IN GOD WE TRUST

The Pitched Battle for the Soul of America!

Copyright � 2007 Victor Shane, all rights reserved

 

 

To be or not to be... to die...

by a sleep to say we end the heartache and

the thousand natural shocks that flesh is heir to.

It is a consummation devoutly to be wished

(Shakespear, Hamlet).

 

 

DEATH ON DEMAND

 

 

Christians believe that God created man in His own image, thereby investing each and every human being with immeasurable worth, value and dignity. Given the Judeo-Christian worldview, all human life is a reflection of the eternal Life of God, as such endowed with a measure of the absolute.

 

Contrariwise atheists believe that there is no God and human beings are here as a result of random processes. Given the atheistic worldview, there is no absolute worth or value associated with any human life to speak of. That the cultural swing away from the Judeo-Christian ethic would nudge America toward a culture of death was natural, inevitable and derivative.

 

In his book, Slouching Toward Gomorrah, former United States Acting Attorney General Robert H. Bork catalogs the events and legal precedents by which America stepped off her Judeo-Christian foundations and went sliding down the path that leads to the abyss. Judge Bork concludes the chapter entitled Killing for Convenience (subtitle, Abortion, Assisted Suicide and Euthanasia), by sobering words that Americans would do well to reflect on:

We are crossing lines, at first slowly and now with rapidity: killing unborn children for convenience; removing tissue from live fetuses; contemplating creating embryos for destruction in research; considering taking organs from living anencephalic babies; experimenting with assisted suicide; and contemplating euthanasia. Abortion has coarsened us. If it is permissible to kill the unborn human for convenience, it is surely permissible to kill those thought to be soon to die for the same reason. And it is inevitable that many who are not in danger of imminent death will be killed to relieve their families of burdens. Convenience is becoming the theme of our culture. Humans tend to be inconvenient at both ends of their lives.1

 

In his book, Culture of Death, Wesley J. Smith also documents the insidious results of the swing away from the Judeo-Christian ethic:

 

Unbeknownst to most Americans, a small but influential group of philosophers and health care policy makers are working energetically to transform our nation’s medical practice and health care laws. They are turning away from the “do no harm” model established by Hippocrates more than two thousand years ago, and towards a stark utilitarian system that would legitimize medical discrimination against—and even in some cases, the killing of—the weakest and most defenseless people among us.2

 

Smith goes on to document the emerging trends: the leveling-down of life and leveling up of death; the de-gradation of people into “beings” or “human animals,” and the leveling up of animals into the moral equivalents of human beings; the subversion of word and language in the effort to “redefine” life in certain cases (the unborn, the newly born, those suffering from cognitive disabilities and the terminally ill); the abomination that is now being called Futile Care Theory, allowing doctors to refuse wanted care on the basis of their own subjective assessment of the quality of patients’ lives; intentional killing of cognitively disabled people via the slow torture of dehydration, per the tragic case of Theresa Marie “Terri” Schiavo; attempts to change the legal definitions of euthanasia and assisted suicide from “crimes” to “medical treatment”; attempts to rationalize and justify the macabre precedents of Dr. Jack Kevorkian—“Dr. Death”; attempts to glorify the practitioners and purveyors of death as “liberators”; attempts to elevate death and dying to the status of a pseudo-religion; attempts to associate death and dying with political correctness.

 

As Francis Schaeffer suggested, it was inevitable that the swing away from the Judeo-Christian culture of life would drag America toward an atheistic culture of death. Precedent by insidious precedent, the icy tentacles of the Grim Reaper are now invading and expanding into new moral, ethical, and philosophical territories. Today “assisted suicide,” tomorrow an Orwellian “duty to die.” Today “late-term abortion,” tomorrow Hitler’s eugenics. Today “stem cell research,” tomorrow human cloning. Today “non-heart-beating cadaver donors,” tomorrow the organ farms portrayed in the film Coma. Precedent by precedent, inch by insidious inch, America finds herself being pulled down into a moral and ethical quagmire.

 

Where there are no absolutes, there are no frames of reference. Where there are no frames of reference, there are no guiding principles, no navigational aids, no ethical chart, no moral compass, no lodestar, no mooring. Medical ethics are now rudderless and adrift, blown in this and that direction, swayed by the political expedients of the moment. All motion and no direction; all form and no substance; all method and no content; all utility and no humanity; all pharisaical hypocrisy and not an ounce of genuine morality. To whom nothing is sacred, nothing is profane, not even the cold-blooded murder of fully grown babies or helpless elderly patients. Once the sanctity of human life has been violated, anything goes; once the principle has been admitted, there is no limit to its application.

 

We see in all this the terrible price that man pays when he takes the smallest step away from God. The “banality of evil” that Hannah Arendt ascribed to the cold-blooded and utilitarian efficiency of Nazi butchers is slowly invading the halls of medicine and hospital wards. How did this happen? Well, it happened the same way that abortion and same-sex marriage happened. This is what happens when a nation gives the primacy to the created thing instead of the Creator.

 

Guided by the Ten Commandments, inspired and informed by the Christian ethic, America’s Founders deemed it wise to safeguard human life by founding the Republic of the United States on a Judeo-Christian worldview that gives the primacy to the Creator and relative subordinacy to the created state.

 

 

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. That to secure these rights, governments are instituted among men....

 

(Declaration of Independence)

 

 

These Founders knew all too well that what Caesar “giveth” today, Caesar can “taketh away” tomorrow. By giving the primacy to the Creator, and relative subordinacy to the state, America’s Founders rendered the rights of man immune to manipulation by Caesar and the state. Unlike elsewhere in the world where the rights of man can be granted or withheld at the drop of a hat, here in America the rights of man are immutable, inviolable and unalienable precisely because they are endowed by the Creator of the universe.

 

It was only by giving the primacy to the Creator that America’s Founders succeeded in rendering Americans immune to the caprices of Caesars, Czars, emperors, kings, queens, pontiffs, priests, pashas, dictators, despots, oppressors, tyrants, pretenders, autocrats, tycoons, magnates, moguls, politicians, bankers, academicians and bioethicists.

 

Had America’s Founders been atheists, the rights of Americans would have been subject to the political expedients of the moment, now granted, now withheld, here respected, there violated, as in the former Soviet Union. Without these Founders’ belief in God, and without the primacy that they accorded the Creator, the rights of Americans, along with everything that we hold near and dear in America today, including life itself, would have shared the fate of a candle in the wind. So we say again, and for the benefit of those who seem to be in denial, or hard of hearing: It was only by giving the primacy to the Creator that America’s Founders were able to secure the God-given rights of Americans in perpetuity.

 

Once upon a time America gave the primacy to the Creator and Supreme Judge of the universe. Once upon a time America believed that God had created man in His own image, investing each and every human being with immeasurable worth, value and dignity. Once upon a time doctors in America were guided by a Judeo-Christian ethic such as this. With the cultural swing away from the Judeo-Christian ethic, doctors increasingly find themselves brow-beaten into adopting a more nihilistic and utilitarian ethic, one that no longer asks “how can I save this life,” but “is this life worth saving?” How did that happen?

 

Remove all considerations of God and Judeo-Christian morality. Exclude the Ten Commandments. Strip the human condition of the protective coverings of divine law, spiritual restraint, imperative, and discipline, and you will have reduced human beings to physical systems. Now apply the rule of general physical law to their behavior, and you would expect to find a cultural bias toward euthanasia. How so? Why would the derivative orientation of man inevitably take America down the path that leads to death and dying?

 

To understand why, we must once more retrace our steps to beginnings. According to the Bible, God formed Adam from the “dust of the earth” (physics of this universe, oriented toward more probable states). Our physical constitution (the atoms that make up our DNA, our cells, our flesh, our sinews, our bones, our nervous system, our neurons, our synapses, etc.) is “wired” into the behavioral field of a cosmos that makes general selections in favor of more probable states—a universal selective process that feeds back into our physical constitution to produce an attraction toward, and preference for, more probable states.

 

The probability of finding non-life (dust) in the universe is very high. The probability of finding living cells (life) in the universe is relatively very low. This is partly because non-life (the dust from which God formed us) is more “stable” than living cells. Dust is stable. Life is unstable. Dust came first (high probability). Life came afterwards (low probability). In the universe at large, the greater order of change is moving away from less probable states (life) toward more probable states (non-life). This may be an over-generalization and an oversimplification of what scientists call increasing entropy, but it isn’t too far from the truth.

 

Dust didn’t come from life. Life came from dust. If we may again anthropomorphize for the sake of edification: the dust of the earth does not “feel an urge” to return to life; rather it is life that “feels an urge” to return to dust. Given the nature, property and orientation of the physical world, you would expect to find a general tendency on the part of life to “desire” to return to the stability of dust. Dust to dust and ashes to ashes. Granted, under normal conditions this “death urge” would be superseded and suspended by the survival instinct that the Creator has programmed into all species; but it would exist as a generalization of experience nevertheless.

 

 

 

FREUD’S “DEATH INSTINCT”

 

Greatly disturbed by the horrors of war, Freud spent much of his life trying to develop a thesis that would provide a scientific explanation for the destructive tendencies of man. In the latter part of his life he zeroed in on something that he referred to as a death instinct. In a 1933 letter to Albert Einstein he described it as follows:

 

 

As a result of a little speculation, we have come to suppose that this instinct is at work in every living creature and is striving to bring it to ruin and to reduce life to its original condition of inanimate matter. Thus it quite seriously deserves to be called a death instinct.3

 

 

In his Outline of Psychoanalysis (published in 1940), Freud described it in similar terms:

 

 

We may suppose that the final aim of the destructive instinct is to reduce living things to an inorganic state. For this reason we call it the death instinct.4

 

 

Be it for a deficit of scientific clarity, or be it for a confusion of the emerging new concepts of his time, among them relativity and so-called “quantum indeterminacy,” or be it for some other reason, Freud died before he could complete his thesis. Given our knowledge of the cosmos today, Freud’s so-called death instinct can now be understood in terms of the general tendency of matter and energy to move toward higher probability equilibrium states. The word “death” may ring ominous in human ears, but in the ontology of the cosmos EVERYTHING boils down to the stabilization of energy.

 

Given the ontology of the cosmos, “stability” becomes a function of change. A dynamic system that is alive and undergoing rapid change can be said to be unstable. A static system that is dead and beyond change can be said to be stable. Before the creation of the temporal universe, there was no change and no instability. When God created the universe, He also created temporal change and instability.

 

When scientists say “universal entropy is always increasing,” they imply that the universe as a whole is gradually winding down to a state of rest and stability. And if the entropy of the universe were to reach a maximum, the universe would reduce down to pure undifferentiated energy—the end point of all energetic striving. Unfortunately we would all be dead. So then what does “death” have to do with “stability”? In the ontology of man, nothing. In the ontology of the cosmos “death” is another word for “maximum entropy,” “plenary equilibrium” or “maximum stability.”

 

Biological life depends on a myriad of mind-bogglingly complex micro-arrangements and regulatory mechanisms working in perfect harmony and orchestration. Any deficit, weak link, failure or compromise can throw the whole thing out of kilter, short-circuiting health into disease, life into death, survival into extinction. Human life is an extremely rare and low-probability phenomenon in the universe, requiring highly ordered, highly strung, highly tensed, highly stressed, highly complex and highly unstable arrangements of informational, material and energetic elements. The magnitude of the complexity of a single living cell, the brief and tenuous nature of life itself, the fine line that separates health from disease, and the rapid rate at which flesh will decay after death, all testify to the instability of human life. From a cosmic perspective, at least, human life represents a low-entropy, low-probability unstable state of enormous magnitude.

 

At the point of conception, human life embodies an enormously complex, rapidly developing, highly strung, highly tensed, tightly-wound knot of instability; at the point of demise (from miscarriage, from abortion, from privation, from violence, from disease, from accident, from euthanasia or from old age), death embodies a return to former stability—dust to dust and ashes to ashes.

 

Let us return to the subject of “euthanasia” and ask the pertinent question. Would the ontology of the cosmos tend to make selections in favor of the instability associated with human life, or would it tend to make selections in favor of the stability restored by way of abortion, euthanasia and assisted suicide? Question (stated figuratively): If cosmos had a mind of its own, and if it could think thoughts, would it tend to favor the pro-euthanasia agenda of the liberal left, or would it tend to favor the pro-life agenda of the conservative right? Well, again, if it were trying to make general selections in favor of more probable states, it is reasonable to assume that it would tend to favor the pro-euthanasia agenda of the liberal left.

 

So then it would seem that here also Francis Schaeffer’s hypothesis was consistent with reality. Given a mindset derived from the ontology of the cosmos, you would expect to find derivative cultures and civilizations making selections in favor of abortion, infanticide, suicide and euthanasia. The veneration of “death” is nothing new. From the worship of Baal and Marduk, to the blood sacrifices of the Incas and Aztecs, to the words “crave death” found in the belongings of 911 terrorists, the culture of death has been intrinsic to derivative worldviews since time immemorial. Let us recall the words of the wise Solomon:

 

There is a way which seemeth right unto man, but the end thereof are the ways of death.

(Proverbs 14:12)

 

 

 

CONSTITUTIONAL AMENDMENT

 

The first Amendment of the United States Constitution reads thus:

 

 

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

 

 

Who can calculate the sum of mischief that these few words have prevented in the last 200 years? Here are a few words, written on a piece of paper, and yet in all the annals of body politic you would be hard-pressed to find a single blow more accurately delivered into the ribcage of the derivative idol that has been competing against the labor of man and seeking to deprive him of the dignity of his origins since time immemorial.

 

So also, a few additional words, written in a latter day Constitutional Amendment, will serve to indemnify future generations from untold mischief when it comes to the misuses of modern medicine. Without presuming to dictate the exact wording, an addendum to the First Amendment of the United States Constitution might read as follow:

 

Congress shall make no law respecting a definition of human life, or denying the personage or personhood thereof, or denying the dignity thereof, or denying the value thereof, or denying the quality thereof, or denying the equality of all human life.

 

 

 

 

 

If Christ died for all men, how great the worth and value of every human life! As did America’s Founders, let us resolve anew that all men are indeed created equal, endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, foremost among them being life itself, and the only legitimate reason that governments have for existing in the first place is to secure those rights.

 

This being the case, governments must now do their duty by doubling their efforts to preserve, protect and defend their citizens' basic right to live. One way to do this would be to require an up-to-date version of the Hippocratic Oath to be taken by physicians before receiving a license to practice medicine.

 

Without presuming to dictate the exact wording, we may nevertheless submit the following draft, based on the original Hippocratic oath of Circa 325 B.C., and the revision of Louis Lasagna in 1964:

 

 

 

 

HIPPOCRATIC OATH (REVISED)

 

I hereby swear, in the witness of God and man, to fulfill, to the best of my ability and judgment, this covenant:

 

I will, henceforth and to my dying day, do hand-to-hand combat with my ancient adversary disease, so help me God.

 

I will preserve the sanctity of human life, abiding by the primum non nocere principle of the Hippocratic tradition, respecting the hard-won scientific gains of my peers, freely sharing such knowledge as is mine with those who are to follow.

 

I will apply dietetic measures for the benefit of my patients, recognizing that an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure, remembering the words of Hippocrates: “Let food be your medicine, let medicine be your food.”

 

I will neither administer a deadly drug to anyone who asks for it, nor will I make a suggestion to this effect. Similarly, I will not administer to a woman any abortive remedy or procedure, except to save her life.

 

I will not view any human life subjectively, nor make any presumption about the value or quality thereof. I will not discriminate between my patients on the basis of race, gender, age, religion, culture, nationality, condition, or status. I will treat all human life as equally valuable.

 

I will not betray the trust of my patients. I will not violate the principle of physician-patient confidentiality. I will empathize and sympathize with my patients, always striving to preserve their God-given and unalienable rights, dignities and autonomies under all circumstances. In sincerity, in truth, and in purity will I guard the integrity and sanctity of my profession.

 

If I remain faithful to this oath, may God grant that my name be written in the Book of Life; should I transgress it and swear falsely, may my name never appear in it. Amen!

 

 

It is time for Christians to get off the fence and take a resolute stand for the superlative order of life, even as the derivative world reverts back to the ways of death. It is time for the salt of the earth and the light of the world to get off the couch and fulfill their destinies by using the virtues of the American political system to turn back the evil tide in due process of law.

 

As goes America, so goes the world. Let these wholesome restraints and lofty standards be instituted here in the United States, and the world will emulate in due course. Such measures of law must be instituted, and soon, otherwise the American people will have no ground to complain of the evils that may follow. Today is the day for lawful action. Tomorrow may be too late.

 

Human life is a precious gift from God, a sacred endowment that is now under full-scale attack by the Grim Reaper. The rider on the pale horse of the Apocalypse has thrown down the gauntlet and we are threatened by death on all sides. Let all believers, Christians, Jews and Muslims alike, contend valiantly before the throne of the Creator, by faith, by prayer, by fasting, and by their lawful presence at the voting booths, to stem the tide of elemental conformity and to restore the United States of America to the dignity of her origins in God.

 

 

Within the pages of In God We Trust you will learn how to affirm the necessity of Judeo-Christian ethic, stem the tide of elemental conformity and reinstate belief in the sanctity of human life throughout the world.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

1. Bork, Gomorrah, 192.

 

2. Wesley J. Smith, Culture of Death (San Francisco: Encounter Books, 2000), ix.

 

3. Sigmund Freud to Albert Einstein in 1933, quoted by Eric Fromm in Anatomy of Human Destructiveness (New York: Holt, Rinehart and Winston, 1973), 466.

 

4. Sigmund Freud, quoted in The Great Quotations compiled by George Seldes (New York: Pocket Books, 1976), 253.

 

 

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