What value do people have?

What value do people have?

Today I am reminded in a rather sad way of why I am a Christian. Matt Green pointed me to an article posted by Kevin Myers titled, “Africa is giving nothing to anyone – apart from AIDS.”

The basic premise of Mr. Meyer’s article is that the unbroken poverty cycle in Africa should cause us to stop helping Africans in crisis. It is precisely the type of morality one would expect in an increasingly secular world that has embraced naturalism and a deformed form of libertarianism.

There is a valid, reasoned, position that “Teaching a man to fish” is better than “giving a man a fish.” If that’s all Mr. Meyers wants to say, then fine. But it’s not all he suggests.

The value one places on a human being comes from a theological position. If your theology states a person’s worth is based on their ability to “contribute” in some form or fashion, then you don’t have a particularly Christian worldview. Christians believe in the inherent worth of the individual because God created them and loves them. If God sees them as worthy, certainly we should.

Meyers is revealing to us an alternate moral worldview. It is a secular morality.

Mr. Meyers suggests that Africans need to be weeded out. They are, according to Mr. Meyers, growing too close together and mass starvation should be a part of the solution (hey, it happened in Ireland, after all, and look where we are now…).

Welcome to the post-Christian world, friends. This is survival of the fittest in foreign policy form. It is the logical extension of a secular morality.

Africa, Mr. Meyers, has given me much, and I have only spent a few weeks there. Whether you like Obama or not, we can all see that just “half of an African” might impact us all. It always astounds me to hear arguments about saving the rainforest because, “There just might be the cure for cancer lurking in the amazing jungle fauna.” Yet, we cannot apply this same reasoning to the potential cancer researchers currently dying on the African plain.

Even that anology is a poor one. Why? Because each one of those fly-bitten, stomach-extended little children starving in Africa are precious in His sight. If we can help, we should. No questions asked.

Africa is in a sad state politically. Who could disagree? I would never argue against African empowerment and responsibility – I fully embrace the need for Africa to take responsibility for Africa when it is possible. Greed, corruption, sexual immorality, a lack of leadership, ingnorance, and a host of other problems must be overcome. The poverty cycle must be broken. We can embrace these goals while giving aid and assistance to the least powerful.

However, let’s not resort to “final solutions” in fixing these problems, like letting people starve when we could do something about it. That’s just wrong and immoral. I see in subsequent columns Mr. Meyers tried to back off his cold-hearted approach some (see ”
Writing what I should have written so many years ago“) but the ethic, the morality, is there for all to see and it’s a secular one.

One reason I am a Christian is that I agree with the concept that each person has inherent value. God’s love for me as an individual does not come from what I contribute to the world.

Nor does Africa’s.

2 thoughts on “What value do people have?

  1. Mr. Green, and any everyone else including myself, need to remember that all we really give God is sin and rebellion. Yet, in His great love, He gave His Son to save poor rebels, people from every tongue and language and nation. The Father did not exercise some cold logic, saving people merely because they could benefit Him somehow, but because He first loved us. We really should love Africa and Africans, not based on a pragmatic “what’s-in-it-for-me” attitude, but echoing the great love of Christ.

    In the Gospel, God is always the Giver, and we are like hungry beggars. Ted, you rightly say to steer away from “final solutions”. That’s exactly what this is sounding like.

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