What does the phrase "Culture of Death" mean to you?

I’ve heard this phrase used repeatedly on CAF and in politics, particularly reiterated by social conservatives. I was wondering if it applies only to abortion and euthanasia, or whether it can also be applied to such things as (just) war, the death penalty, and the proliferation of guns in the U.S.

I know there is a Catholic doctrine of “just war,” and this doctrine is also acceptable within Judaism, but not according to Quakerism. However, even if this kind of war is justifiable, it still inevitably results in many casualties and fatalities of innocent civilians who are non-combatants, so-called “collateral damage.” So can war, no matter how “justified,” also be considered an inherent part of the culture of death?

With regard to the death penalty, although a person may have been found guilty according to the law, there is always a CHANCE they may in fact be innocent. This has been revealed time and again. Although Catholicism and Judaism allow for the death penalty, Pope Francis and the bishops have been vocal in speaking out against it. Therefore, would retaining the death penalty in the U.S. also be indicative of our living in a culture of death?

While guns are legal and most guns are used by peaceful private citizens for their own protection at home and elsewhere, as well as for hunting purposes, I think one must acknowledge that the sheer proliferation of guns, that is, the increase in their number, raises the possibility that eventually they will fall into the wrong hands of criminals and the violently mentally disturbed (I realize most mentally ill people are NOT violent). Therefore, would the ever-increasing number of guns in itself indicate that we live in a culture of death?

All thoughts on the topic are appreciated.

Thank you for creating this thread…

For me, to start, I will say that I define the Culture of Death by stating that it is a mindset in society which has devolved and devalued human life to the point that deliberate killing or anything that renders death can be rationalized as being morally acceptable, encouraged, and even considered praiseworthy. The fact that this has been legalized by government gives it status as legitimate and thus within the bounds of ethics in the eyes of many. Though as has been shown repeatedly in the past such attitudes and actions have lead to not only the destruction of individuals but nations and societies as a whole.

Notable examples: Nazi Germany (oh no, not Godwin’s Law!!!), Soviet Union, Red China, North Korea

For me, it’s a culture that places some utilitarian, ideological, or economic need above the good of the human person. A culture that has lost the sense of the unique and irreplaceable dignity of each life, and reduces the human person to a means to an end. That’s the Culture of Death. Abortion is one part of it, but there’s a lot more. The abuse of migrant and low income workers and increasing rates of gun violence are also signs of a culture of death.

Perhaps you could add suicide, or the way suicide is understood (or misunderstood) in society.

A culture of peoples whose only hope is set in achieving and gaining pleasures in this life with no forethought or belief in the afterlife (heaven) nor the desire or wherewithal to do those things to attain it.

A culture of people in which each individual mainly lives for their own sake.

A culture which is temporarily sustained but lacks foresight and knowledge to understand if it continues as it is, it will cause its own demise. (meaning, future generations will cease).

A culture without morals, without understanding of God and the problems and dangers of living in such a way.

Middle East ,seem they all want to get into it !

What I would add to this is that this isn’t really anything new, the culture of death has always been around, we need only look back into the history books, it may have been of slight difference, but humans have always done what they deemed to be the best for their own kind, even if that meant destroying other people and their cultures.

We never ever seem to learn from mistakes. What is wrong with us humans!

Original sin. We need a savior. We need Jesus continually.

… oh and I agree with you that what I wrote is nothing new.

Holy Scripture says: The wages of sin is death. A culture that supports sin and says its ok or fine or nothing wrong with it= death.

for me the Culture of Death means devaluing human life.
Abortion, murder, child abuse, domestic abuse, Devaluing God’s creation.


I might be wrong, but I think St. John Paul the Great coined the phrase.

There’s an interesting book on the subject, Architects of the Culture of Death.



Hope it helps.

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