Saturday, April 7, 2012

Culture of Life

Those familiar with the Scriptures and Church teaching have no difficulty accepting the obvious need for respecting life, and getting behind the culture of life movement. Writing in the Peace Weekly a professor of philosophy returns again to the subject and the reasons for understanding the culture of life. However, in our current  society, respect for life teaching is not given much notice.

The first chapter  of the Scriptures tells us we are made in the image of God. God's existence is poured into us. We know this is not our external appearance but that our existence is grounded in that of God. No one has seen God but the professor wants us to understand, when we see another person, that the person we see daily, the one we fight with, the one we hate--is another way of encountering God.

God is not distant from us but comes into our presence daily. Knowing this we respect God when we respect the other. This teaching is exemplified by our study of life. Nature and life have come down to us by a historical  process; life is a historical result. If we are to understand life we have to know history. Life appeared in history at a certain time. Science doesn't have the competence to tell us the purpose of life.

All life has the same origin even if there are different varieties; they all have the same mechanisms and systems. Humans, together with all of life, have the same origin but it is only humans that can understand and interpret this history of life: this is the image that was given to us by God. This is not to do what we please with all other forms of life. Rather it is to cooperate with creation and carry out  its purposes. Here we find the reason for respect for life and the mission to enhance life.

When we disregard this duty, we are going against the image that has been placed in us by God. Humans, by our existence and actions, are deciding the future of life and the meaning it will have for us. The nature of life is within us. The culture of life allows us to live and enjoy life more fully. Happy Easter

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