The Devolution of Society
We are on the cusp of a critical juncture in our society. Recent events with Planned Parenthood reveal much about a cultural mindset, but perhaps not in a way that you might expect. While it is true that the issue of the sanctity of human life is primary in those discussions, there is a deeper issue at hand that has forced us into a crossroads.
We have within our culture, promoters who place ideas before people in a way that tries to soften the severity of their reality. Abortion is promoted as ‘Women’s rights’ while physician-assisted suicide has entered discussions recently as a ‘right to dignity.’ Within both contain a desire on the part of someone: a desire to die, whether by one’s own choice or the choice of others. However, it is only a small step from ‘desire to die’ to ‘duty to die’ in which it becomes a person’s duty to die in order to not burden society. It is evidence of the devaluation of life.
Many would argue that the societal devaluation of life has been ongoing for a great length of time. They are indeed correct, but devaluation of life is not simply an illness in itself. It is a symptom of a greater illness: the devolution of society.
The Devolution of Relationships
While there are many facets to address, I find my greatest concern in this moment is the impact on relationships. As we value the human life less, we begin to lose our interest in people not merely as a human, but as a person who has many facets expressed in emotions, explanations, and reflections. The devaluation of life impacts our relationships with others in no less than three ways:
- Relationships Become Casual: With little regard for human life, it is no surprise that we begin to treat our relationships as casual. Just as life is disposable, so also are relationships.
- Relationships Become Conditional: A consequence of casual relationships is conditionality. They are disposable and so relationships can easily be discarded if the other party does not meet the requirements we set forth for maintaining a relationship (whether those conditions were expressed or not).
- Relationships Become Contractual: Relationships also begin to be treated as a contract. Conditions are put forth like those written into a contract and if those conditions are not fulfilled the contract is simply voided.
Relationships are integral to the continuity of society. But I would tell you that intimate human relationships are integral to the continuity of human life. A life worth living is one in which deep relationships are forged between individuals in a way that value is added to the lives of everyone in it.
The teachings of Scripture emphasis quality relationships. We see it between husbands & wives and parents and children in Ephesians 5. Paul writes of the fellowship of believers in 1 Corinthians 12. While Jesus Christ exemplified true relationships with His disciples. To these passages and many more we look for principles for interacting with one another.
If we are to stop the progress of devolution, we must value life.
The crossroads we are at places us with a decision to either elevate others above us or demote others to a place below us. Turning towards one direction promotes a mindset of reverence towards the human life. Yet, a slight shift the other direction plunges us towards an irrevocable trend of disregard for the sanctity of life. It is my hope that discussions here will compel us to act in a manner pleasing to God.