The Heartbreaking End to the Case of Charlie Gard: Where Do We Go from Here?
Appeals conclude as professors and politicians assume the role of our cultural high priests
The European Court of Human Rights ruled June 27 that Charlie Gard, a fatally ill one-year-old infant from England, could be removed from life support against his parents’ wishes. On Monday the case concluded, and his parents have agreed to allow their baby to be taken off life support.
Western civilization has thus come to the point where a mother and father find their basic right to preserve the life of their own child now denied by a court of elites who presume to know best when their son should die.
How did this happen?
In the early 1900s, G. K. Chesterton spoke of the unavoidable consequences of denying God as our creator and worshipping science above the sacred. Observing that the naturalists of his day were only too willing to turn their science into a philosophy and then impose their new religion upon all of culture, with near fanatic zeal, Chesterton said, "I [have] never said a word against eminent men of science. What I complain of is a vague popular philosophy which supposes itself to be scientific when it is really nothing but a sort of new religion and an uncommonly nasty one."
"It is for my private physician to tell me whether this or that food will kill me. It is for my private philosopher to tell me whether I ought to be killed."
Chesterton recognized that science could never presume to compete in the moral arena of theology and philosophy. He said further: "To mix science up with philosophy is only to produce a philosophy that has lost all its ideal value and a science that has lost all its practical value. It is for my private physician to tell me whether this or that food will kill me. It is for my private philosopher to tell me whether I ought to be killed."
Chesterton knew science could answer the questions of mathematics and medicine, but he likewise was keenly aware it had nothing at all to say about meaning and morality. He warned that scientific "progress," unrestrained by sacred principles, was fraught with dangers. "Survival of the fittest," he contended, may be an interesting academic discussion when applied to a vegetable, an animal, or a mineral, but when practiced on people, its consequences are nothing short of horrifying.
C. S. Lewis also spoke forthrightly of Western society's diminishment of God while elevating man and technology to fill the void. Predicting the rise of what he and others labeled "scientism," in which naturalism and materialism are uncritically elevated to the status of a religion, Lewis warned of a dystopia where public policy and even moral and religious beliefs would be dictated by professors and politicians only too eager to assume the role of our new cultural high priests. (go to page 2 to continue reading)