DEMOCRACY AND HUMAN RIGHTS

New Testament Foundations of Human Dignity and their Implications

  • Christoph Stenschke University of South Africa, Pretoria
Keywords: Church and Society, Democracy, Human Rights, Human Dignity, Soteriology

Abstract

Often closely associated with democracy, human dignity and respect for human dignity have become pivotal values and concerns of our age. This is the case because of the atrocities and crimes that were committed against humanity in all parts of the world during the 20th century and clear signs that these continue unabated in the present century. Throughout most parts of the past two or three centuries the emphasis on human dignity and the “discovery” and defence thereof have often been cherished as an achievement of humanism and the European Enlightenment. The article argues that the New Testament (and with it the Christian tradition) also makes an important contribution to the current understanding and discussion of human dignity. Human dignity is not a characteristic granted (or denied) by humans to other humans, nor it is based on race, nationality, gender, personal achievements, education, material means and so on. The New Testament bases human dignity on the fact that humans are created in God’s image, chosen by God, ransomed by the blood of Jesus, God’s Christ, endowed with God’s Holy Spirit, and called to serve God in their bodily existence and as heirs of eternal life in the presence of God. Therefore humans must act accordingly and must be treated accordingly by their fellow humans.

Author Biography

Christoph Stenschke, University of South Africa, Pretoria

Christoph Stenschke, born in 1966 in Augsburg, Germany. Theological training at Freie Theologische Akademie, Gießen, Germany. PhD: University of Aberdeen, Scotland (1999). Ordained minister in the German Baptist Union, pastoral ministry in Stralsund in former East Germany (1998–2001). Since 2001 lecturer in New Testament Studies and dean of postgraduate studies at Biblisch-Theologische Akademie Forum Wiedenest, Bergneustadt, Germany. Since 2005 professor extraordinarius at the Department of Biblical and Ancient Studies, University of South Africa, Pretoria. Member of several academic societies. Regular contributions to different international academic journals.

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Published
2020-12-01
How to Cite
Stenschke, C. (2020). DEMOCRACY AND HUMAN RIGHTS. Asian Horizons, 14(4), 828–842. Retrieved from http://dvkjournals.in/index.php/ah/article/view/3620