As this blog’s diehard readership will be aware, I like nothing better than to scan the day’s headlines with a view to exploring the theological angle that is present in the events currently making the news.
This isn’t - or at least ought not to be- an especially difficult task since there is a theological angle to absolutely everything. If in Christ all things hold together (Col 1:17), how could it be otherwise?
The trick is being able to see what the angle might be, and also to see the connections between seemingly disparate events which upon examination can often turn out to be linked theologically.
Two such stories that caught my eye yesterday were the announcement that the Duchess of Cambridge is twelve weeks pregnant with her second child, and this story in the Daily Mail outlining the latest (extremely tentative) steps in the recovery of seven-times F1 World Champion Michael Schumacher from the catastrophic head injury that he suffered last December whilst skiing.
No possible connection between those two stories right?
Well, what the two sets of reports reveal to me is the extreme hypocrisy that is to be found in the secular media of our day.
All the usual media outlets were gushing over the prospect of a new brother or sister for Prince George. Albeit there is not quite the same excitement this time that was evident when the Duchess was expecting her first child.
For then the media bots were desperate to see the birth of a girl who under the new constitutional arrangements would have inherited the throne in preference to any younger brother. Sadly for the egalitarians it turns out that God apparently still sanctions male primogeniture, for along came George!
Less excitement this time then but still the usual cooing and ahhing.
And why not? There are plenty of depressing stories out there, so why not give us a break from it all with something nice for a change?
No arguments here, and I certainly wish the royal couple all the best.
But, as I first saw outlined here, it is striking that all of the secular media was unanimous yesterday in their belief that what the Duchess was carrying in her womb was indeed a baby, a human being.
This ought to strike us as odd for are we not told incessantly these days by those in the pro-abortion camp that what is actually in the womb at this stage is only an impersonal clump of cells and not a baby? Yet strangely there were no references yesterday to the “royal blob of tissue” which Her Highness is carrying.
An unborn baby then it seems is a baby after all - all least when it suits.
A similar hypocrisy also plays out in that other story I highlighted, that of the tragic accident to Michael Schumacher.
We can have nothing but sympathy for what his family have endured through these months as they have brought every possible medical aid to bear in an attempt to restore their loved one to some level of capacity.
My own father was left comatose after suffering a blow to the head in a fall also. When he reached hospital all that was done was to place a “DNR” sign over his bed and wait for nature to take its course, which it soon did.
This is not a criticism of the care my father received. He was a good bit older than Schumacher (though not especially old), and in poor health already. We understand that public health care provision is finite and that judgement calls must therefore be made.
The Schumachers have the privilege of great wealth and have rightly deployed that on behalf of Michael. There can be no complaints there.
No, again my problem is with the media reaction to the event.
For is the secular media that watches agonizingly over a champion racing diver’s condition the same media that either blatantly ignores the growing culture of death in our hospitals or- worse still - actively promotes euthanasia for those who are very often in a far healthier condition than Michael Schumacher is?
Next week the media will forget about royal babies and stricken racing drivers and go back to its usual agenda of promoting abortion rights and the drive for euthanasia in Britain. And they will not bat an eyelid in doing so.
Of course, the journalists will tell us that they do no such thing. They will insist that they are not advocates for the culture of death, but are merely impartial chroniclers of social change.
Yes, and if you believe that then I have a beautiful Norwegian Blue Parrot that I’d like to sell to you.
The media’s ability to be ardent supporters of life one week, then change agents for the death industry the week after, is a fine example of what psychologists call cognitive dissonance.
This might be defined as the ability to hold two mutually contradictory beliefs in tension and so adhere to both at the same time even though the beliefs cannot be reconciled.
But since we are theologians around here and not psychologists we will refer to it as the noetic effects of sin.
The Fall affected Man on every level of his being. Spiritually he was cut off from fellowship with God. Physically he became subject to illness and death.
But on a soulish level he was affected to.
Our mental capacities have been severely impaired by sin. We are no longer able to reason logically, at least not with the same capacity that pre-Fall Adam had.
Post-Fall Man is no longer a completely rational being. All of his thinking has been corrupted and it is this that allows him to hold these mutually incompatible beliefs in his head and not even see the problem.
This is why we can simultaneously be cherishers of life and destroyers of that same life - and celebrate both! It is why we can rejoice at the news of a pregnancy in one woman and yet send another woman to an abortion clinic without a moment’s pause.
When a lovely young couple announce an upcoming happy event we are able to identify with them and enter into their joy. Similarly when a tragic accident leaves someone we know –or in the case of Schumacher at least know of - in a dreadful state we still have some capacity to enter into a family’s pain.
This is because we participate in the Imago Dei- the very image of God imprinted upon Man’s heart. We were originally designed with hearts of love and compassion and thankfully the capacity for such has not altogether abandoned us.
But those foolish hearts have since been darkened (Rom 1:21) and so now in the human creature, that God-given love and compassion must share the same vessel with unspeakable cruelty, malice and greed.
Point out the inconsistencies and outright hypocrisies in today’s newspaper headlines to the fallen men and women who produced them and they will often not even see the problem. This too is the effect of sin.
But as believers we must see it and expose the hypocrisy for it what it is.
As Christians we cherish all human life- not just that such as royal babies and racing drivers which make for good newsprint. We cherish that life because it is the same life that God breathed into His supreme creation when He fashioned him in His own image.
And that is about as theological as it gets.