Criteria: (n) rules or principles for evaluating or testing something.
Call off the dogs, close up the investigation and give all the researchers a lunch break.
We have stumbled upon something.
Perhaps the problem with all of our dealings on Earth is that we have never universally established criteria for what it means to be a human being.
Everybody has their opinion.
There are those who insist we are saints, and certainly those in the clergy who feel it’s necessary to get us to admit that we’re sinners.
Sometimes we make bold statements and talk about human achievement—and follow it up immediately with a sheepish, pouty, “Well, we’re only human.”
Which is it?
Are we dastardly folk who cannot be trusted, who think only of ourselves and lie at the drop of a hat, and therefore need constant supervision in the simplest affairs of our lives?
Or are we truly created in the image of God, therefore capable of great works of art, and deeds of valor and courage?
Since we can’t make up our minds on this particular issue, we use being human as a way of decrying the need for God, but also as an excuse for leaving the toilet seat up all the time.
So I humbly but firmly offer these three criteria for being human:
- We don’t have a big brain so we can act stupid. Smarten up and learn something today.
- We are remarkably all the same, so stop looking for subtle differences or shades of color.
- We can make magnificent things as long as we admit they need to be made and we have not yet achieved all that we must do.
Could we actually agree on these three things?
Could these become the criteria for being human, so when some fall short, they can do a quick repenting job, and when others feel like gods, we can lure them down from Olympus?
Without criteria, we make up excuses right on the spot—like a little kid with chocolate stains on his shirt, who’s trying to decide if it would be better to admit the candy-eating, or insist he pooped himself.