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Aging Research and a “Care Home World”

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Our Western cultures no longer value human life as they once did. The unborn, the disabled, the elderly, and the terminally ill are increasingly viewed as burdens on society instead of having intrinsic value simply because they are humans, made in the very image of God (Genesis 1:27). A recent article in New Scientist reminded me of this truth.

This article was called “Life Extension May Prove to Be a Double-Edged Sword.” The subtitle read, “Today’s middle aged people could routinely live to 120 or more. That means we have time to prepare.” The article claims that antiaging research may help extend populations though we won’t see the effects for another 30 or 40 years (that is, if the researchers’ claims come true).

But what struck me was the final paragraph of the rather short article (emphasis mine):

[Extended lifespan] is good news for individuals, but a challenge for society. Consider that [today’s oldest person] was born in the 19th century and reached retirement age more than 57 years ago. Now extrapolate that life trajectory to large numbers of people. Bioethicists have long flagged concerns about the social consequences of life extension, including overpopulation and the prospect of a “care home world” full of decrepit people. These problems are half a lifetime away, and are unlikely to be a deal-breaker. But it is not too soon to start thinking seriously about how we should deal with them.

Most people don’t view mankind through a biblical lens but through an evolutionary one where mankind is just an animal.

Certainly if people are going to live longer, we need to discuss ways to care for an elderly population. However the tone of this call to action reflects how so many are increasingly viewing the elderly—a burden we must somehow bear, instead of individuals made in God’s image who have value and purpose. We must detect this kind of thinking and recognize that most people don’t view mankind through a biblical lens but through an evolutionary one where mankind is just an animal.

As Christians, we need to proclaim truth to a culture that desperately needs to hear it. When we start our thinking with God’s Word, we can uphold the worth, value, and dignity of every human life from beginning (the moment of fertilization) to natural end.

And remember: God sent his Son to become a man to give his life and be raised from the dead so we can receive a free gift of salvation—what does that say about how God views each one of us?

Thanks for stopping by and thanks for praying,
Ken

This item was written with the assistance of AiG’s research team.

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