A couple of years ago, Richard Dawkins responded to a lady on Twitter who posed an interesting moral dilemma. She tweeted she wouldn’t know what to do if she found out her unborn child had Down Syndrome. Dawkins’ reply; “Abort it and try again. It would be immoral to bring it into the world if you have the choice.”
Meet Cheston Hearron, my brother. Cheston has Down Syndrome.
I am not at all offended by the comments of Dawkins. His response is exactly what one would expect from an individual positing an atheistic worldview. Dawkins is merely acting out the logical implications of his view. Dawkins’ worldview is devoid of God, so when faced with such a moral dilemma, he does what he thinks is right for him. Furthermore, his moral answers will change from person to person and even culture to culture. He even has his own category of immorality: bringing a baby with Down Syndrome into the world. The implications of this view are obvious.
As a Christian with a biblical worldview, I would have given this woman a different answer. As a theist, when faced with a moral dilemma, I have a firm anchor-point; God’s unchanging nature that grounds morality. I would challenge her to think about the God question. If God exists and has created human beings in his image then it would be immoral to end the life of this child just because he has Down Syndrome. This answer does not change from person to person nor culture to culture. It is an objective moral value. To terminate the child’s life, is to place oneself in a position reserved only for God. The image of God is a very powerful argument for equal rights for all human beings. There is no physical trait that all human beings share. There are tall people, short people, large people, small people, smart people, dumb people, those who are socially useful and those who are socially useless. Yet, we all feel that every human deserves to be treated equally. I know of no one who thinks attractive people deserve more rights than unattractive people. So, since you cannot put your finger on a physical trait that grounds equal rights then perhaps what grounds them is non-physical. The image of God is the perfect candidate for the grounding of equal rights. To be an image bearer, is to reflect certain characteristics of God. We are capable of relationships, we display emotions and we make choices. These are all characteristics of God. However, the image of God is tarnished because of sin and will one day be completely redeemed when Christ returns. Atheism eliminates the image of God and therefore has no justification for human rights.
When I am around my brother, he makes me laugh! He is a wonderful uncle to my 2 children. They love him dearly. He is highly functional and genuinely loves people.My parents would inform you that it has not been easy rearing a child with Down Syndrome. But they also would tell you that the joy he has brought into their lives and the lives of others cannot be measured. The world is a better place because of Cheston Hearron. I am reminded of Paul’s first letter to the Corinthians (I Cor. 1:27-28) “But God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong. He chose the lowly things of this world and the despised things–and the things that are not–to nullify the things that are…”
He chose Cheston!!