Man's Best Friend?

I am continually encouraged and frustrated by the inconsistencies of atheists. I am encouraged because their inconsistency shows that this is God's world and even unbelief must bump up against reality all the time. You cannot consistently live with unbelief. I am particularly confused and frustrated by the self-professing postmodern relativist who will call me bigoted for not embracing his meta-narrative (grand story that interprets all the other smaller stories). Or the fact that one who doesn't hold to absolutes is quick to make moral pronouncements on anything that rubs them the wrong way.

However, there are those brave few who will take the implications of their worldview seriously. An example that struck me recently was the way people view animals. After all, according to the atheist, everything in this world has its origins from the same material substance. In this worldview, there is no basis for saying that human beings are any better than any other species. We have just evolved differently. There are those today who will call you a "speciest" for assuming that you are any better than a fellow animal, which is the moral equivalent of being a racist. One spokesperson for animal rights has even said, "A rat is a pig is a dog is a boy" implying that there is no fundamental difference between them.

Another atheist who is consistent with his worldview is Princeton Professor Peter Singer, who goes so far as to say that because we are mammals, sex across the species barrier "ceases to be an offence to our status and dignity as human beings." In the same article, titled Heavy Petting, Singer writes that many dog owners do not mind when their leg is gripped by their excited pet, and even says that "occasionally mutually satisfying activities may develop."

Of course these implications make their way to the street as well. Examples abound. I read recently about nursing homes for dogs north of Tokyo where ole Fido can waste away for $820 a month! Or consider the emergence of pet loss support groups. Read Oprah's retelling of the recent death of her dog, Gracie (I just accidentally typed 'god' instead of 'dog' but figured I should correct it). Or another man, who gave his dog Maggie, a full blown funeral, with a pastor and bagpipes. Another woman had little Peanut freeze-dried when she died and said, "Having her intact and as she was is a wonderful thing to have." Or visit, and have the blameless Pam Anderson make objective moral pronouncements about the treatment of chickens. Then visit Holly Madison, the playboy bunny, who would rather "go naked than wear fur." Actually, do not visit her, but talk about an arbitrary ethic!

All this gives new meaning to serving "the creature rather than the Creator" (Rom 1.25). Lest I be misunderstood, let me be clear: I love animals, and dogs in particular. It is a weekly temptation to move to an apartment complex that allows pets. Of all people, Christians ought to care for animals and all of earth's resources, for we have an objective standard which tells us to do so. But the Bible is clear that humans are unique, and particularly endowed with dignity, value, and responsibility. God created us in his image, to be in relationship with him, which sets us apart from the rest of the created world. Being cruel to chickens is wrong and wicked, no matter what the Chick-Fil-A cows advertise, but being cruel to humans (think about abortion, infanticide, euthanasia) is exceedingly more wicked. Let us model what it is to be genuinely human, in relation to God, others, and the created order, which includes the beloved Peanut.