Christianity and Human Rights

Influences and Issues

Edited by Frances S. Adeney & Arvind Sharma

Subjects: Human Rights
Paperback : 9780791469521, 240 pages, January 2007
Hardcover : 9780791469514, 240 pages, January 2007

Table of contents

1. Introduction: Dialogue with Contributors
Arvind Sharma
Part I. Christian Influences on Human Rights
2. Human Rights and Responsibilities: Christian Perspectives
Frances S. Adeney

3. The Sources of Human Rights Ideas: A Christian Perspective
Max L. Stackhouse

4. Theology, Tolerance, and Two Declarations of Human Rights: An Interrogative Comparison
Sumner B. Twiss

5. Religion and Human Rights: A Personal Testament
David Little

6. Inter-Religious Dialogue and Human Rights: Christian Contributions
Terry Muck
Part II. Christian Perspectives on Human Rights Issues

7. The End of Man: Human Rights, Christian Theology, and the Rights of Human Persons
Stephen G. Ray Jr.

8. Persons, Politics, and a Catholic Understanding of Human Rights
Jean Bethke Elshtain

9. Human Rights and Asian Values
Kam Weng Ng

10. Changing One’s Religion: A Supported Right?
Margaret O. Thomas

11. Human Rights and Nonviolence: Testament of a Christian Peace Activist
John Dear

12. Christian Views in Dialogue with the UDHRWR
Arvind Sharma and Frances S. Adeney

Appendix 1: UDHRWR: Universal Declaration of Human Rights by the World’s Religions, McGill University 1999  (Revised Edition, 2003)
Appendix 2: Christian Theological Sources for Human Rights in Relation to the UDHR and the UDHRWR

A wide-ranging look at Christianity and human rights.


This book addresses the relationship of Christianity and human rights—a relationship fraught with ambiguity. While human rights discourse arose in a Christian culture, it has sometimes stood in opposition to organized Christianity. Christianity has been a champion of human rights; on other occasions it has been a major violator of them. Contributors to this book explore both positive and negative views of human rights arising from Christian traditions. Among the issues discussed are the sources of ideas on human rights, Christian influences on international human rights covenants and conventions, Christian theology and human rights, the right to change religions, Roman Catholic perspectives, and Christian peace activism and human rights. Christian discourse is juxtaposed with the proposed Universal Declaration of Human Rights by the World's Religions, which is included.

Frances S. Adeney is William A. Benfield Jr. Professor of Mission at Louisville Presbyterian Theological Seminary and the author of Christian Women in Indonesia: A Narrative Study of Gender and Religion. Arvind Sharma is Birks Professor of Comparative Religion at McGill University. He is the author or editor of numerous books, including Sleep as a State of Consciousness in Advaita Vedanta and Religious Studies and Comparative Methodology: The Case for Reciprocal Illumination, both also published by SUNY Press.


"Adeney and Sharma's anthology makes for easy, though provocative, reading. The material is well-organized and well-researched. The intent of the writing is clear and straightforward that the book is not political in terms of favoring one religion over another. All points of view of different historical, philosophical, political, and religious influences on human rights are given equal weight. " — Journal of Interdisciplinary Studies

"This book discusses the question of Christianity and human rights in a coherent and sophisticated fashion. It is a vital work with a range of perspectives that elevate the quality of discussion. " — Curt Cadorette, coeditor of Liberation Theology: An Introductory Reader