Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Abortions and Atrocities

The issue of abortion is often a hot button issue with Christians. I tend to avoid the debate, but frequently Christians want to steer the debate to that topic, particularly if we are talking about Bible atrocities. Abortion came up again in our discussion of absolute truth below. I will move the discussion here, since it is way off topic.

First, most people can agree that a mother can have the right to abort the life of any tissue that is not yet a person. But when does tissue become a person? Does it happen when the egg is created, when the sperm and egg combine, when the cell attaches to the uterus, when the cell starts to divide, when the heart forms, when the brain forms, at birth, or at some other time? There are numerous opinions on this. I understand many Catholics treat the egg almost as a person before fertilization (and thus contraception is sin); many conservative protestants consider the zygote to be a person at conception (and thus the morning-after pill is sin); and liberal Protestants see that the fetus becomes a person about 6 months after conception. You will see endless debates on exactly when this happens, with each assuming that they have the absolute truth, and that the other opinions are misguided. It is really quite comical, and I tend to avoid the whole thing. But somehow I can't even discuss Absolute Truth without somebody insisting I need to talk about abortion. Go figure.

The other instance where one might justify abortion, even when the fetus is acknowledged as a person, is where the doctors determine that there is no way to save the life of the mother without aborting the baby. It is like shooting down a hijacked plane full of innocent people before it hits a heavily populated building. Most people cringe at the thought of downing a commercial airliner, but when they think it over, most can realize that, if there is no other way to prevent the disaster, it would be better to shoot down the plane than to watch thousands of innocent people die. Many would see that the same principle could apply to a baby hopelessly stuck in the birth canal, with no possibility of saving either the mother or the baby unless the baby is killed to save the mother.

Much worse than being honestly mistaken about when life begins, or killing a baby in self defense, is the brutal act of killing a baby because one does not like his parents. But those who do that act are blessed in Psalm 137, and the act is even commanded in passages such as 1 Samuel 15.

In another thread I had been discussing Psalm 137:9 ( "How blessed will be the one who seizes and dashes your little ones against the rock."). I respond here to Lormar, who made the comments in quotes below:


Do you or do you not agree that late term abortion (to save the mother's life) leads to the death of the baby? (guess what Merle, I happen to be pro-choice on that matter). Although I would like to save the life of the mother, I can admit that the baby is still dead. Can you?
First this response appears to be an evasion of the question. For you wrote this in direct response to my question, "Do you or do you not agree with Psalm 137 that it is blessed to dash babies against rocks?" And your answer doesn't address the question. Please answer. Do you or do you not think it was blessed to dash the Babylonian babies against the rocks?

Regarding your question, yes, of course, a late term abortion causes death to the baby. Why do you ask?

I believe the Bible teaches us lessons through the books included within it.
Sure the Bible gives us lessons. But it also gives bad advice. It has some good advice and some bad advice. Do you agree?
What would have happened if Hitler were killed as a child? What about Osama? Pol Pot?
So? You are not suggesting that it was OK to kill Babylonians babies because they would have grown up to be evil, are you?

Would your opinion change if the Bible declared that all of those babies were slaughtered through abortion?
If they were killed by a willing mother who wanted to terminate a pregnancy before the embryo became a person, sure, that would be different from slaughtering somebody else's baby to get revenge. Can you see the difference between the two acts?

You said innocent babies. Are you implying that babies sometimes guilty?
No, of course not. All babies are innocent in the sense that they have done nothing worthy of capital punishment.

Do I complain about babies killed in the Bible? Believe it or not, No. If I am pro-choice on late term abortions (to save the life of the mother), I see no reason to complain about the Bible. How about you?
Yes, I have a problem when the Bible says to kill babies. And you do not have a problem with that? If you were a soldier in the army of Saul, would you have willingly plunged your sword through enemy babies as the verses command?

I can admit that the baby is still dead, dashed against the stones or aborted. What about you?
Yes, I agree, dead babies are dead. Why do you ask?

You had a picture of a baby (one of your pages) as an example of your disgust at certain Biblical passages. Do you mean to tell me that you would see it as morally right to have that baby aborted (assuming he/she is still in the mother's womb at the 8th or 9th month) and morally wrong if the baby were dashed against a stone? Surely, you must see that there would be no difference since that baby would be dead either way.

You want my opinion? OK, It might be morally acceptable to kill a baby if the only possible way to save the mother's life was to terminate a baby that is stuck in the birth canal. That is an act of self defence. Yes, it would be a heart-wrenching decision, but I can see the moral justification. We could have a deep love for both the baby and the mother, and nobody would ever want to be faced with such an agonizing situation.

But it would not be acceptable to kill a baby out of the desire to get revenge against the baby's dad. Can you see the difference?

You seem to believe that we should not kill babies unless we 'kill them nicely' (via abortion).
Sorry, that is not the issue. The issue is killing in self-defence versus killing in a premeditated act of revenge.

Since you love to debate, allow me to give you a tip for future reference: Be sure to get that person's stance on an issue before proceeding with a debate)...again, I am pro-choice when it comes to saving the mother's life.
Huh? What I had said was, "Do you care to weigh in with your opinion on this? If the doctors conclude that both the baby and mother will die, that the baby cannot be saved, but that the mother could be saved if the baby is aborted, what would you do? "

I did exactly what you ask me to do! I didn't know your views so I asked you. I had no intention of implying which way you believed on this isssue, and apologize if my words came across as assuming something wrong about you.

The difference with me is, I can admit that the baby is still put to death. Can you?
Yes, dead babies are dead. I agree. Why do you ask?

I was a victim of serious crime. I wished horrible things on those who hurt me. Do you see me as bloodthirsty and hateful?
It saddens me to hear you were a victim of serious crime. I can understand that you may have felt a desire for horrible things to happen to the guilty party. I suspect those feelings were also tempered by desires for fairness, justice, and mercy, but there is no problem with experiencing a mass of painful emotions after being a victim. Having such feelings does not make a person evil.

But if you had come on the Internet and said, "Blessed shall he be that takes my attacker's baby girl and smashes her head into a rock", then I would think you are not responding in a wise manner. Can you see the difference between feeling a desire for revenge, and announcing a blessing on killing babies?

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

American Theocracy

In George W. Bush's first term the national debt soared, America became entangled in a prolonged war in Iraq, and the environment suffered. But many Americans had something far weightier on their minds, the fact that Bush favored their Evangelical positions. In his book, American Theocracy, Kevin Phillips discusses the political movement that kept Bush in power. (Click here for more)

Saturday, July 08, 2006

"I decided that Christianity was not the truth "

A reader writes of his deconversion:

I am 31 and I was a Christian my entire life until about 6 months ago. I was not just any Christian though. I was a "sprit filled", tongue talking, "demon rebuking", three day a week Church going Christian. Did just about everything there was to do with church. I was the guy that would gladly tell you why you were wrong and I had the truth and can help you find it. I would be eager to take on anyone in debate and was so proud of my knowledge of the Bible. Up until recent that is! I came accross the website http://www.skepticsannotatedbible.com/ in January and I was stunned. After reading enough contradictions and horrible stories I decided that the Bible was the most evil book I had ever read, and I did not understand why I did not see it before. At that time I decided that Christianity was not the truth and to stop going to church and give it up. There is only one problem though. I would like to tell you a little about my story and even my current problem (with Christianity), but I wanted to email you first to see if you would be willing to discuss this with me, or if this was just an automated "read em and delete em" type of email. I know you probably get a lot of email and I did not want to pour my heart out and tell a long story without checking with you first. Let me know and I will continue my story and problem. Thanks.

I love to receive emails like this, and to learn what is happening in the lives of those who move on beyond their religion. I would love to hear the rest of this story. I will consider putting it on this blog --anonymously if the writer prefers--so all can read about another mind set free.

Also, if the writer would prefer privacy, and wants to discuss the "problem" without airing it publicly, I would certainly love to communicate with him privately.