Wednesday, April 8, 2009

The connection.

I find it difficult to express--and, more fundamentally, to fathom--the tremendous leaps in scale employed in the "Culture War" arguments.

A favorite pro-abortion argument centers on the suffering of a particular woman, the victim of violence, who needs our loving support and encouragement to make the difficult, but necessary, choice and end her child's life.

Then there is the favorite atheist/agnostic argument that appeals to "science" and "scientific fact," the power of "progress," and the imbecility of "religion" and "religious experience." All these are categories so broad as to be entirely devoid of meaning. Similar non-concepts include: "nature," "quality of life," "tolerance," and "green."

I see, too, there's been an uproar over Dr. Jeff Steinberg's fertility clinic, which offers hair- and eye-color selection to prospective parents. This in the very same society in which Down Syndrome fetuses are aborted at a rate of 90%. Apparently, eye-color genes are off-limits, Down Syndrome genes are up for grabs.

Finally, with the advent of our current economic crisis comes the not-too-shocking revelation that perhaps the baby-boomers ought to have invested in children rather than lattes, put up with anything rather than divorce, and flushed those birth-control pills (which, incidentally, are killing frogs in suburban America--so much for "green"). The reaction, in my limited social circles, however, has largely been: shrug. Yes, someone really should start reproducing, but, ho-hum, how would I ever pay for college for more than one kid? The leap from "we need a next generation" to "I should consider having children sooner rather than later" is not made.

The fuzzy thinking is overwhelming. The rapid leaps from the particular to the general, and the inability to apply either one to me, here, now, render us mentally, spiritually, and emotionally obese and atrophied. Like the inert humans in Wall-E.

This has been up until now an exercise in Rage Against the Machine. But what is to be done? In order to escape the vicious cycle, the answer is for me, here, now to live the culture of life. All the mushy-brained arguments for our culture's ridiculous ethic spring from the basic error: That man creates himself. That our self-actualization is our highest ambition. That God is in my image. There is no one to answer to at the end of all things. Few are the ones who connect these thoughts to their misguided compassion toward the unwed mother, their devotion to nature, their "well-done" divorces, their 2.0 children. But this is the connection.

I must live in opposition to those convictions. Obedience to divine authority is our highest lifestyle choice. I am in God's image, an image not of my making. I will face him at the end of days. My life is his to do as he has asked: not just to reproduce (although I am particularly fond of reproducing), but to love and enjoy my children. Not just to witness to the world, but to suffer and pray for the world. Not just to plant my organic garden, but to take a holy pleasure in the gifts of the earth and the gift of a simple life. Making the connection and living the connection.

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