In such a time as these, the sanctity of life is evidently highlighted. However, this idea actually confronts the issues of abortion, abuse, assisted suicide, human trafficking, and death penalty among many, not just EJK—Extra Judicial Killings.
Many people react to EJK in the Philippines right now. It led to lots of controversies, criticisms, and debates. To this, even the majority of the Christian leaders are divided, arguing about the sanctity of life or human rights.
While many struggled to respond to such issues, my challenge for most Christians is to go for the basics. How?
1. Develop a Judeo-Christian View of Life.
The prevailing idea of the sanctity of life is founded on the concept of creation in the Judeo-Christian Bible. This belief holds that human life has the following:
- Special. God created humans in His own image.
- Spiritual Beings. It also assumes that humans have souls, spirits, and reasoning abilities, unlike any other species. As such, humans share in the nature of God. For that reason, the human life is valuable than any other life forms, such as animals and plants.
- Sacred. The view also stands that even though humans are not gods, every human life is still sacred. The idea of sanctity means something is holy.
- Set Apart. To consider something as sanctified also means human life is set for a sacred purpose and must be protected.
The point is: the sanctity of life means nothing without the idea of God as holy. It cannot be separated.
But where did we get that idea of holiness apart from the concept of God as holy?
The sad fact is, even dogmatic religions have also committed atrocities like inquisitions and holy wars, nearly forfeiting their moral ascendancy to address such issues on the sanctity of life.
Ironically, the God-less ideologies, like communism and secularism, do not value human life that much.
While atheism and secularism bred the genocide of millions of unborn babies in the West and carnage of millions of people in human history, it is still the historical Christianity’s highest duty to promote and respect the sanctity of life.
2. Do Justice to All.
The respect for all human life as sacred demands there must be justice for all. This assumes that someone is a perpetrator and there is a victim. But a due process is still absolutely needed before executing punishment.
Nonetheless, justice seems elusive. The economic challenges where rich people can hire best lawyers to get away from the justice system are a fact. That’s why many lawmakers are concerned that the imperfect system is disadvantageous in imposing the death penalty. Of this lawmakers debate vigorously.
Yet, there are those nations and states that have a death penalty. Are they perfect? Was it enough to implement justice?
Both those who agree and disagree have only one desire: that it to protect human life and provide justice for all.
3. Defend Everyone’s Rights of Life.
In view of the sanctity of life, when a person puts other lives at stake, does that criminal loses the right to be treated as sacred, especially when they intend to seriously harm or kill other people?
When the rights of the law-abiding citizens are placed against the “criminal” elements, which right is more valuable?
But, if it is a choice of someone to destroy another man’s life, is it justifiable to protect the life of the other? What if it is only an impending threat?
It also pains to see when criminals seem to have more rights than enforcers of the law.
It is every Christian’s prayer to live peaceable and secure lives. As God’s special creation, it assumes that there is equity. All have the rights to live.
As such we need to take a close look at every opportunity to bring the good news of Christ to everyone. We can also reconsider the restorative justice and see where we can be of help, like being redemptive to “surrenderers.”
The very argument on the sanctity of life is also the strong argument of the ultimate accountability that “Whoever sheds the blood of man, by man shall his blood be shed, for God made man in his own image.”
It’s not new, therefore, why death penalty existed in the Bible. In fact, many ancient kingdoms and modern states have death penalty with the sole purpose of protecting people’s lives.
Many Christians believe that God loves all humanity and has a plan for every person. If love is the highest rule against the death penalty, how about the love for the innocent, weak, and defenseless?
But whether there is death penalty or not, God’s love never changes and His desire is for the redemption of every soul. For Him, the sanctity of life remains.
Glenn Plastina © 2017