The Concept of Human Rights as an Answer to Religious Fundamentalism in a Modern Democratic Society
In todays European society one can observe different forms of religious fundamentalism, especially when defending various values relating to questions of the meaning of life or when confronted with multi-religious and multicultural situations. An ethical approach attempts to avoid such extremes, given that genuine human behavior is based on moral virtues, the Aristotelian Golden mean. At a time when some voices in left-leaning circles are trying to enshrine in the Charter of Human Rights the right of women to terminate their pregnancies, by vehemently advocating their cause in the European Parliament and in the UN Assembly, and to redefine the traditional meaning of family, one might want to refer to the understanding of human rights of the Catholic Social Doctrine and other long-received ethical theories (such as Deontological Ethics). On the other hand, many in the Pro-life movement also exhibit a fundamentalist approach to society, for example when legal (though not necessarily moral) bioethical approaches justify murder. In the contemporary setting it is necessary to clarify the relationship firstly between human rights and human dignity from the religious point of view (as well as responding to a number of related questions) and subsequently between human rights and the rights of a person, understood as a being who is self-aware (sometimes called the Rights of God, whose existence protects the Church). The current paper tries to clarify the position of the Roman Catholic Church on the issues of human dignity and human rights with the hope that this understanding will have a positive impact on the development of a just society as a means of preventing the spread of religious fundamentalism.
Human Rights, Religious Fundamentalism, Social doctrine of the Catholic Church, Human dignity, Religious tolerance, Church and State, Communism, Totalitarian states, Liberalism, Human Rights and Roman Catholicism, UN Declaration of Human Rights.
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