Flickr photo by Waiting For The Word

How easy is it to play God? Really easy

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[todaysdate]

By Mark Azzara

I read stuff that most people don’t, thanks to magazine email newsletters that spotlight current articles. I almost hunger for my daily dose of Maclean’s, Canada’s homegrown weekly news magazine, because it has a knack for offering stories that, when compared side by side, provide startling glimpses into our world – and our capacity to forget what we’ve just read.

In the space of a few weeks, Maclean’s offered four stories on seemingly disparate topics – how our hunger for technology has all the earmarks of religion; our desperate attempts to exorcise the elderly and ignore the reality of aging; the newest corporate health benefit of allowing 20- and 30-something women to freeze their eggs; and a novel about assisted suicide by Miriam Toews.

The connection that links all four stories is God, and yet he doesn’t figure prominently, if at all, in any of them.

We humans believe we can look at and address any and all of the above-cited topics without God’s input, understanding, perspective or will, which also empowers us to dismiss Him as irrelevant.

We can worship the latest new thing — which, as of this writing, appears to be the iPhone6 — while literally discarding all of yesterday’s thing/gods that no longer measure up to our expectations. We can, in other words, change our gods at will. We can focus all our attention on staying young, whether it’s a “Lifestyle Lift” or an anti-aging cream that Wal-Mart now markets to pre-teens, as if using these products will prevent memory loss, physical disability and death.

We can freeze eggs and sperm so that we create children who will still be pre-teens by the time we die. And we can talk about ending our lives by appointment rather than destiny, which requires government acquiescence and opens the door to anyone dying for any reason — for example, not wanting to be inconvenienced by caring for elderly parents.

We can, in short, play God anytime we want, for any reason, with no regard for the consequences. Oh, but there are consequences — enormous consequences for those who must clean up the mess we create by our decisions. But I am equally concerned about the eternal consequences.

I am sure that some will snicker when they hear the word “eternal.” We humans increasingly think that “eternal” is just a concept, rubbish, balderdash. We do that because we refuse to say to the God we don’t believe in, “If you’re there, prove it.” We don’t say that because, deep down inside, we fear that He may actually exist and would answer that prayer. And that’s why we busy ourselves by creating so many other gods, or elevating ourselves to the level of god — so that we don’t have to confront the challenge of meeting the only God who truly exists.

Mark Azzara

About Mark Azzara

Mark Azzara spent 45 years in print journalism, most of them with the Waterbury Republican in Connecticut, where he was a features writer with a special focus on religion at the time of his retirement. He also worked for newspapers in New Haven and Danbury, Conn. At the latter paper, while sports editor, he won a national first-place writing award on college baseball. Azzara also has served as the only admissions recruiter for a small Catholic college in Connecticut and wrote a self-published book on spirituality, "And So Are You." He is active in his church and facilitates two Christian study groups for men. Azzara grew up in southern California, graduating from Cal State Los Angeles. He holds a master's degree from the University of Connecticut.

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