Faith

Dark Philosophies Spur Calls for Human Extinction, an End to 'Speciesism,' and 'Human Supremacy'

Skulls and other bones stacked inside the Sedlec Ossuary aka the "bone church" just outside the town of Kutná Hora near Prague. The church is decorated with thousands of human bones. Photo credit: Jeffr_travel

As Christians look forward to Christmas, the holiday celebrating when the Creator of the universe became a human being, various thinkers are following the logical progression of toxic ideas to pursue the extinction of humanity. Sadly, discussions about the morality of eliminating the image of God from the world have gone mainstream — appearing in academic journals like Science, newspapers like The New York Times, and news stations like MSNBC.

The following stories may not seem connected, but they all stem from a deep anti-humanism that denies the uniqueness of human beings made in the image of God.

In November, MSNBC’s Katy Tur remarked, “I read that New Yorker article today and I thought, ‘Gosh, how pointless is my life and how pointless are the decisions that I’m making on a day-to-day basis when we’re not focused on climate change every day, when it’s not leading every one of our news casts.'”

In early December, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) released a guide “to remove speciesism from your daily conversations.” The activist group aimed to replace English language idioms that involved harming animals  (“kill two birds with one stone”) with newspeak idioms about helping animals (“feed two birds with one scone.”)

Last week, Science magazine ran an article by Eileen Crist, who holds a Ph.D. in sociology. This article attacked the “pervasive worldview” of “human supremacy” that “esteems the human as a distinguished entity that is superior to all other life forms and is entitled to use them and the places they live.”

Crist, arguing that “Earth is in the throes of a mass extinction event and climate change upheaval, risking a planetary shift into conditions that will be extremely challenging, if not catastrophic, for complex life,” calls for humans to reconsider this worldview and reject the “western civilization” behind it.

Finally, on Tuesday, The New York Times ran an op-ed by philosophy professor Todd May entitled “Would Human Extinction Be a Tragedy?” May wondered whether the increased intelligence, artistry, and self-awareness human beings bring to the world are really worth the suffering we inflict on animals.

He argued that “unless we believe there is such a profound moral gap between the status of human and nonhuman animals, whatever reasonable answer we come up with will be well surpassed by the harm and suffering we inflict upon animals.”

Yet May also acknowledged that eradicating mankind through mass murder or mass suicide “would introduce significant suffering among those who have much to lose by dying.” Therefore, he proposed mass infertility: “preventing future humans from existing does not introduce such suffering, since those human beings will not exist and therefore not have lives to sacrifice.”

These news items and more reveal that religions like Judaism and Christianity face pushback from not only secular humanism but also from a toxic secular anti-humanism that throws out the delicate balance of mankind as rulers of the universe accountable to God and places the cruel arbiter of Nature above man, judging humanity wicked and worthy of destruction.

Are human lives “pointless” if they do not center around addressing climate change? Is “speciesism” a form of animus and discrimination to be compared with racism and sexism? Is the West guilty of promoting a “human supremacy” that relegates all nature to the status of “conquered”? Are humans inherently unworthy of survival because we raise animals to butcher and eat them?

The Bible has a powerful response to these deep philosophical questions, and it may surprise advocates of human extinction.

God created the universe before He created men and women. However, before He created humanity, the world was only “good.” Only after God made humans did His creation become “very good.”

God created men and women “in our own image, after our likeness.” He gave them “dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over the livestock and over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.”

He did not only give them dominion, He ordered them to multiply and to rule over creation. “Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth and subdue it, and have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over every living thing that moves on the earth” (Genesis 1:28).

Men and women are made in the image of God, which explains our unique capacity for knowledge, creativity, imagination, and science — thinking the thoughts of God after Him.

Humans are given control over the creation, but we are also charged to be good stewards of it. Abusing the creation is a sin, and Christians should take these concerns seriously.

The Bible is indeed “speciesist,” in that it presents a picture of the world where humans possess unique traits that belong to the Creator God, and this gives them the duty to rule over creation. This does not entail “human supremacy,” because all men and women will give an account to the Creator for how we steward His creation.

Tur, PETA, Crist, and May were primarily responding to a consumerist culture that places the interests of mankind over the supposed interests of nature and the animal world. Even consumerism values protecting animals and the environment, however, since if these resources were destroyed, consumption would grind to a halt.

So how do the anti-humanists reach their toxic conclusion?

The debate over climate change is not “settled,” as many claim. The catastrophic predictions of climate alarmists have failed to come to pass, time and again. Human beings do need to be good stewards of the environment, but it is far from clear that burning fossil fuels will bring about Armageddon.

That said, many scholars and scientists operate on the assumption that dire catastrophic climate change is around the corner. They also accept the idea that human beings are primarily responsible — even though carbon dioxide levels have been much higher in pre-human times.

Furthermore, human civilization has progressed to such a degree that men and women no longer live with the specter of immediate death from starvation, drought, disease, or famine. This means that it is possible for human beings to see humanity as the real threat to life, rather than the natural world.

If humanity is evil and the natural world is good, and if humanity is threatening the natural world, humanity itself needs to be destroyed. In this way, environmentalism can become extremely toxic — and even inspire cartoon villains to wipe out half of humanity (thanks, Thanos).

Fortunately for most people, even the anti-humanists do not take their toxic ideology to its Thanosean conclusion. That said, the dark history of eugenics suggests that forced sterilization could make a comeback if the wrong kind of “progressives” take power.

Follow the author of this article on Twitter at @Tyler2ONeil.