Thursday, August 28, 2008

Godless Solutions To Overpopulation: Infanticide, Suicide, Genocide, Euthanasia

A few years ago, I was required to write a paper for a gerontology class assignment answering the following question:
“Given the changes that occur with normal aging (e.g. loss of skills and abilities, increased susceptibility to disease and deterioration, diminished capacities, etc.), what meaning is there to life and what value is there in growing old?”

I resented the assignment. The premise of the question was obviously framed in a humanistic world-view so I saw no sense, value, or redeeming purpose in that kind of discussion. Those discussions always begin in godless and amoral speculations about quality of life and end with pragmatic solutions to overpopulation.

Who do you think should be allowed to make the final determination about who is unfit to live? I think that is an important question to ask, especially in the context of the next presidential election. Barack Obama has been very clear on this subject; every chance he gets, he will vote against legislation to protect the right to life of those who cannot speak for or defend themselves. And, if given the opportunity, as president, he will appoint liberal Supreme Court justices who will ensure the legal protection of infanticide.

Now that we are comfortable with infanticide (50 million destroyed babies in the U.S. since Roe v. Wade), are we ready to accept genocide? At what age is there no more meaning to life? Who will make the final determinations about who should be deemed unfit to live? What groups of people will be the next to be considered incapable of living a “quality life?” Will they be the retarded, the lame, the abnormal or mentally disturbed? (pardon my lack of PC sensitivity) Just how far will we allow our society to go in the extermination of life? What if we start marking some for elimination simply because their ideology differs from the majority?

Maybe you think I’m stretching that a little too far. Maybe you think that really couldn’t possibly happen. Well it did happen in the1940s.

Dr. Leo Alexander was a consultant to the Secretary of War in the Nuremberg Trials. He had unusual access to many accused Nazi war criminals in the medical community. In 1949, He wrote in the New England Journal of Medicine that, what they originally thought and sincerely believed to be compassionate acts to mercifully end the lives of the terminally ill actually set the stage for the Holocaust. This is what he said:
“Whatever proportions these crimes finally assumed, it became evident to all who investigated them that they had started from small beginnings. The beginnings, at first were merely a subtle shift in emphasis in the basic attitude of the physicians. It started with the acceptance of the attitude…that there is such a thing as life not worthy to be lived. This attitude, in its early stages, concerned itself merely with the severely and chronically sick. Gradually the sphere of those to be included in this category was enlarged to encompass the socially unproductive, the ideologically unwanted, the racially unwanted, and finally all non-Germans.”

What is the value of a human life? Your answer to that important question will influence your opinion about all of these very hot topics in contemporary society.
Either we are uniquely created and specially sanctified by God OR we are merely the results of random biological processes with no particular foreordained purpose. If we are not special creations; if there is no God, then it logically follows that abortion, infanticide and euthanasia can be easily defended and justified for the common good of a society. And that is a dangerous slippery slope where almost anything can become possible and acceptable.

It is wrong to simply presume that those without full capacity or ability may not enjoy quality lives. George Matheson found God's resources available for him to gain victory over his handicap. After twenty years of complete blindness he wrote the familiar hymn:

O Love that will not let me go,
I rest my weary soul in Thee!
I give Thee back the life I owe,
That in Thine ocean depths its flow
May richer, fuller be.

And who among us would not agree that Joni Earickson Tada, Fanny Crosby, Helen Keller and many many others have also lived meaningful lives and made significant contributions to society in spite of their circumstances or limitations. They have found real meaning and purpose in a personal relationship with their Creator.


Daisy said...

The Govenator has a bill on his desk right now that would legalize physician assisted suicide in CA.

We've seen the slippery slope in OR. Now instead of just having it as an option (still horrible), the state now states you are not worth saving and it's cheaper for them to kill you than treat you.

CA seems poised to follow.

Stan McCullars said...

Good post. Sad commentary on the state of people in general, the United States in particular.

Anonymous said...

I overheard a couple ladies talking where I work. One of them wanted to know what partial birth abortion meant. The other one said that’s where they stick a syringe in the base of the baby’s skull and suck its brains out during birth.

The first lady was shocked. I think if more people would talk about what it really is, maybe less people would think its OK.