With my recent sickness, I had stopped at the doctor’s office to make an appointment yesterday and to meet that appointment today. Both days, I see someone who has the bumper sticker from PETA of “Friends don’t chain friends. Keep dogs inside.” Now I’m all for treating animals ethically, but it seems the person making such a request doesn’t realize what they are saying.
We can agree that we would not take out friends and chain them up. However, would we also keep them locked indoors? Could we not change it to read “Friends don’t lock friends up. Let dogs outisde.”? I do not see how the first point is made by bringing about the second line. It seems just as unfriendly to force a friend to stay inside.
The problem with these statements ultimately though is that of a culture that no longer knows what makes human unique. We can say we don’t chain up our friends. However, we will put our dogs on chains. We will take our cats and lock them in little kitty carriers so that we can take them to the vet. We treat animals for their own good in ways we don’t treat humans.
Could it just be because animals aren’t humans?
If you could sit down with a dog and tell him how far exactly he has to wander around in his world and how he is to respond to certain people, there would be a valid point. You can’t though. A dog does not have that reasoning capacity that another friend has. A dog is a creature that relies on natural instinct in order to make its decisions.
Humans are different not in degree but in kind. We are created with what is called the imago dei, the image of God. We are capable of reasoning and knowing the right from the wrong. I don’t chain up my roommate because if I wanted him to understand my opinion on something, I’d simply tell him what it is. It is because of that difference that the analogy just doesn’t work.
In an age where our humanity is being more and more lost to the point that now, the debate is whether humans are really different from computers, Christians need to take a stand. We need to affirm the uniqueness of humanity and celebrate the fact that we are the creatures that God made us to be. Animals are great and we should enjoy their company, but let us not treat them as if they were humans when they are not and let us not treat humans as animals when they are not.