Sunday, December 17, 2023

Large and in charge. . .

When you go to the grocery store, you no longer have to worry about in season or out of season.  Everything you could wish is available -- pricey perhaps but still there for you to purchase.  I grew up when fruit had a season, when there were long periods in which you went without certain things because they simply were not available.  That day has long gone.  We do not have to wait for nature because we can ship from places all over the world where it is in season and we have figured out how to construct environments and how to trick the plants into doing what nature would not have them to do.  In other words, we have learned to play God.

All of this which fills the supermarkets of our nation is replicated in a host of ways.  We have artificial natural things galore -- from the lab created meat to the fish we dye to look like crab to the countless other things we have used to fool ourselves into thinking that fake is real.  It is hard to sort out what is real from the fakes that routinely pass for reality.  On top of that we have trick words to define what is natural and what is organic when clearly the items in question are not really either.  But it makes us happy because it ensures we have what we want when it is not available and when it is beyond our budget.  Farm raised fish is one such oxymoron.  Some of the elite complain about the taste while the rest of us find it hard to tell the difference and are not even sure we want to.  We have learned to play God.

Added to all of this is the way we produce children in the lab, using the most sophisticated reproductive technology (don't you just love how that rolls off the tongue) to mimic God and created life.  Soon we may have farm raised kidneys and livers and hearts to provide a spare parts bin for whatever ails us.  We don't need God and we don't even need people.  We have the technology, why would we refrain from using it?  Morality has become a theological constraint that is easily and quickly cast aside.  What does some academic theologian know of the rightness or wrongness of a test tube baby?  Morals only put unnecessary constraints upon our ability and our desire to do what we please.  We have learned to play God.

We cannot resurrect the dead bodies in the ground yet.  So our way around death is to tame it.  Death has become a tool of the living who get to decide when life is too much of a burden to be allowed to go on.  Death has become a right -- like the right to grow the child in the lab, we have the right to decide for ourselves and for those who cannot or should not decide for themselves when to welcome death.  If we could overcome death, we would certainly install a reboot button in our bodies so that we could go on and on in this mortal world until grew tired of the new video game version of life.  Until that time, we content ourselves with taming the process to begin life and deciding when we want it to end.  We have learned to play God.

What kind of gods we are, well, that is another question.  We have a penchant for overestimating our power and then allowing what we can do to corrupt our notions of what we ought to do.  All things may be possible but not all things are beneficial.  That is perhaps too Biblical to apply to us today yet it is the wise counsel of the ages that encourages us to slow down.  I am not sure anyone is listening but I wish they were.  Slow down long enough for us to pause and consider whether we are cheapening life or protecting it.  That is my prayer for a new year.

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