Do we care when a stranger dies? I know we do, sortof. But it’s hard. There are so many strangers dying all the time, that we can’t mourn all of them, all the time. And, of course, we don’t know them to mourn them. I think this explains the everyday carelessness to those dying of hunger, thirst, AIDS, murder, genocide, or abortion.
Joseph Stalin is quoted as saying,
‘One death is a tragedy; one million is a statistic.’
I’ve heard that Stalin killed millions of “his own” people, so he may not have meant it this way…
I recently considered the value of life, and how it seems to change. Killing a baby is atrocious, nearly all agree (though in some countries they are often killed just for being female). Killing an unborn baby, is apparently not so clear in the eyes of many. Even pro-life Churches and groups do not act as I think people would if adults were similarly killed. Are they worth less even to the pro-life? Does their worth increase until birth, then decrease as they age? What determines the value of a human?
I’ve concluded, that a human being, endowed with a soul, has a constant value from beginning to end. The apparent change is based only on how much you know them.
The problem with abortion, in this regard, is that the baby is a complete stranger to nearly everyone, except a slight relationship with his/her mother and (to a lesser extent) father. We don’t know any like them, so we can’t even mourn by imagining who they are like.
It takes more imagination to consider their death. You can consider it as a soul, or yourself as the parent-to-be.
Deliberately trying to empathize with strangers is important. We must know they are our brothers, so we can treat them as such. We need to understand the statistics by feeling the tragedies.
I believe it is only when we mourn properly that we will act properly in the face of mass tragedy.
God bless you.
P.S. I mentioned the killing of babies based on gender earlier, and it’s so important I felt the need to provide some more info. If you want to learn about this, visit 50 million missing by clicking here.