Half a Person
Posted: 12:00 pm on July 27th, 2016
Our culture needs a lot of healing. Every day we read about a new assault on human dignity, and it’s not limited to the brutalities that we’re witnessing by Islamic terrorists.
In Belgium, physicians legally put to death a woman who didn’t even have a terminal illness. Her diagnosis was “untreatable depression.” Her son didn’t know what happened until he received a telephone call the next day. In Brussels, four activists attacked the Catholic Archbishop, tearing off their clothing and spraying him with water while screaming at him for his Catholic stand on abortion and marriage. A Scottish poet received international acclaim for her YouTube poem recitation, in which she said: “I would’ve died for my aborted daughter’s right to choose like she died for mine.” Richard Dawkins, the University of Oxford amoralist, claimed that it is IMMORAL to NOT abort children with Down Syndrome. And Dr. Ezekiel Emanuel, one of the architects of ObamaCare, said that living longer than 75 years “robs us of our ability to contribute to the world,” and forces us to be remembered as “feeble, ineffectual, even pathetic.”
This is the culture in which our young people are growing up. This is the television they are watching, the blogs they are reading, the education they are receiving, and the world they are immersed in. It’s no wonder they are the most abortion-vulnerable group in our society.
75 percent of abortions in the U.S. occur among women under the age of 30, and nearly 18 percent occur among teenagers. Over 50% of Catholic and Protestant students identify themselves as “pro-choice.” This is identical to the attitudes of their public-schooled counterparts. Studies have reported that students at Catholic schools abort at a higher rate than public-schooled students because of the pressures that are placed on them to succeed academically and athletically.
At Healing the Culture, we’ve dedicated our lives to understanding why people embrace abortion and euthanasia. In the vast majority of cases, it’s not because they’ve never seen an image of an unborn child, or because they don’t know what their church teaches about these issues.
The biggest reason people support abortion and euthanasia is because they don’t understand why they should be pro-life. And the reason they don’t understand is because they’ve accepted a very narrow and corrupted language from this culture about the meaning and purpose of human life.
Our culture has taken out the language that God has spoken into our hearts about who we are and what we are meant for, and has replaced it with the lie that people are the sum of their biological parts; happiness is money, power, and popularity; quality of life is comfort and pleasures; success is being better than everyone else; love is being admired and affirmed; suffering is the greatest of all evils, or at least completely useless and is to be avoided at all costs; freedom is having all your options open all the time; and morality and human rights are defined by popular vote.
I don’t believe that people are completely blinded by these empty beliefs. When you talk with young people, they acknowledge that there’s more to life than sports and sex. They understand that true love requires a gift of self, that freedom often requires making commitments, and that suffering can have great meaning. But their day-to-day default drive is to operate out the corrupted language that the culture pushes on them. Why? Because it’s easier. If the fullness of revealed truth does not take root in their hearts, they will default to what everyone else is doing.
But young people can wade through these muddied waters if we help them. In one study, 90% of the high school students who took our Principles & Choices classroom course said that it completely changed their thinking about what happiness is. 90% said that they were able to apply the information to their own lives, with several indicating that it made them draw closer to God or helped them to make better choices. Over 80% agreed that the material made them think deeper about abortion and euthanasia than they ever had before. 35% said that, after going though only a quarter of the course, the curriculum had already changed their minds on abortion. Among those who were already pro-life, nearly all of them moved from being confused or embarrassed by their pro-life beliefs, to being proudly pro-life and ready to defend their position in public.
My five-year-old daughter has skinny little plastic dolls called Spaghetti Girls. You can pop off their legs and torsos, and exchange them with parts from other dolls. One day I was playing with Juliette, and she gave me a Spaghetti Girl that had only an upper body and a head. So I took it and said, “Hello! I’m half a person.” She replied, “Mommy, how can you be half a person, if you’re a person?”
My daughter is brilliant. She’s figured out what academics like Richard Dawkins can’t see. That human persons are far more than their body parts. Our goal is that every child will understand this and will know what it means to be a “whole person.” And that this knowledge will set them free to live lives of true happiness, meaning, and purpose.