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Choose life

Choose life: Part 1

 

Ben Snowdon presents valid reasons for believing that God exists, that God cares, that God has spoken, and that, therefore, we should Choose Life

'The very best thing that can be said about life is that we can end it.' Pliny the philosopher said that under two millenniums ago. Cheerful chappie, wasn't he?

But was he right? The Office for National Statistics reports that the UK suicide rate fell from 1998 to 2007 but that the last two years have seen an increase. In 2008 there were 5,377 suicides in adults aged 15 and over (by comparison with 6,317 in 1991), but that the figures for 2009 are likely to exceed 6,000 once again. The highest per capita rate for the act of self-destruction is to be found in the institutions of higher education.

Recent surveys suggest that practically everyone at some time experiences a suicidal impulse. That means, of course, that most people who entertain the thought of taking their own life find good reason to decide against such a course. An obvious definition of suicide: A permanent solution to a temporary problem.

What is it that causes people to think of taking an irreversible action such as the destruction of one's own life?

Why has life lost meaning for so many people? It is because they believe, with Nietzsche, that 'God is dead'? Certainly human life loses significance if God has ceased to be. The dignity of man is entirely dependant on the existence of a personal Creator. If man is not the child of a loving Heavenly Father, he becomes a mere protoplasmic mass, interacting with other pieces of protoplasm. Humanity as a whole can then claim to be nothing but 'a fuss in the mud' and 'a stir in the slime'. Life itself therefore can only be viewed in terms of pessimism and tragedy-(in the words Shakespeare put into the mouth of murderous Macbeth) 'a tale told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing'.

Indeed, modern definitions of life reveal similar attitudes. Here are some typical ones.

'Life-the punishment for the crime of being born.'

'Life-the nightmare between two eternities.'

'Life-the disease whose only cure is death.'

For those who view life in that way, the hopes of Heaven and immortality have become mere tales. A veil of pessimism shrouding the contemporary world has been woven by those who have banished God or declared him non-existent. Do those thinkers have a case? Or is the Christian belief in a compassionate Heavenly Father still relevant and true? No one who believes in an all-powerful God who cares for him needs entertain the thought of the destruction of his own existence. If God exists, hope is valid, and everything is possible. The promises of the bible become greater in value than a king's ransom.

"If God is for us, who can ever be against us? Since he did not spare even his own Son but gave him up for us all, won't he also give us everything else?' Romans 8:31-32