Restoring Human’s Impaired Image
The consciousness about the self, the more profound awareness of self-identification, is a distinctive spiritual attribute of humans. Understanding the self is fundamental for one’s place in society and interpersonal and intrapersonal relationships. When the individual identity is attached to power, it becomes highly contentious from the smallest unit of society, the family, to the largest unit, the nation. History is stained with innumerable bloodsheds in the name of identity. It is the root cause of communal, ethnic, and religious stratification that casts a dark shade over many societies worldwide. The ethnic cleansing of Jews by the Nazis in Germany and the transatlantic slave trade under the British colonial regime, and the caste system in India are a few prominent examples from the past.
Some of the highly influential philosophical alternatives introduced as an antidote to the chaos caused by discrimination, oppression, and exploitation in the name of identity did not differ from the vices they were fighting against. They also turned out to be means of oppression and violence. For instance,
Marxism, introduced in the nineteenth century, followed by other ideologies that support segments of the societies (gender, class, caste, or sexual orientation) that emerged in recent decades, could only
widen the gaps between groups instead of restoring the true value of the human self.
The biblical definition of humanity presented in the book of Genesis, imago dei (the image of God), is par excellence compared to all other religious and philosophical definitions ever proposed. The primary account of the creation of human beings stated in Genesis 1:27: “In the image of God he created them, male and female he created them,” underscores two significant implications vital for understanding the identity of the human self that are consistent with the scientific conclusions. a) Humans are far superior to all species in every respect: Intellectually, socially, morally, and spiritually. b) Every human has equal status despite color, creed, caste, or caliber. Therefore, gender, class, ethnicity, or any such differences are not meant for disparity but for diversity that contributes beauty to the world. However, the same assertions can prove harmful to human dignity and actual progress unless it is grounded on a higher purpose.
Therefore, a more crucial affirmation that transcends the scientific affirmation of humanity that the Genesis account contributes is pivotal in understanding humanity today. The fundamental biological distinction of humanity, ‘male’ and ‘female,’ is neither a mere unguided, random process of natural selection as the dominant, well-accepted scientific theory of evolution suggests nor a matter of ‘personal choice’ proposed by the advocates of gender neutrality. Instead, it is by divine determination. This awareness will liberate the modern generation who are tempted to think, “I am a woman trapped in a man’s body,” or vis-a-versa. The best remedy to restore humanity from the distorted views about their identity today is to reaffirm their unique identity as the creator’s image that explains their intelligence, creativity, and moral consciousness well.
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