Yesterday the Assembly of Bishops, made up of the Canonical Orthodox Bishops of the United States, released a document titled, “On the Sacredness of Human Life and its Untimely Termination” in which the bishops outlined the Church’s teachings on issues such as murder, capital punishment, abortion, euthanasia, miscarriage, and suicide. Immediately many began to argue against the teachings of the Church using ‘science’ as a defense for their disagreement.
I am not surprised by such debates, and frankly I welcome any honest conversation about faith and science. What bothers me is the ignorant comments that suggest the Church was in the past ignorant to science as if, somehow today’s scientists have reached the pinnacle of knowledge. In truth, the ancient Fathers were VERY WELL versed in the science of their day, and NEVER cast science against the Church. That is a modern innovation of atheistic tendances of our society.
The ancients took the science they knew and allowed it to inform them, not what to believe about the sacred, but how to live within the sacred. Basic knowledge of science reveals how much “more” we know now about a great deal of things than the ancients. Indeed, Saint Basil in the early Fourth Century, in his book “On the Six Days” [of creation] comments on how science is proving itself wrong all the time, and that we Christians shouldn’t place our faith in ‘today’s science’ as that will change.
What NEVER changes, is God’s truth about which the document released yesterday focuses. The truth is that life is sacred, and no amount of science can remove that truth. What science can and should offer us today is a better understanding of what is taking place so the Church can lead in how we continue to respond to the truth.
A consistent theme in the document, in my reading, lies with the notion of intentional destruction of human life as opposed to accidental or, as in the case of war, sometimes unavoidable. The document is consistent. Life is ALWAYS sacred and should NEVER be intentionally ended. This does not change just because science has allowed us to know more details. If anything, science should help us keep more life sacred, ‘simply’ because we understand life from a scientific point of view better today.
Here is the link to the entire document. It only requires a few minutes to read, but every minute is worth the read. https://www.assemblyofbishops.org/news/2022/human-life-sacredness?fbcli…