Thursday, January 29, 2009

Living and Life

We confusing living for life. We attempt to keep on living for its own sake, and do not realize that in so doing, we fail to truly live.

It is prudent to preserve one's life, but not for it's own sake. I wear a helmet to prevent death by unworthy causes. It is not to maximize the number of years my heart beats. I have protected my life for 23 years so that I might have a chance to spend it on something worthwhile.

We should not flee from death. We err gravely When we equate senseless death with sacrificial death. If we look at soldiers who die and those who die in car crashes and say about both, "what a waste of life," we nullify the nobility of sacrificial death. The soldier gave his life for others; his death was meaningful (even if the war isn't). The car crash victim made no such sacrifice; his death was meaningless. We may justly oppose war because of justice or cost; we ought not oppose it simply because of death.

We can never make 'less death' the end of society. Living alone is not a virtue. Courage, honor and love are; we ought never to sacrifice these for the sake of living. In our decisions we must consider the bad and good that we are preventing.

There are certainly some policy decisions which are straightforward. No major virtue is lost by mandating seat belts. But we cannot take the argument developed in a realm without virtue and apply it to one with virtue.

There is often strong opposition to an organizations' members going to dangerous places. There is a fear that their 'lives will be lost'. On the contrary. Their lives will be saved. If they die for a noble cause, they will have experienced some life within their living. If they avoid all danger and risk, they may never see life, though they live.

Life is loving our neighbor, and true life sometimes requires that a person not live as long. Life is not a beating heart. It is a thriving soul. Making life all about prolonging the functioning of a pump is foolish.

Let us never exchange life for living.

Mar 8:35 "For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake and the gospel's will save it."

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