Adrian: I love your email system and wish I could "do" colors the way
you do. But I can't (to differentiate my responses), so I'll have to
just bundle everything up here.
(1) I don't have a problem arguing that human death is **NOT** evil.
Ask some of our patients who are stuck in hospital beds in severe pain
or stuck in wheelchairs paralyzed from the neck down - sometimes even
worse than that. To them, death would be the greatest of God's blessings.
(2) Unfortunately, death rates do not go up as populations expand.
This is how we ended up with 6.5 billion people on the planet.
(3) Yes..we can and did predict outcomes. The United Nations is chock
full of thousands of reports from numerous scientific sources
foretelling the population disaster we would create if we began feeding
programs in third world countries **in the absence of a quid pro quo.**
That is to say, in the absence of birth control. We (scientists) also
predicted the crisis that would be brought on by the mass utilization of
antibiotics, the building of the Aswan High Dam, and any number of other
interventions designed to respond to an "immediate" need.
(4) "Non-intervention in the face of reason" is exactly what I'm
talking about. In the name of God, Christianity, kindness, and so on,
we intervene in situations with predictable crisis-level outcomes. Now
why would we knowingly create hell on earth in the name of God?
-------- Original Message --------
Subject: RE: Darwinism/Compassion
Date: Thu, 21 Feb 2002 09:03:43 -0800
From: Adrian Teo <email@example.com>
To: 'Lucy Masters' <firstname.lastname@example.org>, email@example.com
From: Lucy Masters [mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org]
Sent: Wednesday, February 20, 2002 12:53 PM
To: Adrian Teo
Subject: Re: Darwinism/Compassion
Yes - I agree that we must always weigh and balance means and ends.
But I also believe, especially in the area of biology, that we must
consider the "nature" of creation (I almost hate to use the word
"nature"). In other words, it appears that God did, in fact, design
the human body to die in certain circumstances. In your analysis,
death is automatically considered an evil. But is it?
[AT] My point was not that means and ends need to be balanced - that
would be proportionalism, which I do not agree with. I believe in
moral absolutes, that there are some acts that are intrinsically
evil under all conditions. The starting point for any moral
deliberation should be the object of the act. Having said that, I do
consider HUMAN death evil. I think that is much of what the NT
authors were trying to communicate, that death is the final enemy,
and will be conquered, not through our own strength, but through
Christ. I don't see how one can argue that human death is not evil
and reconcile that argument with Scripture.
Prior to modern transportation and communications, for example, an
indigenous tribe in an undeveloped land might experience, indeed did
experience, a certain level of death by starvation in relation to
the number of people born and the amount of arable land and potable
water. Now, those deaths were surely sad events. On the other
hand, by experiencing that relatively low death rate (and it was
relatively low according to any number of texts on population
dynamics), these tribes were able to survive with remaining healthy
individuals who were relatively free of disease - in large numbers.
Then along comes transportation and communication and folks around
the world decide that the death rate currently being experienced
(say, around 1955) is "evil" and must be stopped. And so we begin
feeding programs. Fifty years later, the death rate has soared
exponentially as have numerous diseases and epidemics directly
related to over-crowding and insanitary conditions. In this
scenario, we did "good" in order to get rid of an "evil" and end up
with an even greater evil.
[AT] Isn't it the case that as population expands, death rates would
also go up?
In the scenario I presented, we do "evil" (if that's what you want
to call non-intervention) and end up with a fairly healthy and
balanced population without the epidemics associated with over
population. AND...the scenario I present is that granted to us
through the systems of creation. I would go so far as to say that
God intended it to be this way.
[AT] We can never predict such outcomes. Nobody within reason could
have known the outcomes of those interventions at that point. Our
responsibility is to do what is right given our limited knowledge,
and trust in God's graces. In hindsight, it is always easier to see
how we could have done differently.
I do see your point, most definitely, but I also wonder about our
use of the words "evil" and "good." Is non-intervention really
evil? If it is, is God evil? He certainly doesn't intervene.
[AT] Non-intervention isn't always evil, but non-intervention in the
face of reason that tells us we should act is. How can we sit by and
do nothing when our fellow human beings are suffering and dying of
starvation? We are not called to save the world (that job has
already been taken), but we are called to bring some measure of
comfort and God's love to the people put in our paths.
This archive was generated by hypermail 2b29 : Thu Feb 21 2002 - 18:57:18 EST