Life, Death, And Christianity


"The cross is laid on every Christian. The first Christ-suffering which every man must experience is the call to abandon the attachments of this world. It is that dying of the old man which is the result of his encounter with Christ. As we embark upon discipleship we surrender ourselves to Christ in union with His death—we give over our lives to death.

Thus it begins; the cross is not the terrible end to an otherwise god-fearing and happy life, but it meets us at the beginning of our communion with Christ. When Christ calls a man, He bids him come and die. It may be a death like that of the first disciples who had to leave home and work to follow Him, or it may be a death like Luther’s, who had to leave the monastery and go out into the world. But it is the same death every time—death in Jesus Christ, the death of the old man at his call," – Dietrich Bonhoeffer. For more on this remarkable martyr, see here.

I sometimes think of this actual Christian perspective – "we give our lives over to death" – when confronted with the Vatican's new fanaticism for physical life, perpetuated by Popes John Paul II and Benedict XVI. How is keeping someone in a persistent vegetative state for years compatible with Bonhoeffer's worldview?

How is clinging by extraordinary means to life at all costs not actually anti-Christian?

(Photo: Westminster Abbey, West Door, Four of the ten 20th Century- Mother Elizabeth of Russia, Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr., Archbishop Oscar Romero, and Pastor Dietrich Bonhoeffer. By T Taylor, via Wiki.)