An Atheist’s Problem of Natural Rights

At the risk of sticking my neck out with a highly unpopular opinion within American politics, I would like to discuss the topic of rights, and how they seem incompatible with an atheistic worldview. This is because rights often seem to be seen as a sort of objective moral standard, while from an atheistic perspective, the world is rather nihilistic, and any morals that exist come from humans, not outside of it.

As we have discussed in my previous post on the argument from morality, objective morality is pretty problematic from an atheistic perspective. Most atheists I have talked to do not believe it exists at all, and while I attempt to argue that it does in the most basic of forms, at the very most all we can establish is an inclination towards certain behaviors and an avoidance of others. The actual morals themselves in practice are largely subjective, and there is a massive amount of latitude that exists in implementation. However, the idea of natural rights is normally seen as a form of objective or deontological morality, and can be justified in one of two ways, or even a combination of the two ways. Some people argue for natural rights by appealing to God, while others just claim they are self evident and can be derived from nature. Both of these justifications are flawed, as I will explain below.

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