Christianityis the largest religion in the world. The faith bases its principleson the life and teachings of Jesus Christ. Christians have faith inChrist as the Son of God and believe that He came on earth in a humanform, mingled with the people as He spread the Good News, and laterdied to save humans from sin. Christians also believe that Christascended into heaven to prepare an eternal home for all those whobelieve in Him and have repented their sins. Like any other religionin the world today, most Christians have undergone persecution, andsome have even died due to their faith. The first chapter of Johnverse twelve states that all those who receive Christ, and those whobelieve in his name, were given the right to be called the childrenof God. Theteachings of Christianity emphasizes on love for other people andrespect for humanity.
Christianityadvocated for human rights. Through the Biblical teachings such asthose provided by the book of Romans 12:30, Christians from differentdenominations advocated for the establishment of laws that protectpeople from suffering. According toKörtner (2011),the human dignity became central to Christian political discourse inthe early 1930s. The rise of human rights after the World War II waspresaged by a protection of the dignity of the human being which cameto attention in the years before the war (Körtner,2011).During the period, Christians felt that people were not receiving thetreatment that they deserved and that the Bible calls for greatrespect for humanity. The Christian movements of the period,therefore, decided to push for the consideration of human rights andthe fair treatment of humankind.
Christianityhas been on the forefront in the fight for global justice. For manyyears, Christian scholars and leaders have crafted the powerful ideasabout human beings and their fundamental rights as members of thehuman community. Christian activists have always been pushing for therecognition and adherence of human rights as stated by various lawsof different nations, and those of the United Nations. Christianityteachings insist that all humans are equal before God and that noperson should be treated in an unjust manner (Shepherd, 2011). As putin Romans 12:30, “Be devoted to one another in brotherly love.Honor one another above yourselves,” Christianity calls for peopleto live in a just manner with one another and to interact with peopleof all kind in a manner that depicts Christ’s love. The concept ofhuman rights precedes the rise of Christianity and has a variedintellectual legacy that reaches further than Christianity.Christians emphasize that human rights are known through both reasonand revelation and that these are mainly founded on the Biblicalteachings. In most situations where human rights have been violated,Christians have always been among the first people to respond andquestion the responsible authorities.
Thevalues of Christianity and their views on human rights have beenapplauded and adopted by other religious groups in the world.Religious groups such as Islam and Hinduism have also, in manysituations been advocating for the consideration and execution ofhuman rights, and the respect of humanity (Tyler, 2012). Such havebeen seen in situations such as war where leaders from differentregions have always congregated to find ways of ensuring that peaceprevails. When it comes to the fight for human rights, Christianityhas always welcomed the views of other religious groups, and havealways been ready to cooperate with them for the benefit ofimplementing human rights (Tyler, 2012). The Bible clearly statesthat all people are equal before God and that we should treat eachother in an equal and rightful manner thus making Christians forgetabout the religious differences that may exist between them andothers when it comes to advocacy for implementation and execution ofhuman rights.
Christianityholds a staunch belief in human dignity. It has always provided firmstands on issues concerning human rights and their significance inmodern biomedicine. Christianity stipulates that a human being is aspecial being created by God, based on His image and likeness(Shepherd, 2011). Christianity has always questioned some biomedicalinnovations such as cloning, which is believed to have questionableconcepts, and that it contradicts with the biblical teachings.
Accordingto Körtner(2011), some of the bioethical considerations are based on the moralsprovided by Christianity, and which are developed based on theteachings of the Bible. The Catholic faith, for example, has beenstrict on issues surrounding reproductive health where they believethat reproduction is a natural process that should not be controlledin any manner. Also, issues such as abortion have raised heateddebates between different bodies, but Christianity still holds thatthe act of abortion is a violation of human rights and that it isagainst the biblical teachings. Psalms 139:13-16 shows the activerole of God in the creation of human beings and their development inthe womb. Such and many more Biblical verses, form the basis ofChristianity’s belief in life, and therefore, justify their viewsagainst abortion.
Christianityalso considers the inborn sovereignty, self-worth, and human rightsof every individual to be the result of being made in God’s image.This understanding, as suggested by Witte& Latterell (2015),is an indicator of the views that Christianity holds concerninghumanity. It is evident from the Bible and other Christian doctrinesthat human life should be dignified and that humans should be free toexercise their rights. Christianity condemns acts that demean thelife of a human being or those that hinder people from enjoying theirrights.
Asput by Tutu (2015), the power of Christianity has always beenimportant in the struggle against coercion and the safeguard of man’sdignity. Christians believe that just as most people in the worldshow respect to God, the life of a human being should also berecognized since people were created in the image and likeliness ofGod Genesis 1:27. It also holds that people should love one anotherjust as Christ loved us, and that every person should ensure thatpeace prevails John 13:34-35. Christian leaders such as ArchbishopDesmond Tutu have been active in ensuring that any form of oppressionon any human being is discouraged and that structures are created topromote human flourishing. Human freedom is perceived to be the heartof Natural Law, and that anyone who honors it is a noble human being.Even with the emphasis on freedom, Christianity is also keen toencourage morality among humans (Shepherd, 2011). Some activitiesundertaken by people on account of exercising their freedom arediscouraged in many Christian doctrines. People are encouraged tobehave in a righteous manner and always be conscious in ensuring thatthe teachings of the Bible are keenly followed even in their processof exercising freedom.
Inconclusion, Christianity, which is the largest religious group in theworld, advocates for love between people, and also calls for therespect of human rights. The religion, basing on the teachings of theBible, insists that human life should be dignified. Most human rightsdoctrines are based on the principles provided by the teachings ofChristianity and other major religions about the supremacy of humanlife. Christian values are also considered in biomedical ethics whereacts such as abortion are condemned.
Körtner,U. H. (2011). Human dignity and biomedical ethics from a Christiantheological perspective. HTSTeologiese Studies / Theological Studies,67(3).doi:10.4102/hts.v67i3.953
Shepherd,F. M. (2011). Christianityand human rights: Christians and the struggle for global justice.Lanham, MD: Lexington Books.
Tutu,D. M. (2015). The First Word: To Be Human Is To Be Free. Journalof Law and Religion J. Law Relig.30(03),386-390. doi:10.1017/jlr.2015.31
Tyler,C. (2012). Human Rights and the World`s Major Religions. Fivevolumes. Edited by William H. Brackney. Westport, Conn.: PraegerPublishers, 2005. Journalof Church and State,48(3),681-685. doi:10.1093/jcs/48.3.681
Witte,J., & Latterell, J. J. (2015). Christianity and Human Rights:Past Contributions and Future Challenges. Journalof Law and Religion J. Law Relig.30(03),353-385. doi:10.1017/jlr.2015.29