Sunday, September 30, 2007

Reverence for Life

I saw a sticker on the back of a car today: "I am the proud parent of a MARINE." It pleased me. It warmed me. Then I thought: "Why? Why am I having such a strong, positve reaction?" First I thought perhaps because my brother was a Marine, and I used to idolize him as a young boy. Then I thought: I am a parent, so perhaps I identified on that level. But I soon realized that the statement so pleased me because the son of the driver of the car, the boy, the young man was a person who was willing to take on a high possibility of death. I respect soldiers; and I have great respect for fire fighters and the police as well. In all three job categories failure carries the penalty of death. And I have a great love and respect for death's opposite, life...which death is constantly trying to eradicate.

My absolute respect for human life is so strong, in fact, that I have trouble with abortion, euthenasia and the death penalty. Human self-respect demands we place the highest and absolute value on human life. I believe any self-respecting society must first expend all efforts to solve societal problems, such as poverty and ignorance that leads to unwanted pregnancies, rampant crime, the excruciating pain that often accmpanies dying, and attack from other nations and/or individuals that leads to war, before considering any option that involves death.

Death, whether in the form of abortion, death penalty, euthenasia or war, should only be considered as a very, very, very last resort.

Eary in the 20th Century man there lived a man called Albert Schweitzer, a great philosopher, musician, and medical doctor, who believed in a philosophy called: "Reverence For Life". He revered life in all its forms, human and non-human: he would not even kill a mosquito or beetle....even though he spent the latter part of his career living and working among the poor as a much-needed medical doctor in the jungles of Africa where all forms of life are so overwhelminly abundant that at times they appear inconsequential. Albert Schweitzer lived his life-revering philosophy in the extreme (whereas I personally would draw the life/death absolute line at humans); but he had a point. If we do not revere life, life has no meaning. If life has no meaning, all morality, ethics and goodwill...and existence...are negotiable...and problematic. Human self-respect requires a strong and abiding respect for life..."to be proud to be a HUMAN BEING".


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