance on the head of a pin.

    Surur
    Last edited by surur; 03/11/2008 at 11:49 AM.
  10. #10  
    Quote Originally Posted by surur View Post
    Since I assume the creator those WASP's referred to were Jehovah, that whole paragraph is a joke, since we know that He did not care a bit about some people being born slaves and dieing for the sins of their fathers.
    That's an interesting perception of things; however, I would have to completely disagree on the notion of "not caring" regarding slavery.

    Accurate perusing of the OT (where the majority of references to slavery exist) will note the following:
    1. Involuntary enslavement was forbidden by those under Mosaic Law (this does not include those who were already slaves)
    2. Slavery was approached as a reality within the world that existed (as virtually every civilization had slaves--most if not ALL others treating slaves as mere property whereas the OT demanded treatment as people).
    Notable Points:
    • Involuntary enslavement carried the punishment of death (Ex. 21:16)
    • Permanent personal injury to a slave by their master was compensated by granting immediate freedom (Ex. 21:26)
    • Slaves were not permitted to work on the Sabbath (Ex. 20:10)

    We can safely ignore that paragraph.
    If we can safely ignore that paragraph, then why not the entire document? The same author and influence of the author wrote the entire document as did that single paragraph.

    I suspect that what this amounts to is convenience of belief more so than anything else.
    No problem should ever be solved twice.

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  11. #11  
    Quote Originally Posted by moderateinny View Post
    Back then, they weren't too far from thinking the world was flat.


    Not true; From Wikipedia:

    As is expressed by Stephen Jay Gould, "there never was a period of “flat earth darkness” among scholars (regardless of how the public at large may have conceptualized our planet both then and now). Greek knowledge of sphericity never faded, and all major medieval scholars accepted the earth’s roundness as an established fact of cosmology." David Lindberg and Ronald Numbers also write: "there was scarcely a Christian scholar of the Middle Ages who did not acknowledge [Earth's] sphericity and even know its approximate circumference."
    They were actually quite far from such thinking.
    No problem should ever be solved twice.

    Verizon Treo650 W/Custom ROM
  12. #12  
    Give California a bit longer and your rights as a parent will come to a screaming halt. Ben
  13. #13  
    Quote Originally Posted by bclinger View Post
    Give California a bit longer and your rights as a parent will come to a screaming halt. Ben
    Boy isn't that the truth? I believe they are working on purging home-schooling from their midst as we speak.
    No problem should ever be solved twice.

    Verizon Treo650 W/Custom ROM
  14. #14  
    Quote Originally Posted by DL.Cummings View Post
    [/color]

    Not true; From Wikipedia:



    They were actually quite far from such thinking.
    The context of the comment was they were not nearly as advanced as we are today.

    You're not taking things too literally now are you?
  15. #15  
    Quote Originally Posted by shopharim View Post
    So, in context, what would be the status of unalienable rights in the absence of said 'Creator'
    Not sure that I can answer this the way you'd want me to. My opinion is that the founding fathers would have wanted us to have unalienable rights whether that Creator is a god, gods, or merely a common understanding that human beings have certain unalienable rights to freedom, happiness, and life.

    I'm really not sure why "god" has to be the one to impart such unalienable rights. If you look in a dictionary you can see other examples of "unalienable" - this one from the American Heritage Dictionary:

    Unalienable - Not to be separated, given away, or taken away; inalienable: "All of them . . . claim unalienable dignity as individuals"

    I suspect the more religous amongst us would feel that the founders meant to literally state that our unalienable rights were given to us by god. I disagree. Many others disagree. Many others may agree with the religous side of this. And so it will go on and on and on and on...

    It all can be a healthy debate and good for the republic and frankly worked well for us until the last 20 years. Now both sides seemed to have gotten more and more extreme instead of respecting each other's unalienable right to be free to choose their religion (or lack thereof) and politicians are exploiting and dividing us with this wedge issue(s) to maintain their corporate-backed power in Washington.
  16. #16  
    Quote Originally Posted by moderateinny View Post
    I'm really not sure why "god" has to be the one to impart such unalienable rights.
    It is due to the inability of any man or any rationalization from man to remove them or otherwise declare them not so. Obviously this creates somewhat of a conundrum I admit:

    Cannot man declare that another person was wrong in their assertion of what rights, as deemed by God, are to be considered unalienable?

    However, I might suspect that the intent wasn't to drive towards the nitty-gritty philosophical point of the matter. It was more to simply state:

    These rights are unalienable, since you are not God you don't have any say in the matter and we must put these at the top of our priority list to maintain.
    No problem should ever be solved twice.

    Verizon Treo650 W/Custom ROM
  17. #17  
    Quote Originally Posted by DL.Cummings View Post
    It is due to the inability of any man or any rationalization from man to remove them or otherwise declare them not so. Obviously this creates somewhat of a conundrum I admit:

    Cannot man declare that another person was wrong in their assertion of what rights, as deemed by God, are to be considered unalienable?

    However, I might suspect that the intent wasn't to drive towards the nitty-gritty philosophical point of the matter. It was more to simply state:

    These rights are unalienable, since you are not God you don't have any say in the matter and we must put these at the top of our priority list to maintain.
    I agree!
  18. #18  
    How come nobody notices that words other than creator are also capitalized? Are these supposed to be divine beings, too? Hey, 'Men' is capitalized, too. I am a Man, therefore I am God. Now, stop this silly squabbling and go be good to each other. I have spoken.
    ‎"Is that suck and salvage the Kevin Costner method?" - Chris Matthews on Hardball, July 6, 2010. Wonder if he's talking about his oil device or his movie career...

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