Rev. Dr. David Henderson. "What's One Life." Presbyterians Pro-Life News. Winter 1997.
Keywords: vocation, identity, society, exploitation, other
When a culture loses its center, it is first seen at the fringes, in its treatment of those unable to fend for themselves--those nearest birth and death. Colin Turnbull pointed this out in a frightening way in the "The Mountain People," his classic 1970s study of the Ik people of Uganda. Disoriented when their hunting land was revoked, the Iciens lost their direction as a society, and with it any concern for each other. They began to think only of themselves, living in a society of what Turnbull describes as "mutual exploitation." They would steal food from the mouths of their aging parents, throw infants out to fend for themselves, and abandon the old, the sick, and the handicapped to die without a second thought. "Does that sound," asks Tumbull, "so very different from our own society?"