Sunday, June 24, 2012

Sanctity or Quality of Life?

The first half of my life I lived in a predominantly Christian culture. Of course, not everyone was Christian by belief, but most people agreed with Christian values. As a result, the foremost value that pervaded society was the sanctity of life: preserve all human life.

We now live in a predominantly pagan society. Again, not everyone would call themselves pagans; it smacks too much of primitive religion, but who never-the-less subscribe to pagan values. These values are arrived at by social consensus based on current and convenient opinion, not on any fixed religious moral code.

This has given rise to a change over the last half century from the Christian sanctity of life, to a quality of life ethic. A little thought should reveal the dangers lurking in this idea. A person who has, or is unlikely to have a suitable quality of life doesn’t have a life worth living.

But who is to judge whether a quality of life is worth living? You and I provide the last word in a democracy which lives by social consensus. For instance, a fetus obviously has no quality of life, so can be discarded at will. In fact, the quality of unborn life is practically nil, so a living human in the womb has no right to be called a person.

Abortion on demand is the first step down this road. A BC court’s recent rejection of the law against assisted suicide has opened up the next two: assisted suicide and euthanasia. The distance between them is very short. Ideally, you would try to hold out a helping hand to someone ready to jump off a bridge, by persuading him his life is worth living.

But are you prepared to assist his suicide by a helping push because he considers his life not worth living? That is distasteful enough. If you are, it may not be long before you give him a push because you consider his life not worth living. The appearance is the same, but there is vast difference.

The first push may questionably be called suicide, assisted by you, the second push is murder; considered and acted upon. But in each case, you become the final judge of his quality of life and act upon it, believing your personal judgment gives you the right to help or cause another person’s death.

Even if you don’t participate, your opinion with others of like mind is what shapes your society. Is this what you want? If so, perhaps one day another person will consider your life not worth living. You will have little say in the outcome, because you have bought in to a nebulous quality of life basis of judgment.

Wouldn’t you and others you love rather feel protected by a sanctity of life based culture, where every human life is considered inviolable?

1 comment:

Chloe Collin said...

Wow. Excellent thoughts, Bryan. Really well put. Thank you for this clarity.