The Genesis of respect for life

The book of Genesis tells us that God made the heavens and the earth, and that on the sixth day He made man.  Christians believe that God infuses man with a soul, making him singular among creatures.  For he is not just flesh, but spirit.  He is not merely a thing or even just a creature, but a child of God.  Christians believe that man is made in God's image, thereby making him a reflection of the creator of the Universe — lofty status indeed. 

It is easy to value and cherish the life of such an ethereal sounding being, for he is no cosmic accident but part of a grand design; made by God, for God.  If everyone viewed his fellow man in this light, do you think he could wantonly take life?  Imagine how the pain and travails of others would figure prominently in every person's life if only we would embrace this perspective en masse. 

There are those, though, who disagree with this supposition; they may call themselves secular humanists, atheists, or whatever name is fashionable in their time and place.  Regardless, these people reject the thesis that a society must be God fearing to be life valuing; they will tell you that being an atheist does not preclude one from being moral.  Moreover, many of them go even further, in that they make the claim that it is religion itself on which the onus should be put.  They contend that were it not for the intolerance and conflict bred by religion, the world would be freed from much death and suffering.  This is their supposition.
    
These anti—religion forces are correct about one thing: a person does not have to be religious to be what we call, practically speaking, good.  An atheist can be 'good' to the extent to which he embraces the values that are good, only, what he doesn't realize is that when he does so he has unwittingly embraced Christian values.  But while an individual can possibly be atheistic and moral, society is a profoundly different matter.  For a civilization entertains the notion that it can be good without God at its own peril.
   
The nature of something determines its value.  We value coal more highly than limestone because the former's nature is such that it can provide us with heat, and heat can preserve life.  We value a real truck more than a toy one because the former's nature is such that it enables us to ship goods to far away destinations, thereby providing us with things we would otherwise not be able to avail ourselves of.  We value an antibiotic more than a placebo because the former's nature is such that of its own accord it can destroy bacteria and save a life.  We value a real puppy more than a stuffed one because the former's nature is that it's alive and can fetch a stick in the park, not just in our imagination.  So it follows then, that our conception of man's nature will determine the extent to which we value people.  I have explained what Christians believe man's nature is and why that will logically breed a great respect for life.  Now let's examine what an atheist's conception of man's nature is and what the implications of that belief are.
    
An atheist believes that the genesis of man lay not in the workings of a divine hand, but in the workings of evolution.  Since he doesn't believe in God and the spirit world he cannot believe that we have souls, for your soul is the incorporeal part of you — your spirit.  It then logically follows that we are completely corporeal — there is nothing but the flesh.  And then, what is our nature?  What is the flesh?  The answer is that flesh is just a few pounds of chemicals and water; this is not philosophy, this is fact.  We then are not mystical beings and part of a grand plan, but merely organic robots.  And of course, how then could what these organic robots call 'murder' really be anything to fret over?  There's nothing wrong with terminating the function of a robot.  And of course, what could be wrong then with what these robots call 'social—engineering' or 'genetic—engineering'?  After all, there could be nothing wrong with respectively, changing a robot's programming or manipulating its circuitry.  It's just an automaton . . . a thing. 

This is why  the atheists are wrong: a people might be able to build a precarious empire without knowing God, but they could never build an enduring civilization.  And a Godly civilization that suddenly deprives itself of its spiritual underpinnings must necessarily decay morally and eventually descend into barbarism.  The philosopher Nietzsche said 'God is dead,' and he was wrong.  God can never die, but respect for Him and a belief in Him can die in the hearts and minds of a people.  When this happens, what will follow is the termination of the respect for His creation in the programming of what will be seen as the organic robots of the state.

Selwyn Duke is a frequent contributor.

The book of Genesis tells us that God made the heavens and the earth, and that on the sixth day He made man.  Christians believe that God infuses man with a soul, making him singular among creatures.  For he is not just flesh, but spirit.  He is not merely a thing or even just a creature, but a child of God.  Christians believe that man is made in God's image, thereby making him a reflection of the creator of the Universe — lofty status indeed. 

It is easy to value and cherish the life of such an ethereal sounding being, for he is no cosmic accident but part of a grand design; made by God, for God.  If everyone viewed his fellow man in this light, do you think he could wantonly take life?  Imagine how the pain and travails of others would figure prominently in every person's life if only we would embrace this perspective en masse. 

There are those, though, who disagree with this supposition; they may call themselves secular humanists, atheists, or whatever name is fashionable in their time and place.  Regardless, these people reject the thesis that a society must be God fearing to be life valuing; they will tell you that being an atheist does not preclude one from being moral.  Moreover, many of them go even further, in that they make the claim that it is religion itself on which the onus should be put.  They contend that were it not for the intolerance and conflict bred by religion, the world would be freed from much death and suffering.  This is their supposition.
    
These anti—religion forces are correct about one thing: a person does not have to be religious to be what we call, practically speaking, good.  An atheist can be 'good' to the extent to which he embraces the values that are good, only, what he doesn't realize is that when he does so he has unwittingly embraced Christian values.  But while an individual can possibly be atheistic and moral, society is a profoundly different matter.  For a civilization entertains the notion that it can be good without God at its own peril.
   
The nature of something determines its value.  We value coal more highly than limestone because the former's nature is such that it can provide us with heat, and heat can preserve life.  We value a real truck more than a toy one because the former's nature is such that it enables us to ship goods to far away destinations, thereby providing us with things we would otherwise not be able to avail ourselves of.  We value an antibiotic more than a placebo because the former's nature is such that of its own accord it can destroy bacteria and save a life.  We value a real puppy more than a stuffed one because the former's nature is that it's alive and can fetch a stick in the park, not just in our imagination.  So it follows then, that our conception of man's nature will determine the extent to which we value people.  I have explained what Christians believe man's nature is and why that will logically breed a great respect for life.  Now let's examine what an atheist's conception of man's nature is and what the implications of that belief are.
    
An atheist believes that the genesis of man lay not in the workings of a divine hand, but in the workings of evolution.  Since he doesn't believe in God and the spirit world he cannot believe that we have souls, for your soul is the incorporeal part of you — your spirit.  It then logically follows that we are completely corporeal — there is nothing but the flesh.  And then, what is our nature?  What is the flesh?  The answer is that flesh is just a few pounds of chemicals and water; this is not philosophy, this is fact.  We then are not mystical beings and part of a grand plan, but merely organic robots.  And of course, how then could what these organic robots call 'murder' really be anything to fret over?  There's nothing wrong with terminating the function of a robot.  And of course, what could be wrong then with what these robots call 'social—engineering' or 'genetic—engineering'?  After all, there could be nothing wrong with respectively, changing a robot's programming or manipulating its circuitry.  It's just an automaton . . . a thing. 

This is why  the atheists are wrong: a people might be able to build a precarious empire without knowing God, but they could never build an enduring civilization.  And a Godly civilization that suddenly deprives itself of its spiritual underpinnings must necessarily decay morally and eventually descend into barbarism.  The philosopher Nietzsche said 'God is dead,' and he was wrong.  God can never die, but respect for Him and a belief in Him can die in the hearts and minds of a people.  When this happens, what will follow is the termination of the respect for His creation in the programming of what will be seen as the organic robots of the state.

Selwyn Duke is a frequent contributor.