When Valuing Innocent Human Life is ‘Wicked’

I wonder what someone of 50-60 years ago would think if you could go back in time and bring them forward with you to 2009.

Someone–especially in the West–from the 1940s or 1940s would have had an outlook on the world shockingly different than the one becoming prevalent today.

Even if they were not a religious person, the odds are that they would ascribe to the general principles of a Christian worldview; the Christian worldview is, after all, at the foundation of the value system of the Western world. 

Even someone criminally inclined or ethically challenged from that era would more likely than not give grudging ascent to the undesirability of a philosophy where relativism and disregard for human life are central.

Yet today those philosophical characteristics describe the dominant worldview of popular culture, and those characteristics are moving farther into the heart of darkness almost daily.

Who back in the world of the 1940s or 1950s would have been able to envision a world where the behavior condemned in Isaiah 5:20 had come alive:

Woe to those who call evil good
       and good evil,
       who put darkness for light
       and light for darkness,
       who put bitter for sweet
       and sweet for bitter.

Yet instances where evil is called “good” and good is called “evil” are becoming more and more common.

Recently I heard it described as “evil” to keep illegal drugs from people…even though other treatments are available, the drugs in question carry tremendous health risks, and would undermine our overall efforts to fight the damage done to society by the drug culture.

In a recent dialogue with a homosexual activist, I was told that it was evil to warn someone about the spiritual and health hazards of homosexual behavior, but not evil to verbally and physically assault the person or property of someone who warns another about spiritual or physical danger. 

And now we hear from LifeSiteNewsthat a leading bioethicist in Britain says it is “genuinely wicked” to refuse to kill someone.

Speaking to a group in Belfast last night, Mary Baroness Warnock, a leading voice in British bioethics, said that doctors who refuse to cooperate in assisted suicide are “genuinely wicked.”

Following a theme of previous comments in which she said that the elderly and people with dementia have a “duty to die,” Warnock said, “There are doctors, we know, who don’t pay any attention [to a patient’s desire for suicide].

“But that seems to me a genuinely wicked thing to do – to disregard what somebody had quite explicitly said, that he wants to die – not to be resuscitated in certain circumstances and in certain circumstances to be helped to commit suicide.

No one wants to be disabled, and no one wants to see a loved one in a disabled state. 

Yet Western culture has for thousands of years (thanks to its Christian heritage) recognized that human life is sacred and infinitely valuable.  It has been recognized that God, as sovereign Creator,  is the author and finisher of human life, and will not condone a usurpation of this authority by human beings.

Who are we to decide when a person’s life is worth living or not?  We are frankly and flatly unqualified to make such a determination.

Joni Eareckson Tada was only a teenager when she was left a quadriplegic due to a diving accident.  In such a state, many of us would feel little motivation to continue living, and Joni admits she was suicidal following the accident. 

However, unlike today, there was no organized, aggressive movement advocating the killing of the disabled, so she lived…and went on to marry and head an international ministry that has blessed untold numbers of people around the world.

My wife was born blind.  Many would have considered her life not worth living, but she has gone on to obtain a Master’s Degree in learning disabilities, become a teacher, a singer, an accomplished pianist, and perhaps most importantly, be a blessing to me and our two children whom she homeschools. 

Human beings have not the knowledge, the foresight, or the authority to end innocent human life.  We tread in dangerous territory when we assume such rights.

Isaiah didn’t make such a weighty pronouncement for nothing, so I shudder at what awaits our civilization when the so-called authorities on life call evil good and good evil.

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