Wednesday, March 21, 2012
How Bad Are We Really?
File this under Evil, or The Dignity of the Human Person, and wince while you read this horrific story brought to you by David Mills, over at First Things:People tend to think that monstrosity among humans is the exception, not the rule. And yet, I know I am guilty of objectifying people every day. Do I experiment on them? No, of course not, but I do often treat them more like objects than living beings. You do too. Think of the clerk in the store that you just want to check your order not "chit-chat" the day away.
Dr. John C. Cutler was a monster. A monster who died after a long and successful life in government and academia, with scholarships and lectures created in his memory. As readers may know, in the mid-1940s he experimented upon poor Guatemalans, including mental patients and orphans as young as nine, trying to find a cure for syphilis. The most horrifying example, already much posted on the web (I quoted it on “First Thoughts” a few days ago), is “that of a mental patient named Berta.”
I cannot hep but reflect on Christ's words in the sermon on the mount about "lust in the heart" The line between mild sinner and monster is much thinner than we might think. But we don't seem to want to talk about that in polite company. For most people our will, combined with social pressure is enough to avoid the monster turn - BUT ONLY CHRIST CAN REMOVE THE MONSTER IMPULSE.
Do we really want to live in a world on the verge on monstrosity? I don't. I want to live in a world where the monster is far, far away. But to get there we have to face the monster impulse and lay it at the foot of the cross and have it destroyed with all our minor sins.
It is hard to see the monster in ourselves, but we just have to.