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We Are Each a Thought of God

October 18, 2018 by

October is Down Syndrome Awareness Month. Here are some thoughts from Dan Hallock on the value of each human life.

Young man with disabilities and his father Photo by Nathan Anderson

Western society has succumbed to the cult of individualism. We are blind to the devilish bait-and-switch that has taken place over the last several decades and blind to the fact that humankind itself is at stake.

The vanguard of society has slid rapidly from honoring biblical virtue to honoring secular or humanist “virtue” – from defending widows and orphans, the poor and those suffering under repressive regimes to defending those who are actively destroying the created order and refusing to acknowledge the Creator.

The cult of individualism has driven this trend, replacing the true God with the god of self. This idol has been given alluring names like “choice” and “rights” (words that are rarely found in scripture, and not in a selfish context). The god of “me” – my rights, my choice, my life matters – sanctions the right to do whatever I want with my life and my body, even at the expense of other lives and at the expense of my soul (witness the rise of assisted dying). We have fallen light years away from what Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. called a “dangerous kind of unselfishness.”

Technology has made it possible to actualize the takeover from God. As one military general said when he witnessed the first test of the atom bomb, “I felt that we puny things were blasphemous to dare tamper with the forces heretofore reserved to the Almighty.”

May we all seek selflessness, and find the renewal and life that Jesus wants to give to each person.

We have developed a host of technologies, such as genetic screening, that are devoid of ethical consideration as a result of the bait-and-switch. The amoral approach to these technologies is encapsulated in Robert Oppenheimer’s defense of super bombs: “It is my judgment in these things that when you see something that is technically sweet you go ahead and do it, and you argue about what to do about it only after you have had your technical success.”

That’s what you call technology without conscience.

The tragic irony in all the rhetoric on whose lives matter amid charges of fascism is that under Hitler’s fascist Reich, it was those classed as socially undesirable and those with disabilities who were targets of mass extermination. The very people crying “fascism!” today also vehemently support a woman’s right to abortion. And since 1980, more than 1.5 billion abortions have been performed, murdering one fifth of the world’s population, and countries like Iceland are “enjoying” 100 percent termination of Down syndrome fetuses. These are the individuals who are the truly oppressed, the defenceless, the ones not even allowed to exist.

Eberhard Arnold, whose essay “The Individual and World Need” (first serialized in 1927 and 1928) expands on my thoughts here in greater sociological and theological depth, enumerates the only answer to these problems, and the only true example we have of selfless love:

Jesus stripped himself of all his own rights and possibilities for power in order to suffer the worst, to be robbed of what he most treasured, without resisting. He did not seek death because he loved or desired it. Jesus wanted life. He wanted life in its true sense, as unity that overcomes dualism, separation, and disintegration. Just for this reason he wanted life for all those tortured by separation and isolation, for those who suffer the depths of misery, for the poor, the sinners, the guilty, and the despairing.

May we all seek out that selflessness, and find the renewal and life that Jesus wants to give to each person. May the love of self be replaced by the love of God. Then our consciences will be awakened. Then we will see that God never makes mistakes, that each human being is a thought of God, made in the image of God, and therefore precious and eternal.

Dan Hallock is the author of Six Months to Live. He lives at Beech Grove, a Bruderhof in the UK with his wife, Emily, and their three children.


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