Saturday, September 12, 2015

The Importance of Names

Yesterday marked the 14th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks that took the lives of nearly 3,000 Americans. As is the case with each anniversary, the names of the victims were read one-by-one. This tradition not only emphasizes the magnitude of the lives lost, as it takes quite a long time to read that many names, but it also drives home the importance of each individual life. There is something powerful in a name. In that, we recognize the uniqueness of each person. As much as we all share in common, we also each bring something to this world that has never been replicated. When one of us is lost, he or she cannot be replaced.

This brings me to the idea of how we value life. About a month ago, a lion was killed in Zimbabwe. This lion had a name, which as I’m sure you are all familiar with by now. His name was Cecil. The world was united in outrage at the death of a lion who had a face, and most importantly, had a name. Had it been just any nameless lion, there would have been a fair amount of disgust at the idea, but somehow the fact that this lion had a name, and thus an individual identity, made his killing more upsetting.

A couple weeks ago, I lost a very special cat named Chloe. It was a terribly difficult decision to have her put to sleep, but she was clearly suffering. I adopted Chloe in the 2nd year of my marriage, and one of the first things we did for her was to give her a name. She was a special cat, and we honored her individuality with a name that not all cats share. Her life was of value to us. When I had to say goodbye, the loss was felt very deeply. Over the years, I’ve seen many dead cats on highways or in alleys, and while I felt some sympathy for them, their death never impacted me like the loss of my own cat. They were anonymous cats, indistinguishable from each other. How could I possibly feel as much pain over their loss as I did for Chloe?

This leads me to think about how much of an uphill battle we face in fighting for the rights of pre-born children. Because of how our natural feelings of empathy work, it is much harder to care about the lives of nameless children who we never met and whose losses most of us have not even indirectly felt in our lives. How much different then would it be if we knew the names of each of the 57 million American children who have died by abortion? How much would our perception change if those names were read aloud one-by-one on a yearly basis? That comes out to an average of over 156,000 for each day of the year, 6,500 per hour, or 108 names per minute. The reading of the names would never end. This is the magnitude of what we have done to our children. God told Cain that “the voice of your brother’s blood cries out to Me from the ground.” How much then does the voice of the blood of 57 million children cry out to God?

How did this happen? How did we allow this into a nation founded on the right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness for all? Well, the devil is a deceiver, and he has been playing a long con on our society. It began with the lie, “did He really say?” We began to doubt that God meant what He said in His Word. He slowly embraced Darwin’s naturalism. We exchanged the Truth of God for a lie. We worshiped the creature, not the Creator. It is a good thing that we value animal life, but the funny thing is, we have not so much elevated animals as we have lowered humans to their level. This is what happens in Hinduism, but it is also the result of naturalism. Just as communism seeks to elevate the poor to the level of middle class, but ends up lowering the middle class to the level of the poor, we have done the same with human life. We are now no different from the animals. Therefore, if it is right to euthanize our pets, it is right to euthanize our parents. If it is right to abort the pregnancy of a cat, it is right to abort the pregnancy of a human.

The thing about naturalism is that it only elevates nature itself, not the individual things that compose it. What is happening in our society now as we allow our evolutionary thinking to evolve us, is that we are moving from a valuing of individual life to a valuing of the earth and the universe itself. We still love our animals because we are empathetic to the lives that impact our own, but we are beginning to resent humanity for what it is doing to nature. The life on earth is killing the earth. This is the end result of naturalism, or if you prefer, materialism. Everything ends in the material. And this is how the devil has tricked us into accepting abortion.

There is an especially vulgar word that begins with an F. It is not the one you think. This word is far more offensive because it is the most disgusting misrepresentation of the sanctity of God-given human life. The word I am speaking of is “fetus.” In this very word is the destruction of the individual, and the ultimate devaluing to pure material of our most precious and defenseless sons and daughters. We should not be surprised that the abortion industry is treating the bodies of dead children as material to be salvaged. By embracing the “F-word,” our society has taken a purely materialistic view of human life. It deprives humans of a name, a face, and a life. It is a disgusting-sounding word, and by no accident, is surprisingly similar to “fungus.” It is something we are repulsed by. Who would possibly want a doctor to tell them they have a fetus growing inside of them? It’s no coincidence then that many women, particularly those who fight most strongly for abortion, now view pregnancy as a disease. That which is growing inside of them is an enemy to their survival. It’s kill or be killed in the survival of the fittest. The devil is a master of language, and he has used it brilliantly. The very case for abortion is “pro-choice.” Who could possibly disagree with that? I love having choices. Therefore if I am not pro-choice, I must be anti-choice. What a horrible thing to be! The devil thrives on ignorance, and these terms are denials of reality. It’s not a “fetus,” it is a child. It’s not a “choice,” it is the taking of a human life.

We have lost touch with what is real. We need to recognize the value of all human lives, even those that are nameless. Our nation was founded on a “right to life,” though I’m not sure we’ve ever properly understood it. We tend to think of it as the right that God has given us to our lives. What many don’t realize is that the right to life is not ours. It is God’s. Life is a gift from God, but we don’t have a right to it. That is what makes it a gift. We are not entitled to anything from Him, even our existence. I don’t own my life or anyone else’s, but I am responsible to God for how I live and how I respect the lives of others. Life belongs to the Giver of Life, and this is what makes abortion a truly abominable act. It is not merely a crime of stealing life from a fellow human being, it is stealing life from God Himself. This understanding gives light to the gravity of the sin of murder.

Only God can give us life, and only God can rightfully take it away. We recognize the evil of what happened 14 years ago, and we acknowledge the names of those who died. In Revelation 3:12, God promises that believers will one day be given a new name. I believe that God has names for each of us, including those who have died from abortion. For Him, the names ring out endlessly. They never escape His mind. He loved them, just as the surviving family members loved the ones they lost on that horrible day. We have stolen what was His. How can we ever repay what cannot be replaced?

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