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‘What’s Wrong with Rights?’ with Dr. Nigel Biggar

August 17th, 2021 | 2 min read

By Matthew Lee Anderson

Is the theory of natural rights really the best way to protect ourselves from tyrannical governments? This is the big question of Dr. Nigel Biggar’s book, What’s Wrong With Rights? Dr. Biggar is Regius Professor of Moral & Pastoral Theology, and Director of the McDonald Centre for Theology, Ethics, & Public Life,  University of Oxford. Matt and Alastair push on this argument with Dr. Biggar to examine the relationship between morality and law. Fun connection: Dr. Biggar is Dr. Matt Anderson’s former Ph.D. advisor!

Mere Fidelity is sponsored by Lexham Press, featuring the Mere Fidelity Book of the Month for August, which is also the subject of this episode: Ministers of Reconciliation, edited by Daniel Darling. You can save 40% on this book with the promo code MEREFIDELITYAUG21.

Mere Fidelity listers enjoy exclusive monthly discounts on books from Lexham Press. To see this month’s featured book (as well as those from previous months) visit


Big Mere Fidelity News [0:00]

Professor Nigel Biggar [1:27]

Legal Rights vs. Moral Claims [4:07]

Rights Fundamentalism [12:06]

Moral Arguments, Not Rights Assertions [17:59]

Developing the Moral Sense [21:34]

Are morals enough? [29:00]

Institutional Models of Rights and Morals [35:26]

Universality and Absoluteness [43:14]


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Follow DerekAndrew, and Alastair for more tweet-sized brilliance. Thanks to Timothy Crouch for keeping us organized. Thanks to Tim Motte for sound editing. And thanks to The Joy Eternal for lending us their music, which everybody should download out of gratitude for their kindness.

Matthew Lee Anderson

Matthew Lee Anderson is an Associate Professor of Ethics and Theology in Baylor University's Honors College. He has a D.Phil. in Christian Ethics from Oxford University, and is a Perpetual Member of Biola University's Torrey Honors College. In 2005, he founded Mere Orthodoxy.