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Culture of Death—Part I

Death is an enemy, the kind of enemy that only the Lord Jesus Christ can, and will, destroy (1 Cor. 15:26). Yet sadly, our world seems to be viewing this enemy as a “savior,” “a deliverer” who is to be invited into our lives in a variety of ways for our comfort and our deliverance.

Such twisted thinking has led to a number of strange scenarios. A few years ago a physician in the Netherlands euthanized a 26-year-old ballerina because she had developed a bad case of arthritis in her toes. She could no longer pursue her career and requested to be put to death. The doctor complied and said, “One doesn’t enjoy such things, but it was her choice.” A person who is “pro-choice” is not only someone who wants to be free to terminate a pregnancy. It also means someone who wants to be free to terminate their own life.

How far down the foul-smelling back alleyway of the culture of death have we come? Abortion is now seen as rescuing the unborn from a future life of misery, just as euthanasia is seen as rescuing the living from a life of physical and psychological pain. I have a video show titled “From The Front Lines” that can be accessed on our website (www.swrc.com). I remember a response to a show that I did on the sanctity of human life. The viewer was unhappy with what I said. The writer’s basic response was that abortion rescues a lot of people from a life of misery. I had, supposedly, ignored the facts that prove that. What facts? The writer alleged that out of the 60 million aborted babies at least 59 million of them would have been sexually abused, molested, hungry, impoverished, physically abused, emotionally, spiritually and psychologically abused, and 50 percent of them would have come into adulthood with mental disorders and personality disorders. The writer forgot to mention, however, that under her plan to rescue the unborn by abortion from an alleged life of misery her plan would have also killed hundreds of future scientists, school teachers, pastors, and many others whose service and expertise have made life better for multitudes. In our culture of death, the most noble and beneficial thing you can do is either kill yourself, or kill your baby.

Farewell: The Traditional Medical Ethic

In 1970, an editorial in California Medicine stated: “The traditional Western ethic has always placed great emphasis on the intrinsic worth and equal value of every human life. The sanctity of life ethic has been the basis for most of our laws and much of our social policy, and it has been the keystone of Western medicine. This traditional ethic is being eroded at its core and may eventually be abandoned.” Fifty years later, in 2020, this erosion is producing a barren landscape of grief and misery.

The Hippocratic Oath, usually attributed to the Greek physician Hippocrates (460-370 b.c.), is an oath of ethics historically taken by physicians. It is known primarily by the words, “First, do no harm.” These exact words were probably not in the original form, though the sentiment is. It is significant that during the Third Reich the words “First, do no harm” were omitted. Under that devilish regime “doing harm” was the first order of the day.

Today medical organizations have modified and/or departed from the Hippocratic Oath, which is not surprising. However, whatever happens in academia and in the developing psyche of the world, the Christian must abide by the Word of God. Genesis 1:27 tells us, “So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them.” A ballerina is more than toes—arthritic or otherwise—and her life more valuable than her career as a dancer.

Human thinking bestows a functional value on a person. If a person can function as a ballerina, or a mechanic, or a doctor, or serve in hundreds of other capacities, that person has functional value. In the world’s view, human value is inseparable from the person’s function. Hence, if a person can no longer function, that person has no value. But as we read Scripture we see that human worth is not simply functional, it is also intrinsic. It is not what we do, but who we are that establishes worth and value.

For the Christian, value is determined not simply by who we are, but by whose we are. In John 10:11, Jesus said: “I am the good shepherd: the good shepherd giveth his life for the sheep.” First Corinthians 6:19–20 reveals what this means for every Christian: “… ye are not your own? For ye are bought with a price.”

Joseph Fletcher, Peter Singer and the Modern Culture of Death

Joseph Fletcher (1905–1991)—philosopher and ethicist who was a lapsed Episcopal priest and also the man who gave the “Culture of Death a degree of “intellectual legitimacy”—insisted that “man is not a worshipper.” The father of “situational ethics” also fathered “the new bioethics,” a godless belief system ruthlessly redirecting the medical profession. We have left the age of “do-no-harm medicine” and have entered the age of “do-harm medicine.” Fletcher said that morality and human worth is best determined through a “rational analysis” based on secular philosophical precepts rather than revelation and church dogma.

Fletcher was like the proverbial camel with its nose in the tent. Fletcher opened the door for a bigger camel that moved into the tent. That camel is Peter Singer, Princeton University professor of ethics who talks about “post-birth abortion.” Singer teaches that species membership is irrelevant in determining value. Personhood is what’s really important. In this new and radical paradigm, a person is “a creature capable of valuing its own existence.” This would include some people, animals, extraterrestrials, and machines. Notice, it does not include all people. Hence, according to Singer it is not ethically wrong to kill “human nonpersons,” nor is it wrong to fail to save their lives. This kind of thinking goes back to Charles Darwin, Francis Galton, and the eugenics movement, and occurred along with the school of German Higher Criticism which concluded that the Old Testament and all Scripture, was a collection of several late documents recording Hebrew myths. The lesson: Devaluing the Bible leads to trivializing human life.

What Does This Lesson Mean for the Next Presidential Election?

It simply means that if we get a president who doesn’t respect the Bible and who devalues the Bible, you can be sure our beloved country will become more deeply caught up in the culture of death. Both voluntary and involuntary euthanasia will be applied by the federal government. Healthcare will also involve “death squads” for those who are not “fit” to live. No kidding! Those who are vulnerable—either because of psychological pain and depression, or because of serious physical infirmities—will find that they are being pressured to choose death “for the good of the country.” Their so-called right to die will become their duty to die. And the slaughter of untold numbers of infants will increase in number. Personhood, rather than species membership, will determine who lives and who dies.

At the Democratic National Committee meeting in August of 2019, Democrats passed a resolution praising secular humanists and the religiously unaffiliated. The Democratic contenders for the office of president are essentially God-deniers. Though “Mayor Pete” refers to the Bible and claims he is following Christ while  President Trump and Vice President Pence are not, Mayor Pete’s Christianity is not of the kind found in Scripture. The “god” of the Democrats is big government and their own imagined infalliblity. The DNC resolution was unanimously passed at the DNC’s August 24 meeting.

Predictably this drew the approval of the Secular Coalition of America (SCA), an organization that lobbies for public policy benefitting agnostics, atheists, and humanists. The SCA’s director of governmental affairs, Sarah Levin, was delighted over the resolution and was glad that secular Americans are being brought into the Democratic fold. As Eric Utter, writing for American Thinker, commented, “It’s not hard to bring secular Americans into the fold. All you have to do is eliminate all standards and promise them free stuff.”

In 2012, DNC attendees actually booed the mention of the word “God.” At their 2016 convention, a preacher was heckled while giving the opening prayer. And early in 2019 Democrats introduced the “Equality Act.” Thank God President Trump did not sign on. This anti-God bit of legislation seeks to destroy the First Amendment of the Constitution, destroy the concept of religious liberty, and seeks to force believers to trample their own consciences. In its war on God, it would appear that the DNC is getting its marching orders from the Chinese Communist Party.

At a recent campaign rally in Miami, Florida, President Trump announced that he will take action to restore prayer in public schools. Christian educators who worked in public schools faced incredible oppression and hate during the Obama administration. One school had come under attack after students prayed for a football coach’s ailing daughter. In another, a school teacher had been censured because she had a private conversation about prayer with a colleague. The president said those days are soon going to be over. “In America,” President Trump said at the rally, “we don’t worship government, we worship God.”

The culture of death flourishes in a godless environment. Laws concerning euthanasia have not yet caught up with widespread left-wing, death-dealing abortion laws. However, there are some countries that have legalized euthanasia. Some have even legalized euthanasia for children.

The uninitiated like to talk about the “constitutional separation of church and state.” The Constitution, however, never even hints at such a thing. It is a convenient ploy for those who want to extend the reach of the icy fingers of the culture of death.

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Larry Spargimino

Dr. Larry Spargimino is co-host of the SWRC broadcast and joined the ministry in 1998. Larry researches and writes books and articles for the ministry, assists on tours, and helps answer listeners theological questions when they call the ministry. Larry holds a doctorate from Southwestern Theological Seminary in Ft. Worth, Texas, and pastors a local church.

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