According to writer Jon Bloom, from DesiringGod.org, Playboy magazine founder, Hugh Hefner, who died about a week ago at the age of 91, “destroyed millions [of souls].” This is because he was known to propel the pornography industry from its dark dungeons into mainstream society today, with all its philosophies and fantasies. Indeed, as a society, we have delved into the depths of apathy and selfishness. With these vices, naturally, humans are being degraded at an alarming rate. There are 45 million slaves in the world today. That is more than five times the population of New York City! Many of them are being sold to be instruments of men’s disgusting, unspeakable “pleasures.” Even if one is not in slavery, there are still many ways humans are being degraded, from the words people use to describe each other to how some people physically attack another. If we are to value each other and bring hope and love back to the entire human race, change must start with us. We must, as Mathma Ghandi has said in numerous sources, “Be the change you want to see in the world.” Here are some practical ways I find that are effective in fighting against human degradation and devaluation.:
- Value and take time to verbally (and also in writing) thank the people who have made a positive impact in your life. –Many people, whether at home, at school, in the workplace, or in any other place of service, don’t hear many words of appreciation when they do something positive and are condemned almost instantly when they do something even just a bit wrong or sinful. Even if you think these people already have been acknowledged, thank them for their positive role in your life anyway. Not only is it good manners, it could make someone’s day-and even influence positively the trajectory of the person’s entire life!
- Never ever use someone just for your own benefit and pleasure.–We all have been guilty of this in one way or another. For instance, if you are only friends with someone just to get something from them, STOP! Not only are you reducing their humanity, but you are also being fake. Be genuine and aware of your motives for doing things. If you want to care for or be kind to someone, be sure you are doing it with no strings attached. Do it for the sake of doing right to them and because you want them to be happy, not to get something out from them. Doing kind things without expecting anything in return also motivates us to continue doing so, even if things get tough or if the recipient is ungrateful.
- Support social justice organizations like International Justice Mission or A21, which work to help free people who have been sold into sexual or other types of slavery and that help them rebuild their lives.–You can either contribute financially or volunteer your time in some way to these organizations, so their good work can continue. You can also spread the word about these organizations and about the seriousness of the human trafficking problem by signing petitions, organizing awareness marches, bringing it up in conversation, and if you are spiritual, praying for these organizations and the people they are helping.
- Refrain from supporting or participating in any form of human degradation.–This means everything from refusing to look at any pornographic images to standing up for anyone who is being bullied or abused in any way. For instance, if you see someone bullying someone else at school or in the workplace, condemn the act immediately and stand up for the victim! Do not be a bystander or even worse, participate in the bullying or teasing yourself! Also, do not support any media platform which glorifies the degradation of others in any way. For instance, if a movie or television show promotes or romanticizes people being degraded, either physically or verbally, don’t watch it! This is why I personally have made a commitment to not knowingly watch a movie or television show that emphasizes and promotes sexual and other types of violence anymore. There is way too much degradation and devaluation in the “real world” already, why would I want it to enter my fantasy life too? This is not to be “prudish” or to judge those that enjoy watching or listening to these types of things, but to emphasize the need for all of us, me included, to value people more by thinking of people as beings with precious souls, not tools to be used for our own selfish desires.
Human degradation is a big problem in the world today, but if we each do our part to help combat it, the devaluation will slowly fade away. Yes, it seems like a gargantuan task to accomplish, and no one can fight this alone. Together, though, we can each do something small (i.e.. eating a giant candy bar, one bite at a time, so to speak) to chip away at this problem. Then, the people around us will feel more valued and loved again, and they will see that there is still love and hope in this world.