Should We Indiscriminately Kill Animals?

Author Lance Phelps - 9 Minute Read

In a recent trip to the OKC zoo I came across the following scenes:

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And then:

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And in another location:

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The point to this, and other pieces like this throughout the zoo, is to preach conservation of animals and wildlife. The idea is that it is bad that humans come along and wreck the habitat of wildlife leading to animal and wildlife extinctions. Not to mention the direct killing of animals that aw largely defenseless such as the dodo bird. But the question we should ask is; why is this a bad thing?

Worldview, Ain't No Thing!

Except that is a thing, a big thing. Everyone has a worldview that they utilize to answer the above question and oh so many more questions, like, all the questions. Worldviews consistent of pillars of underlying beliefs that support other beliefs. It is like that wooden block toy that had the multicolored and multi-shaped blocks used for hours of stacking fun that you used to play with as a kid. Or even Lego bricks. You start with a foundation of some sort and go up from there. I believe, with R C Sproul, that the foundation begins with with the fact of our existence. When thought begins there really is no other place for it to start except that we are. Now, due to a reality being present beyond us that is true, God's own existence and character, we cannot escape reasoning to him. He is like the logical elephant in the room. Sure you can ignore him but he might just step on you.

Extinctions Underscored

The OKC Zoo's preaching of conservation is no exception to the worldview reality. For the OKC Zoo approaches the issue of animals and our interactions with them from a position of responsible stewardship. In my view this is a good way to look at the issue because God has given us a mandate to care for the earth. Just as long as this is not taken too far. While we have done a somewhat poor job at this task we nevertheless are commanded by God to tend to this Earth and all that it contains in a responsible fashion. But this makes no sense outside of a Christian worldview.

Why should we care for the earth when supposedly all progress in nature is made through the strong eating the weak? The principal of survival of the fittest is a foundational idea within the theory of Evolution. In this theory all things are products of the evolutionary process with the purpose (whatever that actually means) of producing living things that can survive and spread their genetics. So in this view morality makes no sense beyond just being a useful tool in order to accomplish the above purposes. 

The Essence of Morality

But to relegate morality to this kind of pragmatic usefulness is to make it not morality. Morality must be by nature a transcendent principal that is absolute. Once morality is said to be a relative tool for a particular purpose only it becomes something other than morality. It becomes just a good idea for a time. You can see why this is a major problem and how it goes against what we naturally understand about reality. Murder is wrong. Rape is wrong. Exploiting the weak is wrong. And these things are not wrong because they have negative social consequences, though they do. 

We know that these things are wrong and that they should not be relativized. But why?

The answer is that there is a transcendent reality that is not relative: God.

God has transmitted his truth to us through natural revelation. This means that we know that murder is wrong and that God is worthy of app praise. But, as Paul tells in Romans 1, we suppress thus truth because we do not like it. So for those who attempt to rebut this idea with the notion that this idea would require perfect cultural knowledge across the earth people suppress the truth of morality because they do not like it. But nevertheless the cultural knowledge of what is right and what is wrong is actually remarkably universal. 

In the end we do not believe in God so that we might retain morality (as Kant erroneously suggested). We believe in him because deserve all glory and is shown to exist by a mountain of evidence. Let us believe in him for his glory not for our unrighteous benefit.