in faith, there is a principle called the inherent dignity of the human person. our worth does not come from what we humans define but how God gives life as gift. we are made in the image and likeness of God. to share God’s life is to share in love as gift. we are called to love and be loved at all levels. there are many ways to understand better this profound teaching of love.
Howard Friedman, a Columbia University health economist and author wrote in his book Ultimate Price: The Value We Place on Life, that– financially speaking– each human life is worth about $10 million. the discipline of economics has opened the door and put a figure on each life. while we know that we cannot ultimately know our worth financially, it is an interesting argument that can start some deeper conversations since it is an economic perspective of the human person.
imagine if we really saw each other as being worth $10 million!
if we lived this out and treated one another accordingly, we would really be loving our neighbor as ourselves; as Jesus loves us. a child in sub saharan africa, a janitor in rio, an indigenous woman in australia, a bus driver in manila– all have an inherent dignity as you and i do.
systemically, many of our problems stem from the devaluing and outright disrespect of human life. we easily and unthinkingly take advantage of others. unfortunately, our greed, fear, pride and a parade of other sins keep us from seeing and treating each other as if each human was worth $10 million
imagine: how would we set up insurance, military and health care systems? how would we house and feed one another? who would get tested and treated for coronavirus and how? would racism cease to exist? how would we view work conditions for all? migration? abortion?
hopefully the Spirit will continue to stir our minds and hearts to respect all human life at all levels– especially the person right in front of us. there is no price on the love of God for you and me.