If you read last week’s article, you’ll remember we are dealing with the difficult topic of suicide. Suicide is becoming more and more prevalent, seemingly affecting more people. I contend that part of this influx is due to our modern ideology, or what has been termed the “culture of death.” In other words, we live in a culture that has no respect for the sacred gift of life and that sort of thinking flows into many areas.
Jumping Into A Volcano
Do you remember the 1990’s film “Joe Versus the Volcano”? It has since become something of a cult classic. An “average Joe” is stuck in a meaningless, boring life. Lost in a dead-end job, lacking of romantic fulfillment, his daily purposelessness is slowly eating away at him.
Eventually, Joe is told that he has an incurable disease. Which then leads him to meet a business man who an interesting proposition. The man needs to buy a rare mineral from a small tribe of Pacific Islanders, who will only sell if someone volunteers to be a human sacrifice by jumping into a volcano to appease the wrath of the “fire god.” The business man pays handsomely for Joe to enjoy the final days of his life, if he is willing to commit suicide in a few days. With nothing to lose, Joe takes the offer…
Truth In Comedy
“Joe Versus the Volcano” is not intended to be anything more than a light comedy. However, a message can be extrapolated that is important for us to see in our modern context within the “culture of death.”
It is becoming common in the world for people to ask a doctor to end their life. These people are suffering with a horrible disease and will most likely be dead soon anyways, right? Two problems arise here. First, life and death are the prerogative of God alone. (1 Samuel 2:6) Killing someone who is sick is still killing someone. Second, we are continuing to learn the trajectories of this type of thinking. For instance, what should be the criteria to opt for so-called “Right to die” or more commonly, Physician-Assisted Suicide (PAS)? Terminally-ill, pain, unhappiness, no more money for medical treatment, or just bored with living, how far do we take this?
You might be thinking that I am making the “slippery slope” fallacy. The idea that the “Right to Die” laws could possibly lead to ludicrous outcomes. However, ideas that at one time seemed far out are now sad realities.
The basic argument is always: “Terminally ill people should have the right to die with dignity. They should be given the right to end their lives if they are in continual, painful suffering.” It was as if proponents of PAS were drawing a line stating, “This is as far as we are willing to go.” The problem is that if you don’t have a standard by which to judge your worldview, that “line” is liable to move.
As you look around the world, you will find that this line has moved further than PAS proponents ever said it would. For instance, The Netherlands began their journey in government sponsored suicide in 2001. Since then, the practice has moved from PAS for the terminally ill, to those who are dealing with “hopeless or unbearable” suffering, now which includes those with mental illness. That last one especially should catch your eye. Mental illness is now a reason to let a doctor end your own life in the Netherlands. (And how do doctors even define mental illness? What a wide range of extremes there are!) Not to mention that in 2010, a citizen’s initiative was put forth to legalize PAS for people over 70 who are simply done living their lives. Do you see what I mean, it truly is a slippery slope!
Thankful For Life
Instead of showing the world that life is only worth living if you are well off, healthy, and wealthy, what if we taught that life is a precious gift no matter the circumstances? Again, I am not trying to minimize anyone’s pain or suffering. I am trying to say that life is worth living. This is the message that we should be passing on throughout the culture and to our children. God created us, guides us, and calls us to Himself. Yes, we will struggle and deal with all sorts of junk in this world. However, that is why God sent Jesus Christ to save us. So let’s recognize that we are lost and powerless by ourself; yet let our answer be to turn to Christ and live instead of seeking to kill ourselves.
We must be thankful for the gift of life that God has so graciously bestowed on all his creatures. Let’s confront this “culture of death” that is pervading the thoughts and minds individuals throughout this world. Instead of teaching that life is cheap through death agendas like abortion, PAS, and culturally accepted romanticism of suicide, let us move forward with the gospel of Christ that brings meaning to life now and eternal life to come.
“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.” (John 3:16)
By Pastor Nick Jones
Maranatha Baptist Church
1320 E. Saguaro Dr. Globe, AZ