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Mary Crowley's Journey of Faith - Part 2

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December 09, 2014

Rigid Specifications of Human Worth

Rigid Specifications of Human Worth

At the top of the list of the most highly respected and valued attributes in our culture is physical attractiveness. Those who happen to have it are often honored and even feared; those who do not may be disrespected and rejected through no fault of their own. 

Though it seems incredibly unfair, this measure of human worth is evident from the earliest moments of life, when an attractive infant is considered more valuable than a homely one. For this reason, it is not uncommon for a mother to be very depressed shortly after the birth of her first baby. She knew that most newborns are rather ungamely, but she hadn't expected such a disaster!  In fact, she had severely hoped to give birth to a grinning, winking, blinking six-week-old Gerber baby, having four front teeth and rosy, pink cheeks. Instead, they hand her a red, toothless, bald, prune-faced, screaming little creature whom she often wants to send back. You see, the personal worth of that one-day-old infant is actually doubted by his parents.

As the child grows, his value as a person will be assessed not only by his parents, but also by those outside his home. Beauty contests offering scholarships and prizes for gorgeous babies are now common, as if the attractive child didn't already have enough advantages awaiting him in life. 

This distorted system of evaluating human worth can be seen in a thousand examples. You may recall the tragic incident that occurred in Chicago during the sixties, when eight student nurses were viciously murdered. The following day, a commentator was discussing the violent event on the radio, and he said, "The thing that makes this tragedy much worse is that all eight of these girls were so attractive!" In other words, the girls were more valuable human beings because of their beauty, making their loss more tragic. If one accepts that statement, then the opposite is also true: the murders would have been less tragic if homely girls were involved. The conclusion, as written by George Orwell, is inescapable: "All [people] are equal, but some [people] are more equal than others."

My point is that from the earliest experience of life, a child begins to learn the social importance of physical beauty. The values of his society cannot be kept from his little ears, and many adults do not even try to conceal their bias.

***

From Dr. James Dobson’s book The Complete Marriage and Family Home Reference Guide.

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