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Lecture on Human Dignity from the General and Biblical Perspectives God created man in the image of Himself.

In the image of God He created him, male and female He created them. (Gen. 1: 26 27) The Bible says that all people, men and women, are made in the image and likeness of God. Our fellow human beings bear the image of the Creator and thus are not to be dominated, oppressed or repressed, rather they are to be served (Jn 13: 13 -14, Gal. 5: 13, Eph. 5: 21). The violence against women, child abuse, abortions, human trafficking, genocide sexual abuse and harassment, ethnic and religious tensions, ethnocentrism etc. reported in our dailies are acts against human dignity. The Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church (CSDC) reiterates this basic truth about the human person stating: The Church sees in men and women, in every person, the living image of God (CSDC pg. 105). It is therefore a serious injustice when people are deprived of this dignity and honour. On account of this dignity and honour, all are enjoined in the Commandment to love our neighbor as ourselves. Therefore, all those in need that we meet whether poor, oppressed, and unborn or in any other kind of need command our recognition of their human dignity, which derives from God Himself. The Church invites all people to recognize in everyone near and far, known and unknown, and above all in the poor and the suffering a brother or sister for whom Christ died (CSDC 105). We share Gods very nature equally as men and women. We reflect the image of God in our care for one another, particularly those whose lives have been entrusted to us. Human life is sacred and inviolable, as a direct consequence of relationship to God and to the Devine nature. Thus, we have a responsibility towards all life. In ourselves also, we must acknowledge our human dignity. We reflect on our own nature and find ourselves capable of reason, the discernment of good and evil [and] free will. (CSDC 113 - 14). The three Principles of Dignity: Refer to Mannual pg. 18 20. 1. The principle of the common good 2. The Principle of subsidiarity 3. The Principle of solidarity Dignity defined: Advanced English Dictionary 1. A calm and serious manner that deserves respect. 2. The fact of being given honour and respect by people. 3. A sense of your own importance and value, self worth Webster Dictionary: It comes from the Latin word, dignitas meaning worth, and merit; Dignus which also means worthy, nobility, high repute, honour. The degree of worth, repute, honour, a high position, rank or title. Synonym decorum.

Humanity defined: the quality of being human. Some features that differentiate men from animals: Speech, dignity, reasoning, degree of intelligence and skills, civilization, good grooming hair styles, dressing etc. Scenario: have ever a monkey give birth to a baby and throw it into a ditch? Etc. Insults foolish, useless, waste etc. Things that affect human dignity: a. Taking life murder, abortion b. Maltreatment of old people as witches/wizards, maids, wives, slavery, child labour/abuse (incest, rape, defilement of the religious and lay alike etc.) prayer camps and healing centres who beat, chain and molest innocent people in the name of healing( anointing peoples private parts etc.), the disable. c. Outdated cultural practices widowhood rites and rites of passage e.g. FGM. d. Personal comportment bleaching, armed robbery, prostitution, substance abuse, indecent dressing e. Employers demand sex for employment, law enforcers who strip suspects naked, torture them Traditionally, there have been four sources to which theorists have referred: a. divine authority; b. natural law; c. intuition (that human rights are self-evident); d. ratification of international instruments. Human rights do rely on the idea of human dignity which can also be found in various cultural and religious traditions. Thus, although human rights do not derive immediately from religious traditions, they are not alien to those traditions that have recognized the idea of human dignity. Hence, with reference to human dignity, a critical reconciliation between competing requirements of particular religious traditions and modern international human rights standards might be conceivable. (Bielefeldt 1995: 601) There is also a striking cross-cultural consensus on many values that today we seek to protect through human rights, especially when those values are expressed in relatively general terms. Life, social order, the family, protection from arbitrarily rule, prohibition of inhuman and degrading treatment, the guarantee of a place in a

life of the community and access to an equitable share of the means of subsistence are certain moral aspirations in nearly all cultures. Authentic traditional cultural practices and values can be an important check on abuses of arbitrary power. It can be illustrated as follows: a. rights to life, liberty, and security of the person; the guarantee of legal personality; and protection against slavery, arbitrary arrest, detention, or exile, and inhuman or degrading treatment are so clearly connected to basic cross-cultural requirements of human dignity, and restated in sufficiently general terms, that any morally defensible contemporary form of social organization must recognize them (although perhaps not necessarily as inalienable rights). b. civil rights such as freedom of conscience, speech, and association may be a bit more relative. Because they assume the existence and positive evaluation of relatively autonomous individuals, they may be questionable applicability in strong, thriving traditional communities. In such communities, however, they would rarely be at issue. If traditional practices truly are based on and protect culturally accepted conceptions of human dignity, then members of such a community simply will not have the desire or need to claim such civil rights. (Donnelly 1993: 112-113; 121-123) . John Peek lists the following rights as in keeping with human dignity: a. freedom to select government; b. right to petition the government for a redress of grievances, and to receive just compensation; c. freedom from cruel and unusual punishment such as torture, the death penalty, and inhuman treatment; d. right to equal and fair treatment under the law; e. freedom of religion and conscience; f. freedom from discrimination on the basis of race, creed, economic class or gender; g. right to education; h. right to work and receive just compensation including health care; i. freedom from want for those unable to work through social security programs; j. right to a clean environment.