Continuing my series of reflections in the lead up to Saturday's Vigil for Nascent Human Life, today the natural law.
The natural law is that law 'written on our hearts', programmed into us if you will, and that underpins the proper working of society. The classic encapsulation of it is of course the ten commandments, including the biggie - Thou shalt not kill.
The natural law and clouded minds
The natural law is something we can in theory arrive at through reason, and which drives our instinctive reactions to certain things - such as our natural revulsion at the murder of an infant.
But in practice, cultural beliefs and practices - brainwashing really - can cloud minds, and undermine our natural grasp of the natural law. That's why we need revelation as well.
It is this kind of cultural construction and clouding that could allow Hitler to define Jews, gypsies and the disabled as non-humans, whose lives not only could be set at naught but should be. It is this kind of cultural construction that saw Australia as an empty land there for the taking, and regarded Australia's indigenous people as a doomed race whose inevitable demise should be actively helped along the way by the colonists.
And in our society, this clouding of mind and intellect takes the form of the whole culture of denial around the idea that abortion is murder.
Yet the truth seeps through: the Keli Lane case
Yet such cultural constructions inevitably involve weird contradictions that must generate at least some 'cognitive dissonance', a sense that there is something not quite right about the embedded beliefs of society.
In Australia at the moment the classic example of this must surely be the intense interest in the Keli Lane case. Ms Lane had five children. She is accused of concealing the pregnancies in order to maintain her image as a sportwoman. She is also accused of murdering four of the five (one child was adopted out).
No one is contesting three of the murders: they were perfectly legally, through abortion.
She is on trial for the fourth only, because it is allegedly a case of infanticide. Yet because there is no body, the pattern exposed by her abortions has become part of the Crown's case against her. And it is her seemingly casual and callous, utilitarian approach that has the tabloids agog.
Creating cognitive dissonance
But really, even if Lane is found guilty, has she really have done anything more than permitted and even encouraged by our society? In Victoria, she could potentially have had a legal abortion even after 24 weeks - so why does a few days on the other side matter?
The answer of course is that it doesn't. A child is a child is a child; and murder is murder whenever it occurs. Whether the child is still in the womb or not is completely irrelevant to objective realities.
Cases like Lane's can help highlight the contradictions and maybe help raise doubts of received views in people's minds.
We should pray for people to start questioning what they have been brainwashed into believing.
Propers for the 4th Sunday in Advent
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