Downs syndrome

Richard Dawkins and Down’s Syndrome

Being a Christian brings responsibilities; being an atheist brings consequences, it appears.

When a woman expressed the dilemma she felt when discovering her unborn child had Down’s Syndrome, atheist Richard Dawkins who wrote among other books “The God Delusion” tweeted “Abort it and try again. It would be immoral to bring it into the world if you have a choice.”

It’s interesting to think that it is the crusty atheist who brings up the concept of morality. It’s also interesting to see where he assigns immorality. It is immoral to bring a suffering child into the world; it’s moral to take its life. This moral code is as upside down as a cave-full of bats hanging by their feet.

By the way, throngs of people stricken with Down’s Syndrome and other handicaps have demonstrated the ability to live full and creative lifestyles, though this is hardly the point.

Of course, there have been many purported Christians who have made equally insensitive remarks throughout history, but it should be pointed out that these are not the views of Jesus Christ himself; they are the views of a badly misguided follower of Jesus.

Dawkins’ response seems cold and indifferent because it is. And there is a reason why he responded in that heavy-handed manner. Atheism generally demeans human life to the level of evolved animals.

In contrast, Christianity places the very highest value on human beings. Christianity teaches that humans uniquely are made “in the image of God” (Genesis 1:26,27). There is something in us all that reflects God himself. This knowledge elevates all humans, makes racism nonsensical, and values even a person who is mentally or physically challenged.

Jesus declares that the most valuable thing on earth is not a diamond mine in South Africa, not a billionaire’s Wall Street investment, but one solitary human being: “For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world and forfeits his soul? Or what shall a man give in return for his soul?” (Matthew 16:26, ESV).

The irony here is that when humans submit themselves to God, it is they who are elevated. Mark this, please: the value of human life starts with the manner in which God values human life. And he demonstrated that supreme value by dying in its stead. Humanism and atheism cheapen life, dispose of life when it seems inconvenient, and offers no compassion for life in its more difficult forms.

Remember it was the Lord who said, “Let the little children come to me and do not hinder them, for to such belong the kingdom of God” (Matthew 19:14).

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Stan Mitchell

Stan has preached since 1976, in Zimbabwe, California, Texas and Tennessee. He serves as preacher for the Red Walnut Church of Christ in Bath Springs, TN. He is currently Professor of Bible at Freed-Hardeman University. He is married to the former Marjorie McCarthy, and has one daughter, Tracy Watts. He is the author of four books: The Wise Get Wiser, the Foolish More Foolish: The Book of Proverbs, Give the Winds a Mighty Voice: Our Worship in Song, and Equipping the Saints for Ministry. He has recently published another book, "Will Our Faith Have Children: Developing Leadership in the Church for the Next Generation.

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