The Bible's impact on human rights has been monumental. Thanks to the golden rule "do unto others as you would have them do to you" the Bible and its followers have spawned innumerable reforms the world over. As a child in a third world nation, Afghanistan's socioeconomic status troubled young Mark Ritchie greatly. He struggled with seeing such poverty and pain and wondered what good his parent's small efforts were. In God in the Pits: the Enron-Jihad Edition, Ritchie show the reality of the Bible's impact on human rights and the difference one person can make by loving others:
Christianity's Impact on Human Rights
I knew these people were to be pitied. And I did pity them. They were so devoid of hope. The children my age spent their days in the streets gathering manure for fuel, went home to overcrowded, one-room mud houses, and slept on dirt floors. Winter was an especially difficult time. The need for manure was greater, but the street supplied less. The infant mortality rate was 65 percent-that was the official statistic-but I also knew there was no one keeping track of the number born to each family. That would have been an impossibility even if someone had cared enough to do it. Life here is just not that valuable.
Poverty in Afghanistan
On one occasion our family was in the humble home of some Afghans. Because of the economic gulf that existed between foreigners and the Afghan people, such a visit was almost unheard of. The mother had lost her first four babies and the one she was now holding was two years old and badly malnourished. He was the same age as my little brother James, who could run and play and was generally healthy enough to keep chaos ever present in the family. Her child, though, having never eaten anything except mother's milk, still looked like an infant.
My parents and others discussed the permanent damage to this child's physical and mental development. I was losing my appetite just looking at him. I couldn't help wondering why my brother James was born into our family and this innocent little fellow into his hopeless circumstances. Things could have been reversed. And I could have been one of the older siblings that didn't make it. Maybe they were the lucky ones. That was the kind of country it appeared to be: the survivors lived in misery; the luckier ones were dead.
The concern expressed by the adults over the condition of this child was all the more depressing because it made me realize that there were thousands more just like him. Helping him could hardly make a difference. But they did.
I got that same feeling every time my father tried to help someone. If you want to help the miserable, I thought, there is an unlimited number out there just waiting. What good does it do to help only one, I asked?
Later, as an adult, Mark Ritchie and his family were able to answer this question as they housed Cambodian refugees in their home until they acclimated to American society. There Mark came to the conclusion:
Could this be what those Fundamentalists meant when they used to talk about serving the Lord?
"Serving the Lord," another irrelevant phrase that had always prompted the response, "what a drag, what a bore." The sacrifice involved here (and it was substantial) was hardly worth mentioning by comparison to the inner satisfaction of knowing that I had been used by the creator of the universe to help relieve the suffering of a few of his humble creatures. What great honor I felt to be considered worthy to help God do his job, to help him make right the immeasurable evil inflicted by the wicked on the innocent.
Excerpt from God in the Pits, The Enron-Jihad Edition, by Mark Andrew Ritchie
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