Written by C. R. Carmichael |
Thursday, July 14, 2022
According to the latest information from the Pew Research Center, Christians suffer more than any other religious group from various governmental and societal hostilities around the world today. Because of this reality, we should have the empathy to be more mindful of our Gospel call to comfort others who are in any affliction (2 Corinthians 1:4), and to bear with the failings of the weak, and not to please ourselves” (Romans 15:1).
Have you noticed the ugly trend of certain ideologically-driven factions painting their opponents as less than human? Or the ruling elites and angry protesters calculating a person’s human worth based on their perceived usefulness to society?
Recent examples of this kind of behavior may surprise you. They include an abortion advocate who painted the words “Not Yet Human” on her exposed, very-pregnant belly; a prominent church leader tweeting out: “Whiteness is an unrelenting, demonic force of evil”; and a Rutgers professor who pronounced that white people are “committed to being villains” who need to be “taken out.”
Such vile attempts to strip away the intrinsic value of an individual or group in order to legitimize their social banishment or destruction is called “dehumanization,” and it is re-emerging as a potent force in our toxic culture these days.
Figuratively speaking, it is like trying to eliminate someone with the cold precision of a sniper’s bullet. Dehumanization, in both its passive and active forms, is attempting to erase a person. It attempts to erase a person’s purpose, erase their unique gifts, erase their value, erase their morality, and equate them with expendable animals to be caged, experimented on, or swiftly put down at the perpetrator’s discretion.
One might rightly ask how this immoral act can exist in our so-called enlightened age. You would think that the attempt to relegate a group of people to a subhuman or abstract category would be considered abhorrent in our modern society—especially after the travesties of American slavery, the Holocaust, or the internment of Japanese-Americans during World War II. Surely the emphatic statement, “Never again!” has been the foundational declaration of a wiser, more compassionate world over the last century, has it not?
Yet here we are in the midst of a sweeping new “cancel culture” of hate.
Dehumanization Emerges From Spiritual Disease
If you go by a majority of prevalent “woke” attitudes in American society today, dehumanization is the preferred weapon of choice—especially in the Wild West of social media and rage-filled protests. White people, political conservatives and the unborn appear to be the popular new targets, and are now sharing space with historically-oppressed minority groups. Yet the hatred directed at them still reeks of the age-old spiritual diseases of racism, bigotry, and rebellion against God.
Needless to say, it is astonishing to find how easily these twisted, hateful attitudes have become the endorsed rhetoric of our time. The latest diatribes against another race or creed is no more acceptable than when they were spoken against the Jews in Nazi Germany or African-Americans in the Old South. And yet such similar malevolence against certain brothers and sisters of our society is often celebrated by our ruling elites and propagated by corporate mainstream media as a way to control the populace through division or to intimidate those who stand in the way of their influence and power.
Today’s virtual murderers, regardless of their particular ideology or political bent, utilize the evil process of dehumanization so they can justify their violent behavior towards their “enemies” in the hope of erasing their opposing ideas from view. As journalist Slavenka Drakulic once explained it, “When a person is reduced to an abstraction, one is free to hate him because the moral obstacle has already been abolished.” Or as Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn put it: “To do evil a human being must first of all believe that what he’s doing is good.”
The problem with using dehumanization as a vehicle for righteous indignation, however, is that it doesn’t have a shred of moral integrity in its makeup. The Bible, the God-breathed standard for morality and ethics, doesn’t allow for this kind of evil among men. Why? Because the Bible has revealed to us this great truth: human beings were created in the image of God!
Dehumanization Disrespects The Image Of God
Indeed, from the beginning of the Biblical narrative, we are told that mankind is unique among creation because men and women, unlike the other living creatures on Earth, have been created in the likeness of God. “God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them” (Genesis 1:27).
This is why murder is considered so heinous. The shedding of human blood is a rebellious assault against the unique and sacred relationship between God and those who bear His image on earth (Genesis 9:6).
What an amazing thought to know that we all bear, in some profound way, the image of God regardless of race, creed or societal standing.