The American Vision: A Biblical Worldview Ministry

Why It Might be OK to Eat Your Neighbor

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Cannibalism is not something people want to think about, even though it’s been the subject of several TV shows and films. In “To Serve Man,” a Twilight Zone episode, the subject of cannibalism only comes out at the end. In Soylent Green (1971), starring Charlton Heston (1923–2008) and Edward G. Robinson (1893–1973), an adaptation of Harry Harrison’s Make Room! Make Room! (1966), we learn that the little green wafer that is being used for food in a densely populated future is made from dead humans, thus the famous line, “Soylent Green is people!” There was also the understatedly gruesome and creepy Night of the Living Dead (1968), directed by George Romero who had done film work for the children’s series Mr. Roger’s Neighborhood. We mustn’t forget Armin Meiwes, a real-life cannibal who ate Bernd Jürgen Brandes who had responded to the following advertisement posted by Meiwes, “looking for a well-built 18 to 30-year-old to be slaughtered and then consumed.” This was described as a “tricky case . . . because Cannibalism is not a recognised offence under German law” and the defense argued that “since the victim volunteered,” it was not murder.

Now we learn that Ted Turner, the founder of WTBS, CNN, and Ted’s Montana Grill chain of restaurants, which serve a very good and lean bison burger, has gotten into the prediction business. “The Mouth of the South,” as Turner is affectionately known as, told PBS’s Charlie Rose that in 30 or 40 years “we’ll be eight degrees hotter . . . and basically none of the crops will grow.” Not knowing when to shut up, Turner went on to say that “most of the people will have died and the rest of us will be cannibals. . . . Civilization will have broken down. The few people left will be living in a failed state—like Somalia or Sudan—and living conditions will be intolerable.” As one would expect, it was the cannibal line that got all the attention. At first, I thought it was an April Fool’s joke (there have been many), and I wasn’t sure if he was saying cannibalism was a good thing or a bad thing.

We shudder in disgust and horror as Hannibal “the Cannibal” Lecter in Silence of the Lambs (1991) tells how he ate a man’s “liver with some fava beans and a nice Chi-an-ti.” Even the story of the Uruguayan Rugby team’s cannibalism high in the Andes in 1972, forever immortalized in the movie Alive (1993), makes us uncomfortable. The same is true of the Donner Party (1846–1847), survivors who many claim ate the remains of their dead. Given materialistic presuppositions, are these such awful things? Most would say yes. But if we’re animals, there should be no aversion to killing and eating human flesh since we are, according to evolutionists, animals.

James Rachels explains the materialist’s logic in his book Created From Animals: “Darwin’s theory, if it is correct, only tells us what is the case with respect to the evolution of species; and so, strictly speaking, no conclusion follows from it regarding any matter of value.”[1] In scientific terms, all a naturalistic scientist can conclude is that two men killed other men and women. He cannot say whether this is “right” or “wrong.”

Michael Ruse, understanding the dilemma of the materialist to account for moral value, maintains that “it is an empirical fact that humans have evolved in such a way as to be highly ‘altruistic,’ and moreover to be greatly dependent on such ‘altruism.’ . . . Hard though it may be to imagine, the murder rate among humans—even taking into account the mass killings of the last century—is less than that among many mammals.”[2] There is no provision in law for “other mammal murder.” Murder is an ethical category found in the Christian tradition, a tradition denied by atheistic naturalists like Turner. Because of an inability of materialists to account for morality given their presuppositions, Christianity morality is hijacked to create their needed moral center. Without God, there is no way to account for prohibitions against murder and cannibalism or calls for altruism. [3] Que Sera, Sera, “whatever will be, will be,” is the operating paradigm. Appropriately, “The Animals” offer a fine summary in their “It’s My Life”:

It’s my life and I’ll do what I want
Don’t push me!
It's my mind and I’ll think what I want
It’s my life!
It’s my life and I’ll do what I want
I can do what I want!

James Rachels, Created from Animals: The Moral Implications of Darwinism (Oxford, England: Oxford University Press, 1990), 92.
[2] Michael Ruse, Can a Darwinian be a Christian: The Relationship Between Science and Religion (New York: Cambridge University Press, 2001), 192.
Michael Ruse makes a valiant attempt, but fails miserably. See Ruse, Can a Darwinian be a Christian?, chap. 11.

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