When thinking about the serious problems in Western society, abortion tops the list for many of us, and rightly so. Abortion has no place among civilized people heading into the twenty-second century. That's right, I'm looking that far ahead because our shortsightedness is one of the most detrimental symptoms that ail us.
Star Trek takes place partially in the twenty-second century. What I like about this saga is its optimistic view of the future. That view makes sense because when Gene Roddenberry began his enterprise in 1966 with the Original Series, American culture had a more positive outlook on the future. Even in the midst of the Vietnam War, eminent nuclear mutually assured destruction, and a counterculture threatening to take down society from within, Americans were still looking forward to advancing technologically and reaching the stars. Somewhere along the way, stories about humanity's future became not only pessimistic, but dystopian.
From the mid 19th to mid 20th century, we made groundbreaking advancements in medicine, transportation, communication, and manufacturing. Life expectancy was increasing rapidly. Trains, cars and planes connected the world like never before. Radio, TV and the telephone spread information faster than any time in history. Steel and concrete structures we never dreamed of building less than a century before were being built practically overnight. We were finally bringing to life the dreams that had always been on our minds, the dreams that were put there by God to be fulfilled. We had the outlook, ambition, and audacity to shoot for the moon. Sometimes I wonder if the majority of us even care to think that big these days. What happened?
We replaced our Christian worldview with a hedonist, secular humanist one. Increasing the comforts and pleasures of life while decreasing discomfort and pain became the directive of our entire civilization. This directive led to a destructive culture that could be encapsulated in one thing: the pill. Approved by the FDA in 1960, it diverted our ambitious dreams as a society into a chasm of individual fantasies. As a people, we became contraceptive, literally against the conception of not only life but progressive ideas that would truly advance our civilization. The life-giving current of our culture was withdrawn from our basin and redirected into the sewer. Pope Francis summed it up well:
“Once man has lost the fundamental orientation which unifies his existence, he breaks down into the multiplicity of his desires; in refusing to await the time of promise, his life-story disintegrates into a myriad of unconnected instants.”
― Pope Francis, Lumen Fidei: Enciclica sulla Fede
That's what happened to us as a culture when we said yes to contraception, and subsequently abortion. Contraception and abortion say no to life, and in saying no to life we are saying no to growth as a species. What species does not aim to spread its own kind as much and as far as it can? Many people think if we don't stop ourselves, we are going to grow out of control and ruin the planet. But there's a reason why God gave us dominion over the earth. If we follow him, we are the best ones to take care of it--and the earth needs us to take care of it. We focus so much on the negative affects we have on the earth that we forget about the positive affects. We cultivate the earth through agriculture and prolong the lives of animals when we domesticate them. Many people think zoos are cruel to animals, but most animals that live in captivity live years longer. Domesticated horses, dogs, and other animals are just a few examples of the benefits our dominion over the earth could have when fully realized. Yes, I do believe God gave us dominion over the earth; to take care of it so it can take care of us.
God blessed them and said to them, “Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it. Rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky and over every living creature that moves on the ground.”
― Genesis 1:28
Who do we want to be?
I'll tie this altogether now. The capabilities of our human race are endless if we unite ourselves to the omnipotent, omniscience, infinite and eternal God who rose from the dead, the God-man Jesus Christ, who defeated death to give us life. In the Garden of Eden he gave us dominion over the earth and its creatures―not to simply dominate them― but to raise them to new heights―just as God wants to do for us. This is just a belief of mine, and feel free to disagree, but I believe he created the whole universe for us to explore and inhabit, and he will give us a new heaven and earth when the time comes. How this will all happen is not for me to say, but it would make sense if God gave us the earth as a sort of cocoon where we can grow and develop as a species before heading off into the wider universe.
How can we start working toward this greater vision for humanity? First, institutionalized abortion must end because it is a deadly symptom of our contraceptive culture, our culture of death, a culture that stymies our progress as not only a society but as a species. When large-scale, government-endorsed abortions stop, our society will receive a boost of life that will spring us out of the vicious political cycle of pro-life gains and losses. That strategy is constantly putting us one step forward and then one step back. Enough running in place. If we give life to every child in the womb, in return they will give our culture a deeper joy and appreciation of life. Then we will experience the true freedom we were smothering in the name of choice.
In order for abortion to end though, we must first change our contraceptive culture. We can do that by proposing a new vision for society through cultural means: by making more shows and movies, and writing more books, all of which present an optimistic future for humanity. It shouldn't stop there either. We could build communities, schools and universities, all promoting a positive view of humanity--seeing ourselves the way God sees us. Then people will begin to see that we humans are not the problem. In fact, we are the solution to a better world if we just believe in ourselves.
I am not a secular humanist. I only believe in humanity insofar as humanity believes in God. God created us to do great things. As St. Irenaeus said, "The glory of God is man fully alive." As long as we are seeing other people as a problem, and even our own offspring as a problem, so much so that we are willing to contracept and abort them--we cannot give glory to God through life, and therefore we cannot fulfill the purpose for which we were created.