Wesley J. Smith: Three Culture of Death Tipping Points


(First Things) – Pope John Paul II once famously described Western society as a “culture of death.” But what does that term mean? It refers to a civilization that endorses lethal omissions and even outright killing by doctors to alleviate suffering or resolve life crises.

“Culture of death” is most often applied in the context of euthanasia, assisted suicide, and abortion. A few decades ago, most such acts were outlawed and widely scorned. Not anymore. The sad fact is that now most people tolerate—and some even celebrate—the culture of death as necessarily linked to secular individualistic modernism.

How did our culture become so indifferent to the sanctity and equality of human life? Roe v. Wade had a lot to do with it, of course. But subsequent to that, three major cultural tipping points fueled popular acceptance of death-culture paradigms.

Jack Kevorkian: Between 1991 and 1999, Jack Kevorkian assisted the suicides of about 130 people. He broke into the headlines after admitting that he had assisted the suicide of Janet Adkins, who had been diagnosed with early-onset Alzheimer’s disease.  CONTINUE