September 2016

Sun Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri Sat
        1 2 3
4 5 6 7 8 9 10
11 12 13 14 15 16 17
18 19 20 21 22 23 24
25 26 27 28 29 30  

Subscribe

« Stem Cell News | Main | Greg on Web TV »

January 30, 2009

Comments

Renee,

Your observation does not fall on "deaf ears" (so to speak). All relevant questions seem to be ignored in light of what seems to be an appeal to a "wandering ethic" when the "LPS" is challenged. I suspect that resolution is not the goal but rather one that is simply meant to have one accept a post modern line of reasoning to get around the problems with "LPS" and its ramifications to make abortion look more attractive. It has been pointed out by more than one individuals post that certain questions have be neglected.

Dear Renee, Jesse, LM and others: I look forward to tonight when I can type out some responses. (In the meantime, I keep checking the thread as often as I can, and I am pondering your insights/questions/challenges at every available opportunity.)

Pro Life:

Abortion in NEVER a "good thing", whether by natural causes or when performed as a murder. When performed as a murder by the mother and her abortionist, two souls end up in hell. That's NEVER a good thing.

oc,

Looking forward to it.
-
Prolife,

How do you come to the conclusion that both go to hell?


Pro Life: (cont.)

It's true that those who have never heard of Jesus Christ will still have their names in the book of life when they die. Only Born Again believers in Jesus Christ will stand before "HIS" judgement seat (the Judgement Seat of Christ) and be ushered into "eternal kingdom life".
All others appear at the Great White Throne judgement where those who rejected Christ can stand and be judged by their works (which is how they want to be judged but still puts them back in hell). and all those whose names are still written in the book of life; (like babies, mentally retarded, those who have never heard about Jesus).
ONLY those who have put their faith in Jesus have "eternal life" (which they are already enjoying long before this GWT judgement occurs).
The others who's names are still written there are not said to receive "eternal life" but they are NOT cast into hell. They live on as part of the population of the earth who are not "perfected" (made perfect in Jesus)as stated in Isa 65:20 - which states:
"There shall be no more thence an infant of days, nor an old man that hath not filled his days: for the child shall die an hundred years old; but the sinner being an hundred years old shall be accursed"
Only 50% of the earths poplulation is annihilated before Jesus comes. 1/4 by desease, famine and beast, (which leaves 3/4) then 1/3 of the remaining 3/4 are killed by the "beast" and his political machine. None of the remaining 50% are "Christians" as they are all "caught away" (raptured) at the 7th trumpet.

LM :-)

Many of you questions or positions are answered in the discourse between Pro Life and Thom Raasio. I hope you'll take a minute and review. I'd love to respond further.

(Correction)

ThomRaasio vice ProLife,

How do you come to the conclusion that both abortionist and mother go to he'll? Could you qualify this please?

Renee,

Your objections fall into two categories: those that resist the idea that abortion is in the best interest of the unborn, and those that essentially say that it is shortsighted to focus on unborn baby’s interests. I’ll begin with the second category.

You essentially claim that it is shortsighted to focus on the interests of the unborn baby. After all, many others are affected by the death of the unborn, there is more to decision making than considerations about “the interests of one child,” we must think of the interests of the “community”, in “killing off the next generation, we condemn ourselves to extinction,” and it violates “God’s plan.”

My tendency is to grant all of this to you, and to do so for the sake of focusing on the argument at hand. The Loving Parent Argument (LPA) concludes that abortion is presumably in the best interests of the unborn. The argument itself says nothing about how this conclusion should calculate into the rest of our thinking, of how the conclusion should affect our prioritization of abortion among the “problems of social justice.” These latter questions are very complicated, as several readers, including yourself, have noted. You indicate several other factors must be considered, factors which would count towards the badness of abortion even if abortion were in the best interest of the unborn.

I push all of these complications aside for the sake of first trying to establish whether or not abortion is in the best interest of the unborn. But why do I proceed this way? Well, if the LPA’s conclusion turns out to be false, then we don’t have to settle the complex question of how that conclusion should figure into our thinking. And, if the conclusion turns out to be true, then we can face all these other questions without fearing that we are just engaging in idle speculations that are predicated on a false assumption.

But one might reasonably ask: if we don’t first know the significance of the LPA’s conclusion, then why should we even bother ourselves with the task of determining whether or not it is true? (In this spirit, perhaps, you dismiss the LPA as a (mere?) “academic theory” and question whether it could really be worth my time.) My reply is that it seems implausibly that the truth of the LPA’s conclusion should have no practical significance. That is, it is hard to believe that the fact that abortion is in the best interest of those whom it most directly and significantly affects would have no consequence for the important question of how to prioritize the problem of abortion. This question of priority is in turn important simply because we have limited resources and there so many other pressing issues of social justice, whose consequences are decidedly not in the best interests of those whom they most directly and significantly affect. I suspect that others agree with me about this idea that the truth or falsity of the LPA’s conclusion is significant. If the LPA’s conclusion really were regarded as irrelevant, I think it would face a lot less resistance. The idea that abortion is in the best interest of the unborn seems to strike some pro-lifers as revolutionary (though heretical). I plan to discuss this further in my reply to the others.

Now for your second group of objections, which do target the LPA. Here you say that “it would be presumptuous and arrogant at best to argue that abortion is in the best interest of the child.” You support this claim with the consideration that in abortion the unborn baby is “robbed of life,” of the chances to choose between good and evil, and of the opportunity to leave “a mark in history.” All this is true. I have addressed the significance of these facts in my Feb 1st 5:14 p.m. comment to LooG (please read the second paragraph).

Regarding the loss of the ability to choose evil, we should note that the ability to choose what is harmful is not an unqualified good or an inviolable right. Parents, for example, commonly arrange so that their young children cannot choose to do what will cause themselves permanent and serious harm.

Regarding the interest of “leaving a mark in history,” we should be careful not to make too much of this. The chance to do what is worth the risk of spending all eternity in Hell? Furthermore, if you also accept that the unborn go to Heaven, do you suppose that there are no opportunities to do anything there? Suppose tomorrow morning God whisks you away in the rapture. At that sound of the trumpet do you lament your lost opportunities to leave further “marks in history?” (One might lament not being able to finish the last chapter of his novel, or to consummate his upcoming marriage—but this is the effect of the already living in the world and being engaged in projects and relationships.) Let me end by asking you a question: for precisely what experiences or opportunities would you risk condemnation in Hell, alienated from the presence of God and tormented for all eternity?

Jesse,

Regarding whether the Loving Parent Argument justifies abortion, here is my position. The LPA does not, per se, justify abortion. To say that abortion is in the best interests of those whom it most directly and significantly affects is not to say that the practice is justified. To answer the question of justification, we’d have to also think about all the other considerations that count against abortion.

You ask, “Do you agree that abortion is the unjustified killing of an innocent human being?” What is killed in an abortion is a human being. I also agree that this human being is innocent. What I have not taken a stand on is whether or not abortion, as such, is justifiable. This, as I say, is a more complicated question. (My own opinion, which I haven’t been arguing for, is that abortion is justifiable in some cases.) We can profit from coming to a decision simply about the LPA. For this, I think it best to keep the discussion focused.

I feel like you want something more. So let me try to use a parable to explain how the LPA's conclusion might be significant even when the conclusion doesn’t address the question of justification. The parable is meant to illustrate how it can be significant to know about the effects of an activity even when this knowledge doesn’t settle the question of whether the activity is justified.

Imagine that you and I are a couple of bovine biologists, the best in our field, doing important work cow diseases in Kansas. Our research has some prospect of resulting in important advances which will help food shortages worldwide. In our studies, we happen to discover that some powerful Kansas butchers are breaking the law. Specifically, they are surreptitiously pumping chemical X into their beef prior to shipping that meat to markets nation wide. Though chemical X improves the texture of the steaks, there is good reason to believe that chemical X is a dangerous neurotoxin, the ill effects of which are gradual, but irreversible brain damage. Motivated perhaps by greed, the Kansans have convinced themselves that chemical X is harmless, and that they are doing us no wrong. You and I have a choice to make, but it seems clear that we must put our research on hold in order to publicize the crimes of these powerful Kansas butchers. In exposing these powerful men, we know, however, that our cow disease research will certainly suffer. Still, the priorities seem obvious: we’ve got to stop these Kansas butchers.

Now here comes the twist. Just before exposing these butchers to the press (which would put us in some danger of retaliation), we discover that chemical X actually only benefits the human body, vaccinating us from host of fearful cow to human diseases and fighting cholesterol. To you and I this comes as a great relief. We no longer judge it to be our overriding duty (bound by the priority of stopping wholesale brain damage to meat lovers nation wide) to battle the Kansas butchers. We are free to continue our valuable research.

Someone asks, however, whether this means that we think that what the Kansas butchers are doing is justified. On reflection, it seems that maybe their actions are unjustified. If nothing else, the actions are still violating the FDA laws. The question, however, seems a bit “academic,” at least to us.

Why would you kill a spider? Why not tell your child to place it back outside instead of taking its life from it.

Why rob it of its one and only life when it is of no threat to you? It seems such a waste when it endures the same struggle for life as any other living thing.

Oh, i forgot, God gave you dominance over everything didnt he.... How could i forget...

Considering what has been written for the last couple of days and looking at the argument in question it seems incredible to accept the last two posts. This LPA "argument" isn't and can't be valid. Especially when you read the one post that not only paints a context around it that is implausible, it is followed later by an admission that it is implausible. So, waxed eloquently in a non-cohesive description there is an invalid argument blanketed in an admittedly implausible context, followed closely behind by a parade of valid yet unanswered questions. This is almost like listening to Eckhart Tolle tell you that if you don't understand what he is saying in his book your problem is that your thinking too much.

Occasional,
Your bovine story demonstrates quite an active imagination!

As it stands, you still have offered no justification for abortion. You still have offered no refutation that the unborn is a living human being. Ergo even if the LPA stands as solid reasoning, abortion is the unjustified killing of innocent human beings, i.e. murder or at the very least homicide.

Doesn't that bother you?

Hi Lb,

When you have two people, the mother and the abortion doctor, actively engaged in the murder of an innocent baby, both are guilty of that murder, and both go to hell unless they come to repentance and ask the Lord into their lives for salvation.

Jesse, your last response is beneath you. The Kansas Butcher parable is meant to illustrate only one point, which is explicitly stated at its into. If you understand that point, and if you take the time to digest the content of my last two posts, we can continue the dialogue. If you wish to continue this dialogue, I request the following. Please try to state back to me my explanation of the following claim: that it is good to investigate the LPA prior to considering these questions of justification.

Occasional,
Fair enough. I'll admit I just do not understand why we ought to thoroughly investigate the LPA prior to considering questions of justification.

Here's my point. Whatever the outcome of the LPA, whether it's valid that abortion may be in the 'best interest' of the child or not, it still does not have any bearing on justification, and it still stands that the unjustified killing of an innocent human being should not be allowed by a just government.

This holds even if I completely understand _and_ agree with you about the LPA. Do you understand why I think LPA is then irrelevant?

On the other hand, if you assert that the LPA does indeed provide good justification for abortion, then I'd agree that we ought to think through and consider the claims.

Occasional,
Fair enough, my comment about your imagination was a rather rude dismissal of the bovine analogy. Please forgive me.

Jesse, out of curiosity, did you also read my reply to Renee? Paragraphs 3-5 are directly relevant to your concern.

Occasional,
If I've understood your bovine analogy correctly, your point is that an illegal or immoral action, (butchers pumping chemical X into the cows), may actually turn out to be beneficial to those most directly affected (the consumers).

Before I make a comment, may you verify I've understood correctly and accurately characterized your illustration?

Howdy ThomRaasio,

Suppose it is a 16 year old (no ones best mental age)Christian who trusts the doctor who tells her it is "just tissue"?

Dear LM, I’m finally going to get to your questions. Sorry for the delay.

You ask, “Is Hell a bad thing? Or, rather, what should punishment for a crime with eternal consequences be?

One might adopt what's been called the “desert thesis,” the idea that when a person does something morally wrong, it is morally better that such a person should be punished. If something like the desert thesis is true, then Hell could be a good thing. However, this would be very different from saying that Hell is a good thing for the person being punished, especially if what is good about the punishment (eternal damnation, in this case) isn’t that it rehabilitates the condemned sinner (or in some other way benefits that sinner). Thus, Hell may be a good thing, but the LPA only assumes that it is not good for the person who goes to Hell.

You ask, “Should the unborn's best interest be the driving factor in the argument?”

Well, the claim about the unborn’s best interest is the only thing that the argument actually concludes. The argument should, as an argument, in some sense drive at its conclusion. If you’re wondering if we ought to be considering the interests of the unborn baby, I would answer “yes.”

You ask about taking the original argument “a step (or so) further”. I’d just want to observe is that what you offer is not really an extension of the original argument, though it has some loose resemblances. Interestingly, I have heard it said that it was precisely because so many early Christians were committing suicide that the church began to teach that suicide was a sin that would keep a person out of Heaven. (I don’t know if this is true.)

(I wasn’t able to understand your very first question. Perhaps you could restate it?)

Jesse, the Kansas Butcher parable offers a hypothetical case in which the priorities of the bovine biologists, with regard to the activities of the butchers, change simply through learning more about the actual effects of the activity on its "victims." Prior to this new understanding, the biologists reasonably thought that stopping the Kansas butchers had to take priority over their other valuable work. This prioritization changed independently of their coming to any conclusion about whether the activities of the Kansas butchers were justified.

On this topic, please read paragraphs 3-5 of my response to Renee above.

Do you folks really believe that the interests of the unborn babies are irrelevant?!

Take a step back and listen to what you're arguing!!

"Take a step back and listen to what you're arguing!!"

Are you serious? You're arguing that it's in the best interest of the baby to kill her so we shouldn't try so hard to stop it, and you're telling *us* to take a step back and look? Insanity.

We're to work for justice. Justice. Justice means not killing babies. We're not to make judgments about who's better off dead or alive and actively kill them "for their own good," or make assumptions about all babies going to heaven. We're not to rob millions of people of the chance here on earth where there's sin and suffering to get to know God in a way they will never experience in heaven. We don't decide who goes to heaven or hell by killing them--as if we've found a loophole to get a whole mess of people past God. This is morally repulsive and beyond sick. The way you're talking about killing children to "help" them (or allowing them to be killed in order to "help" them) in a detached, purely academic way is disturbing the heck out of me. *You* take a step back.

This argument is nothing but a rhetorical trick intended to stump Christians, and it completely misunderstands our place, God's place, salvation, the purpose of being on earth, and what it means to do the right thing. There's only so long I can see this bantered about without calling this what it is: pathetic and disgusting. We do what's right because that's what brings honor to God. I believe He is sovereign. Those whom He chooses are His. To even think that we can choose who goes to heaven and hell *for* Him if we find the right trick is an insult to God. He's a person, not a tax code. We don't find ways to "manipulate the system," nor do we ignore injustices because we decide in our very limited understanding that it's better for us to do wrong.

"LPA"

"The reason why we need good philosophy is because bad philosophy must be answered"
C.S. Lewis

Creeped out,

Here here.

(correction)

creeped out,

Hear, hear!
(hear, all ye good people, hear what this brilliant and eloquent speaker has to say)

creeped out,

We are talking about priorities here. You may need to remind yourself that in this world there is more than one social problem that is affecting millions of people. It is good and important news that one of these social problems is actually in the best interests of those whom it affects. We're talking about real decisions that churches and individual Christians need to make. Resources given to anti-abortion campaigns are resources that are not given to feed and shelter the destitute, to prevent famines, to build churches, to teach the illiterate how to read. It is irresponsible to refuse to think about priorities.

And how is it that you can get so indignant in your opposition to an argument that merely forces you to consider the interests of innocent unborn babies in the light of biblical truths? You have been taken captive by cultural dogma. It is only the spirit of this age that is driving you stamp your feet, plug your ears, and continue to insist that abortion is an unqualified evil, bad in every respect and unredeemable even for its innocent victims.

Why is it that leftist ideas always seem to end up with loads of people getting killed "for the greater good"?

Don't confuse an unborn baby's best interest with "the greater good".

Dear occasional reader,

Thank you kindly for taking the time to attend to my questions. We're keeping you awfully busy here. You do raise some thought-provoking ideas which help us to bolster our beliefs. Thank you for that. Now, let's recap (again) to remind ourselves (myself, more than anything) of what we are discussing.

(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.

(Emphasis mine...I'll get to that later)

I apologize for the repetition but it helps me keep on point. I also apologize for the cloudiness of my first question, which I will clarify now.

I asked you, "In question (1) are we focusing on God's love, God's justice or something else?" What I am getting at is that in premise (1), there is a deeper connotation to the fact that God sends some people to Hell. This premise is begging the question, "Why?" Why does God send some people to Hell? Here we are presupposing that God and Hell exist. Let's assume for simplicity's sake that they do and they are described by the Christian faith (which I think is fair given the discussion we are having).

Thus God is perfect - perfectly just and perfectly loving (amongst many other things - omniscient, omnipotent, omnipresent, self-existent, eternal, etc). This is what I was driving at with my first question. Your first premise cannot be stated without considering who God is. If God is perfect - perfectly just - then He will define His standards perfectly; and His standard is perfection. Those who aren't perfect - according to His standard - will be punished accordingly: eternal separation from Him. So yes, God does send some people to Hell and for good reason.

This leads to my second question. In light of the character of God, Hell is not bad. We wouldn't say that prisons are bad. We as a society expect punishment for crimes. If God is perfect and eternal, sin - which is anything outside His standard - is a crime with eternal consequences: Hell. Now, you raise an interesting point with the desert thesis. However, one flaw with the desert thesis (as you've summarized it) is an assumption that is prevalent in society today. This is that punishment is for the rehabilitation of the criminal.

God doesn't punish sin so that the guilty can be rehabilitated. He punishes sin because He has been maligned by the sinner's actions and must deal with the sinner accordingly. We don't send a rapist to prison with the hopes that he'll improve his physique, get an MBA, and think really hard about the things that he's done (which certainly calls into question the nature of our society's version of justice - a whole separate lengthy discussion we could launch, I'm sure). We send a rapist to prison because he has maligned a woman and her family (or many women and families) and needs to be dealt with accordingly.

Also, another flaw with the desert thesis argument is the flaw that disarms the LPA. This is what I point out with question 3, "Should the unborn's best interest be the driving factor in the argument?" The very nature of the God we establish in premise (1) invalidates the statement of (4). As you asked later, "Do you folks really believe that the interests of the unborn babies are irrelevant?!"

Of course, we do not believe that anyone's interests are irrelevant. Rather the interests of the God of premise (1) - the God that we Christians serve - trump the interests of man. This is what I am feebly trying to allude to with the argument I pose - which I now dub, "The Suicidal Believer Argument," or SBA.

You are most certainly correct: "I’d just want to observe is that what you offer is not really an extension of the original argument, though it has some loose resemblances." I had intended to write, "What if we took the original argument in a different direction." I lazily decided that it didn't matter terribly much, but you called me on it. That's what I get for being lazy. ;o)

I covered God's perfect justice. I also want to touch on God's perfect love in as I discuss the SBA. God wishes that none should perish, so in His perfect love, He provided a prefect substitute - His Son, Jesus Christ - for our eternal crime of sin - deserving of eternal punishment: Hell; while remaining perfectly just. Perfect.

Now, I set up the SBA with the same fatal flaw as the LPA.

(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.
(Again, emphasis mine.)

If the God established in premise (1) of the LPA (and the SBA) is the God of the Bible, then the fatal flaw of both arguments is whose best interest is ultimately important. Jesus said it best:

36 “Teacher, which is the great commandment in the law?”
37 Jesus said to him, “‘You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ 38 This is the first and great commandment. 39 And the second is like it: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ 40 On these two commandments hang all the Law and the Prophets.” - Matthew 22:36-40 (New King James Version) (Thanks, BibleGateway!)

If we are to love God first and then our neighbor, the issue of best interest is very clear. God has commanded that we shall not murder (not kill - murder, just to clarify). Thus, if the unborn is a human person, then abortion is murder. And since God's best interest comes first - and our neighbor's comes second - murder is neither loving God or our neighbor nor in God's or our neighbor's best interests. Thus, the LPA is disarmed.

Also, since suicide is "self-murder," and one robs his/her neighbor of potentially coming to Christ (which is in the neighbor's best interest) through the witness of character (which is destroyed by suicide) or direct witness (which is no longer possible because of suicide), suicide is neither loving God or our neighbor nor in God's or our neighbor's best interests. Thus, the SBA is disarmed.

I have greatly enjoy the discussion so far and anticipate (and greatly appreciate!) your thoughtful response.
Thanks again for your time!


Dear occasional reader,

Thank you kindly for taking the time to attend to my questions. We're keeping you awfully busy here. You do raise some thought-provoking ideas which help us to bolster our beliefs. Thank you for that. Now, let's recap (again) to remind ourselves (myself, more than anything) of what we are discussing.

(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.

(Emphasis mine...I'll get to that later.)

I apologize for the repetition but it helps me keep on point. I also apologize for the cloudiness of my first question, which I will clarify now.
I asked you, "In question (1) are we focusing on God's love, God's justice or something else?" What I am getting at is that in premise (1), there is a deeper connotation to the fact that God sends some people to Hell. This premise is begging the question, "Why?" Why does God send some people to Hell? Here we are presupposing that God and Hell exist. Let's assume for simplicity's sake that they do and they are described by the Christian faith (which I think is fair given the discussion we are having).
Thus God is perfect - perfectly just and perfectly loving (amongst many other things - omniscient, omnipotent, omnipresent, self-existent, eternal, etc). This is what I was driving at with my first question. Your first premise cannot be stated without considering who God is. If God is perfect - perfectly just - then He will define His standards perfectly; and His standard is perfection. Those who aren't perfect - according to His standard - will be punished accordingly: eternal separation from Him. So yes, God does send some people to Hell and for good reason. TO BE CONTINUED...

Dear occasional reader,

Thank you kindly for taking the time to attend to my questions. We're keeping you awfully busy here. You do raise some thought-provoking ideas which help us to bolster our beliefs. Thank you for that. Now, let's recap (again) to remind ourselves (myself, more than anything) of what we are discussing.

(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.

(Emphasis mine...I'll get to that later.)

I apologize for the repetition but it helps me keep on point. I also apologize for the cloudiness of my first question, which I will clarify now.
I asked you, "In question (1) are we focusing on God's love, God's justice or something else?" What I am getting at is that in premise (1), there is a deeper connotation to the fact that God sends some people to Hell. This premise is begging the question, "Why?" Why does God send some people to Hell? Here we are presupposing that God and Hell exist. Let's assume for simplicity's sake that they do and they are described by the Christian faith (which I think is fair given the discussion we are having).

TO BE CONTINUED...

I apologize for the crazy multiple posts. Please ignore the previous two (the first one covered it all). It took over 5 minutes to show up in my browser. I thought I had exceed a character limit. Again, my apologies.

PS. ...greatly enjoyed the discussion... And please forgive any other grammatical/spelling blunders.

occasional reader,

"Don't confuse an unborn baby's best interest with "the greater good"

What is the difference between the above statement you made and the conclusion of your "LPS"?

LM,

Your February 5 posts are good. One observation previously made was that the "lps" conclusion does not follow from the premises that were offered in that the conclusion leaps to asserting what is in the "best interest of the unborn". There appears to be nothing about premise 1/2/3 that address what is best from human or devine point of view that would lead to the conclusion offered alone and without having to get into the questions that you and others have raised about the "LPS". Do you agree? If not, why?

Creeped Out,

You and me both. I came back a few days later to see if this was inexplicably still being debated as if it had any merit. Your post was a bright spot.

Renee,

Not all of us are here because we believe "LPS" has merit. It was cited above and is still appropriate now.

"The reason why we need good philosophy is because bad philosophy must be answered"
C.S. Lewis

"Don't confuse an unborn baby's best interest with "the greater good"."

I was talking about the "resources" you referred to that could be better spent creating a utopia for everyone else rather than on saving the lives of babies. That's the "greater good" at the root of your question.

Sure, lots of people will die, but it's for the good of the motherland. And hey, don't feel too badly about killing them. There are extenuating circumstances that make this best for everyone--even them.

Nothing new here.

creeped out: then let's not confuse "creating a utopia for everyone else" or "the good of the motherland" with assisting the destitute, the starving, and the folks who have no access to an even rudimentary education.

(I think our dialogue is degenerating. I'll reply if you have something substantive to offer, but otherwise I really owe my attention to other comments. I'm thinking of LM's thoughtful critiques in particular.)

I'm merely pointing out the pattern of leftist thought, using words to remind people where this pattern has consistently led in history.

And this isn't a dialogue. It's me warning you and everyone else to take a step back and listen to the big picture of what you're arguing. You can dress this up in fancy words of compassion all you want, but the core of this pattern (i.e., a complete misunderstanding and/or rejection of God, putting a utopian ideal above the lives of certain people, and all the propaganda of "best interest" and "greater good" that goes along with it) is and always has been rotten.

Dear Lb,
Thank you for the kind words. I agree with you that LPS/LPA conclusion does not exactly follow from the premises and that there is not enough establishment of the unborn's best interests from the premises to draw the given conclusion.

What if I were to rewrite the LPA (I'll call it LPA, merely for consistency's sake) as such:

(1) Aborted unborn babies go directly to Heaven.
(2) An unborn baby's best interest is to go to Heaven.
(3) Abortion is the best thing for an unborn baby.
Now, even though I cringed as I wrote that, let's discuss the Modified LPA (MLPA).

The same fatal flaw disarms the MLPA. We are presupposing that we have the authority to not only know what is in someone's best interest, but to decide what it is at will. Therefore, premise (2) is faulty, resulting in a faulty argument. (And the conclusion for the LPA is faulty for the same reason.)

Also, since the MLPA presupposes that there is a God (and He is the God of the Bible as we have been assuming), we have to account for the nature of the God that we have established. The conclusion acts against the nature of the God we have established (as shown before for the LPA and SBA).

Let me offer one final example:

(1) President Obama is a Christian.
(2) Christians believe abortion is wrong.
(3) Therefore, President Obama believes abortion is wrong.

You all may be laughing now, and I wouldn't blame you. We are all keenly aware of President Obama's stance of abortion. So, where did we go wrong?

Premise (1):

President Obama has said he is a Christian. Now, he may be; he may be lying; he may confused; or he may be, but rebellious.
(This list isn't definitive, just a list.)

Premise (2):

A true follower of The Way should be opposed to elective abortion. That would be sound. Unfortunately, not all who have accepted the Lord Jesus Christ as their Savior believe this way. Or worse some do believe and act differently.
(This isn't a statement of indignant damnation. Raise your hand if you are a follower of Christ, have known something to be wrong, and done it anyway. I may be the only one with my hand up. Maybe not.)

Anyway...

Dear creeped out,

I agree that, "the core of this pattern (i.e., a complete misunderstanding and/or rejection of God, putting a utopian ideal above the lives of certain people, and all the propaganda of "best interest" and "greater good" that goes along with it) is and always has been rotten.

The problem is that we are natives in a land that is not our home (Thank you, Downhere). The majority of people genuinely believe wrong to be right and down to be up. And we need to not just tell them that, but to show them why as well.

Many thanks to all for the wonderful discussion.

(And, of course, I look forward to occasional reader's thoughtful response.)

creeped out, you should reconsider dismissing as “leftist” the call to assist the destitute and the starving, and the call to regard the interests of the unborn. Such things are in fact Christ-like.

LM, I can agree with you on many things. For brevity, however, I will focus only on those points of disagreement. Addressing these may suffice to undermine your objections.

The desert thesis is decidedly not the thesis that punishment is good because it rehabilitates, or in some way restores, the sinner. Rather, the desert thesis holds that when a person does something morally wrong, it is morally better that such a person should be punished. That is, it is simply good that sin is punished; the justification of that punishment does not depend on any benefit to the sinner, to society, or to anyone else. It as if when someone sins, the “balances of justice” are upset and that this is a bad thing which can be corrected only through punishment of the sinner. Thus, the desert thesis is a way of understanding the goodness of Hell. I simply point out that the goodness of Hell (in the sense articulated by the desert thesis) is not incompatible with the claim that Hell is not in the best interest of the person who actually suffers in Hell. This was my point in mentioning the desert thesis.

You note that “the interests of the God…trump the interests of man.” This I can accept. It is completely compatible with the loving parent argument. After all, the loving parent argument merely states what is in the best interests of “man” (in particular, the unborn baby). Thus, given that the conclusion of the LPA is not incompatible with your objections, can you accept the LPA?

You write, “If we are to love God first and then our neighbor, the issue of best interest is very clear. God has commanded that we shall not murder.”

But you also write, “Of course, we do not believe that anyone's interests are irrelevant.

How are we to square these two statements? When you add that “the interests…God…trump the interests of man.” it sounds like you are saying that therefore the interests of the unborn baby are irrelevant—for the interests of God have “trumped” the interests of the unborn.

But is this right? Here is my suggestion. There is a perfectly good way to make all of your claims cohere. That is, we can accept that the interests of God trump the interests of the unborn babies without supposing that this makes the interests of unborn babies irrelevant. Let me explain.

Observe first of all that you are inferring the “interests of God” from his commandments. There is more than one commandment. In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus says,

"You have heard that it was said, ‘Do not commit adultery.’ But I tell you that anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart.”

Surely, then, you should say that it is in “God’s interests” that no man should commits adultery in his heart.

But God also commands that widows, orphans, and “aliens” should not be neglected: “Do not deprive the alien or the fatherless of justice” and "Cursed is the man who withholds justice from the alien, the fatherless or the widow” and “Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.”

Thus, it is in God’s interests both that (1) no man should commit adultery in his heart, and (2) that no one neglects the widows, the orphans and the aliens.

Suppose, then, that you can join only one of two organizations (because of limited time and resources). One organization looks after God’s interest in (1). Specifically, the organization actively campaigns against masturbation, on the grounds that this practice typically involves committing adultery in one’s heart. The second organization looks after God’s interest in (2). Let us assume that both organizations are effective in their goals, and that they could both use your help. From what we have assumed, are there any principled grounds upon which to choose between the two organizations? You must, after all, choose.

I suggest that there is a principled way to choose that also reveals how your own statements are not inconsistent. The solution hinges on the idea that you stated: “Of course, we do not believe that anyone's interests are irrelevant. This idea helps once we observe that masturbation is really a victimless crime (or, the only victim is the perpetrator), whereas crimes of injustice and deficiencies of care violate the interests of other people (i.e. these crimes have victims beyond the perpetrator himself). Thus, the very plausible premise that no one’s interests are irrelevant helps us to determine a prioritization. Though God’s interests are served in each case, fighting the injustices done to widows, orphans, and aliens is the better thing to do—on the assumption that people’s interests are not irrelevant.

The point of all this should be apparent. Though we accept that it is in God’s interests that there are not abortions, we also accept that abortions do not violate the interest of their “victims” (in fact, just the opposite). This is not the case with negligence to the widows, orphans and aliens. Thus, if the LPA is correct and “no one’s interests are irrelevant” then we should prioritize the many social problems that do violate the interests of the people they most directly and significantly affect. Such a prioritization clearly does not mean that we are overlooking the interests of God.

In summary, the conclusion that abortion is in the best interests of the unborn matters a great deal. This is so even though God’s interests trump the interests of man. Since God’s interests are many, we can use the fact that “no one’s interests are irrelevant” to settle the question of priority. The upshot is that abortion is presumably not “the greatest social justice issue of our time.”

LM,
Once again, well done. I am not sure that I would follow the same manner of constructing "MLPA" but you represent (1Peter 3:15 NIV) very well. Some of the posts should take your example in that regard.

LM, I should highlight a few questions for you:

(a) Isn't everything you say compatible with the claim that abortion in the best interests of the unborn?

(b) Doesn't your response to the LPA make it difficult for you to deny this absurd view: preventing a man from masturbating is just as important as preventing a man from torturing orphans?

(c) Aren't you making the following paradoxical claim: the interests of the unborn baby are irrelevant, but "we do not believe that anyone's interests are irrelevant"?

Occasional,
Your LPA is utter foolishness, and I'm sorry to have wasted the time arguing with you.

Is there anyone out there (I'm mostly speaking to pro-choicers here), beside occasional reader, who thinks the LPA really demonstrates Christians haven't thought through their position, and are being irrational to oppose abortion?

Jesse, how's your reading of Greg's new book on "tactics" going? Does he recommend asserting: "Your argument is utter foolishness" upon finding that you've run out of legitimate responses?

(From what I've seen, not many pro-choicers have been following this debate--most such people presumably don't buy into the premises of the LPA.)

Occasional,
Haven't got it in the mail yet...

Honestly, I've been discovering all the more through debates such as this that I'm prideful, arrogant, and easily frustrated.

I find it interesting though that when I assert your argument is foolish, you proceed with an underhanded attack of my character.

Occasional,
Any analogy can be stretched too far, so let me know if this goes beyond your intent.

The butcher analogy does eventually provide justification for injecting chemical X into the cows, right? Is there an intended parallel here to abortion?

Jesse, I was just forcefully calling you out. Your assertions speak for themselves. I am happy once again to see that you recognize the error. That speaks wonderfully of your character. I find it admirable and refreshing (and all too rare in these sorts of discussions).

There’s no intended parallel regarding eventual justification. You’re absolutely right that this would be stretching the analogy beyond its intent.

The comments to this entry are closed.