Recognise intrinsic value

Thus a hundred rupee currency note or a thousand rupee currency note has value because we invest that printed paper with that value but what is the value of a human being? I

Is a human being valuable because we put a price on him as they did in the past when they bought and sold slaves; when today the clubs buy the services of a football player or a cricket player?

A human being has a value apart from what he or she can do for me or for the society. Otherwise we would become like some dictators e.g., Hitler who would try to eliminate the old, infirm or the handicapped as a useless burden on society. Even today there are some who would wish to get rid of their aged parents as useless burdens and would look for old age homes for their parents where they could pay a monthly or yearly fee and forget about them. Their usefulness is over.

This is how the human mind descends further to say why to have so many unwanted babies which cannot be looked after or the birth of which would sully the name of the unwed mother?

So they would prefer an abortion to giving a chance for the child to see the light of the day or be adopted by childless parents. The value that people assign to such human lives is only extrinsic and based on a philosophy of utility.

A little quiet thinking would show us that a human life has intrinsic value. The value comes from human dignity and human dignity is from the fact that we are all made in the image of God.

If God is Person we too are persons made in his own image and likeness. If God has intelligence and free will so do we have in analogical measure a little bit of intelligence and free will. God himself will not deprive me of this gift which he has given.

Many great men and women have realized the value of this human dignity. Mahatma Gandhi, the Father of our nation was once a very shy person who would not talk in public and was a failure as a lawyer in the first years of his career. But when he saw and felt the indignity heaped upon him and on other Indians in South Africa, gone was his shyness.

He came out boldly and became a dynamic speaker and an eminent lawyer in South Africa and a leader of the people in India on his return to the native land in 1915 giving innumerable speeches. In South Africa his human dignity was attacked.

Jesus, too, was indignant and defended the so called sinners of his time, the marginalized of society, the children and the handicapped because for him they had value as children of God and he taught us all to call God familiarly as “Abba-father” (Cf. Mt 6.9 & Luke 11.2).

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