By Andy Steiger
In 1885, the King of Belgium, Leopold II, was granted sole ownership of the Congo Free State. He immediately enslaved the people and plundered the Congo of its natural resources. By the end of his rule, Leopold was responsible for the death of more than 10 million Congolese.
That death toll is on par with the Holocaust.
How can people be capable of such heinous crimes? History consistently teaches that atrocities like these are made possible through dehumanization, the process by which a person is seen as less than human, such as an object or an animal.
“Just like our eyesight can fail over time, our worldview can slowly become blind to the truth. It’s imperative we not only recognize worldviews that dehumanize, but also implement an effective humanizing treatment.”
If you could go back in time and ask King Leopold if it’s wrong to kill people, his answer would have likely been, “Yes! Of course, killing people is wrong.” However, he would have explained that the Congolese were not people—they were animals. This was taught in universities such as Harvard and Princeton and clearly illustrated in 1906 when a native of the Congo, Ota Benga, was placed in a cage at the Bronx zoo with an orangutan.
Dehumanization affects one’s ability to enslave or kill by changing what they perceive to be enslaving or killing. People around the world are still impacted by this skewed perspective every day.
The goal of The Human Project is to discuss worldviews that dehumanize people in our culture today. The hope is to clearly see where our perspectives are distorted, make needed corrections, and avoid repeating the horrific mistakes of our past.
For this reason, The Human Project was created.
Just like our eyesight can fail over time, our worldview can slowly become blind to the truth. It’s imperative we not only recognize worldviews that dehumanize, but also implement an effective humanizing treatment.
The truth is found in the humanizing gospel of Jesus Christ.
The Human Project is an evangelistic video series by Power to Change and Apologetics Canada that explores how the Bible answers culturally relevant and important questions about what it means to be human. Visit thehumanproject.ca to find out more!