Similarly, the idea of human rights has its origins not in the secular enlightenment but in the world of the scholastic theology. In the middle ages there was a debate over holy poverty, which turned in part on the question of whether Christ and his Apostles owned anything individually or held everything in common. The conclusion was that everyone has inalienable rights of ownership and control over their own bodies, from which was developed, by extension, the idea that people have rights over what they create through their labor. These various ideas of equality of regard, of duties of beneficence and charity, of the universality of rights of bodily integrity, and of ownership of one’s body and of the products of one’s labor, are fruits of a particular religious understanding of human nature. Detached from that understanding it will only be a matter of time before they dry and wither. Of course, one might seek to develop equivalent fruits from a different source, but the question is whether that can be done.
Brian Tierney's thesis, I believe.