The Culture of Death is alive and well. It is slowly filling all the air we breathe. How did we get here?
Well, the Culture of Death was ushered in on the coattails of moral relativism.
Pro-lifers will have a long way to go to overcome the tyranny of the Culture of Death. But a good starting point would be to review the poor moral philosophy that led us to this point. Then, we might devise a way to counteract it.
This is the final post in this three-part series contrasting moral relativism to the Theory of Natural Law.
In the first post, we saw why the theory of moral relativism relies on an absolute truth for its existence. Therefore, the theory itself is self-defeating.
In the second post, C.S. Lewis showed us how moral relativism, at most, can only pit portions of Natural Law against itself to advance its cause.
In this post, Pope Saint John Paul the Great will illumine us on how man gets pitted against man in moral relativism. Rather than live in harmony, as we are designed by the Natural Law, the tyranny of the Culture of Death divides and conquers.
A WARNING AGAINST THE PHILOSOPHY BEHIND THE CULTURE OF DEATH
“There is an even more profound aspect which needs to be emphasized: freedom negates and destroys itself, and becomes a factor leading to the destruction of others, when it no longer recognizes and respects its essential link with the truth,” writes the late Polish Pontiff, in his 1995 masterful papal encyclical, Evangelium Vitae (The Gospel of Life, emphasis added).
Pope Saint John Paul the Great continues, “When freedom, out of a desire to emancipate itself from all forms of tradition and authority, shuts out even the most obvious evidence of an objective and universal truth, which is the foundation of personal and social life, then the person ends up by no longer taking as the sole and indisputable point of reference for his own choices the truth about good and evil, but only his subjective and changeable opinion or, indeed, his selfish interest and whim” (#19, emphasis added).
As we saw in my prior post, the best the moral relativist can do is presuppose the Natural Law to use portions of it against other portions.
“In this way, any reference to common values and to a truth absolutely binding on everyone is lost, and social life ventures on to the shifting sands of complete relativism. At that point, everything is negotiable, everything is open to bargaining: even the first of the fundamental rights, the right to life.” -Pope Saint John Paul the Great
Inevitably, one group of people tries to lord over another group of people using their distorted view of moral philosophy, called moral relativism. The philosophy that will win out, at least in the short term, is the one with the most physical force behind it.
WHO GETS TO DECIDE WHAT MAN SHALL BECOME?
C.S. Lewis recognized this much as well, in his masterpiece, The Abolition of Man. He writes, “Each new power won by man is a power over man as well” (emphasis original).
Lewis adds, “For the power of Man to make himself what he pleases means, as we have seen the power of some men to make other men what they please” (emphasis original).
Before bemoaning how government can be used as totalitarianism to strip men of their inherit dignity, the Pope reiterates the same points as Lewis.
The Polish Vicar of Christ writes in Evangelium Vitae, “This view of freedom leads to a serious distortion of life in society. If the promotion of the self is understood in terms of absolute autonomy, people inevitably reach the point of rejecting one another.
“Everyone else is considered an enemy from whom one has to defend oneself. Thus society becomes a mass of individuals placed side by side, but without any mutual bonds. Each one wishes to assert himself independently of the other and in fact intends to make his own interests prevail.
“Still, in the face of other people’s analogous interests, some kind of compromise must be found, if one wants a society in which the maximum possible freedom is guaranteed to each individual.
“In this way, any reference to common values and to a truth absolutely binding on everyone is lost, and social life ventures on to the shifting sands of complete relativism. At that point, everything is negotiable, everything is open to bargaining: even the first of the fundamental rights, the right to life.” (#20, emphasis added).
THE POPE’S WORDS RING TRUE
Is Pope Saint John Paul II right on the money, or what? He calls a spade a spade.
The Culture of Death allows its proponents to lord over others. For example, the unborn get manufactured and bred like cattle these days. They also are avoided by chemical concoctions (contraception). The unborn also get killed off (by abortion).
But the tyranny of the Culture of Death does not end there. The elderly get in the way and so get disposed of. The handicap get marginalized and become expendable too, especially by practice of eugenics.
This view of freedom leads to a serious distortion of life in society. If the promotion of the self is understood in terms of absolute autonomy, people inevitably reach the point of rejecting one another.” -Pope Saint John Paul the Great
The moral relativists are trying to make over mankind’s nature, thinking it will set us all free.
As C.S. Lewis prophesied in The Abolition of Man “Human nature will be the last part of Nature to surrender to Man” (emphasis original).
The tentacles of the Culture of Death extend far and wide. The only cure I see is for a return to the moral order given to us by our divine Creator, which is called the Natural Law. Only then can we hope to reverse the gains of the Culture of Death.
So, what are your thoughts on Pope Saint John Paul the Great’s words in his encyclical, Evangelium Vitae?
Do you agree with the prescription to overcome the Culture of Death?
Please share your thoughts on this or any other aspect of our series of contrasting moral relativism to Natural Law.