Today in the paper there was an article about the increase in homicides in the city – they’re up 19% from the same time last year. And we often hear the term ‘murder capital’ used to describe some of our country’s bigger cities due to the number of homicides they suffer through. We have reports of ‘youths’ beating elderly people to death, or going on shooting sprees ‘for the fun of it’ or because they were ‘bored’ and had ‘nothing to do’.
And, of course, the usual people are out calling for stricter laws on guns, incarcerations and other punishments, more thorough psychological counseling, and so on and so forth, as they point the fingers of blame here, there, and everywhere. But what surprises me is the lack of pointing the finger at what I believe is the heart of the problem – the one of murder, and of a great many other societal problems we have.
Societally, we’ve lost the knowledge that people have dignity and innate worth, and that they carry (dare I say it?) a ‘divine spark’, the imago Dei, the image of God. Our churches used to teach Genesis 1, where we read:
Then God said, “Let us make man in our image, after our likeness. And let them have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over the livestock and over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.”When Charles Darwin’s now-famous (or infamous, depending on your perspective) book was published, it opened a front in the war that’s been raging ever since Lucifer was kicked out of heaven. Mr. Darwin’s book proposed that the animals we now see on our planet may have descended – with modifications – from more primitive forms over a great period of time. This would have been bad enough for the biblical idea of creation, but he took it one step further – he considered that, if this could have happened to animals, and because man is, in essence, an animal, that perhaps even man had descended from a lower form of life; perhaps even an ape.
So God created man in his own image,
in the image of God he created him;
male and female he created them. (Genesis 1:26-27, ESV)
In the intervening century and a half that latter idea was taken hold of by the majority of the biological scientists and many laymen (and women). And it didn’t take long for Satan’s words to Eve – ‘You will be like God’ – to sink their claws into humanity. More and more, mankind began to see itself as God – knowing good and evil. The problem was that man, being inclined to evil (as the Bible showed) began to excuse the evils that he did, developing alternate definitions and terms and devising therapeutic schemes which would ‘remedy’ the urges which produced the evils.
Today we have a culture which defines evil down – way down – by calling it an ‘illness’ or a ‘choice’ or ‘free will’. We have a society seemingly hell-bent (pun intended) on glorifying violence, deceit, sexual wickedness, greed, envy – pretty much everything the Ten Commandments condemns and the Deadly Sins explain.
And when you look at the evils our society is promoting you see that there’s a common denominator to all of them: a casual (and often callous) disregard for the worth, dignity, and even sanctity of human life. One really must shelve any notion of equality among human beings in order to steal from them, lie about or to them, curse them, desire what they have to the point of distraction; one must crate up any notions of human dignity in order to snuff out life before it even draws breath, to enslave people via confiscation of their property to dispense it to others, to further enslave others through the bonds of dependency; and one must smother all thoughts of human worth in order to take the life of another person outside of the due process of the law.
I admit I find myself struck with a kind of awe when I hear people – many of whom publicly support both our public educational system and abortion – condemn what they call ‘senseless murder’. They stand slack-jawed in horror and outrage over such an act when, in fact, it’s entirely explicable – all they need to do is look at the public school system and abortion to find their answers.
Our public school systems have for years taught our children that they are no better than animals; they are just products of the same evolutionary forces which turned an amoeba into a parakeet, after all. So, since they are no better than animals, why should we be aghast when they act like them, when they kill without any remorse? In fact, human killers are actually worse than animals, in that most animals kill either in self-defense or for food – we humans actually kill ‘for the fun of it’ or because ‘we were bored’.
And if murdering an unborn infant because it’s inconvenient is ‘choice’, how dare anyone condemn the ‘choice’ of the murderer to murder someone else because they were in some way ‘inconvenient’ to the murderer?
When you teach a child, by word or by deed, that human life is only as valuable as that of an animal, don’t be surprised when they act like the animals you’ve told them they are.
Ultimately, the restoration of the knowledge of the dignity and worth of the human being falls on any religion which teaches that God created man in His image and that men ought to treat each other as though they are dealing with God Himself. Restoration of this will not come from our public schools, as they are entrenched in the ‘man-is-an-animal’ Darwinian model and short of a complete and total overhaul I doubt that will ever change. The church must also teach and empower parents to train their children in the proper way, so that when they are faced with the evils society promotes they are able to defend themselves against that temptation. The church needs to get back to teaching that we are created in the image of God, and that everything we say and do in life reflects on that image; that we should fear soiling that reflection, because it angers God; and that the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom.