Such times are these modern times. Such questions are the advances of medicine and science forcing us to confront.
And when you get right down to it, all the decisions we have been asked to make involve one of three views of humanity. Are we just smart animals? Are we separate from the animals? Do we live on after we die? Every Bio-Ethical dilemma you can bring forth will ultimately find it’s answer based on one of the above views of ourselves. Check it out:
What are the responses you instinctively give to the following topics. Abortion. Euthanasia. Laboratory test animals. Sex changes.
• Humans are highly evolved animals. Their difference from the other animals is only by degree, not by category. Evolution has caused this. God is not needed to make the equation work.
• Human life is the most precious life on the planet. Humans are more than just smart animals. Human life is sacrosanct. Nevertheless, there is no higher authority than human decision. God does not exist, or if He does, He has bequeathed Humanity the right to decide its own destiny and standards of conduct. God has chosen not to intervene or care. Human life (and accountability) ends after death.
• Humans are created in the image of God. They will all have an existence after death. They will all be accountable to God for their choices and actions and thoughts, both now and in Eternity. All religions teach this.
Now compare your choice of worldview (humanity view, really) to your reactions to the aforementioned ethical topics. Hmmm… Do you notice any correspondence? It won’t always be consistent (we aren’t always consistent), but it should evidence a preference.
But the problems of such worldviews also confront us as well. To be consistent (we aren’t always consistent), we must also subscribe to the implications for holding a particular world view.
Example: If humans are just animals only, then their value can be measured in comparison to other animals. This means that your daughter is worth 10 monkeys or 5 dolphins or 30 elephants or 70,000 mice. Humans have value, but it is quantifiable. Moreover, if it is quantifiable, then a society can easily justify the expendableness of a few for the benefit for the many.
So, if scientists agree that human testing is more effective and efficient than animal testing, and if humans are no more than animals in value and kind, then it makes sense to test drugs and treatments on humans of lesser value, such as are found in the third world, who have no future but poverty and starvation.
Example: If humans are better than animals, yet are accountable to no higher authority than human judgment, then there is no need to stress out about ethical dilemmas. Our bad decisions will die with us. Society and civilization will go on. This is the implication of nationalism and socialism, namely, human law and expediency. If a society agrees to allow anything, who shall say them nay?
Example: If humans possess eternal souls, eternally accountable to God, called to judgment for each and everything we do, then why are there wars? Why do we allow so much injustice and compromise in society? Why do we neglect God so much (both in our choices and in our thoughts)?
We aren’t always consistent. Too bad. Because our true humanity is shown when we are. When we will change our lives because of our convictions, when we will sacrifice time and money (and sometimes our liberty and lives) for the sake of a cause, when compassion and regret and indignation are daily stirred within us… then what is human in us is magnified.
So, what kind of human are you?
So a Tsunami hits Malaysia and 130,000 people die. But prior to that 2 jets hit the world trade center towers and 2,500 people die.
But after that a family of 7 are all killed in a bungled teenage hold-up. But before that an insane mother drowns her child.
Which human life was the most precious? Which life mattered less than the others?
Some possible answers:
• The life most precious was the one with the most potential.
• The life most precious was the one which had the most consequences for having lived.
• The life most precious was the one which owned the most property or ruled/employed the most people at the time.
• The life most precious was the one for whom the most people would mourn.
• The life most precious was the one was one for whom Christ would have died for.
This is more than a philosophical speculation. The entire Secret Service would sacrifice it’s life for the President. A father or mother will sacrifice their lives for their child. We can be pragmatic and say that 2 is worth more than one. But if the one is more important, the equation doesn’t work. We can be patriotic and say that the few must die so that the rest can live (as in war), but when it’s your child who will do the dying, it easy to be anti-war. The worth of a human life is hard to put a value on or to compare one with another.
But what about such a one as who has lived an evil life? Is the loss of that life less of a tragedy? Would we die for an enemy? Would we exchange places on the gallows with a child molester? Christ would. Christ did. And WE were the enemies of God when He did. Romans 5: 6-8]