Worth your Weight in Gold?

Yesterday we learned that the Ministry of Defence is considering compensating the families of Bloody Sunday victims… I don’t think any precise sums have been released yet, but it raises the question again of the value of a human life, and whether all victims should be compensated equally – the rock upon which the Eames-Bradley proposals on dealing with the past effectively foundered.
There has been emotive talk of “blood money” - yet this is a phenomenon that goes back to the ancient law code of Hammurabi and beyond…
And like it or not the issue of how much a life is worth comes up in many ways at many times. Where tourists are kidnapped for ransom by Somali pirates… Where footballers are bought and sold in the transfer window at ridiculous prices… Where the unemployment of millions of people and the effect it has not only on their livelihoods, but their personal sense of worth, is regarded as a “price worth paying” for the sake of the economic wellbeing of the country… although those who think in such terms are rarely those who have to pay the price…
There is an exercise, beloved of preachers speaking to children, that calculates the value of a human body when broken down into its chemical elements… Currently that is about £1 in total, or if they are combined into simple substances like soap or sugar or an iron nail, then you might get as much as £10… I then read this week if our component parts were sold off in bits then we would be worth more than 45 million dollars. With our bone marrow alone being worth about 15 million pounds, and our antibodies 4 million. A lung 70,000 pounds, a kidney 60,000 and a heart 40,000. You’ll not be surprised to hear that a young woman is worth much more than a man because her eggs are worth infinitely more than his sperm.

So perhaps the old saying that you feel like a million dollars should be changed to, I feel like 45 million dollars, or 29.32 million pounds at current exchange rates…

But what price can you really put on a human life… No amount of government compensation will adequately pay for the loss of a loved one… Yet on the other hand there are plenty of people around who, for one reason or another feel totally and completely worthless…

Not so, we learn from the Bible – we may be unworthy, but we are far from worthless… indeed we are told that Jesus believed we were worth dying for…

My Thought for the Day on Good Morning Ulster this morning (23/9/2011). Seek it out on the BBC iplayer over the next 7 days if you want... You will hear my dulcet tones at about 24 and 84 minutes in to the programme.




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