Uncovering Christianity: Exploring The Roots Of The West #10 – Creation

Thus far in this series, we have explored many of the intrinsic parts of humanity, many things that make up the strong foundation upon which Western Civilization lies. We have pulled the curtains back on Christianity, taking an in-depth look at the values and ways of living well that it teaches us. And while we have yet many more aspects to discuss, it is at this point that we should take a deeper look into how everything around us, including our own selves, came into being.

There are generally two schools of thought on the way in which both we and all that we see around us were created: Creation and Evolution. The theory of evolution is one you might be familiar with because it was taught to you at school. High-school science classes typically teach evolution theory as the explanation for how human beings came to be, in addition to other parts of nature, particularly the wildlife present in the modern world. If you were like me, you would have likely been taught about Charles Darwin and his work, including the theory of natural selection, whereby only animals that can adapt to their environment and any changes that occur within it will survive, the others left in the past. While there is likely some merit to this theory, it is generally common sense.

But the notion of human beings evolving from monkeys or apes or what have you is a completely different kettle of fish. It is difficult to see how the complex beings that we are could have come into being as a derivation of primates. The complexities of the human brain, the human body, particularly the heart and mind, are just too great to have suddenly formed as the next level up from an ape. The only reasonable explanation for them, and indeed for all the complexities of the world around us, is some kind of intelligent design. And for that to be the case, there would have to be some kind of intelligent designer, some sort of creator.

That is where Creation comes in. Creationists believe that the Earth was created by God, completed over a period of six days with the seventh being set aside as a day of rest. Creationists believe that the sun, moon, stars, animals (be they on land, in the air, or in the sea), plants, and human life itself, was all created by one Divine Being.

When it comes to humanity itself, the first human being created was Man, called Adam. From Adam, God took a rib and used it to fashion Woman, called Eve:

So Adam gave names to all the cattle, the birds of the air and to every beast of the field. But, he did not find among them a companion suitable for himself. Then the Lord God caused a deep sleep to come over Adam and he fell asleep. Then He took one of his ribs and filled its place with flesh. The rib which the Lord God had taken from Adam he formed into a woman and brough her to the man. Adam then said, “This at last is bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh. She shall be called Woman because she was taken from Man.” That is why a man leaves his father and mother and becomes attached to his wife, and they become one flesh. (Genesis 2:20-24)

The creation of man and woman is of particular interest, as it brings us back to the subject of marriage and family. When God created Woman, He did so by taking part of the Man He had already created. So when a man and woman come together in marriage, this could be seen as a rejoining of the two parts of one body. It is an intriguing idea, one that I personally cannot take credit for thinking of, given it did not even occur to me until I recently read it in Jordan Peterson’s Beyond Order: 12 More Rules For Life. He writes of how when the rib was taken from Adam and formed by God, the Divine Creator, into Eve, the two sexes were separated, which “implies not only the partition of a divinely produced unity, but the incompleteness of man and woman until each is brought together with the other.” He notes this in his remarks about a wedding he attended for his Christian friends, who, when exchanging their vows, held a lit candle between them. Peterson writes of the candle, “The fact that the candle is held jointly indicates the binding of the two celebrants. The fact that the candle is held aloft, lit, implies that something higher – something superordinate – is representing or performing the union.” It could therefore be assumed, at least by this ritual, that man and woman are once again being joined together by a Divine Being, by God. Upon reading and realizing this, even I was in awe. It should go without saying, Christians are always learning as well. We are by no means perfect, and we do not necessarily fully understand the Word of God, that which is written in the Bible. There is a lot to consider, which makes a moment of understanding an incredible one.

But back to Creationism. For this world to have come into being, able to be inhabited by humans and animals alike, and everything within it to work as they do, it has to have done so through some form of intelligent design. It is difficult to see how any of this could have occurred as it did without such. There is, of course, the concept of the big bang, and while this is scientifically accepted, it is hard to fathom how the world that came into being could have done so spontaneously, everything just falling perfectly into place by chance. Everything had to have been fine tuned to the nth degree to bring such a complex creation as the Earth and Universe itself to life.

To explore this further, let us take a look at some of the specifics in terms of the mechanics of the Earth and the Universe. There are a few factors, fine-tuned in nature, that, without, the existence of our universe would not be possible. (The following scientific examples are taken from discovery.org.) For example, if the strong nuclear force of the universe was even slightly more powerful than it is, hydrogen, an element essential to life itself, would not be present, meaning most of what we see around us, even our own selves, would likely not exist. On the opposite, if it was slightly weaker, hydrogen would be the sole element to exist. When we consider the weak nuclear force: if this were slightly different, heavy elements would not exist, given there would either be too low a level of helium to produce them in the stars, or the stars would rapidly burn out so that supernova explosions would not be able to scatter these elements across the universe. To the electromagnetic force of the universe: if this were just slightly stronger or weaker, atomic bonds would not be able to form, thus complex molecules would also be unable to form, and much of what we see around us would not exist. The gravitational constant must also be finely tuned to prevent the stars from either burning out too rapidly or not burning at all.

Each of these things are finely tuned to such a degree of complexity that they match the specified requirements necessary for life to exist. Just to give you an idea of how great the degree of fine-tuning is with regard to these values for the purpose of a universe compatible with life to exist, here are the exact specifications that must be met, and respectively are (Again, taken from discovery.org):

  • The gravitational constant must be 1 part in 10˄34
  • The electromagnetic force versus the force of gravity must be 1 part in 10˄37
  • The cosmological constant must be 1 part in 10˄120
  • The mass density of the universe must be 1 part in 10˄59
  • The expansion rate of the universe must be 1 part in 10˄55
  • The initial entropy (measure of the amount of energy unavailable to do work or the number of possible arrangements the atoms in a system can have) must be 1 part in 10˄(10˄123)

That final one in particular demonstrates an incredible degree of fine-tuning. While it may be difficult to understand these parts of the makeup of the universe, we are still able to appreciate that there was an astronomically precise level of purposeful design and planning that went into creating the universe, its laws and constants, all that is needed to create and maintain a place that is completely compatible with life. If you are still not convinced, take it from Charles Townes, a Nobel laureate in the field of physics:

“Intelligent design, as one sees it from a scientific point of view, seems to be quite real. This is a very special universe: It’s remarkable that it came out just this way. If the laws of physics weren’t just the way they are, we couldn’t be here at all. The sun couldn’t be there, the laws of gravity and nuclear laws and magnetic theory, quantum mechanics, and so on have to be just the way they are for us to be here.”

Townes is spot on in his assessment. This universe somehow managed to come out just right, and for that to happen is quite incredulous. The only explanation for this is intelligent design. Although some scientists respond to this notion with the idea that there are a large number of universes, each one being slightly different to all the others. Their logic is that, of all the universes, this one by chance turned out just right. But that argument would postulate that there are a truly great number of universes, all with laws that differ to a degree. For that to be true, there would likely have to be some machine that could generate universes, or some kind of multiverse alike to those that appear in comic book universes (eg. the Marvel and DC universes). This is highly unlikely, and so we must turn to the other distinct possibility that the universe we inhabit was planned; that this is the reason it has come to be the way it is: unique, special, and compatible with life.

The other point that must be discussed on the matter of Creation and intelligent design is humanity itself, moreover Deoxyribonucleic Acid (DNA). DNA is one of the most complex information systems in existence. It incorporates two features that bring forward the argument of intelligent design: its complexity and its functional specificity. We could compare it to a computer code, which has much the same features. Both code to produce certain forms of matter, or in the case of computers sequences of symbols (be they letters, numbers or the like). These forms and sequences are complex in nature, however are functionally specific; They each work to carry out some particular function. Now, other theories for how this could be have, as Stephen Meyer writes in his text Signature in the Cell, “proven universally inadequate for explaining the origin of such information”. Seeing as agents of intelligent design are capable of producing forms and sequences that are of great complexity yet maintain functional specificity, it stands to reason that intelligent design is the greatest explanation for these systems occurring within the world. Indeed, Meyer goes on to explain “intelligent design now stands as the only entity with the casual power known to produce this feature of living systems.” Humanity itself could only have come about at the hands of some intelligent designer, again pointing toward a Divine Creator, God, and Creationism as being the true explanation for how the universe and all that lies within it came into being.

Now as I said before, natural selection likely plays a part in the world, just not in the way that Darwinism argues. Of course there will be change over time; that is true for most things. And there could of course be a common ancestry between certain creatures that inhabit the Earth. But Darwin’s theory that biological changes occur blindly, without some sort of direction from an intelligence of some kind, is questionable, if not unlikely. In another of his papers, Stephen Meyer writes of how scientists have discovered nanotechnology within living cells, each one containing little circuits and machines that work together to read, copy, and edit information that they receive, depending on the “coordinated function of many separate parts”. He cites bacterial cells as an example of this, stating that they are “propelled by miniature rotary engines called flagellar motors that rotate at speeds up to 100,000 rpm. These engines look as if they were designed by the Mazda corporation, with many distinct mechanical parts made of proteins”. Again, there is no other reasonable explanation for this apart from the possibility of intelligent design.

Here are some examples of how some certain cells work. Cells such as virus cells, upon entering the body, find a host cell (one already in the body) and take control of it, hijacking it by means of using the machines, proteins and building blocks found in a normal, healthy cell’s nucleus to copy its own genetic material. If it is unable to gain entry to the nucleus, the virus cell can still replicate its genetic material by using a ribonucleic acid (RNA) polymerase (like a copier for cells), which takes the genetic information from the genome of a virus cell, reads it, and translates it into what is known as messenger RNA (known in short as mRNA, which is currently being used to create vaccines). This mRNA is the blueprint for the proteins that are encoded within a cell’s genome. Once the virus has completed one of the above processes, it then uses this now corrupted cell as a factory, replicating itself so that it can infect the body. Once this has occurred, the being with the virus in their body will become unwell. Bacterial cells are different in that they do not need a host cell to replicate. Once a bacterial cell enters the body, it replicates by means of a process called “binary fission”, where the DNA of the bacterium divides into two, the cell then elongating and splitting into two new cells, what are known as “daughter cells” (given they have just come into being thanks to the “parent cell”, the original bacterial cell that entered the body”), each with identical DNA to the parent cell from which they derived.

Both examples above demonstrate a certain complexity in their systems of operation and, by extension, infection. Genetic material is obviously something that is complex in nature and has come about by no mean feat. It is highly likely, almost a certainty, that intelligent design was involved in its creation. When scientists start playing around with genetic material, be it DNA, RNA, mRNA or whatever else, you will hear people say that they are playing God. This is, in essence, true. The complexities of genetic material are not something to be taken lightly; they are not a scientific plaything. It is understandable that scientists wish to look deeper into these parts of life, to discover more about them, and that is perfectly fine. But when scientists start modifying genetic material for some other purpose, it can be incredibly dangerous. Although in some cases it may be cause for a medical miracle, there are many instances in which it can go horribly wrong, and if one were to weaponize it, it has the potential to wreak a destruction unlike any other.

Intelligent design is the most reasonable and logical explanation for the existence of this universe, of this Earth. It stands to reason that behind the mysteries of this world lies a greater presence, an intelligent designer, a Divine Creator. When God created all that He did in the universe, He saw that it was good. In fact, each day of the Creation story written in the Bible contains the phrase God saw that it was good. And on the sixth day, the final day of Creation before the day of rest (the seventh day), God saw all that he had made, and indeed it was very good. (Genesis 1:31). What God created was indeed very good. The incredible complexities that occur in nature, and in our very own being, is something that could not have possibly occurred just by chance. Remember, we were all created in God’s own image:

So God created man in his image; in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them. (Genesis 1:27)

We are all created equally by God. We are all the inheritors of God’s marvellous Creation. What exists could not do so without His design, without His planning, without His fine-tuning. He created Day and Night, Sky, Earth and Sea, vegetation, light and dark, sun and moon and stars, the creatures of the sea and birds of the sky, cattle and every different kind of living creature that creeps along the ground, and man and woman. He brought this world, this universe, into existence. Even scientific exploration supports Creationism.

We are truly lucky and incredibly blessed to be alive and have all we have around us.

This is the Tenth Edition of a Series entitled Uncovering Christianity: Exploring the Roots of the West. This series explores the values and ideas originating from Christianity, looking back at Biblical times, and relating them to the modern world. There are central themes to each piece in this series, with key messages throughout to guide you in your own life. The series also looks at some of the threats to the roots of Western Civilization and discusses what can be done to placate them and protect the foundation of society. Keep an eye out for new series pieces each week.

Uncovering Christianity: Exploring The Roots Of The West #9 – Kindness and Charity, Freely Given

One of the great notions of Western Civilization and Christianity is our penchant for kindness and charity. Often, we give up our own time, of our own accord, to help others in whatever way we can. It might be cooking a meal for a friend or family member who is going through a tough time, helping the elderly with regular tasks, volunteering to help those less fortunate than us, or spending time with someone who is struggling. (sometimes just having a listening ear can be all one needs to decompress, to get their thoughts and feelings out into the open, process them, understand them, and then move forward without that baggage weighing them down, demotivating them, and preventing them from doing things they want to do and living their lives the best they can). When we show kindness and charity towards others, it is important that we are doing so out of the goodness of our own hearts, not merely for the sake of doing so or because we are being forced to. That is how resentment is bred.

A key message given by Jesus Christ is written in John’s Gospel, where Jesus said to His disciples:

“A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” (John 13:34-35)

Jesus demonstrates throughout his Earthly life his love not only for His disciples, but for everyone else as well. He heals people without a second thought; He listens to those who are struggling in their lives; He forgives those who others may deem unworthy of forgiveness; He helps those who have been cast out of society, deemed beyond assistance. It is, however, important to note that Jesus does this not because He is being forced to, but out of his own goodwill.

There is a common misconception in Western society that Jesus Christ was a socialist. Now I want to be clear, I do not intend for Uncovering Christianity to become overly political, but this is a point that must be addressed once and for all. Jesus was not a socialist. How do we know this? Because what He did, and how he told people to go about living, was not forced. It was completely voluntary. The distinguishing feature of socialism is force. If something is voluntary, it is not reminiscent of socialism.

In the New Testament, the place in the Bible where the four Gospels (Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John) reside, those four Books of the Bible that detail the life, death, resurrection and Ascension of Christ, there is not a word spoken by Jesus to call for the empowerment of politicians and bureaucrats to control every aspect of society. Jesus did not say that these people of power, a power He reminds them was given to them by God, should allocate resources, impose minimum wages, tell people how to run their own businesses, compel workers to join a union, or even raise taxes. In fact, when the Pharisees (the Jewish sect in power at the time of Jesus’ Earthly life, who we have discussed in more detail in previous editions of Uncovering Christianity), attempted to trick Jesus into the endorsement of tax evasion, He cleverly said the following:

“Then, give to Caesar that what belongs to Caesar, and to God what belongs to God.” (Matthew 22:21)

Immediately after this, those sent by the Pharisees to entrap Jesus leave Him, astonished at His response to their baited question. Christ’s response demonstrates His quick ability to bestow wisdom upon those who He meets, and those who attempt to test Him. In saying what He does in the above verse, He allows others to decide what property truly belongs to the State, the rest belonging to God Himself.

There are two particular moments in Christ’s ministry often cited by those who claim Jesus was a socialist, Communist, Marxist, or whatever other absurdity they wish to lay claim to. They see these moments as times when Jesus rebuked the rich. These are clearly misinterpreted, which is unsurprising given the Bible is likely one of the most greatly misinterpreted books in existence. The first of these is the time when Jesus drove the money changers from the temple. This had absolutely nothing to do with money. Jesus was angry at these individuals because they were misusing God’s house, the temple. It also serves as a foreshadowing of the destruction of the temple, which Christ Himself would be destroyed and raised back up in three days (this was in reference not only to the physical temple, but His own Body, the temple of the Holy Spirit). The second is more commonly cited amongst those who are of certain political persuasions but appear to have little to no knowledge of the Biblical text other than verses they have cherry-picked and twisted to suit their own agendas. The verse in question reads as follows:

“Yes, believe me: it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for the one who is rich to enter the kingdom of heaven.” (Matthew 19:24)

Most who take this out of context do so as a means of attacking the wealthy, of rebuking capitalism or the free market. Again, this has nothing to do with political ideology, nor is it an example of Christ supporting socialism. What Jesus meant when He said this was that it is difficult for those who are wealthy to resist temptation and therefore it is increasingly difficult for them to attain entry into the Kingdom of Heaven. Being rich may have its perks, but one must ensure they are responsible with such wealth. It is far easier to give into temptations, to become a slave to temptation itself. Jesus is thereby merely warning those who have such riches to tread carefully, to watch out for temptation when it rears its ugly head, and to be prepared, to have enough restraint, to shoot them down when they do, keeping in mind that this earthly life is only temporary, that how we spend our eternal life is of great importance.

To go further on this point, we may look to another story from Jesus’ time living amongst us on Earth:

Someone in the crowd said to Jesus, “Master, tell my brother to share with me the property left by our father.” He replied, “My friend, who has appointed me as your judge or arbiter?” Then Jesus said to the people, “Be on your guard and avoid every kind of greed, for the quality of your life does not depend on the possessions you have, however great they may be.” (Luke 12:13-15)

Again, Christ tells us that our Earthly possessions are not what enrich our lives. They are not what make us who we are, they do not make our lives more valuable than others’. We must be self-aware and ensure we do not become enslaved by greed. What enriches our lives are not tangible assets, but the very parts of our lives that we cannot put a price on. These are the very entities that are core to our being. They are the intangible parts of life, including those such as love, happiness, spirituality, grace, kindness, courage, all the pieces that make up the complex puzzles that are our personalities, that are our intrinsic natures. To that we may add friendships, invaluable special connections and relationships. And, of course, our relationship with God. With these, we are able to live a more fulfilling life.

When we think about helping others, our minds typically go straight to the poor and the needy. People who attack Christianity like to use these people to make a point. They like to say that Christians should support socialism because it would mean the poor and the needy would be less poor and less needy and in a much better position in society. They say Jesus was a socialist because He helped the poor and the needy. Once again, they are twisting the Biblical text to suit their own agenda.

Yes, Jesus Christ did help the poor and the needy. He healed the sick. He encouraged charity, Christian charity. But it is again important to understand that Christian charity is voluntary, that it is heartfelt. It does not come out of a place of obligation, of impersonal compulsion, but of a love of neighbour and of the goodness of one’s own heart. When Jesus spoke of the poor, He did not say “We’re going to make you help whether you like it or not.” He said,

“At any time you can help the poor, for you always have them with you, but you will not have me forever.” (Mark 14:7)

And this message of helping the poor out of personal choice, out of Christian charity, is reinforced in Paul’s Second Letter to the Corinthians, where he wrote:

Let each one give what he has decided upon personally, and not reluctantly as if compelled, for God loves a cheerful giver. (2 Corinthians 9:7)

These two verses reinforce the nature of Christian charity. The first goes to how we always have the opportunity to help the poor, but it is up to us to do so because we want to. This links to the second in that God wants us to give of our own free will, of our own volition, of our own charitable thought. It is all well and good to give out of compulsion but doing so generally creates an air of resentment around carrying out an act of charity, or an act of kindness. This means your charity or kindness is not well-intentioned, it is not enshrined in goodwill. Ultimately, for an act of charity or kindness to be true to its intrinsic nature, it must be given freely, voluntarily, and wholeheartedly. For as Paul writes, God loves a cheerful giver.

One of the greatest examples of true charity is the Good Samaritan. In His teachings, Jesus spoke in parables to help the people understand the messages He was trying to get across to them. The parable of the Good Samaritan, taken from Luke’s Gospel, is a truly memorable story with a key message of kindness, charity, and love of neighbour that we can all live by. Particularly for those who are unfamiliar with the Biblical text and have the urge to learn more, here is the parable in full:

Jesus then said, “There was a man going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and he fell into the hands of robbers. They stripped him, beat him and went off leaving him half dead. It happened that a priest was going along that road and saw the man, but passed by on the other side. Likewise a Levite saw the man and passed by on the other side. But a Samaritan, too, was going along that road, and when he came upon the man, he was moved with compassion. He went over to him and treated his wounds with oil and wine and wrapped them with bandages. Then he put him on his own animal and brought him to an inn where he took care of him.

The next day he had to set off, but he gave two denarii to the innkeeper and told him: “Take care of him and if you spend more, I will repay when I come back.”

Jesus then asked, “Which of these three, do you think, made himself a neighbour to the man who fell into the hands of the robbers?” The teacher of the Law answered, “The one who had mercy on him.” And Jesus said, “Go then and do the same.” (Luke 10:30-37)

In telling this parable, Jesus is highlighting the importance of having mercy on others and showing them charity, showing them kindness, out of the goodness of our own hearts. Although there were two men, the priest and the Levite, who saw the wounded man in a terrible state on the side of the road, they did not go up to him and spend time helping him, tending to his wounds, and assisting him in getting to safety. The Samaritan, however, put a hold on his journey to wherever he was travelling, went to the man, used his own time and resources to treat him and took him to safety. He went out of his way to do all this, even going so far as to pay for the man’s expenses at the inn, and did so purely out of compassion, out of true charity, out of the goodness of his own heart, out of love of one’s neighbour. Jesus Christ told this parable to teach us how to live well. We must follow in the stead of the Good Samaritan, treating others with mercy, with kindness, just as God does for us. The Good Samaritan did not just tell the man to wait for help from the government, or from somebody else. If he did, we may know him not as the “Good” Samaritan, but as the “Good-For-Nothing” Samaritan. Like him, we too should endeavour to help others in a compassionate and heartfelt manner.

The way we act towards others is not only an important part of the way we live, but also of our personalities and the very core of our being. If we force kindness, if we force charity towards others, we will only breed resentment, and that does not work in our favour. It creates a loathsome mentality, one of bitterness, hatred, contempt, all those tendrils of darkness that work to blacken our hearts and our souls. Similar occurrences come into being when we undertake these actions as a means of elevating ourselves to some higher status, or merely for the purpose of boasting about it. But if we act kindly and charitably of our own free will, of our own volition, with goodwill, drawing from the goodness of our own hearts, this will allow light to shine through, creating joy, hope, love and peace in our hearts and souls.

So, if you are looking for a way to brighten someone else’s life, as well as your own, do a random act of kindness. It can truly change a life, or even several. Kindness and charity emanate throughout society. It just takes one good-natured person to start a ripple.

This is the Ninth Edition of a Series entitled Uncovering Christianity: Exploring the Roots of the West. This series explores the values and ideas originating from Christianity, looking back at Biblical times, and relating them to the modern world. There are central themes to each piece in this series, with key messages throughout to guide you in your own life. The series also looks at some of the threats to the roots of Western Civilization and discusses what can be done to placate them and protect the foundation of society. Keep an eye out for new series pieces each week.

Uncovering Christianity: Exploring The Roots Of The West #8 – Leaders And Followers; Shepherds And Sheep

In many instances in this world, we are either one of two things: a leader, or a follower. There are those of us who take the reins, who shoulder the great responsibility of leadership, and there are those who would rather defer judgement on a wide range of matters to others, typically those who they believe can make the most informed decisions and guide them in the right direction and follow them almost like sheep. Leaders and followers both have an important part to play in the Western world. If we explore these roles in greater depth, we may come to understand the significant value in choosing when to be a leader and when to be a follower, and the importance of selecting those amongst us who are most appropriate for a position of leadership within society.

To understand these social roles, we must look back on their origins, which lie in Biblical times. There are several instances of leaders and followers within the Biblical text. One might look to the time when the Israelites were enslaved by the Egyptians, led by their ruler Pharaoh, who refused to let God’s people leave. Many may be familiar with the phrase, “Let my people go”, found in the Book of Exodus where God tells Moses to tell Pharaoh:

“This is what the Lord, the God of Israel says: ‘Let my people go, that they may hold a feast for me in the desert.’” Pharaoh replied, “Who is the Lord that I should listen to His voice and let Israel go? I do not know the Lord and I will not let Israel go.”(Exodus 5:1-2)

In this passage, Moses does indeed tell Pharaoh to allow the enslaved Israelites to go free into the desert, led my Moses himself, as God wishes, but Pharaoh, the ruthless leader of Egypt, is unwilling to do so. Thus, God brings ten plagues upon the land of Egypt. After the first plague, He gives Pharaoh another chance to let His people go. Pharaoh refuses to budge. Again, after the second plague, God gives Pharaoh another chance. He again refuses to do so. This occurs with at the conclusion of each plague, until the point where God inflicts the final plague, striking down all the firstborns in the land and creating the means necessary for the Israelites to escape under the leadership of Moses.

In this instance, there are two leaders and two different forms of leadership. On one side, we have Moses, chosen by God to lead His people, a man of righteousness following the Word of God. On the other, we have Pharaoh, the ruler of Egypt, a king unto himself, a man who does not do the bidding of anyone else, even God. Moses is one to obey authority, whereas Pharaoh is authority itself, corrupted by power and self-obsession. One may even argue that in this Biblical story, there is a third leader, that of God Himself, who leads Moses. In these circumstances, the Israelites are followers, both of Moses, and of God. Likewise, the Egyptians are the followers of Pharaoh.

This is in some way reminiscent of the circumstances we face in the present. Throughout the world are leaders, all of various kinds. There are political leaders, those who govern our nations. There are our pastoral leaders, those who lead the Church and guide us in the faith. There are leaders in our workplaces, in groups we are a part of, and so on. Each of those in a position of leadership must be capable of taking on responsibility, something that can vary in size and burden. Sometimes that burden may be something a minor as a simple choice. But sometimes, that choice can be so great, so heavy, that it becomes much more difficult to deal with. And sometimes the burden we carry as leaders can be too great to bear. It may therefore become necessary to have someone help us to carry that cross. That is why leaders typically have advisors, those who assist them with decisions, particularly tough ones.

When we are in positions of leadership, we need someone to talk to, a mentor of sorts. We need someone to discuss critical decisions with, because those choices can be some of the hardest to make and can thereby have a significant impact on our mental health. As leaders, we assume responsibility for the outcomes of our choices, whatever they may be. If the consequences of our decisions are dire, then we must be able to come to terms with them. This may not be easy, given sometimes the decisions of leaders can cause despair, grief, pain, even death. A gracious leader with a good heart will rally with their people in difficult times, expressing emotion and connecting with their followers. A leader that shows no care for the terrible outcomes of a decision they have made is unlikely to be worthy of their position. In fact, it would likely be better for their people that they do not continue to hold a position of leadership at all.

Leaders are often borne out of crisis. In such times, there are certain individuals that rise to the forefront, taking on the responsibility necessary to navigate the difficulties that lay ahead. Such people who can do this, and do it well, are natural leaders. They are born to take charge, to steer people to safety, to guide them in the right direction. These are the individuals we want in leadership positions throughout society. We need strong, compassionate, righteous leaders to guide us through whatever may come our way. We need those like Moses to step up and lead their people from dark to light.

But while there are leaders out there in the world much like Moses, there are also Pharaohs who seek only to conquer and serve themselves. These are the people obsessed with power, who will do most anything to take more and more at all costs. If it means people will suffer, it does not irk them, as long as they get what they want. These people will steer their followers off a cliff if it means they can get some sort of thrill out of it. The psychopaths, sociopaths and narcissists of the world are typically the most dangerous when it comes to leadership. These are the people that God was likely referring to when He spoke of the “bad shepherds”.

In order to understand this reference, let us return to the Bible, this time the New Testament. The New Testament begins with the four Gospels: Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John. These four Books detail the Earthly life of Jesus Christ, a leader Himself (one might say the ultimate leader), who brought together a group of twelve men, who would become known as His Apostles. There were also some women amongst the group, including Mary Magdalene, a woman who had led a difficult life until Jesus came to her aid. The twelve men, collected over time by Christ, were: Simon Peter, who would later go on to lead the Church as the first Pope, his brother Andrew, James and John, the sons of Zebedee, who Jesus gave the name “Boanerges”, meaning “Sons of Thunder”, James son of Alphaeus, Bartholomew, Matthew, Thomas, Philip, Thaddeus, Simon, and Judas Iscariot, who would go on to betray Jesus on the night of the Last Supper (There was also a thirteenth, Matthias, who replaced Judas to make up twelve). Of the twelve, two wrote accounts of Jesus’ life, death, resurrection, and Ascension into the Kingdom of Heaven. These were John, also referred to as the Beloved disciple, the only one of the twelve post-Ascension to not be martyred, and Matthew.

The twelve were Jesus’ followers, and He their leader. In John’s Gospel, we read of how Jesus, in discussion with His disciples, called Himself the Good Shepherd:

I am the good shepherd; the good shepherd lays down His life for His sheep. The hired man, since he is not the shepherd and the sheep do not belong to him, abandons the sheep as soon as he see a wolf coming, and runs away, and then the wolf attacks and scatters the sheep; he runs away because he is only a hired man and has no concern for the sheep. I am the good shepherd; I know my own and they know me, just as the Father knows me and I know the Father; and I lay down my life for my sheep. And there are other sheep I have that are not of this fold, and I must lead these too. They too will listen to my voice, and there will be only one flock, one shepherd. (John 10:11-16 New Jerusalem Bible)

Jesus spoke in analogies on many occasions; it was His way of getting an important message across to the people. In the above analogy presented in John’s Gospel, Jesus speaks of sheep and called Himself the Good Shepherd. In other words, the sheep are His disciples and Jesus is their shepherd, their leader. They follow Him, and He takes care of them, protecting them from wolves, representative of temptation, sin, and evil, that seek to scatter them and lead them astray. Jesus also says He will lay down His life for His sheep, foreshadowing His death upon the Cross, whereby He would sacrifice Himself to cleanse us of sin and give us all the chance to live in eternal glory with Him in the Kingdom of Heaven. In last part of the verses above, Jesus tells His disciples that there are other sheep he also must lead that are “not of this fold”. These sheep are everyone else, all those who will follow Christ, even if they have not seen Him. They are not of His chosen fold, the twelve disciples, but are still believers and are joined as one in their following of Jesus Christ.

While there are leaders on this Earth that espouse well-rounded leadership and lead with goodness in their hearts, there are also those who do not, those who lead with self-interest at the forefront of their minds. These are what we may refer to as the bad shepherds, the ones who deceive, mislead, and create division amongst the sheep. There are several passages from the Bible that mention such people. The first of these comes from the Book of Jeremiah:

“Woe to the shepherds who mislead and scatter the sheep of my pasture!” declares the Lord. Therefore, the Lord, the God of Israel, says this to the shepherds of my people: “You have scattered my sheep and driven them away instead of caring for them. Now I will take care to punish you because of your evil deeds”, declares the Lord. (Jeremiah 23:1-2)

In this, God says that there are those who appear to be guides to the people, leaders of sorts, but who have wrongful intentions, with the aim to divide the people and lead them astray. We see this reflected in modern times, particularly in self-serving politicians and other various leaders who have an agenda they wish to drive forward. We also see it in the Church, where certain church leaders cast aside the values of the faith to pursue what is expedient to them, be it money, power, an agenda, or even just popularity. There are those that twist the words of Scripture to suit their own purposes, to support dangerous ideologies.

This is reiterated in Ezekiel 34:1-6:

The word of the Lord came to me: “Son of man, prophesy against the shepherds of Israel! Prophesy and say to them, ‘The Lord God says this: Woe to the shepherds of Israel who feed themselves! Should not the shepherds feed the flock? But, you feed on milk and are clothed in wool, and you slaughter the fattest sheep. You have not taken care of the flock, you have not strengthened the weak, you have not cared for the sick or bandaged the injured. You have not gone after the sheep that strayed or searched for the one that was lost. Instead, you ruled them harshly and were their oppressors. They were scattered for want of a shepherd and became the prey of wild animals. My sheep wander over the mountains and high hills; and when they are scattered throughout the land, no one bothers about them or looks for them.”

In this, the shepherds, the leaders of God’s people, are again berated by God for serving themselves rather than serving His people. We see how God is dismayed at how they have reaped the benefits of their leadership for themselves, but have left the people to their own devices, neglecting them, abandoning them, scattering them, exposing them to danger. Again, this is visible in the world of today, whereby those in positions of leadership divide their people, neglect them, and expose them to danger for the sake of their own interests. For example, people are sent to senseless wars because politicians are acting selfishly, putting the lives of the people they have been elected and sworn to protect in grave danger for personal and political gain. Peace is forgone because of poor leadership.

There is great importance in the animal selected by God to represent His people. Sheep are not necessarily smart animals. They can easily get lost or be led astray. This is because sheep do not typically think for themselves. They can follow someone blindly, lacking direction and putting their lives in the hands of someone who may not have good intentions.

So, while it can be beneficial to be a follower, we must still be wary of those we follow and use good judgement to determine whether the direction they are leading us in is good. If it is, we may keep following them, carefully reassessing along the way. However, if it is not, it is pertinent that we find new leadership so that we may be steered back onto the right path.

Leaders are necessary for society to maintain stability and even progress, but we cannot always just take their word for granted. It is crucial that we think for ourselves. We must continue to question the motives of our leaders to ensure they are good and righteous. We must continue to question the decisions of our leaders, to ensure they are right and just. We must ensure that we are being led down a path of truth and right judgement.

There is one final passage that I would be remiss not to mention in this edition of Uncovering Christianity. It is Psalm 23, which I think sums up the kind of leadership each and every one of us is in need of:

The Lord is my shepherd, what more do I need? In green pastures He lets me rest. To quiet streams of water he leads me, and revives my failing spirit. He leads me along the right paths ever true to Hi name. Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, no harm would I fear, for you are there by my side. With your rod and your staff you give me comfort. You prepare a banquet for me in the presence of my foes. You anoint my head with oil; my cup is overflowing. Only goodness and kindness will follow me all the days of my life, I shall dwell in the house of the Lord for ever and ever.

For Christians, Jesus Christ is our leader, our Good Shepherd. He guides us in all we do. He is there for us through the good and the bad. He never abandons us. I can say without doubt that His presence in my life has been central to getting me to the place I am in now. It has enriched my life, giving me something to hold close to my heart at all times. In moments of anxiety, doubt, and despair, I have turned to Him, spilling out the contents of my heart and mind. Through Him, I am able to make sense of the world. Through Him, I am able to make good judgement. In Him, I find peace.

There are only some people who are willing to do anything for the people they lead. There are only some who are capable of staving off the corruption of power in positions of leadership. The strong-willed, humble, morally righteous, good-natured people are those who should be permitted to lead our society.

We all have the capacity to be followers, but there are only some amongst us that are capable of being good leaders.

This is the Eighth Edition of a Series entitled Uncovering Christianity: Exploring the Roots of the West. This series explores the values and ideas originating from Christianity, looking back at Biblical times, and relating them to the modern world. There are central themes to each piece in this series, with key messages throughout to guide you in your own life. The series also looks at some of the threats to the roots of Western Civilization and discusses what can be done to placate them and protect the foundation of society. Keep an eye out for new series pieces each week.

Uncovering Christianity: Exploring The Roots Of The West #7 – Family Values

Since the dawn of Western Civilization, there have been key pillars upon which society has been built. One of the most valuable of those is the family. The family represents unity, love, strength, and courage all in one. It is where we begin our journey as human beings in this life, where we are nurtured and raised. It is where we are conditioned to the world around us so that we may interact with society in a socially acceptable manner. It is where we learn how to make good choices, and where we learn right from wrong, where we take our first steps in developing good moral judgement. The family unit is one of the most important, fundamental cornerstones of a functional society. That is why those who have their own “utopian” visions of society (often where they are the ruling party) seek to destroy it. That is why it must be avidly protected.

The concept of family has existed since the very beginning. If we look back on Biblical times, there were many families from the point of Creation onwards. There was Adam and Eve and their sons Cain and Abel, the archetypally opposed brothers, something that quite possibly still exists today. There was Noah, his wife Naamah, and his sons, Shem, Ham and Japheth. There was Abraham and Sarah and their son Isaac. There was Elizabeth, Zechariah, and their son John the Baptist, who would later baptise Jesus Christ Himself. And, of course, there was the Holy Family: Mary, Joseph, and Jesus. Looking back on the beginning, God clearly states his intention for the inception of the family. We can see this if we go back to the Book of Genesis, the first Book of the Bible. In Genesis 2:24, which we discussed in the second Edition of Uncovering Christianity: Suffering, Reflection, and the Power of Love, it is written:

That is why a man leaves his father and mother and becomes attached to his wife, and they become one flesh.

When a man marries a woman, they become united as one. Their hearts and souls entwined in the uniting force of love, a gift from above, they become part of each other, each filling a place in the other’s heart. Marriage is shown to be one of the most important aspects of life, when a man and woman are joined together, and go on to create a family of their own, bearing children and guiding them in their lives to grow into good, socially acceptable human beings who are capable of interacting well with others in society. Biblically, marriage is a one of the seven Sacraments created by God. For those unfamiliar with the Sacraments, they are: Baptism, Holy Communion, Confirmation (these three are known as the Sacraments of Initiation, given they are the three that one will make to become a Catholic), Reconciliation (also known as Confession), Marriage, the Anointing of the Sick (for those who are unwell or facing illness), and Holy Orders (for those becoming Priests). Marriage as described in Genesis 2:24 is perfected by Christ in Matthew 19:3-6 (bold writing is what God the Father said, which Jesus is quoting to remind those whom He is addressing):

Some Pharisees approached Him. They wanted to test Him and asked, “Is a man allowed to divorce his wife for any cause whatsoever?” Jesus replied, “Have you not read that in the beginning the Creator made them male and female, and he said: For this reason a man shall leave father and mother, and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one body? So they are no longer two but one body; what God has joined together, let no one separate.”

In this, we see that once a man and woman are joined together in marriage, they should not be separated by anyone. They are the roots of the family that is to be created, and not only should they remain faithful to one another, but they should ensure the preserve and protect their marriage by all means necessary. There is a lovely verse that demonstrates just how beautiful marriage is:

As for you, husbands, love your wives as Christ loved the Church and gave Himself up for her (Ephesians 5:25)

By likening marriage to the relationship between Jesus Christ and the Church (referred to as “her”), we can see how it is one of the most precious parts of life, and how we should not take it for granted. We should be prepared to sacrifice for the good of our marriage, putting it ahead of more tangible aspects of our lives.

Following marriage is the creation of a family of our own. This, of course, means children. Children are indeed a gift from God, and, as we discussed in the previous edition of Uncovering Christianity: The Sanctity of Life, they are of great value and should not have their lives taken before they have a chance to live. Children are a significant responsibility that one must take on in their lives. Thus, it is pertinent that you are ready to take on that responsibility before conceiving a child. The most common reason for abortions is inconvenience. This may be due to career aspirations or the like, or just not being prepared to take on the responsibility of caring for a child. Here is a very simple but blunt life lesson: If you’re not ready to take on the responsibility of having a child, do not take the risk. Instead, practice abstinence until you are ready. Do not put irresponsibility nor selfishness ahead of an innocent life.

When you are ready to have children, keep in mind that it is a wonderful thing to have many. You may remember in the edition previous to this one, we discussed the following verse:

Sons are a gift from the Lord; the fruit of the womb is a reward. Like arrows in the hands of a warrior are the sons of one’s youth. Blessed is the man who has filled his quiver with them, for he will not be put to shame when he contends with his foes at the gate. (Psalm 127:3-5)

Having many children is a blessing. Do not be afraid of that prospect. Once you do begin the creation of a family and bring those wonderful bundles of joy into the world, cherish them, nourish them, and nurture them into fine human beings.

It is important that children are brought up in such a way that they are able to interact with others in society so as to build up friendships and relationships and establish a stable societal position. They should be given every opportunity to enjoy their childhood while it lasts, given the world that awaits them as an adult is much more challenging to navigate. But they must also be taught the skills necessary to help them navigate adult life. These skills and life lessons are typically bestowed upon them first and foremost by their parents, but also by their teachers, mentors, friends, and other people who enter and swiftly exit their lives. Sometimes the most valuable lessons are learnt in the most difficult ways. It may be necessary to be hurt in order to learn something that is of immense value to your life and the way you live it.

Parents are, of course, the primary teachers of their children, especially when it comes to social conditioning. Children must be taught from a young age how to behave so that they do not turn others away from them and alienate themselves. They must learn how to discern right from wrong. Parents have the responsibility of guiding their children in the ways of what is socially acceptable. This is again demonstrated Biblically in Proverbs 1:8-9:

Listen, my son, to the teaching of your father, do not ignore your mother’s instruction; for they will be your graceful crown, a precious chain around your neck.

The guidance of a mother and father are of great importance in child’s life. The above verse from Proverbs describes it as something truly special. In providing guidance, a parent adorns a child with wisdom, knowledge, good judgement, and life lessons that they will carry with them throughout their own lives, no doubt one day passing on to their own children.

In return, it is important that children respect their mother and father. In fact, this is one of the Ten Commandments, the ten original rules handed down by God to Moses on Mount Sinai. The Fifth Commandment as written in the Book of Exodus states:

Honour your father and your mother, that you may have a long life in the land that the Lord your God is giving you. (Exodus 20:12)

Just as parents teach their children important values, including those such as respect and honesty, children must show obedience to their parents and show them the respect they have been taught. Your parents are, after all, how you came to be, how you entered the world. You would not be here without them.

The concept of the nuclear family is one that has provided stability to society. For those unfamiliar with the term, the nuclear family is one consisting of a man and woman (husband and wife/mother and father) and their children (one or more). The nuclear family, headed by two loving married parents, is the safest and most stable grounds for raising children. Children need stability in order to grow into good and decent human beings. The nuclear family is the source of stability. It is also a tenet of Western Civilization. That is why it is under attack.

In the modern world, there are forces at play that seek to destroy the nuclear family. They seek to make marriage into something it is not. They seek to corrupt the minds of children, confusing them, turning them against their parents and friends, and transforming them into embittered human beings who are angry at the world and wish to tear down social norms. How we got here is a question that has no doubt played on the minds of many who fight to protect the tenets of society that ensure its stability. It is, however, obvious. The gradual pervasion of evil into this world has brought about these forces. It is therefore pertinent that we discuss them openly so that we can understand just how great a threat they pose to the West.

From the outset, I have made it clear that marriage has always been between a man and a woman. In recent times, certain groups have sought to demolish this millennia-old tradition and replace it with a wider-ranging definition of marriage, that being between two people, regardless of gender. In fact, the legal definition of marriage no longer uses the words “between a man and a woman” but has replaced them with “between two people”. When same-sex marriage began to be pushed several years ago, we were told it was only about marriage, and nothing else. Yet there were many who have observed the traditional idea and values of marriage as presented first by God Himself that warned that marriage was only the beginning. I was one of those people. Our fight was not only to protect the sacrament of marriage, but to prevent any further impinging of radical beliefs and values upon society.

Unfortunately, we were right. Marriage was indeed only the beginning, a way to infiltrate and tear down the values that held together Western Civilization. In the years since, pervasive gender ideology has worked its way into society and, more concerningly, the education system, warping the minds of innocent children whose minds are still in the developmental stages, thereby making them much more susceptible to the ideas pushed upon them by others, in particular teachers, who seek to turn them against all that is good in the world, indoctrinate them with radical beliefs, and recruit them into destructive forces.

One of the most egregious forms of this mind-warping is making children believe that gender is fluid, confusing them and putting it in their minds that they should question their own gender. Biologically, there are only two genders: male and female. This has been the case since humanity’s conception. You are either born male, or female. Again, there are forces who seek to change this biological fact, telling people, including children, that there are dozens of genders and that they can be whatever gender they want. This is not limited to teachers, but also extends to parents. There are some parents nowadays who clearly do not have the best interests of their children in mind. They may see their young son wearing a dress or playing with toys marketed at girls, or it may simply be that he loves the colour pink, and they will say he is actually a girl and treat him as such, confusing the child. Or it may be the case that the child sees an adult who has changed gender or been introduced to this ideology and begins to think that they are the wrong gender, and their parents reinforce this belief. If such a thing had occurred decades ago, a parent would have told their child this is ridiculous, but now it is seen as “brave”.

Here’s the harsh reality that these people need to learn, as put by political commentator Ashley St. Clair: “Your child is not trans because he put on a dress or tried on makeup. My little brother used to eat grass as a kid but my mom didn’t call him a cow and send him to the slaughterhouse. She told him to cut it out and stop eating grass.” Young kids cannot even make simple decisions yet. In most countries, you cannot vote until you reach the age of 18, you cannot drink until you turn either 18 or 21, you cannot drive until around 16, you cannot even get a tattoo until you turn 18. So how can children be expected to decide they are not the right gender? The impacts on the mental health of children who question their gender and end up changing genders are terrible. Many who do end up experiencing a detrimental impact on their mental health, and their risk of suicide increases significantly. Those who do not change gender because this is not indulged by their parents most often end up growing out of it by their early twenties.

What is concerning is how this doctrine has infiltrated the education system, where children go to learn all kinds of things to help them in their lives and careers. Parents likely do not expect their children to be indoctrinated with these kinds of ideologies that in many circumstances alienate them from their children. Now, it would not surprise many that state schools have been affected, however it might that Catholic schools do not have an issue with this ideology pervading their system either. For example, the Catholic Education Office in the Parramatta Diocese, led by Greg Whitby, has refused to support a push to take gender ideology out of New South Wales’ schools. And the Bishop is yet to take a stance. The corruption of the minds of children is dire.

It seems apparent that more is being done to take the faith out of schools then maintain it. As a Special Religious Education (SRE) teacher (otherwise known as Scripture teacher) in State schools, I have seen the incredible impact the faith can have on the lives of children. I have seen the joy it brings to them, the light it brings to their lives. But organisations like the Teacher’s Federation seek to bring an end to this. They have repeatedly said they wish for Scripture to be taken out of school, claiming it takes up class time that could be used for other purposes. I should make it very clear that I will continue to fight against this. Scripture teaching has enriched my life, and I can see it is enriching for the lives of the children I teach.

Jesus Christ makes it clear in His teachings that children are the greatest in the Kingdom of Heaven. This is presented in Matthew’s Gospel:

At that time, the disciples came to Jesus and asked him, “Who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?” Then Jesus called a little child, set him in front of the disciples, and said, “I assure you that unless you change and become like little children, you cannot enter the kingdom of heaven. Whoever makes himself lowly like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven, and whoever receives such a child in my name receives me.” (Matthew 18:1-5)

Children are valued by Christ because they are innocent, because they are God’s most precious creation.  He goes on to make it clear that no one should lead them astray nor corrupt their minds, saying:

“If anyone should cause one of these little ones who believe in me to stumble and fall into sin, it would be better for him to be thrown into the depths of the sea with a large millstone around his neck. Woe to the world because of so many thinks that cause people to fall! Such stumbling blocks are bound to come, but woe to the one who causes others to fall!” (Matthew 18:6-7)

Corrupting the mind of a child and causing them to stumble and fall is truly a terrible thing to do. Christ Himself tells us children must be protected, and warns us against bringing harm to them, be it physical, mental, or otherwise. Children must not be subjected to pervasive ideology that they may fall victim to, that may tear their lives apart. It is a tragedy to see children preyed upon by forces of evil. We must do all we can to protect our children. That is why Scripture is important. That is why I teach it. That is why I am writing Uncovering Christianity. I will fight for our children, and I hope that others will join me.

The family is one of the most important pillars of Western Civilization. While others may seek to destroy it, to bring it crashing down, we must remember that without it society would lack stability and chaos would ensue. In the absence of the family lies misery, wrongdoing, suffering. When you think of the family, what comes to mind? To me, it is happy faces, love, joy, togetherness, all the best parts of humanity. Sure, we might face tough times in our own families. No family is immune from this. Even the Holy Family, that being Mother Mary, the Blessed St. Joseph, Earthly foster father of Jesus, and Jesus Christ Himself, faced tough times, not least the Passion of the Lord, when Jesus was sent to His Death upon the Cross and died to take away sin, so that we might live with Him for eternity in the Kingdom of Heaven. It is up to us to carry the crosses that fall upon our shoulders within our own families, to navigate them using the wisdom bestowed upon us by our parents, and to do all we can to keep our families intact, no matter what may come between us. Family is everything.

This is the Seventh Edition of a Series entitled Uncovering Christianity: Exploring the Roots of the West. This series explores the values and ideas originating from Christianity, looking back at Biblical times, and relating them to the modern world. There are central themes to each piece in this series, with key messages throughout to guide you in your own life. The series also looks at some of the threats to the roots of Western Civilization and discusses what can be done to placate them and protect the foundation of society. Keep an eye out for new series pieces each week.

Uncovering Christianity: Exploring The Roots Of The West #6 – The Sanctity Of Life

Human life is precious. That should go without saying. However, in this day and age, it seems this basic tenet of society has been forgotten, or more maliciously, deliberately tossed aside. The problem that arises is that when we cast aside human life as if it does not intrinsically matter to building and maintaining a decent, thriving society, we also discard the very soul of society itself. Society would not exist without human life. This is why we must make every effort to protect the sanctity of life itself. But how can we do that in a world that has become so desensitized to death, and to the destruction of life even before it comes into existence.

Now I understand people have become wary of others pushing certain views, be they political, religious, or otherwise. I want to make it clear from the outset that while we are going to be discussing issues in this edition of Uncovering Christianity that are polarizing to some, they will be discussed in terms of morality. This series is, of course, one dedicated to looking deeper into Christianity, and so we will be exploring this topic in terms of Christianity and Biblical context as well.

Life itself is one of the most important aspects of this world. In the Christian perspective, life came into existence when it was created by God Himself. As mentioned previously, the world and all it entails, including human life, was created in six days, the seventh being a day of rest. God saw that His Creation, the wondrous expanse of life He had crafted, was good. We will go deeper into the world of Creation in a future edition. When God created human beings, the first being Adam and Eve, he created them in His image:

So God created man in His image; in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them. (Genesis 1:27)

God gave us life. It was our duty to protect it. After God created man and woman in His image and likeness:

God Blessed them and said to them, “Be fruitful and increase in number, fill the earth and subdue it. Have dominion over the fish of the sea and the birds of the sky, and every living creature that moves on the ground.” (Genesis 1:28)

In saying “Be fruitful and increase in number, fill the earth, and subdue it”, it is clear God wishes for man and woman to have children, for more humans to be born, grow, and continue in this cycle, filling the Earth. Human life was looked upon with great regard by God. He created us with a specially dignified status amongst all other creatures on this Earth. And so we were called upon to procreate and protect the sanctity of life itself.

Procreation brings us, of course, to discuss the matter of when life begins, and the polarizing issue of abortion. In the modern world, there are those who are pro-life, and those who are pro-choice. Pro-lifers are those who oppose abortion, holding the view that the unborn baby is a human life from the moment of conception. Those on the pro-choice side of the matter often claim it is a woman’s right to choose whether or not she wishes to give birth to a child she has conceived, and that the unborn baby is not necessarily a human life, often using the terms “clump of cells”, “fetus”, or even “parasite” to describe the innocent life inside the mother’s womb. All of these terms are used in order to dehumanize the unborn baby as a means of justifying destroying it.

Over the years, I have seen two arguments made by those who are pro-choice in reference to the Bible to justify abortion. They will either claim that “nowhere in the Bible does it say anything about abortion”, or they will take a Biblical passage out of context in an attempt to justify their views. Both of these arguments, from a Biblical standpoint, are easily dismantled.

First, let us address the claim that there is no mention of abortion in the Bible. This claim is incorrect. There are several verses that address the matter, although not explicitly. Rather, they address it in a way that is clearly intentioned, but without using the word “abortion” itself. The first, as we have already looked at, is Genesis 1:28. God wished for man and woman to “be fruitful and increase in number”. The only way for them to increase in number would be to conceive a child, or children. In other words, God was in favour of procreation.

Before we move on to the next verse, I would like to take a brief moment to discuss the word “procreation”. In essence, there are two parts to this word: “pro” and “creation”. Procreation practically means “for life”. To procreate is to create life. It is all in the word itself.

The next verse that addresses unborn life is Psalm 139:13-16. It reads as follows:

It was you who formed my inmost part and knit me together in my mother’s womb. I thank you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; all your works are wonderful; I know that very well. My every bone was known to you when I was being formed in secret, fashioned in the depths of the earth. Before I took shape, your eyes saw me, and before any one of my days came to be they were written down in your book.

It is a really beautiful verse. It truly brings forth the sanctity of life and puts it on clear display for anyone willing to read and understand what the words mean. (Sidenote: The Book of Psalms is one I would highly recommend reading for anyone who is exploring the Bible and the faith more, even for those just starting out. It is a really wonderful book and shows just how incredible the presence of God is and can be in our lives.) It clearly explains how we each came to be, and how God knew us first before anyone else did. God created us in His own image and likeness, knitting us together in the wombs of our mothers. Each of us are wonderfully made, all with our own unique features and perfect imperfections. It is important to note that this world is not perfect, we are not perfect. But each of us is perfect in our own way, so long as we are living a fulfilling life and working toward our purpose in life. The unborn, innocent human lives created in God’s image and likeness, are perfect. They have not yet been touched by corruption in this world. They are perfect, innocent human lives that must be protected and given every chance to enter this world, just as was intended in their creation.

Oftentimes those who are pro-choice will argue that an unborn baby should be aborted merely because it has some sort of “imperfection”. One that I have heard and seen on far too many occasions is Down Syndrome. Pro-choice individuals would say it is justified to abort a baby with Down Syndrome, just because the baby has Down Syndrome. But how can we in good conscience take a human life simply because it is not what some view as “normal”? A baby with Down Syndrome is no different to any other human life. All human life is equal; That is important to remember. Yes, a baby with Down Syndrome may look different and behave somewhat differently, but that does not change the simple fact that it is a human life. It does not change the fact that it is an intelligent human being, capable of leading a good and decent life here on Earth. In fact, those with Down Syndrome are typically much more emotionally engaged with others and are amazing in their own ways. Just because they have an extra chromosome, a genetic feature that others do not possess, they do not deserve to have their lives taken from them.

Jeremiah 1:4-5 is similar in nature to Psalm 139. It reads:

The word of the Lord came to me saying: “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart, and I appointed you a prophet to the nations.

In this verse God is addressing Jeremiah, but it is again clear that He wants us to have life, and that He know us all before we are born, setting us apart from one another, giving us our own special gifts and talents.

The next verse is also from the book of Psalms:

Sons are a gift from the Lord; the fruit of the womb is a reward. Like arrows in the hands of a warrior are the sons of one’s youth. Blessed is the man who has filled his quiver with them, for he will not be put to shame when he contends with his foes at the gate. (Psalm 127:3-5)

This verse shows us that children are a gift from above, that they are valuable. They are indeed one of the greatest gifts from God that we can hope to receive. We should not take them for granted, including when they are not yet born.

Our next verse comes from the book of Proverbs. It reads:

There are six things the Lord hates, seven His inner being detests: the proud look, the lying tongue, hands which spill innocent blood, the depraved heart, feet which speed towards evil, a false and lying witness and the man who sows discord among people. (Proverbs 6: 16-19)

These tie in to the Ten Commandments, which we discussed in the third edition of Uncovering Christianity (Rules And Morality). Of course, the main focus for this edition is the third thing written in the verse above, “hands which spill innocent blood”. As was said from the outset of this edition, human life is precious. Taking a human life is one of the most terrible things one can do. The most innocent of human life is that of the unborn baby in the womb. Taking such a life is spilling innocent blood, a most tragic and reprehensible action.

Finally, we have the most obvious yet often disregarded line from the Bible that is completely and clearly against abortion:

You shall not kill. (Exodus 20:13)

It is simple, yet often it is cast aside as if it does not apply to abortion. The truth is it does. When you take a human life, you are killing someone. Now it is obvious this means we should not kill those who have already been born. Their lives are precious and must also be protected. But if we look at this in terms of the unborn, we can see that the rule also applies to their protection. As we have seen from previous verses cited, an unborn baby is a human life. But for those who are not necessarily religious and do not believe life begins at conception, do not take it from me, take it from science.

When fertilization takes place, an embryo is created with its own unique DNA, its own genetic makeup. It is a human life. Scientists agree. Dr. Maureen Condic, Director of Human Embryology instruction and Adjunct Professor of Pediatrics at the University of Utah’s School of Medicine, has written that “the conclusion that human life begins at sperm-egg fusion is uncontested, objective, based on the universally accepted scientific method of distinguishing different cell types from each other and on ample scientific evidence (thousands of independent, peer-reviewed publications). Moreover it is entirely independent of any specific ethical, moral, political, or religious view of human life or of human embryos.” A study carried out by Steven Andrew Jacobs from the University of Chicago took a sample of 5,502 biologists from 1,058 academic institutions. These biologists were separated into 60 groups, which “assessed statements representing the biological view ‘a human’s life begins at fertilization’”, whereby “each statement was affirmed by a consensus of each group, including biologists that identified as very pro-choice (69-90%), very pro-life (92-97%), very liberal (70-91%), very conservative (94-96%), strong Democrats (74-91%), and strong Republicans (89-94%). Overall, 95% of all biologists affirmed the biological view that a human’s life begins at fertilization (5212 out of 5502).” The statistics from this study demonstrate that biologists from all walks of life, of various political and religious beliefs, agree that human life begins at fertilization (conception).

This makes sense, because basic biology says that when fertilization occurs, a human life is created. From that point forth, that is a human life that will grow, that will develop into a human being. And no, it is not part of the mother’s body. It may rely upon the mother’s body for survival when it is developing inside the womb but is a separate human being.

But it seems today that science has become corrupted by partisanship and ideological bias. The problem that arises is this: basic biology has been forgone by many to push their own political agenda that holds a blatant disregard for human life. People worship scientists as if they are gods, thus inflating their egos and giving them every excuse to push their ideology onto everyone else as “science”. In doing so, real science gets lost in the noise of false ideological “science”. Yes, science has its place in society. But so do basic moral principles.

Pro-choice individuals like to take the Bible out of context to claim that God is also pro-choice and justify abortion. The verse most often used for this purpose is Numbers 5:19-22,27-28. It reads as follows:

19-22: He (the priest) is then to make the woman agree to an oath. He shall say to her: If it is not true that a man has slept with you, that you have gone astray and defiled yourself while under your husband’s authority, then may this water of bitterness and cursing do you no harm. But, if it is true that you have gone astray, and have defiled yourself by sharing your bed with a man other than your husband – here the priest is to pronounce an execration and a curse and say – May the Lord make of you an example of malediction and a curse among your people, making your genitals shrink and your womb swell! May this water of cursing enter your body to swell your womb and to shrink your genitals! The woman shall answer: Amen! Amen!

27-28: After he has made her drink it, if it is true that she has disgraced herself, deceiving her husband, then the water of cursing that goes into her shall indeed be bitte: her womb will swell and her genitals shrink, and she will be a curse among her people. But, if she has not disgraced herself and is clean, then she will go unharmed and will bear children.

The fifth chapter of the Book of Numbers focuses on three things: Expulsion of the Unclean, Restitution for Wrongs, and the Test for Suspected Adultery. The above verses are taken from the section on the test for suspected adultery. It is often misinterpreted by those who are pro-choice. They take it that the bitter water given to the woman will cause her to miscarry. The reason they come to this conclusion is a matter of translation. The original Hebrew terms used were “beten”, which is translated as “stomach”, “abdomen”, or “womb”, and “tsabeh”, which means “to swell”. The Hebrew words for “thigh”, “falling away”, and “wasting away” were also used. Most versions of the Bible stuck to the original translations when they were written. The only two that did not were the NIV and NRSV. The translators of these two Bibles clearly decided to follow Biblical commentary that claimed the thigh falling away was a Hebrew euphemism for miscarriage, with these two Bibles instead stating in these verses from Numbers that the woman’s womb would “miscarry”.

Even if the miscarriage translation was correct, this is not at all a justification for abortion. There is nothing to suggest the woman mentioned is pregnant, and it is clear that an abortion is not being performed. In fact, miscarriage is mentioned in the Bible, but in such a way that the unborn baby’s life is viewed as equal to that of the mother’s. Exodus 21:22-25 states:

If people are fighting and a pregnant woman is hit, so that there is a miscarriage, but she is not injured, the one who hurt her will pay the fine demanded by her husband and sanctioned by the court. But, if there is serious injury you are to take life for life, eye for eye, tooth for tooth, hand for hand, foot for foot, burn for burn, wound for wound, stroke for stroke.

The “injury” referred to in this verse, an injury which is to be compensated for like all others, applies not only to the mother but also to the child. The final nail in the coffin of the argument that abortion is supported by the Bible is this: there is no abortion legislation in Biblical law. Why? Because it was such an unthinkable thing that any woman would want to have an abortion that there no need for the offense to be mentioned. The only rule necessary to prohibit abortions was the 6th Commandment: You shall not kill. The Bible and God are very much pro-life.

And just quickly on the cases of pregnancy from rape and incest (because I know it is something many bring up), these are rare, and we cannot use a minority of cases to justify the majority when it comes to abortion, most of which are sought as a matter of convenience given the baby would cause an inconvenience to the mother in some way, be it stalling her career or her ambitions or the like. Personally, I do not believe an unborn child should have to pay for the sins of someone else, in most cases the father. I understand this may be difficult to comprehend, but there are many human beings born out of rape and incest that end up living decent, if not exceptional, lives. Why should they lose their chance at life because of the way in which they were conceived?

There is one final issue surrounding the sanctity of life that we must touch on: capital punishment, or, as it is widely known, the death penalty. This has become a point of contention even amongst Christians. There are indeed Catholics who support the death penalty, and it is something that I have been at odds with since discovering. As a Catholic myself, I oppose the death penalty for the sole reason that it is the taking of a human life. One of the tenets of our faith is that we should not kill. Nowhere in the Ten Commandments is there an exception to the rule given.

Now it is understandable that people would see the death penalty as justifiable for the worst criminals: Those who commit murder, rape, and other heinous crimes. These kinds of people are indeed vile and do not deserve freedom. But we should not kill them either. That would make us no better than them. Just as a murderer took a life, we would take their life.

I do not understand how Christians, those who live their lives by the moral principles and values of the Bible, can support the death penalty yet oppose abortion. They are both the taking of a human life. All human life is equal. One human life is not above nor below another. We all make choices, some good, some bad, that determine our place on Earth. But none of these choices devalue nor increase the value of our human life. As a Catholic, I believe in a consistent ethic, a consistent value, of life, from the point of conception to the point of natural death. The death penalty devalues life. Human beings are not supposed to be savages. We are supposed to be civilized. The death penalty, however, makes us appear to be the former. If you are going to oppose abortion, you should oppose the death penalty. Likewise, if you oppose the death penalty, you should oppose abortion. Both are the taking of a human life. Both show blatant disregard for the sanctity of human life.

Now I know that it may seem like my Catholic faith biases me against abortion. But the sanctity of life is not a matter of faith. It is a matter of morality. Those whose lives are guided by good and decent moral principles, ones that likely align with the same moral principles of Christianity (as we discussed in the previous edition of Uncovering Christianity: The Anonymous Christian), would likely agree that it is immoral to take the life of an innocent human being, and thus the life of an unborn child. But some may still be uncertain about abortion, or even be of the thought that it is acceptable. So, I want each and every person to ask themselves a question: Is it morally right to take an innocent human life?

Life is valuable no matter who the human being is, no matter their circumstances, no matter their choices, no matter their place in the world. Human life takes precedence above all other things  in this world, including money and power. Material things like money and power are only temporary. They do not add nor take away value to human life. Our life on this Earth is not permanent. But we must protect human life no matter what. What increases the meaningfulness of life is love, happiness, hope, faith, charity, peace, all those things that enliven and enflame the heart and soul. Who we spend our lives with can also enrich them and make them worth living. Life is precious. It is a gift. Accept it humbly, protect and defend it, live it well, and do it justice.

This is the Sixth Edition of a Series entitled Uncovering Christianity: Exploring the Roots of the West. This series explores the values and ideas originating from Christianity, looking back at Biblical times, and relating them to the modern world. There are central themes to each piece in this series, with key messages throughout to guide you in your own life. The series also looks at some of the threats to the roots of Western Civilization and discusses what can be done to placate them and protect the foundation of society. Keep an eye out for new series pieces each week.