Posts Tagged Health
I think it is an uncontested fact that we hate to be lied to. I think we can say with absolute agreement that when given information about a product we are purchasing, we want accuracy, clarity, and non-interpretable language. In short we want truth and not advertising. We want reality and not fiction. We even pass laws requiring ingredients be listed on products so everyone can be informed. So I have to wonder why moral and social behavior is handled so differently.
New York recently passed a law that expanded abortion rights. The state had followed the guidelines of most of the country, which allowed abortion by choice up to 24 weeks and after that only by exception. That exception was based upon a doctor determining the physical or mental health of the mother was at risk. It did not really change it’s stand on that; it simply put into rule was previously the exception. The new law specifically states that abortion is now restricted to the 24 week window or it is necessary to protect the patients life or health. It removed any checks and balances on that decision to the doctor’s opinion.
I have to admit when reading the law I found it hard not to vomit. I also must admit that it is not only the allowance of this act but the interpretable language and advertising mentality that was the problem. The law appears worded to protect the government by placing the interpretation and thereby the responsibility for the action on the doctor and patient. It starts with a comment that is abhorrent at best. It reads “Abortion is one of the safest medical procedures performed in the United States”. I can safely say that can only be accurate for at most 50% of the patients involved because by virtue of the “procedure” at least 50% of the living beings die.
It is hard not to notice the immediate hypocrisy of this. New York has found capital punishment to be unconstitutional as it violates the rights of the criminal but has made it constitutional to kill an unborn child with the loophole of opinion. I guess the infants rights take a back seat to the criminals rights.
For many years the arguments about abortion centered on the definition of life. Originally they claimed the fetus was not living until it left the womb. It then moved back to a point where it was determined to be viable. The arguments changed at that point to individual rights and whether the state or for that matter any being or entity should have control over a woman’s body.
I honestly believe the most sickening part about this is the rhetoric involved that obfuscates the tragedy of the action. We have gone from discussing the value of life and are now hearing arguments about rights and freedoms and the perseverance through inner turmoil on a tough decision to have an abortion. Really? I am supposed to respect a person because they chose to kill a baby? We are being encouraged to celebrate free speech when people shout their abortion. Again, really? If a person wore a t-shirt shouting they had killed a baby, it would be considered a confession and an arrest-able offense. However if the optics change because we desensitize the world through logos, ad agency lingo, and rebranding, I am supposed to accept it? I think I need to vomit again.
I am doing my best not to be glib because the real conversation is truly about life and death. At the same time, I need to understand the Christian response. Many Christians raise their voice vilifying those who have had an abortion rather than doing anything to help. We focus on political candidates who can overturn laws as if that will stop the problem. We don’t want to address the real problem, which is that we argue against from the outside without ever considering what the problem looks like from the inside.
If I am not willing to find a way to truly help, should I be vocal about the problem at all? We should be sickened by this epidemic. We should see how it cries out against God and celebrates the hubris of mankind. But anytime I have ever recognized something like that, God is not asking me to re-tweet or re-share a meme. He is asking me to get involved with the tools that I have been given. I do not believe the bible teaches us to build a Christian utopia here on earth and call it God’s Kingdom. I have read the book and it doesn’t end that way. I do believe God is calling us to minister to the broken. And this circumstance is truly broken. I am reasonably certain the world knows we do not accept or approve of abortion. We can stop over sharing that. Now lets use the gifts God has given us to find a better answer. But beware, the devil is in the details.
My first real job after college was on at a bank. I remember speaking to a man who had been denied credit that he felt he desperately needed. The reason he assumed he was denied was that his wife was Vietnamese. As I began to ensure the man that his wife’s country of origin had no bearing on the banks decision he interrupted me and wanted me to know we could reverse the decision because she was not really Vietnamese. She was actually from the Philippines. I wasn’t sure whether to be frustrated with the man’s acceptance of racism in the world or feel sorry because of the tragic damage he must have received to accept that this type of thing could occur. Either way, this man’s dream of happiness was greatly affected by his circumstances.
Urie Bronfenbrenner was a developmental psychologist who postulated the Bioecological Model. It describes how child development does not happen in a vacuum and is affected by the environmental influences around them. In those influences there are many layers of individual environments that each contains their own set of roles and rules that are followed. The concept is basically that our development process is multifaceted and can grow with whichever environmental structure has predominance at the time, not as a whole system but as a sum of the individual systems. I would say this process continues through our lives. The man I spoke with had obviously learned in some environment that racially motivated decision making was acceptable and could be done correctly if the right information were provided. That in no uncertain terms is horrific.
We use this process in all that we learn, even something as simple as being happy. Each person has an internal definition of what happiness is based on their environmental development and whether or not we can achieve those is based upon our individual circumstances. We respond by creating levels of happiness based on what we can achieve at any one given time. We then struggle to achieve that or more appropriately our approximation of that to find this allusive goal of happiness. This is an eternal quest and is greatly affected by the circumstances around us. People with greater resources are more likely to achieve goals centered around resources more quickly but they are not as a group happier for it. This echoes the problem at the core of the definition that can only be solved by understanding one thing.
Happiness as a whole defined by modern thought does not exist. It is an unattainable goal not because we are not able to reach our individual approximations, but because we are. The fact that we reach them and keep looking for more explains that the goal we reached was only a wrung on the ladder and not the destination. It was a step in the journey and not the end. It is similar to Zeno’s Dichotomy Paradox. If each goal attained creates another, the final destination is only arrived at when we stop. Our individual goals may be easier than some peoples and harder than others. Whether we reach them or do not reach them is based upon our actions but the attainment of those goals in and of themselves does not mean we are happy. A person who is unhappy is not suffering from poor goal setting and a lack of motivation. They feel the way they do because they realize the goals have not provided more than a momentary chemical rush of endorphins or electrical activity in our brain and fleeting euphoria, not lasting happiness.
Rather than recognizing that the problem is in the method, we continue to tweak the goals to try and achieve the end sooner. We substitute convenience for rationality and consider it progress. We lower our standards and call it higher thought. We will never achieve what we can not substantiate and we will never find peace without quelling the storm of our desire.
Happiness is a dream we cannot achieve. Joy and fulfillment are real possibilities. If we begin to recognize our method is faulty and remove the constraint of achievement from our thought processes, we can begin to understand that the circumstances affect our responses but not our outlook. This is not a semantic argument. Joy and fulfillment are not synonymous with happiness. They actually counter it. Regardless of circumstance, joy can be understood. It is not centered on what we achieve but what we hold true inside. It is based on value and not perception. It is built by character, not reward.
As a Christian, these attributes are impossible without God. Character is not built without a model to copy. Joy is the fundamental response to God for his promised redemption. Truly achieving these without God is impossible as well, but trying to substitute happiness for them is simply settling for second best and then not even being able to get that.