“All Sacrifice is Immoral?”
By Pastor Ron Buxton
School tragedies have struck twice in recent days. Without warning, armed students fired upon other classmates. The senselessness of it all! However, my comments today are about the heroism that arose during those horrible events. You see, within those classrooms something happened that reflects humanity at its very best. The sacrifice of one’s own safety was set aside so that others might live. It was, in fact, an encounter with something heavenly.
Sadly, however, most evolutionary social scientists do not recognize these acts as heroism. And allow me to use a Latin phrase to explain myself. In the laws of logic there exists the concept as non-sequitor. What that means is that certain ideas are held which “do not follow” the reasoning of the argument. Such is the case with sacrifice. Many smart people simply refuse to understand it. Non-sequitor thinking.
How could this be? Well, this actually comes from studying the history of mankind over the centuries. Historically, various forms of religious sacrifices in ancient times tended to be grotesque and bloody. As such, to these social scientists, all forms of sacrifice have been discounted as blatantly evil—as an unconscious effort to appease the gods. That is why the late Christopher Hitchens called the concept of sacrifice always an immoral idea. He felt that there was always some ulterior motive to heroism that ended up being selfish. Hitchens even repeatedly, and publicly, insulted the work of Mother Teresa as self aggrandizement! Non-sequitor thinking.
In contrast, how do I explain the heroic, and sacrificial, actions of Riley Howell and Kendrick Castillo this past month? It was certainly not based on selfish motivation. You see, I’ve been shot at by firearms on two different occasions—and running towards the shooter was not my first, instinctive reaction! In fact, to do what they did required an “over-ride” of that supposed natural selection mechanism! I submit to you that it was an internal force that was stamped upon all of humanity. We were made in the image of God, and our “moral compasses” will sometimes over-ride our tendency towards self-preservation. Not always. But when it does—we witness a heroic (and heavenly) interruption amid the evil of this world.
John 15:13 states— “Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one’s life for his friends.” That was spoken–and demonstrated–by Jesus Christ Himself, and it has since been stamped within each human heart as a self-evident truth. That’s why almost all people quickly recognized that Riley Howell (from the University of North Carolina) and Kendrick Castillo ( from Highlands Ranch, Colorado) were heroes in the greatest sense of that word. They sacrificed their own lives so that their friends could live. Without a doubt—a heavenly action interrupted a horrible atrocity.
Is all sacrifice immoral? Not on your life! Not immoral—but oftentimes the very portal to immortality! May Christ’s words (John 15:13) be awakened in us whenever we see extraordinary heroism amid this fallen world! Christ sacrificed His life for us, so that we could truly live—eternally!