By Andrew L. Pate, Jr.
Early in what historian's sometimes call "the Modern Era," when powerful companies began to take shape in energy, world trade and virtually everything else, the brilliant Danish philosopher Soren Kierkegaard observed a grievous consequence for human beings, which I shall here call "the loss of the personal."
When numbers—size, value, etc.—count the most, human beings count the least. Yes, there's sufficient truth in that statement to take it seriously.
This descent of humanity has accelerated recently. We see it unmistakably in the sharpness of the divisions among us, in the alarming rise of suicides and in our misguided, self-centered search for meaning in our particular racial or ethnic identity.
As serious as the damage being done to our planet by Global Warming, much worse, we should think, is the deterioration of human community. Even if we gain come control over the Warming, it matters little if we, the primary living creatures on earth, do not believe in ourselves and think all our lives are worth living.
To halt this dehumanizing of our very selves, our first task is clear: to recover our sense of self-worth., a building block in the very foundation of our Judaeo-Christian heritage.
Along with this greater appreciation of me and you, there also has to be the recovery of a sense of a purpose in everyone. People who feel defeated have lost their sense of direction. they too often think they are useless and different, sometimes failing to realize that no one is perfect.
But it cannot be just about me, it has also to be about you and everyone else. The underlying evil in radical prejudice is not white pride or black pride, it is the absence of an abiding appreciation for our common humanity. Life is worth living, every life of every color.
Which calls for a maturity of insight and wisdom in us: a summons to each of us to see in others their imago dei We can catch a glimpse of it in the smiles of endangered Afghan children, or the children of poverty playing games.
You have worth, I have worth, as much as anyone else in the whole wide world.
So, hug yourself, feel the warmth in knowing how beautiful or handsome to God you are.