Human First

Human First August 10, 2012

Only human beings are or can be Christians. Wouldn’t you agree?

Christians are a subset of humans, and being Christian is one way of being human, not something that transforms people into something other than people.

Some would say that Christianity is about being human in the way God intended, restoring the damaged image of God. Others would point to evidence suggesting that Christianity brings out the worst human characteristics in some people.

Whatever your view in these matters, hopefully we can all agree that there are some matters – respect, civility, kindness, compassion, and many more – which are shared among human beings and not the purview of one group. And we often recognize this. Christians would not say that someone bullying them – or their bullying someone else – is “dechristianizing” the other. But they might agree that it is dehumanizing them.

I wonder whether we could get the majority of Christians to commit to being human first. If you feel called to love even enemies, to deny yourself and give self-sacrificially, inspired by your Christian faith, then that is laudable. Go above and beyond! But whatever one’s commitment to being more than human, be at least human, and never less than human, nor willing to treat other human beings as less than human.

Because if being human is a pre-requisite for being a Christian (there are no Christian dogs or cats or mice, are there?) then anyone who fails at being human by definition fails at being Christian too. Wouldn’t you agree?

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