I found this recipe for a culture of death in my history book. It makes at least one such culture, usually with enough left over for an extra high school shooting rampage.

First, fill the bowl with naturalism. Make sure everyone thinks that time, space, and matter constitute the ultimate reality. Spice it up by telling folks they are star-dust. Though it has no nutritional value at all, this makes the naturalistic poison quite palatable.

Second, spin the bowl with Darwinism. Use lots of high-sounding talk about punctuated equilibrium and natural selection. While spinning, be sure to add a generous portion “artistic reconstructions,” showing how man accidentally evolved from brute beasts. However, be careful never let on that the reconstruction is based on a handful of bones, a quarter of a jaw, or a single tooth.

Next, pour in death liberally. Tell folks that evolution requires struggle, violence, and eventual extinction. Model the usefulness of death with abortion, fetal organ harvesting, embryonic stem cell research, euthanasia, etc. This is bitter stuff, but hors d’oeuvres of egregiously violent entertainment will give your guests a taste for it.

Finally, add several dashes of determinism. Make sure no one feels responsible for anything. Instead, blame what the fundamentalists call “evil” on animal instincts, hormones, family background, sexual repression, patriarchy, capitalism . . . whatever tastes best to you.

This recipe–if faithfully followed in the home, schools, and media–will give a perfect culture of death every time.

However, there is one important caveat: You must never add even a pinch of God. The slightest suspicion that he exists, created us, expects us to follow his laws, threatens to judge us when we don’t, but also offers us forgiveness and new life through Christ–well, I’m sure you can see how that would spoil the whole mix.

Bon appetite!