|sanctity or quality|
| For a long time the western world has held to the sanctity of human life, the belief that God endowed us with value and holds us responsible for how we treat it. Now we see a movement toward the quality of life view: the belief that we determine right and wrong according to how it makes us feel.
Peter Singer calls the “sanctity of human life” view unusual in comparison to the non-western parts of the world. He says, “There have been cultures, especially in the east, that have held that all life is sacred, including the lives of nonhuman animals. There have been other cultures that have had a much more restricted view of the sanctity of human life, punishing only the unprovoked killing of a member of the tribe or national group, and accepting as ethically unproblematic the killing of outsiders, or of unwanted newborn infants. The western tradition is unusual in its emphasis on the sanctity of human life, but only of human life. The origins of this distinctive western view are not difficult to trace. The starting point is the Hebrew view of creation, as put forward in Genesis . . .” (Genesis 1:24-28)
Western society has moved from one worldview toward another, and I cannot imagine a greater polarity. In a theistic worldview every human life has value, but the problem is sin. We are our own enemy. In a humanistic worldview people are innocent, but the problem is circumstances. People are good in their hearts, but they need better conditions.
A theistic view calls people to repent of their evil ways. It calls people to see the value of life that already exists.
A humanistic view seeks to make life more convenient. There’s no set standard of right and wrong; morality is an idea we invented to make us happy.