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January 30, 2009

Comments

Garry Sahl,

Fallen angels are non-corporeal beings and therefore can not physically live anywhere though they are described as having some influence on all human beings. The Anti-Christ is debated in-house as to whether or not he is or will be a personal being or an ethos (so-to-speak) depending on your theological disposition. If a personal being and not a “spirit of the age” this individual may or may not be born yet. This is also debated. For instance, some believed it was Pres. Bush while some think it is Pres. Obama. Still others think it is someone in the Middle East (etc.). In any case, it would be off topic and a separate issue from abortion.

O.c,

" Surely the loving thing to do is also to consider (among other things) the survivors who will be deeply affected by murders. "

Let me clear up a few things. In my analigy I ment it very literally but I should have been more clear. In that setting, I creating the hypothetical scenario that none of the murder-ee's had any families, or any relationships outside of themselves. So there would be no need to consider anyone deeply affected by the murders such to parallel an abortion case. So in this murder-vacuum, we have a congregation of "True-Christians", a killer, and a person in the know. The question stands, is it the loving to sit back as the congregation drops out, even if they're on their way to heaven?

hahahaha, gary, that was a bit spooky. but humorly

LooG,

Again it is enjoyable to read your honest, thoughtful comments. You call attention to a number of interesting issues. Central among these is the factor of doubt, which I will address at the end. First let me address your other points.

You state that the Loving Parent Argument (“LPA” for short) relies on the following premise: “Life in Heaven is the ultimate goal, and all earthly happenings are fleeting, meaningless, and ultimately not worth experienceing because the end result far exceeds any earthly joy.” It isn't true that the LPA relies on this premise. It is perfectly consistent with the LPA to acknowledge the full value and meaningfulness of the earthly life. The LPA simply emphasizes the risk of eternal suffering in Hell (notice that the joy of Heaven isn’t even mentioned). Think long and hard about eternal suffering in Hell (thinking of oneself or one’s loved ones suffering in Hell for all eternity is so abhorrent that I believe it is difficult, if not psychologically impossible, for many of us to truly absorb all that this possibility entails). You can think of the LPA as asking the question: what earthly experiences would be worth such a risk? Because spending eternity suffering in Hell is so horrifically bad, I believe we can acknowledge the full value of all earthly experiences and still say: they are not worth the risk. (And this is to focus only on the good aspects of the earthly experience—which are likely to be fewer for the “unwanted” children, and to neglect any discussion of the bad aspects of earthly life, and of the joy of Heaven.)

You also suggest that the LPA “seems to override the sovereignty of God.” In what sense, exactly does it make sense to speak of ourselves overriding God’s sovereignty? Perhaps you’re thinking of something like this: abortion cuts short God’s ideal plan for human beings. It is by God’s design that human beings have the opportunity to choose good or evil. Thus, in saving the unborn from the risk that they might choose evil, we short-circuit God’s design. This is an interesting idea and it is one of the places in which I think absurdity comes closer to the surface. The response, however, is this. If abortion messes up God’s design this only shows that it messes up God’s design. It doesn’t show that abortion is not in the best interest of the unborn. Perhaps it shows that what the abortionist does is wrong, since it is wrong to mess up God’s plans. Again, however, this is entirely consistent with the conclusion of the LPA. As I have repeatedly emphasized, the LPA does not take a stand on whether or not abortion is permissible.

You also suggest that the LPA assumes that the aborted baby will be “happy” that his/her parent’s killed him/her. It is not clear the LPA does assume this. Remember that it is consistent with the LPA to say that in aborting a fetus one wrongs the fetus. This is true even if the abortion is in the fetus’s best interest. In the long run, it may be in your best interest that your ridiculously wealthy landlord has maliciously broken your arm, since the incident saves you from being drafted into a very bloody and unjust war and the lawsuit brings you much needed finances, which saves you from bankruptcy. You might be grateful for avoiding bankruptcy, but do you have to be happy with your landlord for maliciously breaking your arm? Not at all.

Let’s finally consider the issue of doubt. You write, for example, “if another worldview was correct….” Doubting the premises is certainly one way to go. It may be quite reasonable to doubt any of the following claims: that God exists, that there is a Hell, that Hell is a place of eternal suffering, that God doesn’t damn the souls of unborn babies (oddly, this is the proposition that most readers like to call into question), etc. For simplicity sake, I only introduced the softening word “presumably” in the third premise. This means that the argument is intended for those readers (and I believe there are many) who do not doubt the other propositions. You are perfectly right to see that you may doubt the conclusion if you decide to doubt the premises. However, whatever credibility you do assign to the premises, I claim that the same credibility should carry over to the argument’s conclusion. Thus, to whatever extent you do believe that God sends people to suffer eternally in Hell, but doesn’t send unborn babies to Hell, to that extent you should accept the conclusion that abortion is in the best interest of the unborn. Thus, you might accept something like this: “probably abortion is in the best interest of the unborn.”

(From previous page)

oc,

Clearly the "loving parent scenario/lps" is based on theological premises (i.e. premise 1/2/3). The original argument of this blog was that it is a "human being" and that there is no justification (given the existential qualifications of the "lps" and the original argument) to abort them. It further states that there is no significant difference between those having been born and the unborn. Therefore it is not justifiable to abort them for those qualifications. At this point you can not argue that it is justifiable, based on the blog argument, to abort the unborn given its external qualifications which also implicitly include the “lps” qualifications without justifying aborting those who have been born. The original argument does not provide that parents are given the authority to kill their children, nor does the “lps” which simply presumes it in the conclusion. Also, based on the original argument you can not justify aborting unborn without justifying the abortion of the born because there is no “significant difference” between them. On the other hand, the “lps” assumes that authority or whim (however you wish to describe it) and provides no premise that prevents one from aborting born or unborn children based on the idea that it is “better” (not defined fully) that the child should die and go to heaven than to live. If it is better for the unborn to go to heaven because of sociological (etc.) reasons those same conditions exist for those already born and they may be aborted for the same reasons offered in the “lps”. From a theological standpoint (of which “lps” is contingent) it is an argument for aborting both. Again, based on the “lps” no reason can be offered that prevents someone one from aborting born or unborn. If there is, what would it be? The original argument is not contingent upon a theological position but can be defended legally or philosophically also. Quickly stated:
1) It is not legally justifiable to abort a “born” child on the basis of sociological/financial (etc. ) difficulties
2) There is no significant difference between born and unborn
3) Therefore it is not legally justifiable to abort the unborn on the basis of sociological/financial (etc. ) difficulties

1) A human being having been born alive has a right to life
2) There is no significant difference between born and unborn
3) Therefore the unborn has the same right to life as those born
"What is it that the conclusion illegitimately "presumes"?
What relevant "non-religious aspect" is the argument neglecting?"

It illegitimately presumes that it is simply best to abort the unborn WITHOUT premise. This is also identified in the syllogism "(presumably)".
It neglects the original premise that there is no "significant difference" between the born and unborn (if we are to stay on topic). If there is no difference then it is not possible to justify life/abortion for one and not the other based on existential qualifications offered by either the original argument or the “lps”.

I'm all for the loving parent argument. The child certainly goes to heaven and we are spared the presence of another screw-ball "liberal" in society and in the end, the "loving parent" goes to hell for murder, so it's the best of all worlds, don't you think?

Only Godless liberals kill their babies. Think what the U.S. would be like today if they had let their 50 MILLION offspring live and trained them up as godless liberals only to have them end up going to hell. I'm totally against abortion and the argument that anyone does it out of "love" for the baby is "vomitable"!!!!! How does a "loving parent" sanction their childs dismemberment or if the child survives the abortion process, it is thrown into a trash basket with other little survivors and left un-attended til they die!!! THAT ACTUALLY GOES ON you mindless "twits"!!!! It's well documented in testimonies and photographs. The only peace anyone can glean from it all is the surety that that little infant does go into the arms of a loving God; and unless the parent(s) repent of their VILE deed of "loving their child to death", they are most ceratainly bound for hell.

Do infants go to Heaven when they die? The Westminster Confession states that "elect infants" do. This implies that the others do not. Chapter 10:3

Original sin is sufficient to condemn all to hell according to Paul in Romans 5.

I believe the best we can do is to say that non elect infants suffer the least of anyone in hell.

Loog,

You might consider this. The ultimate goal is NOT to go to heaven. Rather, the ultimate goal is a personal relationship with God which results in residence in heaven. This fellowship with Him involves transformation of ones life as you follow Him. This is different than the idea that residence in heaven is the ultimate goal. Each individual has a purpose and hope that relationships bring (in this case, with God) that location changes do not. Consider that there could be things that those who never live life here could appreciate because they did not experience it. For instance, the joy that the individual who had no hope feels when they discover there is hope. A 2nd individual whose life is blessed by the 1st individual who says they have seen this hope is real by watching this hope in your life. The feelings one gets from acts of selflessness. The experience one gets from receiving acts of selflessness. There are more examples we could list but this should be sufficient (and significant) to demonstrate the difference between having an ultimate goal of relocation verses one of relationship which results in personal change leading to better residence.

Lb (to your longish 1:21 p.m. reply, which you’ve conveniently re-posted):

Whenever anyone takes the time to write out a response to thoughts I have expressed, I am usually very interested and eager to read. In your case, however, I find my interest waning. Perhaps you can reverse the problem if I identify for you one of the causes of my waning interest: you persist in mistakenly supposing that the Loving Parent Argument attempts to “justify” abortion, or that the argument in some way involves the view that “it is simply best to abort the unborn.” You are confusing rather distinct ideas here. The Loving Parent Argument only concludes that abortion is presumably in the best interest of the unborn. Please read what follows very carefully: the claim that abortion is in the best interest of the unborn is equivalent neither to the claim that abortion is justified, nor to the claim that abortion is “simply best”. The claim that abortion is the in best interest of the unborn also does not rely on either of these claims. It also does not in any obvious way entail either of these claims.

occasional reader,

With all due respect. You may indeed have a point. I may be confusing the issue. But I don't believe so as my responses dealt specifically with why it is that I believe "lps" does just as stated. Not only have I pointed it out but so have other posts. The line of reasoning was reasonable enough to support the claim. You have also been asked why you believe that it does not in at least two forms. Quite frankly, differing rejoinders resembling, "because it just doesn't", is not helpful in answering the multiple posts that say "lps" does justify infantide. Particularly given the reasoning offered to support it which was not adequately answered (in my opinion). My response to this post is that your comment cuts both ways. While I could be wrong, I believe you should consider the possibilty that you do not understand the logical inferences of your position, especially given the multiple posts (~3) that have made the same observation and the heavier effort offered in support of this opposition that was not refuted. The valid questions stand and there is still the issue of the previous post that was not given a substantive response.
- Specifically why does the "lps" not justify infanticide given your qualifications and the original argument!
- Given the original blog argument that there is no significant difference between the born and unborn, what line of reasoning could you offer to stop someone from aborting an umborn child given your qualifications?
- What reasoning could you offer to stop the abortion of a born child given the same qualifications?

These questions are not exclusive to the prolife side. All who presume to engage in this debate must do so if they are truly concerned with resolution and not just planting doubt in whom ever they can.

Nachtgold,

Thank you for the clarification of your hypothetical scenario. The first thing we should notice is that we needn’t fear that anyone could know that they are in the scenario you describe. It’s not simply that it’s highly unusual to have a congregation with no relations whatsoever to folks outside that congregation. It is also, I think, quite impossible to know (at least on earth) that a group of church goers are, as you say, “True-Christian”—that none of them would go to Hell if all were to presently die. To make the analogy complete, however, we should also suppose that, like unborn babies, none of these purely isolated true Christians have any engagement in projects or plans in this world. As soon as one has engages in an earthly project (e.g., writing a novel), one is bound to have an interest in completing the project, an interest which death would compromise.

The mere fact that the hypothetical scenario we are imagining is so unrealistic does not mean that it is without philosophical value. However, we should note that we needn’t fear that anyone could legitimately justify extending the conclusion of the Loving Parent Argument to justify “lovingly” welcoming the murder of any actual group of adults.

Moreover, insofar as we are considering far-fetched scenarios involving unrealistic knowledge and situations, consider also the following. Imagine that you know that your friend is going to die exactly two days from now of a heart attack. You also know that just prior to his heart attack, he will lose his faith in Christ, thereby sealing his fate to eternal suffering in Hell. But you also know that if you don’t stop your friend from going to car races today, his excitement at the race track will hasten the onset of his fatal heart attack so that he will die today as a believer. You have a choice: do you prevent him from going to the car race and forestall his death (even though you can’t prevent him from subsequently losing his faith and dying the next day)?

After getting your judgment in this case, we can consider how it perhaps differs from your case of the purely isolated, entirely disengaged congregation of True-Christians.

(By the way, thank you for defusing Gary Sahl's call for a witch hunt.)

Dr.Bernard Nathenson proves beyond a shadow of a doubt that unborn babies are living human beings, and killing them is wrong.

These are Hitler’s words that are inscribed over one of the gas ovens in Auschwitz, ” I want to raise a generation of young people devoid of a conscience, imperious, relentless and cruel.” Hitler’s worldview was that the killing of the weak is good for the survival of the strong and nature intended it thus. Institutionalized atheism creates a society devoid of conscience.

Occasional reader If the fallen angels live on earth with fallen people. Then the laws made by fallen people using humanist logic would be closer to the laws of fallen angels or Hell. It is the laws made by the supreme court that separated the ten commandments and christianity from the American universities and thus the people in the guise of separation of church and state. They have destoyed an entire culture and life philosiphy. By the way I know a lady who calls herself a witch, but she is honest enough not to accuse me of what I don't do.

occasional,
Very intriguing argument... but what's the point?

My first question: if as you say, the Loving Parent Argument does not justify abortion, then what are we arguing about? You still hold that the unjustified killing of an innocent human being is murder, right?

Furthermore, just because we believe death to be in the best interests of the subject, that does not make it any less heinous. The Nazis believed death to be in the best interest of the Jews themselves and furthermore they thought their extermination was in the best interest of the entire human race! How much more justification then did they have for their genocide?

Finally, your argument has a hidden premise, that it is in the baby's best interest to go to Heaven rather than Hell. If the Bible is correct, Heaven is a place where none will be found to be disobedient to God. But God has rather stringent moral standards, as He is morally perfect and just. If a person would rather do things his own way than God's, I do not think he would be very happy or comfortable in Heaven, in God's presence. In fact, for such a person to be forced into the presence of a holy God would be torment and anguish for that person. Abortion in this case would deprive a child of that choice. You do believe a person has the right to chose what happens to herself, right?

Forgive me if this is similar to another post here; I haven't had time to follow the discussion too closely.

Alden posted
"No, the reason why it is wrong to kill other humans is because they are persons. They have rationality, personality, thought, etc."

Yes, but *why* is it wrong to kill a being with rationality, personality, thought, etc.? What's the justification? Selecting these personality traits as the basis for the right to life is just as arbitrary as selecting humanity or 23 chromosomes. Why should these traits of personality be the reason why murder is wrong?

"What they deny is that being a human life does not by itself give rights. They say that only persons have rights, and don't think there is any good reasons to say that a fetus is a person."
If not all human beings are persons, can you clearly define for me what a person is and _why_ this set of qualities entitles an entity to certain rights?

Jesse,
You seem to have followed along well enough to understand the problems and ask appropriate questions.

way back in the beginning in the article (I haven't read every comment), the author states that the unborn are living human beings. At the other end of life, we also require brain activity in order to consider someone a live human being. I would argue the same applies at the beginning. Prior to brain activity (~ 10-12 weeks I believe), this is not a living human being.

Pro Life:

Revelation 3:5 states "He that overcomes I will clothe in white rainment and I will no blot out his name out of the book of life.

According to Ephesians, we are ALL "predestinated" to be conformed to the image of his son (Jesus)

Every human being is predestinated by having their names written in the book of life and that is done BEFORE the foundation of the world.

The "overcomers" will NOT have their names blotted out and I John 5 says the "overcomers" are those who do not refuse their opportunity for salvation by putting their faith in Christ.

Babies never have the opportunity to accept or refuse Jesus, therefore their names are still in the book of life. They do not stand before the Judgement seat of Christ where "believers" stand, but they appear again at the Great White Throne Judgement at the end of the thousand year reign of Christ, where all the dead, who refused Jesus, are judged by their works. All of those folks' names are already "blotted out" of the book of life, yet the book of life is present to show who's names are still written there. The babies names are still there. Whosoever is NOT found written in the book of life is cast into the lake of fire.

The book of life is just a "list" of names, a list of "beneficiaries".

The New Testament is the "Last Will and Testament" of the Lord Jesus Christ. He came into this world to be the "propitiation" (mercy seat) for all of our sins, and not for ours only, but for the sins of the WHOLE WORLD.

He predestinated us all to be conformed to his image by naming each of us as a beneficiary in the list of beneficiaries. There are so many beneficiaries, it makes a "book" but all that is in the book is "names".

Wills are of no power while the one who wrote the will is still alive. Jesus said he was God's only begotten son, proved it by his works, lived it by his conduct, all the way through to loving his enemies in letting them crucilfy him. He died, was buried, suffered our punishment for us in hell, (still did not sin) and therefore received the promise that his body would not see "corruption" (rotting or decay) for all eternity and became the firstborn from the dead who has eternal life.

God offers eternal life to all who will accept their "inheritance" of eternal life, purchased in full for them by Jesus Christ.

Just because our names are in the beneficiary list, does NOT mean we have to accept the inheritance. We can choose to accept or reject it. If we accept it, we are "sealed" unto the day of redemption. If we reject it, our names are BLOTTED OUT of the beneficiary list.

Babies never get to make the choice, therefore their names are still in the book of life (list of beneficiaries) and therefore obtain eternal life.

I hope I did not make that too convoluted. I'll be glad to clearify, if necessary.

Rick,
So I presume you are OK with abortions before 10 weeks, but not after. Is this correct?

You made a good point about brain activity. But why do we consider brain activity to mark death? How do we consistently apply that reasoning to the unborn?

Correct me if I'm wrong, but I believe the reason we consider a person dead once brain activity has ceased is the (extremely) rare incidence of revival after that point. A brain-dead person is still a living human being, but for all intents and purposes he might as well be dead, and there's no sense spending resources on keeping him alive.

But how can you apply this reasoning to an unborn child younger than 10 weeks?

Here is a question I have not heard asked, much less answered.

How do you respond to people who see the following words referring to the unborn as being different in essence? Person, human being, child, baby. (I may be missing others.)

To me these words equal the same thing, that is, a living human being that you cannot just murder. But in my conversations with people I have started to see that to them, there seems to be a difference depending on which word is used.

I admit this has left me at a loss. Is there any particular word that is more effective or precise? Any help would be appreciated.

Mo, I'm not sure what term is best for discussion either. Terminology is usually descriptive of the subject's nature. Because of the pro-life/pro-choice disagreement about the very nature of the unborn living human being/child/embryo/fetus/person, that makes it hard to find a term we all agree on.

Thom Raasio,

Can we assume then that abortion saves a great number of people, who would otherwise be lost if they continued living, for rejecting Christ after they reach an age of accountability?

Rick,

Brain activity was not forwarded as a premise to the original argument. Rather it was that living beings produce after their own kind
Humans beings produce after their own kind. Therefore the beings they produce are human beings produced after their own kind. Brain activity can not be argued on the basis of the argument that was presented.

Pro Life,

I truly believe that to be true based on these particular scriptures but that still would allow no license for someone, anyone, to go out and commit an abortion on the premise it was in the best interest of the child.
I see it as God's mercy that an "innocent", though imperfect, child will still have the opportunity of eternal life.

Rick,

The Bible says the "LIFE" of the FLESH is in the blood.

The word translated "life", in this case, is the same word translated as "wind" (oxygen), "breath", and "soul" in other passages of scripture.

As long as heart is beating it is pumping oxygen to every single cell. To arbitrarily cut off the oxygen of a human being without that same human being having commited an act worthy of death, is murder.

"Man" may say "if there are no brain waves then the person is dead" but that's faulty reasoning if that person, without mechanical means, still has a beating heart.

Rick,

I forgot to add another note about "brain waves". It is nationally agreed that our politicians are all "brain-dead", but no one thinks they're physically dead nor do we ever contemplate "pulling the plug" on them.

Unknown/Mo/Pro Life,
"But how can you apply this reasoning to an unborn child younger than 10 weeks?"
I don't believe you can apply this to the unborn since brain activity is not sufficient to dis/qualify a being human given the original syllogism. Living or not.
On the issue of words, whatever term that the individual you are talking to needs to be defined by them so that there will be no equivocation. What does the person mean by “essence”? You also need to ensure that they are not merely using terms as a smokescreen to avoid the issue of what the real discussion is. “What is it that is being aborted?” Obviously it is a human being by the argument offered by the STR blog. For instance, I do not believe that it is legitimate to make distinctions between fetus and baby or child. Fetus is a stage of development meant to describe that which is growing. In this case it is a human being. If you mean to defend the argument that the unborn is a human being then define what that is to them to make sure that they understand what your argument actually is. If they want to argue semantics they will need to defend that, but yours is a different argument and it should not be illegitimately sidetracked unless you both agree to do so.
The “LPS” assumes to much and is a faulty line of reasoning (in my opinion) and there is not sufficient reason to accept that it does anything other than allow justification for abortion at worst.

What I find surprising are the lengths readers will go to in order to defend the cultural dogma that abortion is an unalloyed evil. Thus, in order to deny the possibility that abortion might be saving some souls from Hell, or that abortion might be in the best interest of the unborn, some readers are willing to go so far as to assert that, far from being innocent unborn babies, some human fetuses may be an “abomination to God.”

Thom Raasio vividly, and to my fear also accurately, describes the horrific plight of some aborted fetuses: “if the child survives the abortion process, it is thrown into a trash basket with other little survivors and left un-attended til they die.” And now, perhaps just to make abortion look still worse (as if this were needed), readers are then willing to suggest that God afterwards punishes these little victims with an eternity in Hell. Please pause and allow yourself to imagine how it would feel if this were the sum total of your life: at the choice of your parents you slowly die from dismemberment in a wastebasket, and then—at the choice of God—you next face an eternity of suffering in Hell.

Here is the question I put to you all: is it more absurd to believe this, or to believe that, from the eternal perspective, there is something redeemable in the sinful practice of abortion--and, in particular, that there is something redeemable for the innocent victims of abortion?

AA BRETT:

Just a comment from one who loves all Father's creatures, especially cats.

Father has a "Cat" right next to his throne and it's full of eyes inside and out. Without a doubt those eyes are connected to every cat on the planet as the Bible says the animals will bear witness against us. Jesus also is called the "Lion" of the tribe of Judah. He could have made him the Pomeranian of Judah, but he chose the "cat". Sounds to me like our heavenly father is rather partial to "his" cats; you might want to reconsider condoning anyone just arbitrarily killing a cat because you don't like them.

Thom Raasio,

Then, abortion is a good thing?
When the psycho Texas mom drowned her kids in the bath tub so they wouldn't reach the age of accountability and go to Hell, it was a good thing?

occasional,
You still haven't responded to my point about your argument's hidden premise. Nor have you acknowledged my other point:

You say your argument does not justify abortion. I assume you agree an unborn child is a human being. Do you believe the unjustified killing of a human life is murder?

Why should we be surprised at all that "God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose" (Rom 8:28)?

How refreshing it will be when one side or the other on this issue has something NEW to say.

Because ad nauseum repetition of the same tired cliches has never changed anyone's mind. Give it a rest folks - both sides, please shut up and stay shut up. Unless you have something NEW to add, BRAND NEW, please stifle yourselves - whether pro or con. What you're doing is old, it's tired, and above all IT'S INEFFECTIVE. Enough is enough. No one's mind is being changed by your repeated mantras.

Get some new content, new rationale, or simply shut up. There's a whole world full of people who are way beyond weary of the endless prattle on both sides of this issue. Please folks, BAG IT. What you are doing is counterproductive to your respective positions.

B. Stewart,

What would you like to add to the table to help move the discussion forward?

B. Stewart,
People have always been tired of arguments raging back and forth. There have always been those who are too lazy or intimidated to engage in critical thinking. So unless you've got a new reason we shouldn't care, please keep your irrelevant comments out of the productive conversation we are trying to have.

In all reality, my response to B.Stewart was not helpful to the discussion. So I'm sorry.

I'd just like to know... why is it necessary for someone to yell at all of us to shut up on both sides? We're not forcing him to listen to our arguments, are we?

b. stewart,

I'm not yet ready to take your advice. I've learned a number of things from the comments of others, and I still think that a number of us are willing to reexamine our beliefs in the light of many reasonable considerations that have been raised. A person's deeply held beliefs may not change through a few blog posts, but it would be quite naive to expect otherwise. In the meantime, this a fun and interactive way of learning. If you find that everything said here is a "tired cliche," then just read something else. Your sweeping accusations are a bit silly.

Jesse, You raise thoughtful comments and I need the time to write out a proper response. I have several thoughts and I hope to post them later tonight. Until then.

A counter question. Which is worse to believe? That some things are indeed wrong which should and can be defended or to believe things considered evil are cultural quirks that we may simply call good?

Jesse,

Do not mistake "causation" with "manipulation" (for lack of a better term) in reference to the Romans passage. The bible also states that God does not cause evil. That would not keep Him from being able to use a wrong have something good come from it.

I am a published Christian Apologist based in India. It has been good to visit your blog.

As a life-long activist against abortion, it was refreshing to read this post.

Johnson C. Philip, PhD (Physics)
India

Dr. Johnson,

As a published apologist are there any observations you could make about what has been offered so far?

Jesse:

You ask, “if as you say, the Loving Parent Argument does not justify abortion, then what are we arguing about? You still hold that the unjustified killing of an innocent human being is murder, right?”

The conclusion of the loving parent argument means that abortion is presumably in the best interest of those whom it most directly (and significantly) affects. Many other social problems are not in the best interests of those whom they most directly and significantly affect. This difference between abortion and many other preventable social problems may point to a miscalculation in Brett’s claim that “abortion is the greatest social issue of our time.”

You write, "Furthermore, just because we believe death to be in the best interests of the subject, that does not make it any less heinous. The Nazis believed death to be in the best interest of the Jews themselves and furthermore they thought their extermination was in the best interest of the entire human race! How much more justification then did they have for their genocide?"

Of course. What matters isn’t one’s belief that the action is in the best interests of the person it affects. Rather, what matters is the the fact that the action is in the best interests of the person it affects. Thus, the Nazi’s beliefs about their heinous actions did not justify them.

You write, “Finally, your argument has a hidden premise, that it is in the baby's best interest to go to Heaven rather than Hell. If the Bible is correct, Heaven is a place where none will be found to be disobedient to God. But God has rather stringent moral standards, as He is morally perfect and just. If a person would rather do things his own way than God's, I do not think he would be very happy or comfortable in Heaven, in God's presence. In fact, for such a person to be forced into the presence of a holy God would be torment and anguish for that person. Abortion in this case would deprive a child of that choice. You do believe a person has the right to chose what happens to herself, right?"

I sympathize with the urge to make philosophical/moral sense of the ideas of heaven and hell, and in particular to make the idea of hell appear less abhorrent, morally speaking. This indeed is the effect of explaining hell as a place in which sinners want to go in order to hide from God. Hell, on this interpretation, is actually a sort of refuge for the sinner. However, as with the view of “hell” in which a soul is said to be merely annihilated, many will see your account as revisionary. The Loving Parent Argument is intended for the person who accepts Hell, not as a refuge for the sinner, but as a place of eternal suffering, which is God’s punishment. The argument is intended for the person who thinks that Hell is not simply an ongoing alternative to heaven for the “damned” soul. “Torment” and “anguish” are the right words to use. For the damned soul, the punishment of ongoing torment and anguish is eternally unavoidable. The loving parent argument only assumes that it is in the unborn child’s best interest to avoid this horrific fate.

(Jesse, thank you for your patience. I will always try to answer questions put to me when the questions are as thoughtful and as well organized as yours were. But it may take me a little time.)

b. Stewart, go ahead and lead with some new material. Ill happily follow suit after you.

Thom Raasio, (Continued)

Here's a synopsis of what you are saying as I understand it.
Babies cannot make a conscious decision to reject Christ so they are saved if they die.

At some point when they are older and hear about Christ and willfully reject him, they go to Hell if they die.

Would this mean the heathen go to Heaven unless they hear the Gospel and reject it?

Are we not shooting our own foot when we send Missionaries to other lands, knowing most will reject Christ? Or when we try to stop abortion?

Two additional things are not taken into account with the loving parent argument.

1) When you assume that the baby is not wanted due to the mother choosing to abort the child, you do not take into account that the death of that child not only affects the mother -- but also the father (who has no choice in the murder of his child due to the whim of the mother), the grandparents, the siblings and other family that were ready to welcome the child into the world. Much like the church massacre example, there ARE people left behind that do care for that child and will be affected. It would be negligent to ignore this fact.

2) It would be presumptious and arrogant at best to argue that abortion is in the best interest of the child. First, even if you concede that the baby goes to heaven, he/she were robbed of making that choice for themselves and living out their potential life and leaving their mark in history. Also, it takes our cultural individualistic attitude to a new low. The world is not about me or the best interest of the one child. It is about community. It is about all of us learning to work together to help each other out in this fallen world. By killing off the next generation, we condemn ourselves to extinction.

From my Christian perspective, we are the hands and feet of Christ. God has plan, and we who serve him are a part of that plan. That child should have the choice to be a part of that community. That child should NOT be robbed of of life because of the selfishness of one parent.

Occasional reader, I don't even know what your point is. You aren't arguing that abortion is moral or should be legal. You aren't even arguing that it is right. You are philisophically (and, again, quite arrogantly) arguing an academic theory that it COULD be in the best interest of the child. Is that really worth your time? Ridiculous.

Occasional,
Thanks for your response. If you don't mind, I'd like to focus on getting a clear answer to one of my first questions before moving on to the others. What if, for the sake of argument, we grant that abortion is not _the_ greatest social issue of our time. The Loving Parent Argument still does not justify abortion in this case, right?

In light of this, do you agree that abortion is the unjustified killing of an innocent human being? Or will you avoid this question?

Occassional reader :D :D

Hey I just wanted to say sorry I havent gotten back to you on your most recent address to me, the week has started and I have been caught up in schoolasicissm and thus have not been able to reply in the manner I would like to. (I did read your post and it was very good) But i just wanted to tell you I greatly appreciate and very very very much enjoyed it thus far, if I get a moment ill try to continue it but it looks like you have your hands full anyways. In any case, very good stuff, and I appreciate your ability to entertain such a conversation. A trait harnessed by few individuals ;D
lol
<3

Occasional,
I wish I could delete my last sentence "Or will you avoid this question?" It was rude and provoking.

One thing I've discovered about myself in this debate is I'm not so cool, calm, and logical as I'd like to be... :(

To recap:

(1) God sends some people to Hell.
(2) Hell is a place of eternal suffering.
(3) God (presumably) does not send unborn babies to Hell.
(4) Therefore, the abortion is (presumably) in the unborn baby's best interest.

I would like to raise a few questions for clarification.

1. In question (1) are we focusing on God's love, God's justice or something else?
2. Is Hell a bad thing? Or, rather, what should punishment for a crime with eternal consequences be?
3. Should the unborn's best interest be the driving factor in the argument?

Also, what if we took the original argument a step (or so) further?

(1) Heaven is a reward for a believer in Christ.
(2) A person becomes a believer the moment that he/she accepts Christ.
(3) One can have no greater interest than eternal fellowship with God (Heaven).
(4) Therefore suicide (or seeking death elsewhere for those who believe that suicide cannot be rewarded with Heaven) immediately after accepting Christ is in the new believer's best interest.

Thoughts?

Thanks for your time!

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