Anna Rose Riccard
May 18, 2018
take note. Marvel's Avengers: Infinity War* recently had the biggest
opening weekend of any movie ever. It
has already made over 1.6 billion dollars worldwide, and if you haven't seen
it, you certainly know someone who has. This blockbuster has captivated the
culture and provides a perfect opportunity to start a pro-life conversation.
those unfamiliar with the story, the movie's villain, Thanos, is on a quest to
put together the Infinity Gauntlet. This will let him obliterate half of all
life in the universe with a snap of his fingers. He once watched his own
civilization crumble, apparently from overpopulation and lack of resources;
ever since, he has traveled to different planets, murdering half of their
inhabitants so the same fate cannot befall them. To Thanos, it is better that half
a population die so that the rest can prosper.
villainous character is an exaggerated comic-book personification of a cold
utilitarianism behind many of the anti-life sentiments we see today. How many
abortion supporters claim that we live in a zero-sum world where it is better
to kill some of the unborn rather than strain our finite natural resources
supporting them all? How many politicians have campaigned for the "right" of
the terminally ill to commit suicide in order to free up valuable resources for
most people would not murder half the population of the universe for the "greater"
good, this idea progresses naturally from a logic that many find compelling
today. It is here that a conversation with our friends who are against or
apathetic to the pro-life position can begin. If they've seen the movie, we can
ask them why they believe it's wrong for Thanos to deliberately kill so
many people, thinking it will save others. Then we can build on our friends'
natural human revulsion to the villain's callous attitude towards genocide. If it
turns out that their only objection to his plan is its scale, we might invite
them to get specific: how many deaths is an acceptable number to trade for
prosperity and plenty?
here, the conversation can go in several productive directions. Why are some
lives considered more valuable (to the fictional characters in the movie and to
us) than others? Who, if anyone, should make that judgment? Why would we choose
to eliminate people in need rather than working to meet the needs of all people?
Infinity War can
be an opportunity to engage friends in a subtly pro-life conversation that they
might otherwise shy away from. With a little thought about these themes ahead
of time, we can start from a place of common ground ("Wasn't the new Avengers movie interesting?") and lead
into a friendly and fruitful discussion. It's a low-pressure way to plant seeds
of truth that every life is inherently valuable and worth protecting.
*References do not indicate endorsement.
Anna Rose Riccard is Program Associate for the Secretariat
of Pro-Life Activities of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops. For
more information on the bishops' pro-life activities, please visit www.usccb.org/prolife.