You Are Great Just Because You Exist
The foundation for a decent world starts with the inestimable value of human life. I’m always stunned by the stupidity of those who advocate killing other humans for the “sake of humanity.” Like bombing some nation into democracy-those who survive will be better off, right? (US) Kill all the counter- revolutionaries so humanity can be FREE. (USSR). This is the devil’s reasoning.
The following is the Catholics position, but you don’t have to be religious to see the value of human life.
“…each person is both sacred and social, created in God’s image, and destined to share in the goods of the earth as part of a community of justice and mercy.” This is the Catholic teaching on the dignity of mankind. I attended Catholic high school and I can testify that they do hold this as a foundational truth.
“Each person is both sacred and social…”
The word ‘sacred’ turns some people off, but sacred just means beyond the earthly, mundane world. Humans are IN the world, but not OF the world, Jesus said. We have a body, we eat and reproduce, but we are more than just matter. We have a soul, an essence that came from God and returns to God. We are not God, anymore than we are our earthly father, yet we share some characteristics with both. We can love, though not perfectly, we can imagine, though not infinitely, we can be just, though we are not always just. Yet these are part of us, we are aware of the non-material concepts of love, truth, justice and beauty. We are unique. There never has been and never will be another person exactly like you.
Humans are social beings, mankind has never been a scattering of solitary predators, like some greedy, competitive elites have claimed to justify their own predations. We are NOT exclusively motivated by self-interest; we care about others and others care about us. I watched a documentary on the first World Trade Center attacks in 1993. Smoke was rising and people were rushing down stairs. A woman tripped. An executive, briefcase in hand, threw down his briefcase (which likely contained Very Important papers), grabbed the woman (who he likely didn’t know) and carried her down the stairs.
We share, we always have. Those outliers who grasped and stole and tried to hide their selfish deeds were banished by our ancestors. Banishment, living all alone, was a dreadful sentence.
“Created in God’s image…”
I have heard folks get bent out of shape and call this concept ‘specieism,’ akin to racism. How dare we claim to be made in God’s image? Their error is that they take this as “made in the spitting image” of God-bascially, that we are gods. This is not what it means. It means we share characteristics with God. We are creative, we wonder, we have imagination. We have a longing for “something more” and if we don’t find it, we try to fill that God-shaped hole with money, sex, or blur our pain with intoxicants. These don’t fit, these will never satisfy.
We unique, social, sacred beings are distressed by the destruction of precious lives through war, murder and exploitation. Those who gain through war, murder and exploitation would like to stamp out this foundational view of each human life; not THEIR human life, mind you; serial killers go to great lengths to preserve THEIR lives. It’s other people’s lives that don’t matter.
So for them, blowing up innocents to promote a political cause is fine, whether it’s the Twin Towers or Shock and Awe during the invasion of Iraq. Yet most of us agree that blowing up innocents is evil.
The foundation for a decent world starts with the inestimable value of human life. Apply that criteria to any genocide, war, or murder you can think of and see if it’s not the antidote. If we ignore, minimize, or rationalize this truth away, we will continue to slaughter each other.
Together, we must hang onto that truth lest we randomly hang one by one.