Apologetics

Abortion, Infanticide, and the Devolution of Western Civilization

When we say, “We do what we do because life and truth matter,” I use life in the sense of the experience of life and the knowledge of life. Experiencing Christ, not just knowing, but as it has been well said, knowing. There is a difference between cognitively apprehending something and having a real experience with the one who knit us together in our mother’s womb. But, obviously we are also very interested in the foundational principle of all anthropology, and that is human life. We live in a culture today in which life is considered from a different perspective (as the culture becomes more and more materialistic) than the perspective that was viewed in Western Civilization by the Judeo-Christian tradition.

I read something in a recent blog by Jerry Coyne, who is an evolutionary biologist at the University of Chicago. He is now not only defending abortion but he is indeed defending infanticide. This is all part of the slippery slope that we are now on as a culture. Coyne writes, “If you are allowed to abort a fetus that has a severe genetic defect…,then why aren’t you able to euthanize that same fetus just after it’s born? I see no substantive difference that would make the former act moral and the latter immoral.” I can say that on one level he is absolutely right. In other words, if you can abort a late-term child, why not take the next step and abort a child a few days after the child is born? The problem here is a failure to recognize that child has personhood from the moment of conception.

But, Coyne is not alone. I think of Francis Crick, who was codiscoverer of the double helix structure of DNA. I bring him up because he had a partner, James Watson. In one of the most chilling quotes I have ever heard, Crick’s codiscoverer of the structure of DNA said that, “because of the limitations of present detection methods, most birth defects are not discovered until birth; however, if a child was not declared alive until three days after birth, the doctor could allow the child to die, if the parents so chose, and save a lot of misery and suffering.” Think about the chilling effect of those words. After all, everything becomes subjective when we live in a materialistic culture. You see the child now, and the child does not suit your fancy, well, you make a choice, and you let that child die. Well, not just let that child die; you take active steps in order that the child, in fact, dies.

This is precisely what Peter Singer was talking about. He is the famous Princeton ethicist. He said that “newborn human babies have no sense of their own existence over time. So killing a newborn baby is never equivalent to killing a person….If a decision is taken, by the parents and doctors, that it is better that a baby should die, I believe it should be possible to carry out that decision, not only by withholding or withdrawing life support…but also by taking active steps to end the baby’s life swiftly and humanely.” All of this arbitrary, depending on what you think the quality of a person’s life actually is.

Just last week in the New York Times, Gary Comstock said, “It seems the medical community has few options to offer parents of newborns likely to die.” The implication is you have to expand those options.

Going back to Coyne, the reason we can expand those options is because human beings after all are no different than bananas or dogs. Says, Coyne, “The reason we don’t allow euthanasia of newborns is because humans are seen as special, and I think this comes from religion — in particular, the view that humans, unlike animals, are endowed with a soul.” He is a materialist. He certainly does not hold to substance dualism. Everything for him is just a function of brain chemistry and genetics. Once you start teaching this philosophy, you become an instrument for the devolution of civilization, which is already essentially fragile.

Coyne is not just a guy on a street corner with a megaphone or a loud voice. He is a respectable professor in what is thought to be a respectable university, and he is telling people, the students that are impressionable, that there is no such thing as morals, there is no such thing as right or wrong, and there is no distinction between an animal and a human being.

These are serious times. Times in which we as Christians need to be ready to give an answer. This is not optional. The reason the culture is devolving is because we as Christians are not doing what we as Christians are called to do. You can repeat it over and over again, and hopefully it can become stuck in your memory trace — salt and light. We are called to be salt. We are called to be light. If we are not salt and light, culture devolves, and civilizations are lost. Right now, without any hyperbole, I can tell you that Western Civilization hangs in the balance, and that by a very thin thread. Ethics and morality are now a function of the size and strength of the latest lobby group. This is in direct opposition to being firmly rooted in scientific and spiritual standards. Thus, with no enduring reference points, societal norms have been reduced to mere matters of choice.

— Hank Hanegraaff

For you created my inmost being;

you knit me together in my mother’s womb.

I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;

your works are wonderful,

I know that full well.

My frame was not hidden from you

when I was made in the secret place.

When I was woven together in the depths of the earth,

your eyes saw my unformed body.

All the days ordained for me

were written in your book

before one of them came to be

(Psalm 139:13–16 NIV).

Blog is adapted from the July 20, 2017, Bible Answer Man broadcast.

Apologetics

Authentic Christianity in a Post-Christian Culture

I want to talk about something really quickly, and then to our callers, which is the reality that we live in a post-Christian culture. As Rod Dreher says in the Benedict Option, this is not sheer hyperbole; it is sheer reality. He talks about the “deep cultural forces” that are disintegrating Christianity in the West, forces that have created a spiritual crisis that we have not seen — think about this — since the fall of the Roman Empire. Christian conservatives must read the signs of the times. This is not about losing the culture wars, or potentially losing the culture wars. The game is over, as far as the culture wars are concerned. That does not mean this is a defeatist message, because the real solution is in finding your all in the Triadic One. In other words, being brought into the life of the Trinity.

The reason I bring all of this up is that yesterday (June 7, 2017), I could not believe this, I was listening to this conversation between Bernie Sanders, who came very, very close to becoming President of the United States, and he was grilling Russell Vought, who of course is Donald Trump’s nominee to the deputy director of the White House Office of Management and Budget position. Vought had expressed his belief that Jesus is the way, and the truth, and the life. He did so in a very nonthreatening fashion. Yet, Sanders was quite literally excoriated. I mean, the transcript is one thing, but you’ve got to hear it. I mean, he is screaming at some point in the conversation. He was really, really upset. Sanders asked,

Let me get to this issue that has bothered me and bothered many other people. And that is in the piece that I referred to that you wrote for the publication called Resurgent. You wrote, “Muslims do not simply have a deficient theology. They do not know God because they have rejected Jesus Christ, His Son, and they stand condemned.” Do you believe that that statement is Islamophobic?

During the same exchange, Sanders refrains the same question in various ways: “Do you believe people in the Muslim religion stand condemned? Is that your view?” “I don’t know how many Muslims there are in America. Maybe a couple million. Are you suggesting that all those people stand condemned? What about Jews? Do they stand condemned, too?” “In your judgment, do you think that people who are not Christians are going to be condemned?” “You think your statement that you put into that publication, ‘They do not know God because they rejected Jesus Christ, His Son, and they stand condemned,’ do you think that’s respectful of other religions?”

The line of questioning bears a veiled accusation. You’re saying Jesus Christ is the way, the truth, and the life! That’s Islamophobic! That’s anti-Semitic! Well, he did not use the word “anti-Semitic,” but that is what he implied, and he did use the word “Islamophobic.” He was being very Chistophobic, by the way, in his tirade. Then he said, “This nominee is really not someone who this country is supposed to be about.” There is no room in his worldview for a Christian in an official government position in the United States who believes Jesus is the way, the truth, and the life.

Now, I bring this up in light of what Russell Moore said. In other words, he commented on this episode. (Of course, we are promoting his book Onward: Engaging the Culture without Losing the Gospel. That is a book I want everybody to get as a way to support the ministry.) Here is what Russell Moore said. Moore, of course, is the president of the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention. He said,

Senator Sanders’s comments are breathtakingly audacious and shockingly ignorant — both of the Constitution and of basic Christian doctrine. Even if one were to excuse Senator Sanders for not realizing that all Christians of every age have insisted that faith in Jesus Christ is the only pathway to salvation, it is inconceivable that Senator Sanders would cite religious beliefs as disqualifying an individual for public office in defiance of the United States Constitution. No religious test shall ever be required of those seeking public office. While no one expects Senator Sanders to be a theologian, we should expect far more from an elected official who has taken an oath to support and defend the Constitution.

All of this is to simply underscore the fact that we have lost the culture wars, and with that, we have lost human anthropology. In other words, there is a distorted notion of what we are as human beings created in the image and likeness of God (Gen. 1:27–28). Now, this is a point that Russell Vought made very, very clear and calm as he was addressing Bernie Sanders. So, a lot going on in this country.

This is not the time to give up. This is the time to embrace authentic Christianity. Not a Christianity that is consumeristic, but a Christianity that is transformational. If we have that, we are not living in some kind of a mythological world where things are not what they used to be, and they probably never will. It is not about whining and pining. No! This is about recognizing that God and a human being are a majority. Think about what William Wilberforce did or Martin Luther King Jr. or Martin Luther or Athanasius. Remember contra mundum? He was saying, “Athanasius against the world.” I am going to stand no matter what. All of these kinds of stands produced great, great revolutions in society. This is not about defeatism. It is recognizing what is going on, why we lost the culture wars, and how the church itself has to change in the process.

— Hank Hanegraaff

This blog is adapted from the June 8, 2017, Bible Answer Man broadcast.