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  • Print publication year: 2017
  • Online publication date: October 2018

Chapter IX - Concluding Reflections

Summary

For thousands, if not millions of years, human beings have destroyed one another, often by those who have the power using it to inflict harm on the less powerful for reasons beyond necessary survival. In the course of such conduct, there has always been a way in which the more powerful rationalized their actions against the weaker, particularly by developing all sorts of questionable propositions about some humans as being inferior to others. Many conflicts from the Middle Ages on, particularly since World War One, have involved some persons being characterized by other persons as lesser humans and implicitly deserving of being tortured, mistreated, held in servitude and killed. For the Nazis during World War Two the Untermensch was the Jew, but also the gypsies, the Slavs and the handicapped. And the Untermensch was not much different from being a slave. The taking and use of slaves has been recorded more than three millennia ago, while the Atlantic slave trade operated from the 16th to the 19th century, and was essentially based on race, black slaves brought from Africa and Native Americans taken as slaves in North America. But why were these enslaved persons viewed as lesser human beings than others, with the implication that they could be exploited, tortured and massacred at will, by those more powerful particularly, by those in the Western world. Was there no common standard of humanity that would have been opposed to such practices?

Opposition to such practices and treatment of humans existed long before these policies and practices were recorded. The Ten Commandments, found both in the Jewish Torah and later the Christian Bible's Old Testament, categorically oppose such practices as stated in the sixth commandment “thou shalt not kill.” In the Book of the Micah, the message of God is once again clear that humans are to treat one another justly and with kindness, “He has told you, O man, what is good; And what does the Lord require of you But to do justice, to love kindness, And to walk humbly with your God?”

The teaching of Yashua, whose Greek name was Jesus, and who in conformity with his higher human values that were divinely inspired in so far as we believed in the existence of a single God, whom we cannot describe, also condemned such treatment of our fellow human beings.