Joel Edwards looks at some practical outworkings of human dignity.
Historically, the idea that people are made in the image of God has really fed into all the arteries of – certainly Western civilisation, and even the contribution of the missionary enterprises, with its advantages and disadvantages. And because you are attempting to live up to this incredible idea that black people, white people, rich people, poor people, people irrespective of their ethnicity or history are made to the very highest order, it has meant that Christian faith has committed itself to practical examples of dignity.
So if one looks historically, hospital services, hospitality, the Knights of the Order in the British realm, or the English realm of many centuries – we’re about hospitality. And this has fed into everything, including some of the most important instruments for the declaration of human rights, the United Nations instruments for civic and political rights. All of these have come from an underground stream which has flowed from the conviction that if people are made in God’s image and likeness, we should pull out all the stops in practical – not just philosophical – ways to treat people with dignity and with respect.