Everyone in the world falls into one of two camps on a messiah – they have found one or they are looking for one. Even secularists, especially secularists, have their messiahs and embrace them with fundamentalist, evangelistic fervor.
Religions the world over have some type of messiah who has come or who will come. While millions worship, others wait. Secularists, somehow, have managed to place themselves in both camps – confident the messiah has arrived, yet anxiously waiting for the new one.
In the midst of the 2004 President campaign, Vice Presidential candidate John Edwards said, “”We will stop juvenile diabetes, Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s and other debilitating diseases …. People like Chris Reeve will get out of their wheelchairs and walk again with stem cell research.”
Articles from around the world claim the “cure of all diseases” is around the corner, if only we will not obstruct science by limiting embryonic stem cell research, banning human cloning, or hindering any of the other new envelope-pushing scientific discoveries.
If a traveling evangelist walked into town and claimed the ability to make the lame walk again and cure all disease, he would be dismissed as a religious kook with no credibility. Yet, politicians and media outlets can breathlessly make the same claims and no one bats an eye because the claim is ostensibly supported by “science.”
As Charles Krauthammer, himself a victim of paralysis, pointed out in his column addressing Edwards’ comments, promises for a miracle cure come and go in the medical community with little or no real impact on those suffering.
Regardless of the poor track record, individuals need a messiah in whom to hope. It is part of our nature to grasp that this world is not right. Something has gone terribly wrong and there must be some way to correct it.
Secularists have removed God from the realm of possibilities so they substitute science in the place of the supernatural. God cannot cure man’s diseases, but medical research will. God cannot overcome the obstacle of death, but eventually evolution will.
Embryonic stem cell research is the latest messiah for the secularists. They defend it with such vigor and proclaim the gospel message – “Stem cells will save us.” The media provides the megaphone and Michael J. Fox becomes Billy Graham, Arthur Caplan the Pope. Politicians fall in line, begging to be blessed by the embryonic stem cell community.
Some of the ardent defenders of the ESCR faith are forgetting one thing about messiahs – they get crucified. Even if they deliver all they intended to, they never give the people what they want. Messiahs can never live up to the hyped expectations of the crowd. Sometimes the crucifixion brings about a positive result. In others it leads to the downfall of all those involved.
Science is ready for the crucifixion of embryonic stem cell research. They are ready for the inevitable crash when it fails to end Parkinson’s or restore all paraplegics to perfect mobility. The scientific community is already working on the next messiah to offer the crowd.
Just as in the first century, the enlightened crowd will move to the next anointed one, while laughing at the ignorant Christians embracing the cross.