Recent headlines reveal the deadly schizophrenia torturing the soul of the West.
Schizophrenia is typified by many as causing a split personality, though this is not technically the case. Nevertheless, it remains a euphemism for the mental dysfunction.
Planned Parenthood’s rapacious profiteering off the body parts of infant human beings, exposed by undercover videos, is the topic of one set of headlines. Just as we are digesting this horror comes this one: “Spanish town grants human rights to cats and dogs.” The leaders of Trigueros del Valle outlawed “the mutilation or death of a non-human resident” (animals having been declared “residents” in the declaration of the town’s council).
A Spanish animal rights organization said the occasion of the council’s pronouncement was “a great day for humans and non-human citizens alike.”
Would that human babies in and/or emerging from their mothers’ wombs in America’s Planned Parenthood abortuaries—described by George Will as “federally subsidized meat markets”—had such status, including protection against “mutilation or death.”
Treating animals as humans and humans as animals reveals the ethical schizophrenia of many in contemporary Western culture.
Don’t get me wrong. I have much affectionate interaction and care for my two dogs, brought into our household through an animal rescue organization. I walk with them every morning, laugh with them many times during the day, and delight in their companionship. I will protect them in every way possible.
But I recognize they are not human. As much as I cherish my dogs, if the choice were between saving their lives or a human’s, there would be no doubt how I would choose.
As I contemplated the ironic juxtaposition of headlines, my mind recalled an image of Hitler playing happily with his beloved dog Blondi in Hitler’s Alpine lair while the dark valleys of Europe below were smothered in the smoke of his concentration camp furnaces.
How did the soul of so many in what was once Judeo-Christian civilization get so schizophrenic? Two ways: a loss of reverence followed inexorably by an extreme reductionism.
The process began with the loss of reverence for the Creator. This resulted in a loss of the concept of the human being as Imago Dei, the very image of God, a perspective that inspired high reverence and respect for individual human life. The loss of reverence for the transcendent Creator ultimately descended into a lack of reverential respect for the whole of His creation.
George Will’s admirable moral outrage, expressed in a July 31 column appearing in The Washington Post and other publications, unintentionally highlights the problem. “When life begins is a scientific, not a philosophic or theological question,” he says.
Such a reductionism regarding the source of the Planned Parenthood-Trigueros del Salle schizophrenia is what one might expect from amiable atheist Will. But ethically unrestrained science in the form of scientism is precisely the problem.
The Judeo-Christian God cannot be a factor in this issue, according to Will, in an otherwise excellent discussion of the Planned Parenthood travesty. However, without the transcendent God revealed in the Bible we do not have the worldview arising from belief in Him, or the exceptional words in the Preamble to the American Declaration of Independence telling us that all humans “are created equal… endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights,” the first of which is “life.”
There are terrible outcomes as the infection of soul-schizophrenia brought on by irreverence and reductionism spreads. Without God, and the understanding of the human as Imago Dei, all that is left for a standard for evaluating human life is utility.
All love involves mutuality and reciprocity—except one special type. We get pleasure from the love of spouses, children, friends, and our pets. But without God there is no agape, the one form of love that is totally other-focused. Hence without God and His agape-love we are unable to love others unconditionally. Without it, when they seem to be a burden, we can put them away—from abortion on the front end of life to euthanasia in its latter stage.
Another set of outcomes from irreverence of life and its reduction is in the realm of public policy. The freed slave Dred Scott was infamously adjudged as mere chattel by the esteemed legal minds of the 1857 Supreme Court of the United States. Abraham Lincoln, in a celebrated rejection of judicial supremacy, called the court’s decision that the slave was not entitled to the rights given by his Creator, noted in the Declaration, and supposedly protected by the Constitution, “erroneous.”
In fact, when, in the eighteenth century, the recognition of God-given basic rights was acknowledged in the Declaration, the serum that would destroy American slavery was sown into the body politic. Lincoln understood that, though SCOTUS did not. Its lack of understanding remains.
The irreverence and reductionism concerning life that is inherent in the contemporary schizophrenia of soul threatens to infect even the corporate world. It took decades for companies to begin to see employees as humans, not cogs in machines. Atheistic Marxist societies still haven’t grasped the humanity of the workers they pretend to serve.
The hard fact is that the cultural schizophrenia revealed in the Planned Parenthood-Trigueros del Valle juxtaposition is deadly.
It can only be cured by reverence for and relationship with the God who is the Giver of life and human rights. Without God and His revelation of the human as Imago Dei, we are irreverently and inevitably reduced to being either chattel or cogs.
The higher view even makes us love and respect our animals as creations of God. “Religious values call upon us all to act in a kind and merciful way towards all creatures,” says the Faith Outreach program of The Humane Society of the United States.
And “all creatures” includes baby humans.
This article by Wallace Henley appeared originally in The Christian Post.
Wallace Henley, senior associate pastor of Houston’s Second Baptist Church, is author of Globequake (Thomas Nelson/HarperCollins) and co-author with Jonathan Sandys of God and Churchill (Tyndale House Momentum in the US and SPCK in the UK, October 2015).