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A quest for understanding

Posted by Chance on May 28, 2009

Different Christians have different political opinions.  I have come to expect and respect that.  Some viewpoints are easier to understand than others.  For instance, I’m a strong believer in the free market.  I recognize man’s fallen nature, and so I want to give them less power over other people’s economic decisions.  There are fewer power dynamics in a mutual transaction.  However, I think I can understand why other Christians feel differently.  The free market can seem, at first, counterintuitive to Christianity.  So, I feel that I can somewhat understand the other side’s view, and that the people are generally well-meaning.

Part of this blog is simply saying how I feel, being honest.  So the purpose of this post is not to offend anyone, just to relay how I feel.  I don’t mean to attack anyone.  The stuff I said in the above paragraph, I feel less so when it comes to pro-choice Christians.  To me, I feel that allowing abortion is anathema to Christian values.

Here are a couple of reasons.  I don’t believe Jesus believes in technicalities or loopholes.  He believes in fulfilling the letter AND the spirit of the law as indicated in his Sermon on the Mount. Ending a human life is ending a human life.  The fact that a human being is in the womb one second and is out the other does not provide a sufficient technicality to the ending of human life.  Even if one has some doubts concerning the humanity of the unborn, does it really sound like something Jesus would be okay with?

Secondly, the Bible continually talks about speaking up for the voiceless.  Proverbs 31 says “Speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves, for the rights of all who are destitute.” Who is more voiceless than an unborn baby?  Granted, the women in these situations are usually voiceless, oppressed, and destitute as well.  Christians should lead the charge in taking care of them.  But just because someone has little voice gives them no right to oppress someone with no voice at all.

Thirdly, the Bible, at several points talks about God’s hand in our life even in the womb.

Granted, concerning the first point, here in a somewhat liberal democracy we let things happen all the time that we don’t approve of.  However, I see this issue as a human rights and life or death issue.  I believe the government should ensure that no one deprives another of life, and that all humans are treated equally under the law.

I just don’t understand how some people can continually talk about standing for the “least of these” if they are not going to be consistent and not apply the philosophy in the most difficult cases.  If you want to stand for terrorists not being waterboarded, go ahead.  If you want to oppose the death penalty, go ahead.  If you want socialism, I will disagree, but at least I feel that I understand your viewpoint.  But why is it, when you support these things, by default you are automatically pro-choice?  Oh, you don’t eat meat, you must be pro-choice?  You want to free Tibet, you must be pro-choice?  The very fact that they seem to go hand-in-hand with being pro-choice, in my view, undermines the rest of it. It seems that the same philosophical foundations that result in some of these viewpoints also result, strangely enough, in a pro-choice position.  Therefore, it’s a philosophical foundation I want no part of.

Sure, I know that I have some viewpoints that seem to contradict my pro-life position.  And if you want to try to convince me to change those viewpoints, go ahead.  But at most, you’ll just convince me to be a pro-life socialist, or a pro-lifer who opposes the death penalty.  I believe that people not harming others is the very foundation of morality and what government is supposed to do.

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7 Responses to “A quest for understanding”

  1. dolphin said

    Granted, I’m not a mainstream christian, but I’m not sure that I can possibly see how allowing abortion is anathema to Christian values, nor do I see how not putting women under the control of the government isn’t something “Jesus would be okay with.”

    I mean Jesus did say render unto Ceaser that which is Cesaer, but do you really think he was referring to our wives, daughters, mothers, or (in the case of women) ourselves? I can’t help but think he wasn’t. Pro-choice is not “pro-abortion.” Pro-choice is simply saying that the government ought not to be able to prohibit sometimes life-saving medical treatment.

    You say that you believe not harming other is the very foundation of morality and what the government is supposed to do. How you can possibly reconcile that with a “pro-life” position is beyond me.

    • Chance said

      Just to be clear, I think abortion should be allowed in the event there is a real threat to the life of the mother.

      “I mean Jesus did say render unto Ceaser that which is Cesaer, but do you really think he was referring to our wives, daughters, mothers, or (in the case of women) ourselves?”
      You don’t think a fetus is a person, I understand that. But I do. True, a woman should not be forced to do something by the government, but I believe a fetus should not be forced to do something by another person, in this case, “die”. You think the government is forcing or invading itself upon a woman, I argue that the woman is forcing something upon the fetus.

      Look, I know we aren’t going to settle this abortion debate here in this comment thread. You see the right to control one’s own body as paramount, I do too to some extent, I just believe the fetus also has this right. We’ll just have to agree to disagree here.

      • dolphin said

        It’s true that I don’t see a fetus as a person (and frankly I don’t believe most “pro-lifers” do either if they were being truly honest, but that’s neither here nor there), and while I’m sure that certainly informs my views, I don’t really think it’s the basis for them. We can both certainly agree that an adult man is a person, yet I don’t believe the government should prohibit women from using force, even deadly force, against a adult man who tries to insert himself inside a woman against her will.

  2. Chance said

    I can’t decide if I like the nested comments or not. Anyway…

    and frankly I don’t believe most “pro-lifers” do either if they were being truly honest,
    I don’t know if I agree with you or not about this statement. True, some conservatives may simply think “abortion is wrong, so we shouldn’t allow it”, and it may not get much deeper than that. However, most pro-life apologetics hinge on the very argument of fetus’s personhood. True, I suppose you could argue that the “personhood” argument is just a method, and maybe it is at times, but it’s not like such arguments are altogether unreasonable, and it’s hard to dedicate time and effort into arguments you don’t believe yourself. Many apologists embrace the social libertarian argument, then argue that it doesn’t apply to abortion simply because of the personhood argument.

    I understand your argument about the need for a woman to defend herself against someone forcing themselves upon her body, but I don’t think it’s an accurate comparison to compare a fetus to a rapist. For one, the rapist is choosing to force himself upon her. The fetus has no choice, he or she just “happened” there, in a sense. The fetus is an unwilling participant in the whole deal. Furthermore, rape is a malicious act, I don’t see abiding in the womb in the same manner.
    Keep in mind it’s hard to draw close analogies with the pregnancy situation; it is somewhat unique. It’s like, I have the right to defend my home, but if someone parachutes into my home and is unconscious, that person did not choose to enter my home, and they cannot willingly leave right away. True, the time to call an ambulance is much different than 9 months, but the principle is similar. And in case the parachutist threatens my life, I have the right to take action – similar to a life-threatening pregnancy.

    • dolphin said

      I know what you mean on the nested comments thing. When I set them up in my latest blog template, I set so only the first nested comment indents and the rest just show with the avatar on alternating sides like they are having a conversation. Worked out pretty well because it lets you have conversation 10 nested comments deep without it getting annoyingly skinny.

      Here’s my reasoning for believing most pro-lifers when they say they think the fetus is a full-fledged person with all the rights entitled therein. I like to think that, if a fertility clinic were burning down, the average pro-lifer would choose to save the one staff member stuck in the building versus grabbing a couple of canisters of embryos (potentially 100s of “lives”). If they believed that the containers truly contained 100s of lives, the choice would be a no-brainer, but the thought that anybody would ignore the anguished screams of a living breathing human being to save a bunch of cell clumps frankly turns my stomach.

      I agree the fetus/rapist is an imperfect analogy, but I’d argue so is the parachutist. In this case, you’re not just saying it’s the homeowner’s responsibility to call an ambulance but rather to feed, clothe and house the parachutist until s/he is fully healed (or perhaps a more apt analogy would be til keep the parachutist until they reach retirement)! All at the point of the gun of the government.

      • Chance said

        Concerning your analogy about the clinic burning down, I’m sure I would save the person and not the embryos if I had a choice. But the choice is not usually between death of born person and death of unborn person (when it is I support the choice of the mother). It is choice of unborn person dying vs unborn person not dying. An easier choice in my book. Yes, it does conflict with the mother’s right to her own body, and again, this is where you and I philosophically differ.

        And the pro-lifer, in my view, shouldn’t have to win the argument of fetus having all the rights of a born person, they only have to win the argument that the fetus has the right to life. We are not asking that a person choose X number of embryos over a born person, we are simply asking that the embryos not be terminated when they don’t threaten the life of someone else.

  3. Chance said

    If you are actually interested in pro-life arguments from a non-conservative, I would recommend l4l.org (Libertarians for Life). I don’t say that to proselytize, it’s just that they would state the same arguments, only better. They don’t believe in the life saving exception, however. Then there is the Christian site str.org.

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