(2012) The Sacred and the Humane

Anat Biletzki


Lecture in Bergen 2012, Nov. 20. This article investigates the conflict, if there is one, between human rights and religion. It maintains that the basic grounding of human rights – the answer to the question “where do human rights come from?” – has two origins, one religious and other philosophical-secular. Although human rights activism might be similar, even identical, when carried out by secular people or religious believers, their deep reasons and motivation for such action is different, sometimes even to the point of being opposed. In cases where the (secular) moral basis of human rights conflicts with religious strictures, it is the priority of the human over the divine that then justifies human rights as a legitimate prerogative.


philosophy; Wittgenstein Ludwig; 20th century philosophy; human rights; religion; B’Tselem; awe; activism; Dartmouth School

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