Sunday, 27 March 2011


In our efforts to create a better world for ourselves and for the generations that will follow us, it is of vital importance that we free our societies of all activities that are abusive or destructive towards humanity. While it is true that there are many other important problems that we also need to deal with, such as the exploitation of animals and the environment, it is essential that people are first able to appreciate the dignity and the worth of their humanity if they are to be convinced to take care of the other more peripheral elements of life.

Human existence is complex in nature, and any attempt to analyze topics that impact human life has to be undertaken seriously. The non-trivial nature of these types of issues requires one to go beyond personal opinion and popular culture. If one is to enter the debate then one is required, I believe, to go deeper and to seek direction and insight from reputable sources that have some historical standing and a reasonably broad level of acceptance.

Consequently if one is discussing such subject matter with a person who has an awareness of God then it is appropriate to appeal to the teachings of their faith. Although the Christian churches, as an example, are divided on various dogmatic details, there is a fairly general consensus about the core teachings of Christ, especially regarding how we are to treat each other.

For the secular humanist there is an exceptional set of principles laid out in the United Nations Agreements on Human Rights, a series of statements that includes the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the Geneva Convention, and the Rights of the Child (amongst others). While the United Nations itself has a checkered history in many regards, and even some epic failures, it does have to its credit certain profound achievements, and included in these are the various declarations, covenants and conventions relating to human rights. As Pope John Paul II stated in his 1995 address to the United Nations General Assembly, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights constitutes “one of the highest expressions of the human conscience of our time”, and collectively these documents stand as the benchmark for measuring human behavior within the framework of human rights.

With this in mind the following collection of essays is presented. Each case is written with a particular audience in mind (the one deemed most appropriate to that issue) with some arguments being orientated more towards a faith dimension whilst others more towards a secular one.

·         The Case Against Abortion
·         The Case Against Poverty
·         The Case Against War

Peter Queenan