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Theocentrism and Human Rights: A Critical Argument

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image of Religion & Human Rights

Human rights discourse in the West has a deep connection to Christian theology and what might be called 'theocentrism.' This view locates human rights in the God-created order of the world—and not in the capacities of sentient beings. This article examines and criticizes some recent theocentric arguments. It focuses in particular on the claim made by some theocentric human rights defenders that secular individualism and democracy are wrong-headed and run counter to Christian theology. This article provides a critique of recent theocentric arguments about human rights and briefly discusses an alternative that locates rights in the capacities of sentient beings.

Affiliations: 1: Professor of Philosophy, Department of Philosophy, California State University, Fresno, CA, USA


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