To be pro-life means to uphold the dignity of human life and promote life, not death, in our answers to the problem of human suffering. When we promote life, we in turn battle the “culture of death” in this world, a world-view that promotes death as a solution to problems. This ongoing battle for life and death is played out countless times in our traditional stories and legends. In such stories, the archetype hero fights for life and saves the people from the villain who wants death, destruction and power.

[Warning: Spoilers follow.]

The latest installment of Marvel’s Avengers movie series, Avengers: Endgame, continues this archetypal battle between the forces for life and death. I have seen several great reviews of the movie; in particular, reviews by The Dave Cullen Show and Ben Shapiro are very good and comprehensive. My focus here, however, is on the aspect of the movie where we are offered a chance to see what happens when the culture of death wins and what the heroes do to fight for the return of the culture of life.

In the movie series’ previous installment, Avengers: Infinity War, the evil culture of death is personified by the villain Thanos. His evil solution to the universe’s problems was to remove half the people from existence. His life’s mission was to fulfill this vision, and he fought battles and killed many to collect the resources necessary to do the job, the Infinity Stones. And at the movie’s end, he gets what he wants with the snap of his fingers. Half of the lives in universe are gone in an instant.

At Endgame’s start, we see the results of Thanos’ vision. Even for Thanos himself, the end result is not happiness but death at the hands of Thor. Then, seven years later, it is evident that Thanos’ solution has not ended human suffering. The Earth is a sad, lonely place. Resources are scarce, and everyone has friends and family missing from their lives. Captain America himself spends his time conducting therapy sessions.

The loss causes some characters to go down dark paths. At the loss of his entire family, Hawkeye becomes a death-dealing vigilante. Thor becomes a shut-in alcoholic. But others chose life. Why would someone bring a new life into this dark world, the culture of death may ask? Tony Stark does not listen to this. He marries his long-time girlfriend Pepper, and they have a baby together. This very act is in defiance of the bleakness of life after Thanos, and it brings happiness and joy to Tony’s life. Truly a pro-life message.

The movie then explores the possibility of bringing back that great loss of life. Can they atone for what has happened? Can they bring back to life their lost friends and relatives? The remaining Avengers decide that this is their new mission: to reverse the culture of death and bring back all of those lost lives. They go on to rebuild their team based on that hope.

As true heroes, they risk their own lives to save others. Tony has experienced hope and joy through his daughter and is driven to bring that hope and joy back to the world. Even Hawkeye comes around. He and Black Widow, in the spirit of self-sacrifice, fight each other to offer their own life as a sacrifice for others. Black Widow wins this fight. She, who was forced to become sterile in her training to become an elite assassin, sacrifices her own body for the lives of others. Truly a pro-life message.

The culture of death believes that practices that involve killing a human being, namely abortion, assisted suicide and euthanasia, are solutions to human suffering. Their message: end human suffering by removing them from the world. The forces for the culture of life want the opposite. They promote saving lives as a solution. They want adoption not abortion. They offer crisis pregnancy centers, not abortion mills. They seek help and assistance to the suicidal, not their deaths. In regard to population, they see more people as the solution to problems, not the cause of it.

As Avengers: Endgame vividly demonstrates, if the culture of death of our world were to snap its fingers like Thanos, we would witness only more human suffering. But hopefully the heroes of the culture of life would be there to save the day.

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Photo by brendan-c