The Value of Human Beings

A couple news items have come to my attention lately regarding perspectives on the value of human life:

Earlier this year, a street dog in Bucharest, Romania bit a Japanese businessman in the leg. The bite broke an artery, and the man quickly bled to death. The city government has once again begun a program to exterminate the wild dogs—of which the city has between 100,000 and 200,000—only to be met by the protests of animal rights protesters from the West, led by actress Brigitte Bardot. They have gone as far as to hire an expensive attorney to defend the dog believed to be the one who bit the man.

A friend forwarded a story about an ecology professor at the University of Texas who believes the Earth would be better off if 90% of we humans died of a plague, such as ebola. In a speech before the Texas Academy of Sciences, Dr. Eric Pianka stated, “We’re no better than bacteria!” According to this report, Pianka said that when a neighbor asked him what good are the lizards that he studied, Pianka replied by asking, “What good are you?”

These two viewpoints share one thing in common: the false assumption that human life is no more valuable than animal life. In the case of animal rights extremists (as in Bucharest), the end result is not the elevating of animal life, but the degrading of the value of human life. It is dangerous, in my mind, to say that the life of the dog is as valuable as the life of the man. In the case of the ecology professor, when humans are compared to bacteria growing in a Petri dish or a cancer that needs to be eradicated—well, I worry about the directions we could go as a society.

We need to stand firmly for the idea that human life is inherently of a different value than that of animals; humans are the only ones who are described in Scripture as being made in the image of God. I certainly am concerned when animals are mistreated, but this anti-human worldview is common in the extreme elements of the environmental movement.

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