Algie saw the bear
The bear saw Algie
The bear was bulgy
The bulge was Algie
− Red Skelton
Wildlife author and his girlfriend are killed and eaten by one of the Alaskan bears they loved.
− News report
Trappers find arm in alligator’s stomach. Arm belonged to man who was trying to feed the alligator – which he did, but not in the way he intended.
− News report
Red Skelton was a famous comedian. One of his comic characters was Professor J. Newton Numbskull, who recited bad poetry with a benign smile. But his smile was meaningless because he smiled all the time. He smiled on the good and the bad alike. He was “nonjudgmental” before it became popular.
The “professor” was surprised when Algie wound up in the bear’s stomach. The thought that bears eat something other than honey was new to him. Perhaps he had grown up watching Disney cartoons – or rather, had not grown up. Like many people, he was a child in an adult body. His education had done nothing to help him mature into a wise, responsible adult. On the contrary, spending years in a university had allowed him to remain an emotional teenager.
But the “professor” was a fictional character. His naiveté hurt no one. The problem arises when real people adopt his naive beliefs. The problem arises when real people try to feed bears or alligators, and they lose their arms or their lives. The problem arises when real people believe the world is like a Disney cartoon.
The problem arises when people cease to worship the Creator, and begin worshipping the creation and the creatures.
The word “creature” is revealing. I grew up believing that it meant “animal.” When I heard that in Spanish, criatura is a word for baby, I thought this was an insulting way to refer to a human child. But then I realized what should have been obvious – “creature” means that which has been created.
No, criatura is not an insult to a baby. On the contrary, it is a way of affirming that the baby is ours in the sense of being our responsibility to care for, love, and educate to be a trustworthy adult. But the baby is not ours in the sense that a chair is ours. If we tire of the chair, we can throw it in the trash or even kick it to pieces. The baby is not ours in the sense of ownership. The baby most certainly is not ours to treat as we like, or even to destroy. The baby – and all humans – belong to their Creator, and we must keep that fact in mind as we interact with them.
Years ago, when I first learned the word criatura, I worried that comparing a human baby to an animal might lead to mistreatment. But if I were in school today, I doubt that this idea would occur to me. Today’s kids have been brought up to see human beings merely as highly evolved animals. In fact, I am reassured if babies are viewed as small animals. With the animal-rights movement so popular, equating a baby with a puppy or a kitten may help to assure that the baby will be well treated.
Consider what happened when Palestinian terrorists tied explosives to a donkey, then sent it toward Israeli civilians. Fortunately the bomb blew up prematurely, killing the donkey but sparing the people. But People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) issued a strong protest. Thousands of people, mainly Israelis but also many Americans − tourists, students, and religious pilgrims − have been murdered by terrorist bombs in markets, discos, and pizzerias, and PETA said nothing. But when a donkey was killed, PETA awoke from its stupor. To call PETA’s reaction asinine would be an insult to donkeys, which are patient, useful beasts.
The head of PETA equated the incineration of Jews in the Holocaust with the barbecuing of chickens. But when asked the position of PETA on abortion, she replied that they had none. To her, killing chickens is intolerable, but killing unborn children is a matter of indifference. Murdering thousands of people in the Middle East passes unnoticed, but killing one donkey evokes protests.
Now you can see why I would be reassured if I heard current schoolchildren equate babies with small animals. I would hope that the kids would be less likely to throw newborn babies into Dumpsters or toilets. If kids no longer learn that every baby is a unique individual created in God’s image, and therefore is infinitely precious, at least they can equate babies with puppies and kittens, which are objects of sympathy. In a time of broken moral compasses, I’ll take what little I can get.
The naive Professor Numbskull was hilarious. People who are injured or killed trying to befriend wild animals aren’t at all funny. They are tragic victims of a perverted belief system that denies the Creator but worships the created. Hugging a tree is mistaken but harmless. Hugging a bear or an alligator is something else entirely. But at least such people endanger their own lives and limbs.
Those who worship nature – often spelled Nature – are likely to endanger all of us:
● But then they value fish more when they allow four firefighters to burn to death in a forest fire, while they debate whether to allow water-dropping planes to draw water from a river containing endangered fish.
● They worsen a severe water shortage for millions of people to protect endangered fish.
● They want to stop all animal research, even research to find cures for animal diseases. They have told me this.
They believe that to “save the Earth,” there must be a marked decrease in the human population. How they will achieve this we can only guess. But when Bin Laden talked about the dangers of man-made global warming, we had a clue. When environmentalists and mass murderers agree, it is not a hopeful sign.
Once we cease worshipping the Creator, we begin worshipping the created. But once we have fired the Referee and tossed out the Rule Book, there are no rules and no One to enforce them. There are only opinions. “Do not murder” becomes just my opinion, and others’ opinions may be different. In fact, they are.
In mobs without rules, the most extreme people tend to become leaders. Extremism feeds on itself. Like other destructive behaviors, it escalates. First we equate animals with humans. Then we elevate animals above humans. Next we endanger humans for the sake of animals. And then, paradoxically, we plan for the extermination of whole species of animals. As a Final Solution to the ecology problem, we declare that the human population should markedly decrease.
Without the Creator, the created lose their justification for existence. Whether individual humans or animals, or even whole groups or species, continue to exist then becomes our choice, to be made at our convenience – or our whim. Without the Creator, life ceases to be holy, or even meaningful. Then we descend into a culture of death, with late-term abortion, infanticide, and euthanasia of the malformed, the disabled, the unwanted – and the inconvenient.
Worship of nature sounds harmless. But without nature’s God, as our Declaration of Independence calls Him, worship of nature too easily becomes worship of death. Look at the human sacrifice practiced by many primitive societies that worshipped natural forces, from the Canaanites to the Celts to the Aztecs. Look at the pagan worship of “soil” and “blood” that helped the Nazis justify mass murder. Look at the genocidal teachings of “deep” ecologists.
Hitler enjoyed this beautiful view of the Austrian Alps from his “Eagle’s Nest” retreat near Berchtesgaden. I leave it to you to decide whether his love of nature was any consolation to his tens of millions of victims.
We must choose our role models. Will it be Pope John Paul II, who hung on as long as he could despite severe disability? He taught us by example, when he no longer could in words, that all life is precious because it is a gift from God. Or will we choose as our role model “Doctor” Jack Kevorkian, who thought he could control his fear of death by causing death in others? But we have to choose. If we don’t choose John Paul, by default we get Jack.
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