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A World Without God -6 statements in Sally Phillips’ BBC doc that show us where we’re heading

This was published on Premier Christianity today – click the link for the original article…I cannot even begin to describe how important this article is for me – and what an impact this documentary made…read it and I hope you will see why…


A World Without God: 6 statements in Sally Phillips’ BBC doc that show us where we’re heading

A World Without Downs Syndrome made me weep says David Robertson, and should make us mourn for the direction our own society is heading.


Wow. How did this one get past the censors? It was incredible. And moving beyond words. What am I talking about? Sally Phillips most extraordinary documentary,A World without Down’s Syndromewhich screened on the BBC this week. Sally is well known as the TV comedy actress from TV shows like Miranda and the Bridget Jones films. She is also a Christian and her oldest son Olly has Down’s syndrome.

For those outside the UK who cannot get Iplayer you can watch it here –

At the beginning we were warned that the documentary contained some upsetting scenes. (Warning: likewise this article contains some passionate language and may upset some of a more sensitive nature – I don’t know how to be dispassionate on this one!). Little did I realize how much impact they would have on me.

I’m not ashamed to admit I wept – not just a wee cry, but sobbed.  I don’t know when I last saw something so moving, profound and world revealing. It moved me – to the apparently contrary emotions of anger and compassion. It caused me to cry ‘how long, O Lord, how long?”

Why?  Because it was a most revealing portrait of what a world – or to be more accurate – what the West will be like, without God. Take the following quotes:

1)     “Protect yourselves from the doctors – refuse screening”

There is a large proportion of the medical profession who think that people with Down’s syndrome have lives that are not worth living. And they put pressure on pregnant women to have an abortion. How can people who are supposed to be devoted to saving life be so callous about taking it?

2)     “If we have a society that is unable to care for people, then the problem is not the person”  

Indeed. The words were spoken by Sally in response to a health professional who quizzed her on whether she had considered the fact that her son Olly would one day need to be looked after when Sally herself is gone. The real question is, do we really want to live in a society where the weak, the vulnerable and those who are considered a ‘burden’ are to be cast aside? In regard to this there are many things that puzzle me – not least those who passionately and in my view justly bemoan government cuts to disability benefits, who then just as passionately argue for the right to kill the disabled in the womb! In what world does that make any sense?

3)     “People with Down’s syndrome should not exist…who is perfect?  Who should decide that we do not have the right to exist?  We have lives just like everyone else”

This was from Halldora (pictued above with Sally), a lady with Down’s syndrome from Iceland, where screening has now resulted in the 100% killing of all children with Down’s syndrome in the womb.  Her testimony was stunning.

4)     “Our angle is that it is about choice….they can’t know how their child is going to be affected”

This was from the only NHS charity which offers pre-natal counseling. The goddess of choice (at least for those things that liberals think we should have choice about – there are things that they don’t think we should be able to choose) is the religion of our cultural and political elites today. But it was clear from the programme that there is considerable pressure on people to make the ‘right’ choice in the eyes of the professionals. The counseling seemed to have a primary focus of letting people know that it was ok to abort the baby in the womb.

5)     “We felt this was the best thing for the baby….they injected the heart….one minute you could feel him wriggling around and then the next minute he was gone…it’s every parents right to decide what’s right for their child”  

This was spoken by a woman who at 25 weeks had her baby aborted because of Down’s syndrome. Really? Really? Stop and think about that statement for a moment. Can you not see how chilling it is? Killing the child is the best thing for them? Why limit that to babies in the womb? As Peter D Williams has written – this is simply a form of eugenics in utero. Why not go the whole Peter Singer route and state that it’s every parent’s right to kill their disabled child outside the womb too?! The illogicality of this is exceeded only by its cruelty and callousness.

6)     “Greater choice does not lead to greater happiness…is choice all its cracked up to be.  Where are all these individual choices going to take us?  What kind of world will Olly be living in when he is my age?… If we are heading towards a world where we choose more and more who gets born then we need to think about it a whole lot more”

So let’s think about that. What kind of world are we creating with this goddess of choice? What is this Godless world?

What kind of world?

It’s a world in which right wing libertarians and illiberal liberals unite to defend their core belief that humanity is God and choice is the only absolute. When you have the Guardian and Katie Hopkins of the Daily Mail allying together you know that something fundamental and foundational about our society is on the line.

The Guardian told us that a woman’s right to terminate her baby is non-negotiable. Why? Why is this a fundamental part of the liberal creed? Is it ok to terminate a baby because they will have ginger hair? Because they are female? Or black? What if their IQ is not sufficient? After all, the right to choose to kill your own baby is ‘non-negotiable’! And what exactly is the rationale for stopping at the child in the womb? Why does the mother not have the right to kill their child outside the womb, if they can’t cope? Or if the child’s life is going to be a burden? Or too disruptive to them?

Then in weighed Katie Hopkins – yes, the very same columnist who has called immigrants and refugees vermin and cockroaches. She states: to flinch from the very real truth that giving birth to a severely disabled child can prevent you from living your own life is cowardly in the extreme.” As an example of post-modern newspeak that one is hard to beat. The primary thing that matters to the Katie Hopkins of this world is that you must be able to live your own life and any denial of that is ‘cowardly in the extreme’.

Again stop and think about what that means. Myself and my wife have three children. Each of them has meant that we were not able to live our own lives as we pleased. Love has responsibilities. We could not sleep, eat, drink, play, work, go on holiday as we pleased – because our own lives were inextricably bound up with others. Whether they have Down’s syndrome or not is irrelevant. Killing children because they are inconvenient and limit our capacity to live our own lives as we wish is one of the most barbarous doctrines known to humanity.

A world where love is sidelined

Another column in The Guardian complains that Sally’s documentary is too emotional – “Feeling is not fact, and being pro-choice means supporting all women’s choices, not just the ones you agree with.”

Others suggested that it was wrong for Sally to use her own story – which is more than ironic from people who continually use emotive stories to push their own political/social agendas. However I would agree that it is right to have facts. But is it a fact that choice is absolute? Surely that is an opinion, a feeling, an irrational doctrine even, not a fact. It is a fundamental doctrine of the contemporary secularist creed, but fact it is not.

A world where amoral science can be used as the rich and powerful determine

When the geneticist George Church (Professor of Genetics at Harvard) was interviewed on the programme, he stated that science had no morality and you could do what you want with it. He pointed out that ethics change from year to year. And in the godless world he is right. Science is amoral and can be used by the rich and powerful as they determine. It’s the same with morality. In a world with no absolutes except that of the political powers, then an absolutist state (or corporation) gets to make the rules and the morals. All of them.  There are no checks and balances. Corporate Christ-less fascism/communism is the ultimate triumph of atheistic secularism.

A world where some lives matter more than others

This is a world where equality and diversity are political soundbites used by those who rarely practice them and who think that some people’s lives are less worthy. A world where French cartoonists matter more than Syrian refugees. A world where the disabled, the elderly, the unborn, the poor and the terminally ill had better beware.

Of course, humanity has tried this before. Mao and his ‘Cultural Revolution’, Stalin and his super Russians, and Hitler and his Master race, were all atheistic Social Darwinists who believed that ‘science’, genetics and eugenics could all contribute to the perfecting of humanity. In the West we would have gone the same way.

‘Liberals’ like HG Wells argued that for the good of the human race, it was not just those with ‘defects’ like Down’s syndrome who would have to go, but the Chinese and the Africans! Others like Bill Hamilton (Richard Dawkins’ mentor) believed that the useless and the weak should be filtered out. He argued for a radical programme of infanticide, eugenics and euthanasia. He declared that spectacles were a symbol of decadence, that he would grieve for the death of one Giant Panda more than he would the death of one hundred Chinese and that the handicapped should be killed at birth!

Eugenics and euthanasia were extremely popular among the elites in the West, so why have we not gone that way until this generation? I believe that there are two reasons. The Nazis/Stalinists/Maoists showing us where such ‘progressive’ thinking  leads, and Christianity acting as a brake. With the passing of history the former reason is being forgotten. Now, with the weakening of the impact of Christianity on the collective consciousness, the door is now opening for a second attempt to be made.

A world where personal autonomy reigns

Libertarian right-wingers and illiberal liberals share the same creed. They are god and the only thing that matters is personal choice. Don’t want the ‘burden’ of a child? Kill them. Don’t like your wife or husband? Divorce them. Don’t like your children? Leave them. Don’t like your country? Trash it. Don’t like your gender? Change it. Don’t like your life? End it. The only thing that matters is you, your comfort and your choices. Everything else is optional, flexible and dependent.

Human autonomy (which translated means ‘human divinity’) is the be all and end all of the godless society. The only trouble is that in such a world, its not only God we lose, but humanity. The most inhumane thing that we can do is make human choice the absolute arbiter of all that is good and beautiful.

This is a doctrine of demons. It is from the pit of hell. It is the original lie of the devil, who seeks to destroy all of God’s good creation, and especially the part that He declared to be ‘very good’ –  that part made in his image.  The father of lies whispers the greatest lie of all into our ears: ‘you shall be as God’.  If we listen, we are damned.

Traudl Junge, Hitler’s secretary, gives us a fascinating insight into where this all leads.

“Sometimes we also had interesting discussions about the church and the development of the human race. Perhaps it’s going too far to call them discussions, because he would begin explaining his ideas when some question or remark from one of us had set them off, and we just listened. He was not a member of any church, and thought the Christian religions were outdated, hypocritical institutions that lured people into them. The laws of nature were his religion. He could reconcile his dogma of violence better with nature than with the Christian doctrine of loving your neighbour and your enemy.

‘Science isn’t yet clear about the origins of humanity,’ he once said. ‘We are probably the highest stage of development of some mammal which developed from reptiles and moved on to human beings, perhaps by way of the apes. We are a part of creation and children of nature, and the same laws apply to us as to all living creatures. And in nature the law of the struggle for survival has reigned from the first.

Everything incapable of life, everything weak is eliminated. Only mankind and above all the church have made it their aim to keep alive the weak, those unfit to live, and people of an inferior kind.” (Until the Final Hour –p108)

So – yes – I’m angry at the grotesque and evil route that our society is being driven. But I’m not despondent nor will I give up. It is our aim to keep alive the weak, those unfit to live and people of an ‘inferior’ kind. How can we stop this evil tide?

Spread the Word

One statement was made in the documentary that gives us a big clue as to the way ahead.

‘If you want to instill certain values spread the word that these are valuable members of society…”

We have to spread the Word. All human beings are made in the image of God. All have a right to life. All lives matter. Any society which wants to survive must, in recognizing these facts, care for the weak and vulnerable in their midst. All societies need to realize that righteousness exalts a nation and sin is a reproach to any people. And all individuals within that society need to acknowledge that we as human beings are fallen and sinful.

Unless we as individuals are changed for the better, society will not be changed for the better. Unless the image of God is restored in all its glory we too are individually and collectively lost. And that of course, is where Jesus comes in. His work of re-creating the whole cosmos, begins with re-creating us.

A world without God is hell. A world with him is heaven. Make your choice. Watch and Weep. Learn and Love. Preach the Word, in season and out of season… and let’s turn the world upside down!


  1. What about a single mother who is working (but not for the sort of income an actor such as Sally commands)? She wants to earn enough to give her other children a standard of living akin to those of their school friends and neighbours, Should she give birth and then hand over her Downs Syndrome baby to a charity or state institution? Or should she keep the baby and resign herself to living on benefits? (Are there couples ready to adopt such children?)

    In China the pressure has come from the state to terminate after the first child, to reduce the pressure on the country’s resources. Some of the countries with the highest birth rates are also among the poorest. Is China wrong and are these countries’ governments right?

    1. You think poor single mothers should have the right to kill their children? And yes the Chinese policy has been a disaster. Forced abortion etc. That policy has now been cancelled. Ironically in arguing the way you have done, you have just proved my point…

    2. Dear Ragbin
      Perhaps the single mother should be allowed to kill whichever of her children she chooses. Maybe the one who eats the most or the one who wears out the most shoes. Or maybe they should all play Russian roulette, or “chicken” on the motorway. All ludicrous suggestions of course but are they any more ludicrous than the killing of a defenseless child whose only crime is to have an extra chromosome and still be in the womb. Down’s Syndrome is not an illness. And yes, there are people who would be willing to adopt these children because that is exactly what they are, children who need love like the rest of us. As for China, they are in an absolute mess because of their one child policy which was so geared towards boys that even when a girl was born, she might be abandoned to die, an atrocity by anyone’s standards but is it any worse than dismantling a child in the womb and pulling it out bit-by-bit. Think about what you are saying.

  2. Thank you for writing this article, David.

    “Wow. How did this one get past the censors?” – I too was amazed that something as good and non-PC as this was actually being shown on the BBC, but how good that it was.

    The programme was a very powerful and chilling eye-opener into the reality of a society where self is set on the throne and the truth that all human beings are made in God’s image is deliberately erased. How could any Christian not weep when the horror of such godlessness is laid bare? And as you note, it should spur us on to keep sharing the Good News.

    1. I think it got past because she had a sympathetic producer and she is famous….she also handled it really well….

      But I suspect we won’t see that happen again…..the self-censoring of the cultural elites did not quite work this time….they will make sure she doesn’t get another chance!

  3. I entered this recently on another website:
    This isn’t just about abortion. The dismissal of Down’s children (and adults), and the growing demand for a ‘cost assessment’ of caring for all kinds of disabled people has a precedent. The Nazis had a system of costing the maintenance of disabled people, and deciding if they were worth it. Furthermore, mentally retarded children and adults (ethnic Germans) were eliminated – at first by lethal injections, later by mobile gassing vehicles. These led later to the establishment of the extermination camps of Auschwitz, Treblinka, Sobibor, etc. We seem to be heading down the Nazi route – why did we bother fighting them?

  4. I did not watch the programme, but heard about it from an interview with a female journalist on the radio. Unsurprisingly she was vitriolic in her condemnation of the documentary which she regarded as “far too emotional”. Of course she took the side of “a woman’s right to choose”, but the really chilling part for me was when she was asked if the unborn child had any rights at all. Her answer was firmly in the negative.

    And of course she is right – if we really are nothing more than blobs of carbon, hydrogen and oxygen which have, fortuitously, come together for a few brief years before disintegrating into the basic elements again.

    But the agonies of parents who lose a child through spontaneous miscarriage, or have a still birth or a cot death show that this is not true. I remember some years ago scanning a lady who was about 35 weeks pregnant, and discovering that the baby had died in utero! The memory of having to tell her is something I would rather forget. To her the child was real, but lost!

    Whatever our religious or philosophical background we know instinctively that all human life matters, even although it is only a ten week old embryo.

    Many years ago we had a pedigree cat which had a litter of kittens. But something went wrong and over the next four weeks they all died one by one. We were a bit upset, but the mother was completely disinterested and ignored them as soon as they sickened.

    But humankind is different from the animals because, as Christians believe, we are made in God’s image. This image may be marred by sin, but it is still there and we care about our children.

  5. A Bill calling for disabled babies to be protected in the womb is due to have its second reading in the House of Lords this month.
    The Abortion (Disability Equality) Act 2016 would change the law to prevent abortions taking place solely on the grounds of disability. (From Christian Institute Newsletter.

    I would love to see this pass and become law but I fear it is doomed to fail on the same basis as the attempt some months ago to ban abortion on the grounds or gender. To acknowledge that any child in the womb has a right to life would be to undermine the “choice” brigade. Action could then be taken on behalf of babies not in the protected category for discrimination. Meantime the slaughter continues. You are not alone in your weeping David.

    1. Thanks for this. The sad thing is that I remember the day when my parish priest would have been letting the congregation know about this and saying that we should be “storming heaven”, begging for the successful passing of such a bill. There would have been extra masses being said and prayer vigils galore. Not these days; the bill will be debated, fail and, as you say Alan, the slaughter will continue. However, as Edmunde Burke once said, “The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing” so we must continue to protest and fight for this most fundamental of causes, but always with love. Mass murder is always judged in hindsight (Communism, Natzism) and abortion is no different, but there will come a day when it will become something for people to write about in a historical narrative; I pray it is sooner than later. God Bless.

  6. We do not have any children with learning difficulties, but were approved by the Local Authority for shared/respite care for children with all disabilities including profound autism, and my wife worked in a community home for learning disabilities adults, so we have a little insight as outsiders.

    We did this as Christians, something we’d never have considered in our unconverted state,

    I have also represented adults with learning disabilities at Mental Health Review Tribunals in my unconverted condition. So the following observations must are in that context and they are not specific to Down’s syndrome

    1 It is extremely hard work to be parent of a child who are often consumed by guilt, firstly for the child’s “condition” and secondly not being able to cope, of needing help: being a failure on both counts.

    2 As the documentary showed there can be deep joy, even if fleeting, in seeing and experiencing the joy and delight of the child. It is something profound. But it can take a lot of time and effort to really get to know the child. Yes, time, a precious commodity.

    3 The interview of the Prof who developed the new screening test was telling. She was immediate in refuting the suggestion of “screening out” Down’s by the expedient of science simply providing information for informed choice of the mother. But she soon went on the attack, to lay a burden on Sally Phillips by saying her child would outlive her and who would look after Olly then, and the cost, implying a selfishness by bearing him in the first place. So almost immediately the prof was stepping outside her scientific remit into the realms of socio-economics to justify the screening test. It would have been interesting to hear her response to the scientific evidence from Iceland.

    And is it really in the best interest of “my baby” to kill it.

    4 Science, never exists in a vacuum. It can not be separated from its goal or purpose, from its moral agents, instruments, the scientist and their world view, philosophies, morals and ethics and it’s moral application, consequences.

    5 This was clearly demonstrated by the godfather of genetics prof Church in USA pseudo – scientifically in his unscientific, simplistic, pronouncement that ethics changes yearly. Was he really saying that science is a process outside the ethical realm. But is he as a human being outside that realm also?

    6 If so, it would be interesting to know how his values/ ethics have so altered.

    7 I’d contend that the ethics of pragmatism has held prominence and dominance for a number of years, and is reduced to individual choice in many fields.

    8 Emotionalism: There are Godly and ungodly emotions. It’s part of being human. We have emotions and instinct and conscience plays a part in decision making. Those who make the accusation are seeking an immediate emotional response of superiority and hypocritically use emotion to contend for their cause such as marriage, gender issues.

    10 Once again this issue, as with others contemporary, reveals the desires of the human heart, the inclinations, our motivations or as Jonathan Edwards puts it “affections.” And ever since the choice made in the Garden it is always to be sustained by “knowledge of good and evil” not knowledge of God, Chose you today who you will serve.

    11 What does it mean to be human? We ignore the evidence of human history at our peril, in our chronological arrogance. Some may see this whole issue as a slippery slope argument, but that ignores history and doesn’t mean we are not on one,

    12 Finally, this gem on being made the image of God, applicable to the baby in the womb and to those hostile:

    “we are not to consider men of merit of themselves but to look upon the image of God in all men, to which we owe honour and love…..Say “He is contemptible and worthless”; but the Lord shows him to be one to whom he has deigned to give the beauty of His image,,,,,Say that he dose not deserve your least effort for his sake; but the image of God which recommends him to you is worthy of your giving yourself and all your possessions…You will say, He has deserved something far different of me.” Yet what has the Lord deserved…Assuredly there is but one way in which to achieve what is not merely difficult but utterly against human nature: To love those who hate us, to repay their evil deeds with benefits, to return blessings for reproaches (Matt5:44). IT is that we remember not to consider men’s evil intention but to look upon the image of God in them, which cancels and effaces their transgressions, and with its beauty and dignity allures us to love and embrace them.” J Calvin

    Yes, give what the Lord deserves to the weakest, most vulnerable, unlovely, unlovable. The dignity of all human beings.

    Only in and through Christ has this been achieved, is possible even in imperfect broken humanity and image. His body broken for us , that we might be whole, complete in Him.

    Lord have mercy, Christ have mercy. Maranatha. Come Lord Jesus

  7. “The Guardian told us that a woman’s right to terminate her baby is non-negotiable. Why? Why is this a fundamental part of the liberal creed? Is it ok to terminate a baby because they will have ginger hair? Because they are female? Or black? What if their IQ is not sufficient? After all, the right to choose to kill your own baby is ‘non-negotiable’! ”

    Yes, those things would be ok. Why a woman chooses to have a termination is none of your business.

    1. Thanks Dan for showing us where your logic goes – you think its ok to kill a child in the womb if they are black or female! And why stop at the child in the womb…?

  8. It’s surprising, but pleasing that, even today, the main BBC is still promoting the viewing of the documentary on iPlayer,

  9. Hi Dan
    I’m afraid your logic is completely flawed. I think you are probably someone who believes in the woman’s right to choose. I agree that everyone should have choice in life; which shoes to buy, where to live, if and when to get married, which job to do, even whether to have treatment for a serious illness that may result in early death. But if you think that a woman has a right to choose death for her unborn child, for whatever reason, then you really have to question yourself, because the natural end of your logic is that a mother has the right to choose death for her child for any reason and at any time, even after birth. I wonder if you would be willing to admit that this would also be nobody else’s business?

    1. Actually, if you listen to many women in ireland who have talked about having abortions some of them have said honestly that they had the abortion and it didn’t have a major impact on them. They had the procedure, had the embryo removed and then went on with their lives. All women have different stories and different experiences. I also think it’s interesting that none of you have mentioned men who don’t want to bring a child with Downs into the world or don’t want to be a father to a disabled child and who will support their partners in having an abortion. And it’s nonsense to say that we care about our children and are better than cats (weird example) in this way. People perpetrate horrible crimes on their children and other children all the time, and there is a huge market for child pornography. Also, How many of you commenting here have fostered or adopted children (not babies) especially children with disabilities? If we care so much, why aren’t more of them adopted? Because truthfully, we would baulk at the responsibility, the money, the heartache involved and none of us want to find ourselves in that position. Also, could you please explain what you mean by “cultural elites”? An elite is defined as a group who are superior in certain ways to other groups, for example, an elite athlete, so surely by referring to them as elites you are recognising their superiority? Also, the self righteousness evident in so many of these comments is unbelievable, especially in your idea that everyone needs to find god. It may surprise you to know that there are many people in society who view Christians, especially evangelical Christians as really evil people, who force their religious views on other people, who encourage hatred and foster self harm in any group in society who are different to your narrow ideas of what is acceptable, and think that you have hearts of darkness, without love, without compassion, and are as extreme as any on the far left or far right. That’s my opinion of you. Where have you gone wrong? Search your own hearts and take the logs out of your own eyes.

      1. Just a few corrections:

        “had the embryo removed” = “had their baby killed”

        Yes men who want, and in some cases, demand an abortion because they don’t want to take care of a disabled child are responsible for their evil.

        You seem to be a very judgemental person. You say that those who don’t have an adopted disabled child have no right to comment? Thats like saying that if you haven’t freed a slave you have no right to be against slavery!

        Cultural elites = the elites who dominate the culture (media, academia, business and politics) and who make decisions for the rest of us, based on their own prejudices and philosophies. Saying there are such does not recognise their ‘superiority’ – only their power…which we are challenging and questioning. Are you saying we shouldn’t do that?

        I would suggest that it is not wise of you to complain about self-righteousness – without at least taking the beam out of your own eye! It is illogical and bizarre to claim that saying we all need God is ‘self-righteous’. In what possible way is that self-righteous?

        It doesn’t surprise me to know that there are many people in society who regard Christians as evil. It has ever been thus. Hatred and prejudice based on ignorance are not new. I find it interesting that you talk about evil without being able to define it or tell us where it comes from. And its hypocritical of you to complain about ‘forcing religious views on people’ (something no Christian should do, because we know that people cannot be compelled to believe) whilst you are demanding that your religious (or anti-religous) views be forced upon people. Your post is sadly all too typical of the hatred, ignorance and crass insensitivity of those, who in their hatred for God, also hate, demean, slander and abuse his people.

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