David Seymour, the leader of the New Zealand ACT Party, is sponsoring a bill in Parliament to legalise euthanasia. He would have you believe, that if you are ill and are discouraged by a prognosis, the right to have someone kill you will make you free. Or as his slogan goes ‘Own your future’. This little slogan is a denial that God has a say in your future. His motto, like Satan’s, is ‘you are an autonomous being and you can decide your own future. You should not listen to God to find the path to happiness – create your own independent morality’. God said to our first parents, that if they disobeyed His command, they would surely die. Satan contradicted God, called Him a liar, and said to Eve ‘Ye shall not surely die’. Adam and Eve, listened to Satan and disobeyed God, and reaped the condemnation God had promised. Yet He was also gracious and provided a path of redemption for His people.
Your attitude to euthanasia or assisted suicide will depend on what you believe about man’s identity. Because we are governed by those who are elected in a lowest common denominator democracy, the majority view of what constitutes man’s identity will dictate whether euthanasia or any other practice will be legalised.
Who or what is man?
Just what is man? Is he an autonomous being who is evolved from lower animals, and now must regulate human society according to what is perceived to be best for man? Does he decide what is right and wrong by collectively evaluating through a democratic process what is best for individuals in society? Does the evaluative process function in such a way that society can change its morality over time to accommodate personal desires that are no longer perceived to be a threat to other people in that society? In the case of drugs, for example, does society weigh up the harm marijuana might do to a few people against the pleasure experienced by many more and decide the pleasure of many is more important than the few teenage users who will become schizophrenics? Does the pendulum eventually swing from prohibition to legalisation because a society, made up of autonomous individuals, changes their notion of what is right and wrong, and implicitly denying that there is such a thing as a fixed moral standard?
Or is man a created being upon whom a Creator imposes a moral code?
The answer of the majority in Western societies.
New Zealanders are taught in the public school system that man is an evolved being (not a created being or creature) who is the end-product of a long chain of earlier life-forms, and who became man, as we know him, emerging 170,000 years ago from a common ancestor with the apes. While these claims are based on conjecture and unproven assumptions, young minds have it instilled in them that these are irrefutable facts about what man is. He is, according to evolutionism, a physical being, solely the product of natural forces and is only distinguished from other animals by his intelligence. With this view of man, then man presumably must decide for himself what is right and wrong. He does this through electing lawmakers who will change the laws to the liking of the majority.
The democratisation of morality in education
Schools avoid talk of a fixed morality or moral absolutes and also ‘ethics’. Ethics are rules provided from an external source such as a religion. And yet the NZ Education Government Department supplies a list of values they claim are found in society, and which can be taught in schools. These are dogmatically provided as the values to be taught in school curricula. No evaluation is given of why these ‘values’ are chosen and not others. Where are these values located? Values, they tell us, are what those communities and society agree on ‘as important to all in a diverse society and world’. In other words the majority decide what is right and wrong for everyone. The Education Department summarises it like this:
‘The curriculum promotes and models values important to most New Zealanders. These values are those that society and communities are usually able to agree on as important to all in a diverse society and world. The values are broad and rich. As a result each value is in essence a values ‘cluster’ that has a range of values ideas and concepts within it. Some of these reflect the way different cultures and belief traditions express values…The curriculum in different schools and learning areas will often reframe and add to these values in ways appropriate to their context’.
This is at once very wooly and the democratisation of morality. And notice that different schools will ‘add to these values’. These value ‘clusters’ include diversity, community, respect and caring, fairness, integrity, environmental sustainability, curiosity and excellence. Each of these clusters is then assigned a range of subcategories which can be added to. ‘Integrity’, for example, includes ‘doing right’ and ‘moral courage’.
These latter examples illustrate the lack of logic inherent in this secular values system or morality. Since wider society decides its own values, ‘doing right’ and ‘moral courage’ are a wax nose. If it is argued that these value clusters define morality, we must respond that they only do so because these are allegedly the moral values agreed upon democratically by societies and communities at a given point in time. What happens when those communities disagree with what is right and wrong? A Muslim community believes, that the Koran teaches correctly that a husband can hit his wife (Koran: Sura 4, “Women,” verse 34). This was endorsed by a Sydney Muslim just recently, who said that husbands beating wives ‘was a beautiful blessing from Allah’ – a sentiment supported by many New Zealand Muslims. Of course, most of us would disagree with Muslims here, but can we not envision a day when Muslims will be given an autonomy to have Sharia courts who will then decide what is an offence and what is not for that community? And if a community agrees that it is ok to teach children in a school that a husband can beat his wife, then can they not add that ‘value’ to the curriculum? After all is not another one of these core values ‘tolerance’, according to the Education Department? Should we not tolerate those who think ‘moral courage’ is obeying the Koran?
Who then decides what is right and wrong? It is the society and communities within that society; and, according to the Education Department, they can bring their own values into the school curriculum. I doubt very much that this will always be allowed. If, for example, a headmaster, teacher and school board in a public school decided that they and their community wanted to teach that evolution was a false theory about man’s origins and identity, and that biblical creation should be taught as the truth, or that the Ten Commandments should be the basis of public school values, there would be an absolute uproar from our Government and Parliament. No tolerance there then.
The fact is that, just as in education, morality underpinning our laws and societal norms changes because of the democratisation of morality. Once homosexuality, abortion, using obscene and blasphemous language in public, public nudity and pornography were considered crimes to be punished. Now that our society accepts that 51% morality rules, each of those issues has now been legalised. Soon smoking marijuana and so-called euthanasia or ‘good death’ will follow. Once it was not only lawful but considered morally necessary to be able to apply corporal punishment at school and at home. Now if you smack your child, you will be arrested and face a conviction as a common criminal, even though the Bible rightly endorses corporal punishment. 51% morality is a new and radical poison which would have been roundly rejected only a generation ago. 51% morality, supported by all New Zealand political parties, ultimately makes evil good and good evil. And the reason for this is quite straightforward: Men are sinners who rebel against their Creator. Thus, ‘The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it? Jer. 17:9’ Politicians have learned that they dare not show leadership in adhering to Christian values in their work as legislators. They must follow the mores of society, and if they do not, they will soon be tossed out of Parliament. That is why it is true to say, that the present National Party government is Labour or Socialist-lite. National learned that they had to follow Labour’s social liberalism or they would no longer get into power. So much for principle then.
Morality as fixed by God
As a society which recognised, in some sense, that it was in covenant with God and owed Him both duty and obedience, New Zealand’s laws used to reflect those of Britain which were under-girded by Christian morality and the Ten Commandments. The Bible teaches us what our Creator demands of us in the way of duty. This was based on man’s identity. He was created by God, and only God could say what constitutes right and wrong. Man is not a morally autonomous being who has been produced through the evolutionary process of random forces of brute nature. He is not another animal only distinguished by a superior intelligence.
Yet if society does not believe the Bible, how then can society be expected to have anything other than a 51% morality?
No doubt some would argue that Christians cannot impose their morality on the rest of society. And since the rest do not believe that the Bible is God’s revelation of His will, how can they be expected to adhere to and allow a Christian morality in the classroom or in the legislative chamber?
The answer is also found in the Bible: God places this instinct within each one of us. Because man is God’s creation with an immortal soul, he knows deep down what is right and wrong, even if he had never heard of the Bible. The Bible puts it like this:
‘For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who hold the truth in unrighteousness; Because that which may be known of God is manifest in them; for God hath shewed it unto them. For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse: For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse: Because that, when they knew God, they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened’ Romans 1: 18-21.
And…..’For when the Gentiles, which have not the law, do by nature the things contained in the law, these, having not the law, are a law unto themselves: Which shew the work of the law written in their hearts, their conscience also bearing witness, and their thoughts the mean while accusing or else excusing one another‘ Rom. 2:14,15.
And is it not true that there are many non-Christians who believe that homosexuality is wrong, that marriage should be between one man and one woman, that euthanasia and abortion are wrong, and that the government seizing ownership of water is wrong? They know this because they do recognise God’s Law. This is why many who break God’s Law realise in their conscience that they are wrong and that the path to happiness is not found in rejecting the Law of God, and so in this conflicted state, they kill themselves.
New Zealanders must not go down the path of the Act leader David Seymour, who wants us to reject what we know is true, and what the New Zealand medical fraternity (most of whom are not Christians), and the Hospice organisation know is true – that it is wrong to kill someone except in war, in self-defence, or by capital punishment for a crime. God has placed this instinct in all of us. And, as the examples of Holland and Belgium show us, any attempt to follow the Seymours of this world will lead to tragedy, grief and the murder of innocents for generations to come. Children will be encouraged to decide to be euthanised, and old people, who have an estate to leave to others, will be subtly pressured to end it all. May God protect us from such a future!
The nation which rejects God’s Law ensures its own demise.
Dr. Garnet Milne