We were excited when those 33 miners were rescued in Chile, but there was also a mine disaster in China around the same time in which 77 miners died. One statistic that was quoted as part of the story is that there are 2,600 mine deaths a year in China. Safety is lax and China doesn’t seem to care. Compare that to the effort undertaken to rescue 33 miners in Chile, and what we’ve done in the U.S. to rescue miners when there’s a disaster. In addition, we in the West have taken precautions and provided rescue shelters in our mines, while China has done very little. Why the difference?
It’s simple. We in the West have at least remnants of the Judeo-Christian tradition which says all people are made in the image of God, everybody is precious in God’s sight, and God loves everyone. Human life is valued, and valiant rescue efforts are made when a life is in danger. In other countries without such a tradition, life is cheap and not as highly valued. In addition, there are 1.3 billion people in China, so their attitude is “what does it matter that 2,600 people die each year in mine accidents?”
What scares me is that as the West moves further away from its Judeo-Christian roots, life will have less value than it does now. Another threat to the sanctity of life is the teaching of evolution in the schools. If humans are just higher-level animals, why should we particularly care about human life? If a child is exposed only to evolution and never hears God’s side of the story in Sunday school, he or she will naturally devalue human life. That’s probably one of the reasons we have so much bullying (see my earlier post on that subject). I encourage parents to go to church and take their kids to Sunday school so these values don’t disappear from the West.