30 Jun Culture of Life: A Reality
A Culture of Life begins with conception and continues through natural death because a Culture of Life’s aim is to treat the individual human being (and therefore humanity at large) with dignity, respect, and love.
I could go on describing generalized traits of a society that would seem “Pro-Life” in the fullest sense of the word. But in reality, our best sense of what does or doesn’t qualify as “Pro-Life” is often seen through the lens of individual experience. Or at least, these ideas should be, if we want them to be an empowering knowledge source.
In a Culture of Life, a child is clearly seen and felt as a precious and unique individual from the moment they are conceived. Men and women are supported through pregnancy by their friends, family, and community. Children are gifts to rejoice for no matter the circumstances surrounding their journey into existence.
In a Culture of Life, children are respected, validated, loved, and accepted in all aspects of their development. Humans of every different origin and background hold the highest esteem for one another and their experiences, even if they don’t always like one another. No one is held in prejudice for any reason.
In a Culture of Life, soulful adults make the best decisions they can in order to keep their world life-giving. Mistakes are expected and forgiven; both by time and with new and better decisions.
A Culture of Life does not ignore suffering or try to eradicate it. In this culture, suffering is met with deep respect and empathy, since growth emerges through difficult times. The mature adult finds sustainable joy and peace by stitching together their relationships, their perception of life, and their whole person into an awareness of life’s meaning. This meaning, though changing, meets every practical and philosophical need.
The more a Culture of Life is described, the more it sounds like an impossible dream, or even a dangerous utopian concept. However, reality speaks loudly, too. Reality says that this culture already exists, in daily life, for many of us.
I’ll give you a hint; it’s simpler than it sounds.
That moment when you actually talk to your cashier at the grocery store instead of seeing right through them; that moment when you stop and speak with the homeless man instead of just handing him money; that moment where you stand up for the uncomfortable truth instead of just swallowing it so that respect for life is considered in that situation.
There is constant opportunity and responsibility for us to take initiative. After all, your participation, half-participation, or silence will all affect our world.
So why not give it a shot? I challenge you to find a couple of ways to choose life and uphold human dignity today. If there’s one thing I never regret, it’s trying.
Mary Jo Carney is a Summer Intern with Students for Life of Illinois. She studies Psychology with a minor in music at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.