Christian Philosophy Lite: The importance of every individual life
By Raymond Smith
We are seeing some important history in the making. In the past few months, millions of people in the Near East have risen up with one voice crying out for liberty. With no regard for their own lives, they have demonstrated and fought to achieve that goal, while the tyrants who bear the rule are determined not to give up power. We will soon see if the government aborning will be democratic or whether another despot will seize power.
Plato and Aristotle define a tyrant as, "one who rules without law, looks to his own advantage rather than that of his subjects, and uses extreme and cruel tactics - against his own people as well as others."
Some of the most notable tyrants in recent history have been Stalin, Hitler and Mao Tse Tung. No exact figures are available, but one source said each of the three killed more than 30 million people. How can you get your mind around such staggering numbers? It is incomprehensible - beyond understanding.The tyrant had others carry out his dirty work - he did not have to hear their cries of pain, or see whole families wiped out.
Such tyrants came from miserable upbringings; their parents died early, and they had a poor education. As a result, they had no conscience or moral background. Much of how human adults behave is the result of guidance and discipline in our nurturing years by our parents. Parents also largely influence the emotional development of a child with love and care. If the first 10 years of a child's life is nurtured well and is healthy, the chances are excellent for a successful adolescent and adult life.
Now, let's look at the other side of the ledger. There are many heroes among us who count it joy to have saved one life. An important movie of World War II was "Saving Private Ryan." Some have given their lives to save just one person. In 1926, Reagan began work as a lifeguard at Lowell Park, near Dixon, Ill. He was credited with saving 77 lives during the seven summers he worked there. Later, he was to say that the greatest reward of his life was not the presidency, but saving those 77 people.
There is one, however, who has outdone them all. Jesus the Messiah is a life saver always on duty, and there is no counting of those who have called out "help" to him - he has saved them all. The Bible says that every person is precious in God's sight. Concerning children, the song says, "They are precious in thy sight." Other Bible verses affirm the value of every individual person. Consider that while Jesus became the salvation of all men, he died for each one of us individually. 2 Peter 3:9(b) says, "He is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance."
The ways of the world are death and destruction, but the ways of God are peace and confidence, leading to eternal life.
Raymond F. Smith is a deacon at Fellowship Bible Church in Victoria and President of Strong Families of Victoria.