Our mission, should we choose to accept it (cue ‘Mission Impossible’ theme music), is to be the salt and the light in our communities. Sometimes the only thing we can do is pray because we are too far removed from the people of power who can makes things happen.
Even if we sign petitions, write letters, or post videos on our social networks, we must remember that the battle is not one of flesh and blood. The real battle is fought in the spiritual realm and back here on earth we must resign ourselves to seeing only part of the picture.
In this spiritual battle we need to remember that the enemy comes to steal, kill and destroy, but Jesus came that we might have life and have it abundantly. See John chapter 10, verse 10. So much of our mission is to speak up for life but often in doing so we may find ourselves persecuted, yes – even in Australia – because of the popularity of a culture of death.
Culture of death - Halloween
We have just ‘celebrated’, or rather, endured, Halloween. My Facebook feed showed proud pictures of people dressed up as skeletons, ghouls, zombies, with giant spiders in their webs and boasting about their ‘house of horrors’. Even the Victorian government posted an article explaining why Australia should take on board this American custom.
Its origins date back to Druid worship where a human female was required to be a sacrifice to Samhain who was considered to be the Lord of the Dead. Having asked for a woman and been rejected, the house was cursed. If a woman was given for sacrifice, the house received a ‘jack o’ lantern’ as a sign of good luck.
During the Dark Ages it was common for Christian missionaries to facilitate the transition from paganism to Christianity by mixing church holidays with pagan ones thereby providing an alternative focus. By the 700s in Europe, 31 October had become known as All Hallows Eve. The following day, November 1, was called All Hallows Day, or All Saints Day, which was one that the early Christians had set aside in memory of those who had died for their beliefs over the ages.
In its expression today, Halloween emphasises superstition and “plays upon the natural fears of childhood – the dark, the ugly, the unknown, the mysterious” to use the words of Geoff Strelan. He goes on to note what he sees as the crucial point, namely, “that fear is often a gateway for spiritual oppression.”
And in the typical fashion of our enemy, something that is fearful and ugly is masqueraded as ‘fun’, seducing Christians into taking part.
Ultimately, the Christian has nothing to be afraid of. God’s perfect love casts out fear.
Culture of death – abortion
As a Christian and a scientist, my view is that life begins at conception. The union of a sperm with an ovum, producing a zygote, is the creation of a new life. This is how reproduction works throughout most of the natural world.
It is only among humans that the female sometimes expresses the entitlement that she has the right to decide what to do with her own body, without acknowledgement of the new, separate, life growing in it. It is only among humans that conception can be deliberately prevented, or once it has occurred the resultant new life can be killed – aborted – and the pregnancy can be terminated.
Even the language used about these circumstances is clinical, as if to call the new life anything but what it is – new life. Calling this an embryo or foetus instead of a baby, while technically correct, makes it impersonal.
The passing of Labor's extreme abortion-to-birth laws has resulted in a 58% increase in abortions in Queensland between 2028 and 2019. In addition, almost 60% of all medical abortions in Australia in 2019 (the first year after the law change) were performed in Queensland, which has only 20% of Australia’s population. 19 aborted babies were born alive and left to die in Queensland in the 30 week period to June 2019. This carelessness about life is widespread across Australia.
Culture of death – euthanasia
Euthanasia is the deliberate killing of a person by a medical professional, whether is it directly by injecting poison into a patient or indirectly by helping a patient commit suicide.
Euthanasia and assisted suicide should not be confused with the cessation of useless treatment or the failure to commence treatment that would be a hindrance to patient comfort or offer no useful purpose. It is also not the use of medication with the intention of relieving severe pain.
The Queensland Parliament has passed the Voluntary Assisted Dying Act 2021. This will allow eligible people to access voluntary assisted dying as an additional end of life option in Queensland, should they be eligible. This, despite a poll conducted among Queenslanders that showed most were not in favour of the bill and its ramifications.
The Act sets out a legal process for people who are suffering and dying from an advanced and progressive life-limiting condition the right to choose the timing and circumstances of their death. Yet there is not a concomitant pathway to provide for better palliative care and support of the dying and their families.
Access to voluntary assisted dying will not be available until 1 January 2023, when the scheme commences.
Culture of life – our mission
It is the job of the Holy Spirit to convict people of their sin, His righteousness and God’s judgement. This is not our job – to criticize and condemn – because so often we end up criticizing the people who do the sin, rather than condemning the sin itself. That has caused a lot of damage in our society and is possibly contributing to the current state of our society.
We must pray for life and justice for those who cannot stand up for themselves. We must pray that wherever the truth has been suppressed it will be fully revealed, especially with issues relating to abortion, euthanasia and events like Halloween.
And we need to pray for the release of all - especially leaders within Australia - who have been “taken captive through hollow and deceptive philosophy, which depends on human tradition and the basic principles of this world rather than on Christ.” (Colossians chapter 2, verse 8)
Aira Chilcott is a retired secondary school teacher with lots of science andtheology under her belt. Aira is a panellist and editor for PSI and indulges inreading, bushwalking and volunteering at a nature reserve. Aira is married to Billand they have three adult sons.
Aira Chilcott's previous articles may be viewed at http://www.pressserviceinternational.org/aira-chilcott.html