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Re: theos-l digest: December 13, 1999

Dec 13, 1999 10:12 PM
by kymsmith

Alan wrote:

>In the
>main, human beings are much the same as they have ever been; only the
>technology has changed.  From the Israelite invasion of Canaan through
>the various genocides in history such as the holocaust, and more
>recently the Kosovars, the Kurds, and now the Chechens, human brutality
>is, if anything, worse.

Hmmm, I think I have to disagree here.  I do believe that humans have
changed.  There was a time when humans actually believed it was ok for
women not to have the right to vote, that beating a woman with a stick no
bigger than a man's thumb was acceptable, that children were nothing more
than property, or that animals were nothing more than machines (remember

Yes, it is true that this thinking still lives on in all cultures and in
many minds, but the philosophy of Life for many people is altering.  Women
in Muslim countries are starting to form "human rights" groups - something
unheard of in the past.  Laws are now being passed making animal abuse
punishable by law.  Laws have been passed protecting children.  Of course,
there are violations of this by individuals everywhere, but, in general,
most people, if questioned do not reflect the thinking regarding human
rights and animal rights that their forebearers had.  For me, the NATO
involvement in Kosovo was an example of humans changing their minds - maybe
we learned a little something from the Holocaust.  So, perhaps the
governments did it for some selfish reasons, but what matters is that most
people believed that the slaughtering of people was simply unjustifiable.
No, there wasn't as strong an outpouring from the general public as I would
have liked, but, for once, the world did not stand by and simply watch.
And it didn't matter that these people were Muslims, who have a history of
disliking the West, Westerners still wanted to stop the killing -
differences of religion and lifestyle are no longer excuses for allowing

These are small steps, but I do believe that people are "evolving" in how
they look at others.  There have been horrific events in the past that did
not bother many of the great thinkers and people of the time - they managed
to find some kind of excuse to justify it.  Today, that is much harder to
find.  Fewer and fewer people are buying into the "us vs. them" mentality
because we are learning that it just ain't so.  We now understand that a
mother in Africa grieves as much over the loss of a child as a mother does
in America.  Used to be that Africans were not seen as being possessed of
such emotions, much less the ability to even think.

I really do believe that the human philosophy is pointing more and more
towards Compassion.  It's a clumsy process, but I think humans ultimately
strive for the "good."


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