Resurrection brings to our mind ‘life in fullness’. It is a defeat of death and evil that was brought through conspiracy, treachery, deceit and hatred. Misconception of values and conscious disregard of laws and morality bring about a culture of death, rather than a culture of life.
Culture can be defined as ‘a body of ideas, customs, and social behaviour of a particular people or society.’ It takes several decades or even centuries to build a culture. When a culture is beneficial for the progress of the given group of people or society it remains strong and becomes a source of identity for the people. A right thinking society or a homogeneous people will always strive to practice or maintain a culture. When a society forgets its culture begins to lose its identity, dignity and eventually disintegrates and in the course of time even annihilates itself.
A worthwhile culture should promote life. Laws, activities and practices that promote abortion, euthanasia, human-cloning, capital punishment and murder belong to ‘Culture of Death’. These practices which undermine human life have its roots in attitudes and values such as selfishness, materialism, consumerism, racism, violence, profiteering, exploitation of people and nature.
Good Friday is a drama of conspiracy, hatred, intolerance and misguided idea of social and religious supremacy where an innocent was sacrificed for the selfish gain of a group of people who wanted their agenda and status quo prevail. The religious, social and political leaders who lived comfortably at the expense of the poor and the oppressed wanted to safeguard their positions and tried to depose a man who challenged them. Call him messiah, saviour, liberator or a hero. Such people continue to rise in society and often meet the same end as Jesus of Nazareth. Egoistic society and its narcissist leaders easily get rid of liberating voices as “It is better for one man to die than for a whole nation to perish.”
What are the practices of Culture of Death today? Abortion violating the life of an innocent unborn child, euthanasia prematurely ending the life of a sick and invalid, corruption denying betterment of life for honest living, human-cloning undermining the dignity of life, self-absorption promoting oneself at the expense of vulnerable others, poverty maintaining comfortable life for a few and capital punishment denying forgiveness and a chance for new life. All these acts of culture of death weaken the foundation of a healthy society.
St. Pope John Paul II was the first to use the term “Culture of Death” in his letter ‘The Gospel of Life’ [Evantelium Vitae (EV) of 1995] with a particular reference to abortion and other inhuman practices that tries to annihilate life in different ways. In the midst of a culture that congratulates itself on being enlightened and progressive on matters of human rights, he said, we are very much in danger of giving in to a “culture of death.” We debate on the beginning moment of life and how to live ‘profitably’ and how to end our life but forgetting human dignity and everyone’s right to dignified life and he warned of “revert to a state of barbarism”. (EV #15)
We all speak with vigour against the practice of corruption in the society and political sphere, but we fail to realize that it corruption is inhuman, callous, murderous and genocide—self-annihilation of oneself and the nation. It is a slow poison in a healthy society that kills its people slowly and surely. Being blind to corruption and practicing it directly or indirectly is to be part of the culture of death.
As people profess resurrection we elect and support honest leaders, refuse bribery and free-gifts from leaders, lobby for our honest rights; avoid cronyism, nepotism, parochialism, and tribalism. Let us in our own little ways offer patronage to honest and hardworking people, speak against graft and embezzlement of public funds. Let us not forget to protect our environment through simple and conscious living.
Fr. Lazar Arasu SDB
Priest and School Administrator
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