Monday, October 26, 2009
One newspaper writes of the latest sensation: “Ultimate fighting is incredibly popular all over the world.” It has even become popular with the women, although it is also incredibly brutal, so brutal that it remains banned in many states.
It reminds us of the Roman gladiatorial fights. However, the fans had learned how to distance themselves from the moral implications of what was transpiring in response to their howls for blood and death. In "The Romans," Anthony Kamm wrote,
“Each gladiator was seen as ‘crude, loathsome, doomed, lost…a man utterly debased by fortune, a slave, a man altogether without worth or dignity, almost without humanity.”
It isn’t surprising that those who opposed the games were regarded with contempt. In "Under the Influence: How Christianity Transformed Civilization," Alvin Schmidt wrote:
“Minicius Felix cites a Roman pagan who strongly criticized Christians for their anti-gladiatorial stance: ‘You do no go to our shows; you take no part in our processions…you shrink in horror from our sacred [gladiatorial] games.’”
We have shrunk back in horror for 1600 years since by the Christian emperors Theodosius 1 [378-395 AD] and his son Honorius  in the East outlawed them. But as our values change, so too does our sense of horror.
Our values are changing in many ways. Infanticide did not provoke a sense of horror in highly esteemed classical culture. In "What’s so Great about Christianity," Dinesh D’Souza wrote:
“In ancient Rome and Greece, human life had very little value. The Spartans left weak children to die on the hillside. Infanticide was common, as it is even today in many parts of the world. Fathers who wanted sons had few qualms about drowning their newborn daughters. Human beings were routinely bludgeoned to death or mauled by wild animals in the Roman gladiatorial arena. The greatest of the classical thinkers from Seneca to Cicero, saw nothing wrong with these practices.”
I am not a prophet, but I will predict that as Christian influence continues to be extinguished in favor of a short-sighted pragmatism favoring what’s expedient and desirable, there will be more demand to allow the “ultimate” fighters to fight to the death. (And we’ll convince ourselves that they are despicable beings who deserve what they’re getting!) Our liberal abortion practices will extend to infanticide. After all, what difference does a day make? What difference does it make if the fetus takes its trip down through the birth canal into fresh air? Same fetus, same burden.