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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