Life and Democracy

November is just a few weeks away now, and in the United States of America, that means it’s time to vote.  I hesitate to speak directly to politics here, but the issue of the sanctity of life is so intimately linked to both the Christian Worldview and current political landscape that I can scarcely get around it.  

Is all life precious?  Is all life deserving of life?  That is a question that many are asking these days.  I beg you to consider this question and vote accordingly.  Consider these facts and statements gathered from Dr. Al Mohler’s blog.  

John McCain is fully dedicated to the right to life for our unborn. He supports the reversal of Roe vs. Wade to put the issue back into the hands of the states.  He is fully supportive of life beginning at the point of conception and its being protected from that point.  His running mate, Sarah Palin, is even more devoted to this issue than she is.  As the wife, mother, and professional, I’d say she has a basic grasp on the issue.

Barack Obama, on the other hand sees the issue from a far different viewpoint.  This from an article by Professor George of Princeton University:

First:

For starters, he supports legislation that would repeal the Hyde Amendment, which protects pro-life citizens from having to pay for abortions that are not necessary to save the life of the mother and are not the result of rape or incest. The abortion industry laments that this longstanding federal law, according to the pro-abortion group NARAL, ”forces about half the women who would otherwise have abortions to carry unintended pregnancies to term and bear children against their wishes instead.” In other words, a whole lot of people who are alive today would have been exterminated in utero were it not for the Hyde Amendment. Obama has promised to reverse the situation so that abortions that the industry complains are not happening (because the federal government is not subsidizing them) would happen.

Second:

He has promised that ”the first thing I’d do as President is sign the Freedom of Choice Act” (known as FOCA). This proposed legislation would create a federally guaranteed ”fundamental right” to abortion through all nine months of pregnancy, including, as Cardinal Justin Rigali of Philadelphia has noted in a statement condemning the proposed Act, ”a right to abort a fully developed child in the final weeks for undefined ‘health’ reasons.” In essence, FOCA would abolish virtually every existing state and federal limitation on abortion, including parental consent and notification laws for minors, state and federal funding restrictions on abortion, and conscience protections for pro-life citizens working in the health-care industry-protections against being forced to participate in the practice of abortion or else lose their jobs. The pro-abortion National Organization for Women has proclaimed with approval that FOCA would ”sweep away hundreds of anti-abortion laws [and] policies.”

Third:

Obama, unlike even many ”pro-choice” legislators, opposed the ban on partial-birth abortions when he served in the Illinois legislature and condemned the Supreme Court decision that upheld legislation banning this heinous practice. He has referred to a baby conceived inadvertently by a young woman as a ”punishment” that she should not endure. He has stated that women’s equality requires access to abortion on demand. Appallingly, he wishes to strip federal funding from pro-life crisis pregnancy centers that provide alternatives to abortion for pregnant women in need. There is certainly nothing ”pro-choice” about that.

In addition:

In an act of breathtaking injustice which the Obama campaign lied about until critics produced documentary proof of what he had done, as an Illinois state senator Obama opposed legislation to protect children who are born alive, either as a result of an abortionist’s unsuccessful effort to kill them in the womb, or by the deliberate delivery of the baby prior to viability. This legislation would not have banned any abortions. Indeed, it included a specific provision ensuring that it did not affect abortion laws. (This is one of the points Obama and his campaign lied about until they were caught.) The federal version of the bill passed unanimously in the United States Senate, winning the support of such ardent advocates of legal abortion as John Kerry and Barbara Boxer. But Barack Obama opposed it and worked to defeat it. For him, a child marked for abortion gets no protection-even ordinary medical or comfort care-even if she is born alive and entirely separated from her mother. So Obama has favored protecting what is literally a form of infanticide.

Senator Obama, though he claims to be a devoted Christian, is clearly out of step with the Christian Worldview on the issue of abortion.  What shall we say about this inconsistency?  Maybe he doesn’t allow his religious views to affect any aspect of his life outside of church-on-sunday.  Maybe he has sold out to parties that disagree and despise the view that all life is sacred.  Maybe he isn’t the devoted Christian he claims to be.  I have no idea.  

Clearly though, Obama’s actions and statements and views on abortion speak for themselves.  He is clearly out of step with the Christian Worldview.  And as Christians I beg you, in view of God’s stance on the issue of life, to consider closely who you will vote for this November.

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Published in: on October 15, 2008 at 9:48 am  Leave a Comment  
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Save the People! Recovering Dignity in a Postmodern World

Salvo Magazine is a quarterly publication by St. James Fellowship (which also offers Touchstone) about life in the west. A clever tagline of theirs is “Recovering the only worldview that actually works.”  It regularly comments on science, ideologies, sexuality, art & entertainment – a host of things, really, all culturally relevant.  As always, there’s a link to their home page to right.

This week I was reading an article of theirs on Human Dignity.  It was called Yodelay Cuckoo!  And in a way only Salvo has thus far delivered, it dealt with the arguments and issues of human dignity, setting it in Switzerland where some of the undoubtedly craziest ideas on the subject don’t just originate, but are turned into law.

The article by Michael Cook gives a quick look at Switzerland’s policies extending dignity to anything and almost everything.  “In 2006, for instance, a researcher was forbidden to give thirsty monkeys a drink of water because a reward mechanism to get them to carry out a task was deemed harmful to their dignity.” And “the Federal Ethics Committee on Non-Human Biotechnology, recently released a discussion paper about the dignity of plants.”  Apparently mowing the yard could soon be classified as a felony offense.  People for the Ethical Treatment of Plants are on their way.

With all that dignity being shelled out all over the place, you would think the lives of people would be of utmost importance.

But Switzerland is one of the few countries in the world where assisted suicide is legal.  Heck, its a business.

Its easy to look at the Swiss and these crazy laws and say “Wow, overboard.”

But the Swiss are not alone.  Baroness Mary Warnock, an influential medical ethics specialist has recently made the statement “If you’re demented, you’re wasting peoples’ lives.” She thinks you should be “put down.”

Growing up on a farm, I learned that when a cow was sick beyond the chances of recovery, it had to be put down.  Are humans on the same level of dignity as cows?

Cook goes on to blast American forms of the same idea.  Although it hasn’t been acted upon nearly to the same degree here in the states, the loss of human dignity is just as prevalent and just as extreme.  

And why not?  After all, thats where postmodernism leads.  If we forget all about objective truth, if we forget that we are made in the image of God, then where can human dignity come from.  This is where Michael Cook doesn’t go far enough.  Lets connect the dots.  If Darwin was right, if there is no God, if we, humans, are just one long string of cosmic accidents, where is dignity?  Think about it, if a particular bacteria, eons ago, had had a different mutation, we could have all ended up as bacteria!  If the dignity of the person, is built on an accidental gene mutation, then there’s no room for dignity at all.  

In fact, there’s no room for personhood.  If a person is only some random genetic mutations, then we are just like trees and frogs and fungi.  There’s no personhood there.  We see in our personhood that we are not random mutations.  And we see, in the Bible, what we really are – human beings, made in the image of God.  I’ve written about this before and described this dignity with Francis Scheaffer’s term “Manishness.”  Its at the bottom of who we are, at our core.

We should not forget this.  If we do we’ll be swayed by every wind of ideology that comes along.  We’ll give grass a place that should be reserved for men.  This darwinistic worldview is what these outlandish governments and “thinkers” have as their working base.  Its their way of understanding the world around them.  As Christians, we must not think this way.  We must learn to think in God’s way.  And he declared man and woman “very good.”  Let’s be the people who don’t forget who we are.  Let’s be the people who remember in whose image we were created.  And lets save the people from having their dignity thrown into the gutter so that grass can be dignified.

Published in: on September 25, 2008 at 9:33 am  Leave a Comment  
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Constructing a Christian Worldview: Created

Whats in a worldview?  Everything.  Abraham Kuyper wrote:

Oh, no single piece of our mental world is to be hermetically sealed off from the rest, and there is not a square inch in the whole domain of our human existence over which Christ, who is Sovereign over all, does not cry: ‘Mine!’

For Kuyper, everything was under the domain of his Biblical Worldview.  For Kuyper, every single “square inch” of his life was brought under the supremacy of Christ.  That is a biblical worldview.

But how does one go about understanding life in this way.  It is not easy.  We live in a world where everything around us does not scream “Christ is everything!”  We live in a world where the religious aspect of life is relegated to the private and personal realm.  Religion becomes a collection of values.  And values are true only for the individual who upholds them.  They can’t be applied in the public realm.  Doing so would certainly offend someone.  Values are important, we are told, just not important enough to influence our lives in public.

Recently at school, a medical doctor spoke to the class about birth defects and abnormalities.  This particular doctor helps screen for such things.  And if defects are found, the pregnancy is commonly terminated.  The decision to terminate, he insisted, must not be influenced by our “values.”  Our “values” should not enter the conversation.  We should leave those at home.

I find it interesting that this is a part of his value system which he believes is OK to bring to work.  He is a post-modernist.  He doesn’t believe that there exists an objective truth or a right and wrong.  Right for one person may differ drastically than right for another person.  That’s his worldview.  And he brings it in to work everyday.  But he tells me I cannot bring mine.

Well, pardon me, but in the first place that is absurd.   No one makes an important decision after first eliminating everything they believe about life, about morality, about clean-cut issues such as murder.  No one.  And secondly, its impossible – as if any of us could really forget everything we believe, walk away to a completely neutral standpoint (as if that standpoint even exists) and make a decision from a fresh perspective.

What he told us to do was both absurd and impossible.  On top of that, he doesn’t do it.

We are faced with worldview questions everyday.  So the big question is: how do we construct this worldview.

As you may have noticed, the catchphrase of my blog (see above) is “Created, Fallen and Redeemed.”  That is a good place to start.  It applies to every person in a slightly different way.  I mean, a plumber is not really affected by the way a doctor views his life.  But at the same time, the Biblical answer to the big questions affects, on its own, every single person’s life.  So it may apply differently across the board, but it certainly doesn’t ever not apply.  (Pardon my grammar, or lack thereof.)

Created:  The place to begin is creation.  Now I don’t necessarily mean “creation” in the biblical context.  I just mean that every worldview must account for the origin of everything.  How did it all get here?  What were things orginially like before they were disordered?  Even the communist worldview answers these questions.  Communism says that once upon a time there was no land-ownership and no competition.  Everywhere there was a peaceful communal life where people thrived.

The Biblical Worldview is a little bit different.  The Bible holds that God created the world and put man in it.  Man was without sin and without problems, living in community with God.  There wasn’t sin in the original created order.  There weren’t natural disasters.  There wasn’t disease or crime or poverty.  “And God saw everything that he had made, and behold, it was very good” (Genesis 1:31).  Indeed.  It was.

God made man in his own image.  We had (and have) an innate dignity.  There is an importance, a value, a worth to us, just because we are “us.”  Just because we are made in the image of God.  This is huge.  People are important because God made us that way and told us we are important.

Then God gave man a job.  (And when I say “man,” I just mean people.  Come on.)  Man was to fill the earth and subdue it.  We were supposed to reign over the earth.  Under God, we were supposed to reign supreme.  And we were supposed to fill the earth.  We were supposed to fill it with Image Bearers.  We were supposed to build civilizations and develop cultures, all to give glory to God.

This is what Creation means.  This is what it is all about.  God made it and he proclaimed it to be very good.  This is the basis for the Christian Worldview.  This is the foundation.  The Worldview doesn’t end here.  But it cannot start anywhere else.

Coming soon:  Constructing a Christian Worldview:  Fallen.

Published in: on September 9, 2008 at 12:59 pm  Comments (1)  
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The “Manishness” of Man

When I say “Manishness” I do not mean anything concerning manliness or masculinity. And when I say “Man,” I dont mean anything that excludes women. I simply mean people. Women portray the same manishness in the same way. And every individual person does it somewhat differently. I get the term “manishness” from Francis Schaeffer in his “Escape from Reason.” He writes:

The fact that man has fallen does not mean that he has ceased to bear God’s image. He can love, though he is fallen. It would be a mistake to say that only a Christian can love. Moreover, a non-Christian painter can still paint beauty. And it is because they can still do these things that they manifest that they are God’s image-bearers or, to put it another way, they assert their unique “manishness” as men

I recently stumbled across a post written in the Rabbit Room which was titled “The Gospel According to Bruce.” He writes that Springsteen “brushes up against Truth” with his lyrics. I would have to agree.

But how does this tie into Worldview? What bearing has it to the proper understanding of life?

The Bible holds that man was made in the image of God. That gives us an innate dignity. (I say “us” because I know that there is no one reading this who isn’t included.) We are created with certain goodness, a certain worth and value that stems from our being created in God’s image.

Thats why killing a person is different than killing a cow. While it isn’t morally right to torture or mistreat a cow, it is perfectly fine to kill and eat. But that isn’t the case with men. Because of this, even instances of self-defense very often see trials. It is important to insure that a person, a man, made in the image of God, is not senselessly murdered. It is important because that man reflects the image of God. It is important because that man carries that innate dignity and worth.

Other Worldviews fail in this respect. Naturalism holds that we are accidents. No dignity there. We are merely the result of millions of years of genetic “mistakes.” Any dignity attributed to a person from that type of origin is simply an irrational and contentless leap into a modern, if not civilized, mysticism. It is not founded in rationality. It is not objectively true.

Consider it honestly. Answer the big questions of life such as the innate dignity that we know we have. This is why we are angered when people are senselessly murdered in massacres, genocides and premeditated murders. Only the Biblical Worldview that we are created by God and given worth by him in a particular time-space event holds the answer to this and the other big questions of life.

Published in: on August 25, 2008 at 3:32 pm  Comments (2)  
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