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The Bible & the Universal Declaration of Human Rights

It was 75 years ago on 10 December 1948, 48 out 58 member states of the United Nations voted in favor of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Despite the beautiful aims and the good intention of this declaration, during these 75 years times upon times these 30 articles have been violated by member states, organizations, and individuals. Religion is not exempted here as well. Despite the positive contributions of religious communities, churches, mosques, temples, or individuals who have been promoting and advocating for human rights, there are many other examples of violations and in some cases brutal violations of these rights as well.

I have always asked whether we as Christians can relate these thirty articles to our faith and in certain way adopt them within our churches, incorporated in our constitution? Is the universal declaration of human rights compatible with our Christian believe? Regretfully, in my conversation with some Christians they consider that UDHR is non-biblical and even relate it to the so-called end-time plan of the antichrist. Less they know that one of the prominent persons in the committee of thinkers and writers of the UDHR was Dr. Charles Malik (1906-1987). He was a Lebanese Christian thinker, theologian, politician who helped with the draft of the declaration.

What do the 30 articles of UDHR stand for?

The UDHR comprises a set of 30 articles, encompassing civil, political, social, economic, and cultural rights. These rights include the right to life, liberty, and security, freedom religion, freedom from slavery and discrimination, the right to education, work, and an adequate standard of living, among others.

The UDHR asserts the inherent dignity and equal rights of all members of the human family. In Genesis 1:27, the Bible states, "So God created mankind in his own image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them." This verse underscores the concept of all individuals being created in the likeness of the divine, thereby emphasizing their inherent worth and equality.

Furthermore, the Declaration proclaims the right to life, liberty, and security of person (Article 3). Similarly, the Bible frequently emphasizes the sanctity of life and the importance of liberty. For instance, in Galatians 5:13, it is written, "You, my brothers and sisters, were called to be free." This resonates with the emphasis on freedom found in the UDHR.

"Learn to do right; seek justice. Defend the oppressed. Take up the cause of the fatherless; plead the case of the widow." -Isaiah 1:17

Freedom from Slavery and Discrimination

Even though Church in Europe has a dark history when it comes to racism, discrimination and slavery, the Bible consistently advocates for the release of the oppressed and the fair treatment of all people. In Galatians 3:28, it states, "There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus." This embodies the idea of equality and the abolition of discrimination. So does the article 4 of the UDHR explicitly prohibits slavery and servitude, while Articles 2 and 7 affirm that all individuals are entitled to the same rights without discrimination.

Social Justice and Compassion

Lastly, the Bible contains numerous references to social justice, instructing believers to care for the poor, oppressed, and marginalized. This aligns with the UDHR's emphasis on economic, social, and cultural rights. In Isaiah 1:17, it is written, "Learn to do right; seek justice. Defend the oppressed. Take up the cause of the fatherless; plead the case of the widow." This echoes the call for social justice and compassion found in the UDHR.

The connections between the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the Bible serve as a testament to the enduring and universal nature of these shared values, demonstrating that the pursuit of human rights and dignity has deep roots in various cultural and religious traditions, including the teachings of the Bible. I do hope that in the years to come more and more churches will attempt to at least practice and implement the UDHR in their churches. As for our church we implement UDHR in our policies and upon the ordination of our pastors and deacons we not only read out the doctrines but also the UDHR as form of oath, yet this does not mean that we can or capable of practicing all these articles, but at least it is starting point for us to think about them and practice our faith more consciously.


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