Fetus Fatigue

The evangelical left has been chastising other evangelicals for their “narrow-minded” focus on abortion. Folks like Jim Wallis, Tony Campolo, Shane Claiborne and others are encouraging evangelicals to “broaden” their horizons when it comes to Christian involvement in the public square and in politics. I have argued on this blog that Wallis and friends are actually demoting abortion on the list of evangelical social priorities. I think this is a grave error.

Douglas Groothuis wrote a piece last week that is a prophetic call to evangelicals to stop listening to the siren song from the Wallis’ and the Campolo’s. I’m only going to post an excerpt here, but you should read the rest as soon as you get a chance.

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‘It appears that millions of evangelicals, especially younger ones, are experiencing fetus fatigue. They are tired of the abortion issue taking center stage; it is time to move on to newer, hipper things–the sort of issues that excite Bono: aid to Africa, the environment, and cool tattoos. Abortion has been legal since they were born; it is the old guard that gets exercised about millions of abortions over the years. So, let’s not worry that Barak Obama and Hillary are pro-choice. That is a secondary issue. After all, neither could do that much damage regarding this issue.

‘Evangelicals (if that word has any meaning), for God’s sake, please wake up and remember the acres of tiny corpses you cannot see. Yes, the Christian social vision is holistic. We should endeavor to restore shalom to this beleaguered planet. That includes helping Africa, preserving the environment, and much more. However, the leading domestic moral issue remains the value of helpless human life. Since Roe v. Wade, approximately 50 million unborn humans have been killed through abortion. Stalin said, “One death is a tragedy. A million dead is a statistic.” Too many are now Stalinists on abortion. The numbers mean nothing, apparently. The vast majority of these abortions were not done to save the life of the mother, a provision I take to be justified. Things have reached the point where bumper stickers say, “Don’t like abortion, don’t have one.” It is simply a matter of private, subjective taste. But how about this: “Don’t like slavery, don’t own slaves”? Two human beings are involved in this matter, inescapably. . .

‘Evangelicals, for God’s sake, please wake up. Remember the least, the last, and the lost: the millions of unborn human beings who hang in the balance (Matthew 25:31-46). No, this is not the only issue, but it is a titanic issue that cannot be ignored. Rouse yourself to recover from fetus fatigue. God is watching.’

-“Fetus Fatigue” by Douglas Groothuis (The Constructive Curmudgeon)

78 Responses to Fetus Fatigue

  1. Brett March 12, 2008 at 12:04 am #

    Here we go again….

  2. Bryan L March 12, 2008 at 6:05 am #

    “The vast majority of these abortions were not done to save the life of the mother, a provision I take to be justified.”

    Just curious but do you also believe that abortions are justified when the mother’s life is at stake? I’ve gotten the impression that you don’t but I could be wrong.

    Bryan

  3. Todd Pruitt March 12, 2008 at 9:25 am #

    It sounds like Brett is suffering from fetus fatigue.

    I live in Wichita, the home of George Tiller. Tiller is one of the most notorious abortionists in the U.S. What I find so dispicable is that if he began killing kittens at his clinic the authorities would shut him down.

    To sigh in frustration when abortion is brought up because it is a “Republican issue” demonstrates a frightening lack of moral clarity.

    In the 60’s and 70’s feminists had to deny that a human fetus was actually a living, human life. To affirm such would be to make abortion unacceptable.

    Today however feminists like Naomi Wolfe are calling pro-aborts to own up to the fact that a fetus is clearly a living human life. Wolfe, and others like her, however continue to support the right to abortion. Wolfe’s reasoning is that while a fetus is a human life it is a “lesser life” (her words). This was exactly the reasoning behind the destruction of human life in the Nazi death camps. I recommend the deeply disturbing book “The Nazi Doctors”.

    American Christians need a fresh sense of outrage over this issue.

  4. Benjamin A March 12, 2008 at 9:45 am #

    Bryan L,

    Do you believe that abortions are justified when the mother’s life is at stake?

  5. Daniel Davis March 12, 2008 at 10:13 am #

    bryan l –

    i am pro-life across the board, but i must admit i find it difficult to weigh through the possibility of choosing between a mother’s life, a baby’s life, or both.

    on one hand, i would say that God is in control and His will be done because i’m not sure i could bring myself to initiate an abortion even if the mother’s life was at risk.

    on the other hand, i would find myself trying to think pragmatically, deciding the “value” of one life against another. i am profoundly uncomfortable with this line of reasoning, but i know part of me can think like this.

    seemingly muddy waters regarding this issue…difficult to “choose life” when one or more lives might be lost…but then should the choice be in our hands at all?

  6. Denny Burk March 12, 2008 at 10:29 am #

    Bryan,

    I think that abortion is morally unjustifiable except in cases to save the life of the mother.

    Thanks,
    Denny

  7. Paul March 12, 2008 at 10:41 am #

    I don’t know if any of the evangelical left are trying to dilute the issue of abortion, as much as they’re trying to (rightly) add to the plate. It would be much easier to vote for Republicans if they were pro-life AND pro-environment AND pro-eradicating poverty, etc, etc, etc.

    Instead, what we see from many of these politicians is nothing but lip service. I will remind you again of how absolutely stunningly quiet the RNC was about the abortion ban referendum that was on the South Dakota ballot in 2004. Yes, they can put political hit job issues on the ballot (like the bill that Obama tabled), and yes, they can every once in a while be counted on to vote for something like a late term abortion ban. But you can take it to the bank that you’ll never see a federal abortion ban on the books, even if there were to be a 66% majority of pro-lifers in the house and senate. They know as well as anyone that it would be political suicide.

    And, with that in mind, if we’re going to have two parties that really aren’t going to do anything significant about the abortion issue, it’s far better to vote for the party that wants to end suffering in many ways, as opposed to the party that wants to offer lip service in a few key arenas which cynically drive people to the polls.

  8. Brett March 12, 2008 at 10:51 am #

    Todd,

    Don’t try to turn this around and make me look like the evil liberal democrat. The only reason I did that was because I knew there was going to be a big long hateful discussion that followed by those who post. You have no idea of my motives for putting that, so stop trying to guess because you did not show me any type of accurate representation whatsoever. That was totally uncalled for.

  9. Todd Pruitt March 12, 2008 at 11:14 am #

    Brett,

    We will have to disagree about my comment being “uncalled for.” If you live in a glass house you shouldn’t throw stones. You don’t have the best record on this blog of being particularly loving. In fact you have been downright rude in many of your comments.

    I didn’t refer to you as “evil,” “liberal,” or “democrat.” If you are any of those things you will need to enlighten us.

    Paul,

    I agree with you 100% about Republican politicians’ lack of couage on the abortion issue. I also believe you are right in your observation that Repubiclans would not choose to pass legislation banning abortion. Most of them are cowards. They use abortion as an issue to raise support but actually DO very little if anything about it.

    Where we would disagree is about the solutions offered by Democrats to issues of human suffering. Frankly, I believe their solutions have done more harm than good.

    Christians on the left and the right need to stop looking to politicians to solve our problems. Poverty in America is simply not something that will be erradicated through politics or legislation. I think FDR and LBJ proved that rather well.

    Also, I hope we could agree that 50 million abortions is a far greater evil than someone making minimum wage.

  10. Trent G. March 12, 2008 at 11:21 am #

    Paul,
    I’ve often seen posts similar to yours that suggest that Republicans are naive for thinking that anything can be done about abortion and since it is just going to continue we should vote for people who oppose poverty, global warming, war, etc. So, since abortion will always be around let’s vote Democrat because they’re going get rid of the world’s poverty, wars, gobal warming, etc? Is it fair to say that since we can never eradicate poverty in the world we shouldn’t vote for people who want to do so? You seem to suggest “no”. I for one am not willing to throw my hands in the air and say, “Oh well, it’s a lost cause, let’s move on to other issues.” (not claiming you are, but others maybe).
    Also, your post seems to suggest that the only way for abortion to be conquered is through the legislative branch of the government. You fail to recognize the importance of the Supreme Court in this issue. Many people believe that the abortion issue will be won or loss at the judicial level. A pro-choice president will almost assuredly have the opportunity to appoint a justice or two in the next four years, and we cannot minimize the importance of such a decision. These appointments to the Supreme Court could prove to do just as much if not more for the fight toward eliminating abortion as any efforts of a presidential candidate toward eliminating poverty.

    Brett,
    Up to your wiley ways again I see. So, let’s see if I have this right, you’re upset at Todd for not accurately representing you and assuming something about you. But yet, you ” knew there was going to be a big long hateful discussion that followed by those who post.” Isn’t THAT an assumption of the people who would post here and shouldn’t YOU “stop trying to guess” what other people’s motives are for posting here?

  11. Paul March 12, 2008 at 12:03 pm #

    Todd,

    I agree that the way to change a country is almost never through its politicians. Frankly, it’s very rarely through its laws, either.

    Eradication of offensive actions or behaviors starts at home. It starts with parents having the guts to tackle tough issues in ways that they might not want to. The sex conversation cannot end at “wait till you’re married.” It MUST include “if you’re going to, please, for the love of God, be smart AND safe about it.” And, if that conversation can be had in the schools too, where their peers are all learning the same lessons, then and only then will we see smarter behaviors taking the place of ignorant ones which bring the idea of abortion to the table in the first place. I cannot stress enough that Europe has it right and we have it wrong in this arena. Sweden, of all places, has fairly strict abortion laws AND one of the lowest abortion rates in the civilized world. I honestly believe that after 35 years of legalized abortion that criminalizing it without taking education into account will simply drive the procedure underground, making it far more dangerous for women.

    We also need to lose the stigma of not wanting to adopt someone else’s mistake. If Christians really believe that adoption is the answer to the abortion question, then Christians throughout the country, wherever they are economically able need to take that charge, to lead the way in action and not just in word.

    Trent,

    you’re right and wrong. If the supreme court overturns Roe v. Wade, ALL that does is give the power to legalize or criminalize abortion back to the states. At which point, it’ll be REALLY interesting to see which states criminalize it and which ones don’t. The South Dakota referendum proved that it’s not as simple as a red state blue state divide. I would be willing to gamble that a lot of the rural south states would be surprisingly pro-choice when given the option behind a curtain. Time might very well tell, though.

  12. Trent G. March 12, 2008 at 12:13 pm #

    Paul,
    I’ll just take the “right” part and ignore the “wrong” 😉

  13. Paul March 12, 2008 at 12:25 pm #

    fair enough. 😛

  14. Brett March 12, 2008 at 1:02 pm #

    Trent G…a man you can always count on speaking to someone when he’s not even addressed. Why am I not surprised?

  15. Paul March 12, 2008 at 1:37 pm #

    Brett…

    pssst…

    I addressed him by name. It was funny. Don’t worry.

  16. Bryan L March 12, 2008 at 3:32 pm #

    So why is it not murder for a woman to kill her child when her life is at stake but it is murder when her life isn’t in danger? I’m confused at the logic that says all of the sudden it’s morally justifiable.

    They equate abortion with infanticide and say there is no difference and talk about picturng the mass graves of dead aborted babies and that there is no difference between a child inside the womb and outside the womb. Well do you suddenly think a woman would be justified in killing her 2 year old child if her life was at stake? I don’t know one woman that would kill their child if their life were at stake, even if it meant that the baby would die with them.

    Is it just me or does this seem a little inconsistent to anyone else?

    BTW are there any other circumstances where it is morally justifiable? Rape, incests, both (a teenager being raped by their father or uncle or brother or something)? Is it only when there is a likelihood or a good chance that the woman will die?

    Thanks,
    Bryan L

  17. Benjamin A March 12, 2008 at 4:55 pm #

    Seems inconsistent to me too.

  18. jerem z March 12, 2008 at 6:12 pm #

    I respect this post.

    But….(here it comes….ya’ll ready?)

    Lets take this theoretical idea and make it practical.
    How many of you have known someone who has had an abortion?

    Why did they do it? Isn’t it ultimately their choice?

    I am sorry but if someone is considering an abortion, there are many other issues before hand, which led the women to even consider aborting the baby.

    Here let me share a story.
    A few years back I was good friends with a gal who had an abortion. She was convinced that even if she had brought this baby into the world, this baby would not have a very quality life. She asked me: Jeremy, why would I even consider bringing this baby into world, when I already know the father will not be in the picture, I do not have enough money to raise it, I do not have medical insurance, and I need to finish my college education.

    This gal was attending an evangelical church in the midst of all of this. However her church did not support her decision so basically they asked her to leave.

    Not only did this gal have a painful experience aborting this baby, but she had a very painful experience essentially getting ex-communicated from the church.

    Today, she is sooo bitter towards the church. She thinks we are all egotistical- all knowing poop heads. (I had to edit her language)

    Like Denny I think that abortions are morally unjustifiable. Although we live in a pretty broken world and unexpected pregancies in the church are going to happen. So my question is: How does the church respond to an unexpected pregnancy? Especially when the women is leaning towards an abortion?

  19. Ferg March 12, 2008 at 6:14 pm #

    Daniel, you say
    “on one hand, i would say that God is in control and His will be done because i’m not sure i could bring myself to initiate an abortion even if the mother’s life was at risk.”
    I ask then why you even have an opinion on the matter if God’s will will be done. If God is ultimately in control and his will is always done, then God must like abortion as it is all for his greater glory if your logic is brought to its conclusion.

  20. Jim Vellenga March 12, 2008 at 7:15 pm #

    Jeremy, why would she count out adoption when there are thousands of families out there that desparately want a child but cannot have one due to some biological problem with one or both of them. Even in college, it was not like she could not have the baby, and have it be cared for and raised by a loving family.

    She may think the church is egotistical, but I have to say, no matter how she couched the choice in terms of the best for the child, life is better than death even if it is in poverty. She made the choice for her own good. With the option of adoption living in poverty would not even have to be the case for that child.

    I am writing as a person who was born to an unwed mother who never went to college and worked her behind off at menial labor to provide the necessities of life (food, clothing, roof over head) but who also raised me in the fear and admonition of the Lord. If I had been the baby in the womb of the young lady you mentioned, I would be dead. The choice is clear to me.

  21. Lucas Knisely March 12, 2008 at 7:19 pm #

    So if a child is going to be born into a bad situation they are better off dead? Shouldn’t we be mercy killing children in poverty then? Instead of spending money on soup kitchens and other charities?

    And she accused the church of being all knowing? It seems she claimed to be all knowing when she made the decision based on what was sure to happen if the child was born.

  22. Kevin J March 12, 2008 at 7:19 pm #

    Jerem Z,

    Don’t you think there would be at least 1 couple in the area that is looking to adopt a newborn baby. By the way, newborn babies are hard to find for adoption in the US due to the abortion rate.

    Kevin

  23. Kevin J March 12, 2008 at 7:23 pm #

    I do thank God that all of the aborted babies are in His kingdom. On the other hand, a lot of the murderers will NOT be in His kingdom.

  24. GrimeTime March 12, 2008 at 7:30 pm #

    First of all, abortion, fetus, pro-choice, etc. are all terms to try to desensitize and hide the truth and horror of the murder of an unborn human baby made in the image of God. That’s what it is.

    And I will make the claim that if one knows the truth and science about what takes place in “abortion” and upon whom it takes place and is still okay with it, then they are not a Christian will suffer in suffer everlasting destruction in Hell. Not that that this is the issue that determines salvation and damnation, but that it would show if they are a genuine born again believer in Christ. No one with the Holy Spirit of the Living God indwelling them with the aforementioned knowledge can be “pro-choice.” It is evidence that they have never obeye the gospel, repent of their sins and place their faith in Jesus Christ for their forgiveness.

    Bring it on.

    GrimeTime

  25. Ferg March 12, 2008 at 7:36 pm #

    Jim, i don’t know if that was the point of what Jerem z was saying. (forgive me if i’m wrong!). he agrees that the decision to have an abortion was wrong, however i also think the decision to kick the girl out of church was wrong too. where is she to turn if the church wont accept her? i think if the church was not there for her when she was hurting and possibly at her lowest, she has every right to be angry. she made a bad decision, but we’re not catholics and don’t believe in ‘mortal sins’. her father in heaven will forgive her and still loves her with the love he has for his very own son, so why shouldn’t she be treated that way? are we called to judge? or are we called to love?

  26. Bryan L March 12, 2008 at 8:04 pm #

    I’d still like a response to my question for those on here who agree with Denny (or even from Denny). How is abortion murder and an outrage when a woman’s life is not in danger but not murder when her life is in danger. How is murdering an unborn child “morally” justifiable if the mother’s life is at risk but not “morally” justifiable if the child is 1 and the woman’s life is at stake?

    Anyone?

  27. GrimeTime March 12, 2008 at 8:06 pm #

    Bryan,

    In response of #26, I don’t think it is.

    In the name of Christ Jesus,
    GrimeTime

  28. Bryan L March 12, 2008 at 8:10 pm #

    But you don’t really agree with Denny Grime.

    So Grime, you would put Denny in that same category when you said “then they are not a Christian will suffer in suffer everlasting destruction in Hell”?

    Anyone in here agree with Denny or am I just to assume he is alone on this?

    Bryan

  29. GrimeTime March 12, 2008 at 8:54 pm #

    I should have qualified my response to tubal pregnancy which is the scenario that brings up the situation of “mother or child”, which by the way, is extremely extremely rare.

    My first post, #24, I put in the category of any reason other than this specific one mentioned above.

    Having said that, I personally, under my own conviction and conscience do consider it wrong. However, I will not say that if you don’t agree with me on this particular issue, that of saving the mother’s life, you are not saved. I believe that either side you come on it is an attempt to save a life, not a willfull decision to end a life. That’s the difference. If someone did choose to, I wouldn’t say that you killed your child, I would say you saved the mother’s life.

    One is an attempt to save a life, the other is a deliberate action to kill.

    I should have been clearer. I apologize.

    In His name,

    GrimeTime

  30. Ferg March 12, 2008 at 8:56 pm #

    “a lot of the murderers will NOT be in His kingdom.”

    i find it amazing how you can come out with such a brazen statement. We are not, nor have we ever been called to judge. IS abortion an unforgiveable sin?
    i guess a lot of people in here choose karma instead of grace.

  31. Bryan L March 12, 2008 at 9:21 pm #

    Thanks Grime for your clarification. I’m sure Denny would appreciate knowing you don’t think he’s going to hell.

    Anyone here actually agree with Denny? Anyone?

    Denny I guess you’re alone. Would you care to answer my question especially since you have such strong feeling on the issue of abortion? Would you say it was ok for a woman to kill her child if it were going to save her life since you think it’s ok if the child were unborn?

    Thanks,
    Bryan

  32. Brett March 12, 2008 at 10:42 pm #

    I would like to hear some more thought on Jeremy’s post (his main point). Was the church right for doing this? Personally, I say they are dead wrong. Even amidst her sin and evil choice they could show Jesus Christ to her…which could possibly lead her to repentance. The decision they chose has had the complete opposite effect (just guessing…but this will probably lead to church discipline which is terribly misunderstood in many circles).

    Bryan,

    I see inconsistencies as well and wish somebody who holds Denny’s stance would answer your question. I think I agree with Denny, but have not thought much about it. Even though I probably agree with him, I still think it’s inconsistent. But then, what does that matter? Aren’t we all inconsistent to some degree? Theologically, politically, anthropologically, sociologically, etc? I know I am. Inconsistency is not grounds for untruth and faultiness.

  33. Kevin J March 12, 2008 at 11:52 pm #

    Ferg,

    Revelation 21:5 – 8 (ESV) 5 And he who was seated on the throne said, “Behold, I am making all things new.” Also he said, “Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true.” 6 And he said to me, “It is done! I am the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end. To the thirsty I will give from the spring of the water of life without payment. 7 The one who conquers will have this heritage, and I will be his God and he will be my son. 8 But as for the cowardly, the faithless, the detestable, as for MURDERERS, the sexually immoral, sorcerers, idolaters, and all liars, their portion will be in the lake that burns with fire and sulfur, which is the second death.”

    I am not saying that murder is not forgivable. It is if they do not REPENT.

  34. Bryan L March 13, 2008 at 6:39 am #

    Brett,

    Thanks for your thoughts.

    I’m just wondering why there is such strong uncompromising rhetoric and moral outrage on one issue and then understanding and moral justification on the other issue when honestly according to their analogies they love to use between killing a child inside the womb and outside the womb, there is no difference here.

    I’m really troubled that so many on this blog who are usually very adamant and vocal against abortion and pro-life sympathizers have basically clammed up. None have come out and either said they agree with Denny or disagree (except Ben).

    If they disagree then say so. They have no problem jumping all over someone and tearing them down when they are pro-choice or at least sympathetic to the pro-choice views and the dilemmas that women are faced with. If they disagree with Denny then they should show the same moral outrage that they do against others who are pro-choice because basically that is a pro-choice stance.

    Now I’m not trying to convince anyone that they should be all the way completely against abortion even when the mothers life is at stake, I would just like to see the uncompromising rhetoric and moral self-righteousness left out of this discussion or at least some consistency in its use (but preferably the former).

    Blessings,
    Bryan L

  35. Lucas Knisely March 13, 2008 at 7:05 am #

    Bryan,

    You should allow more than one day for people to respond. I barely had time to type my response to jerem z yesterday.

  36. Bryan L March 13, 2008 at 7:13 am #

    Lucas,

    Have you seen how quick people respond here in the past? I could say something bad about Piper and I would get 30 responses in no time and some telling me to leave because I’m wrong, not helpful and decisive. Believe me, I’ve commented here long enough to notice when things are strangely silent over a controversial issue.

    What about you Lucas? Where do you stand on this? Are you with Denny or against him? Do you believe its ok to murder a child if the mother’s life is at stake?

    Bryan

  37. Daniel Davis March 13, 2008 at 8:28 am #

    ferg –

    you misunderstand. just because God’s will will be done doesn’t mean i don’t have a moral responsibility to obey God’s commands and heart. this distinction/discussion is had elsewhere on this blog and others…

  38. Daniel Davis March 13, 2008 at 8:59 am #

    bryan l –

    i can’t answer your question personally since i would lean more towards not aborting a child regardless of the implications for the mother’s life.

    that said, i don’t feel animosity towards those who do feel that way or even make that decision. as stated above, such situations are thankfully rare. thus, this issue doesn’t arise much except in conversation about where one stands on abortion, but it is helpful to think about.

    in an attempt to justify my “permissible” opinion:
    i said above that i think about it ultimately as a choice between one life or another.
    – if you are a rescuer at sea, you try to save everyone you can, starting with those closest to you and working your way out, i imagine. you assess the situation and try to save the most people. but i expect the fact that you couldn’t save everyone would haunt you…because you tried. not trying to save anyone would a dereliction of duty
    – my analogy is not the best, i’m sure, so bear with me. in the valid case of a mother’s life at risk, a Christian should seek to save both lives if possible, and that depends upon the degree of risk, i suppose. if in the case of a tubal pregnancy, both mother and child will die if measures aren’t taken. the mother will live if the child is removed. thus, the decision can appropriately be termed a decision for life since one will live when otherwise, two would die.

    the rub is that you are actively ending the life of the child to save the mother. i can’t imagine that situation, pray i am never in it.

    this situation is worlds apart in my mind with respect to the abortion debate at large. especially in light of the multitude of elective abortions without any second thought whatsoever.

  39. Daniel Davis March 13, 2008 at 9:10 am #

    and for the record, i only check blogs during the day at my downtime at work, so my response comes now since it would not have come at another time.

    i understand your point about some posts/comments bringing very quick responses, but i trust you are not lumping everyone into a category of “clamming up” on difficult issues or ones where denny may be disagreed with.

    i for one find this issue (abortion for the sake of the mother’s life) very difficult to weigh through because of the gravity of the situation. perhaps people aren’t responding because they haven’t thought about where they stand yet…i’ve responded and i’m still fuzzy on where i stand.

    just my 2 cents

  40. Ewell March 13, 2008 at 9:24 am #

    The issue of abortion is a lot older than some may realize. It’s as old as the Church itself. Here’s a quote from the Didache:
    “You shall not kill a child by abortion nor kill it after it has been born” (2:2).

    I’m not sure that these younger evangelicals are really experiencing “fetus fatigue.” I think it is more like they are tired of the abortion issue in the political realm. There doesn’t seem to be much progress to solve this problem politically. There may be other ways. I think one argument I’ve heard is if some social problems were fixed then less people would have abortions. Another solution would be if we know of someone who is considering having an abortion, then we should offer to adopt the child. This may only save a few peoples lives, but every life counts. All though these solutions would not eliminate abortion completely, making it illegal wouldn’t eliminate it completely either. Murder is illegal, and people still murder.

    Question: If you know someone who is considering having an abortion and you don’t offer to adopt the child or find a place for him or her, then isn’t this just as sinful as having an abortion yourself? Maybe we are all guilty to some extent.

    May the Holy Spirit guide us to the path of righteousness.

  41. Daniel Davis March 13, 2008 at 10:08 am #

    making abortion illegal wouldn’t end it – correct; but how many more murders would their be if murder were legal?

    the law doesn’t change the heart, but it can restrain actions.

    i do believe this goal of making abortion illegal to be worthy and biblical, other solutions (advocating adoption and addressing other social issues) are valid, but the ultimate solution is the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

    what boggles my mind is the kind of “Christian” who sees absolutely nothing wrong with abortion.

  42. Benjamin A March 13, 2008 at 10:11 am #

    Bryan L,
    I did some reading last night, in that I too see the inconsistencies that you have mentioned. Randy Alcorn has written extensively on pro-life issues and from a little book of his dealing with the issue of ‘Is abortion right when pregnancy presents risks to the mother’s life’, this is what he had to say.
    “While he was U.S. Surgeon General, Dr. C. Everett Koop stated that in thirty-six years as a pediatric surgeon, he was never aware of a single situation in which a preborn child’s life had to be taken in order to save the mother’s life. He said the use of this argument to justify abortion was a “smoke screen.”

    “However, if the mother has a fast-spreading uterine cancer, the surgery to remove the cancer may result in the loss of the child’s life. In an ectopic pregnancy the child is developing outside the uterus. He has no hope of survival and may have to be removed to save his mother. These are tragic situations, but even if one life must be lost, the life that can be saved should be. More often than not that life is the mother’s. There are rare cases in later stages of pregnancy when the mother can’t be saved but the baby can. Again, one life saved is better than two lives lost.”

    I would say, in those rare cases, if both baby and mother are going to die as a result of the ectopic pregnancy. Save the mother’s life by removing the human baby growing outside the uterus. That baby human was going to die regardless of what happened and waiting for that to happen naturally would probably cost the mother her life as well. Saving the mother’s life is a very pro-life stance. This is where some advocate just let God be God. As the giver and taker of life, if He wills both mother and child to die, His will be done on earth as it is in heaven. By removing the human baby that was naturally going to die before it actually did die to some is immoral and is viewed as murder. The taking of innocent life. I would choose to live with that tension, and save the mothers life.

    If there is a situation where surgery is needed to save the mother, and yes that surgery may kill the human baby in her womb, as it also may kill the mother, then she has a choice to have surgery or not to have surgery. If the surgery kills the baby human, I would not call this an abortion. The surgery’s purpose wasn’t to kill the child but to save the mother. The loss of life was a tragic side-effect of lifesaving efforts. If the mother chooses not to have the surgery, and as a result the baby is born and the mother then has surgery, and loses her life, that too is a valid option with tragic consequences.

    How would you view these situations?

  43. Lucas Knisely March 13, 2008 at 10:29 am #

    Bryan,

    You asked:What about you Lucas? Where do you stand on this? Are you with Denny or against him? Do you believe its ok to murder a child if the mother’s life is at stake?

    I believe that being against abortion stems from a longing to save the life of the child. I believe that in the rare cases where the mother must be saved, the desire to save a life is still in place. I highly doubt any pro-lifer would suddenly say, “Yes, murder the baby, it is now acceptable.” That seems a tad cold hearted, and not something that someone who seeks to save lives would say.

    When a woman enters the hospital, she enters as a patient. The hospital runs tests and monitors the mother to ensure she is both safe and comfortable. Her health and well being go hand in hand with a successful delivery. As a patient, if the complication arises that means it is either her life or the baby’s life, the doctors should make the decision to save the mother’s life. Why? My main reason for this view is that any complications during labor increases risk of the infant’s death. Choosing to allow the child to be born and the mother to die is not a sure shot that the child won’t die minutes later. The mother also may already have children that are in need of her love and attention, along with her loving husband. And I just want to reemphasize this one more time: The mother’s health and well being go hand in hand with a successful delivery.

    You’ve ultimately got two options on the table:
    1. Let the mother die
    2. Let the baby die

    Even if a pro-life person says, “No, save the baby, not the mother.” They are still endorsing a decision that will end the life of someone and are therefore still caught in a tangle. So ultimately the decision has to be weighed out, not arrived at according to strict dogma.

    Can we actually say the mother’s life is more important? I believe we can, to a certain extent. I already made the point that a successful delivery is dependent on the well being and health of the mother, as well as the 9 month term. And the mother may already have children, a husband, or at the bare minimum, a family that loves her and doesn’t want her to die. The mother’s life is also vitally important in the life of the new born child as well as her other children. She is, in a very real sense of the word: needed. Added to the fact, and I don’t want this to sound calloused… she can hopefully have more children. What if you let the mother live and she has 5 more children? Couldn’t you then conclude that had you killed the mother, and let the baby be born that those 5 lives were disallowed? That can get too hypothetical, but I think you get my point.

    This is not an easy decision, and we should thank our sovereign God that it is a rare situation to be faced with.

  44. Benjamin A March 13, 2008 at 1:31 pm #

    Bryan L,

    At 7:13 am you said, “Believe me, I’ve commented here long enough to notice when things are strangely silent over a controversial issue.”

    It seems you have become strangely silent.

    I know your out there reading/thinking.

    What say you?

  45. Brett March 13, 2008 at 1:44 pm #

    What about this post just weeks back?

    http://www.dennyburk.com/?p=1355

    It is an incredible story, but by Denny’s standards she was justified morally to have an abortion.

  46. Bryan L March 13, 2008 at 1:59 pm #

    I understand where y’all are coming from believe me. But the fact is that at some point you see it as the lesser of two evils and that it is in fact ok for a mother to kill her child. You come at it from the view that it is better to save one life than neither, but again if you carry the analogy of infanticide that is often appealed to on this blog and the angry uncompromising rhetoric that it is no different than infanticide or mass murder then the logical consequence is that it is no different in the situation where the mother’s life is at stake.

    All of you wanted to now use softer language. No longer is it murder and abortion and killing the baby it is ‘allowing to die’, ‘removing’, ‘saving the mother’s life’, etc.

    It sounded oddly similar to people who are pro-choice and try to see the complexity of the situation, and the difficult choice a mother is left with. Not that they want abortion but that they recognize how tragic it is and how some people see it as their only option and the lesser of two evils.

    But is this the only legitimate time a mother is allowed to make that decision; when he life is in danger? What about all the other complicated issues that get raised? What about the pre-teen raped by her father or uncle? What if it doesn’t just kill the mother but makes her disabled? What about the crack addicted prostitute that has AIDS? What about the poverty stricken mother of 4 who can’t even provide a life for the children she has? What about the country where the children are just going to be born to eventually die of starvation or some preventable disease?

    What is it about life that makes it the ultimate good so that it should be held on to in all situations, no matter what the quality of it is? Why do we care so much about people that are born but not so much the quality of life they are born into?

    I’m not saying that I’m pro-choice (at least not in the complete sense), but if we can decide that in a particular case it may be acceptable and not considered murder, why must the line get drawn there? Who decided that? Could there be other issues too? Do we have to pretend that everyone who is pro-choice thinks that abortions are good and doesn’t struggle with the fact that they’re ending a life; and that everyone who gets one is just selfish and wants to live their own life without consequences?

    Can we step away from some of the rhetoric and condemnation?

    Bryan

  47. Bryan L March 13, 2008 at 2:32 pm #

    Oh and sorry Ben, I had some stuff I had to do and I commented as soon as I got home. Is that cool with you?

    Plus after the first response I wanted to wait for a few more responses so that it wouldn’t just be me and one other person talking. K?

  48. jeremy z March 13, 2008 at 2:43 pm #

    My point to my story was that this my friend was convinced that having an abortion was the only answer for her situation.

    Yes she had other viable options, however the option was up to her. She essentially had the choice to do whatever she wanted about her unexpected pregnancy.

    so why shouldn’t she be treated that way? are we called to judge? or are we called to love?
    Even though when we disagree with her choice? Can we and should we love those who chose something in which we disagree with?

  49. Benjamin A March 13, 2008 at 2:46 pm #

    Bryan L,

    Sure. Cool with me. K!

    I apparently misunderstood your intent from post 16. Your original question was;
    “So why is it not murder for a woman to kill her child when her life is at stake but it is murder when her life isn’t in danger?”

    Obviously a very, very rare occasion, in comparison to all other reasons (inconvenience leading the way) for the killing of human life.
    I must say, I’m truly disappointed in your reply. I’m shocked to learn that you would allow both mother and child to die when one life could have been saved (in the case of an ectopic pregnancy). Reflective of the culture of death.

    It seems to me that a couple of us tried to answer your question above on a personal level, and you have chosen not to respond to the issue at hand. Per your question.

    You extrapolate our answer from one singular issue, saving life of mother, and want to apply it across the broadest of spectrums (every other occurrence of abortion). Again, sorely disappointed.

    If you want my answer on every other issue you have mentioned. Let’s deal with them one at a time. I will give you my response and you give yours. And others can chime in as they feel so led. Deal?

  50. Benjamin A March 13, 2008 at 2:59 pm #

    Jeremy Z,

    Sure, we are called to love others. It’s the royal law.

    And while I will judge nobody; I will allow God’s word to stand as judge over everybody.

    My loving a sinner doesn’t make their sin acceptable. Though it may lead them to Christ who is able to save them from sin. But scripture makes it clear we are not to tolerate sin in the assembly of the saints. It tells us to lovingly remove them from our midst if they continue in unrepentant sin.

    After making the wrong choice, telling her it’s OK won’t make the pain and guilt vanish. It won’t even make it morally acceptable. Sometimes love is more than an arm around the shoulder saying “It’s OK”.
    Didn’t mama ever teach you about tough love? Read James 5:19-20. That’s love bro.

  51. Bryan L March 13, 2008 at 3:04 pm #

    Sorry but you have misunderstood me Ben.

    If you read me and came away with the idea that I would like both mother and child to die in a situation where the mothers life is at stake, then I don’t know how much more I could say to you if you didn’t understand my point of view on that most basic issue in this discussion.

  52. Benjamin A March 13, 2008 at 3:39 pm #

    I will grant an overstatement on my part. Though you nowhere say “Save the life of the mother.” Just saying, “I understand where y’all are coming from believe me.” Or “but if we can decide that in a particular case it may be acceptable and not considered murder, why must the line get drawn there?”
    This isn’t the same as agreeing with what we are saying. So I don’t know how you expected me to read between the lines and come to the conclusion that you are in agreement.

    So it seems that we agree on the issue of the saving the mother’s life?

    I think. Again, I feel as if I’m putting words in your mouth. And again, post 51 isn’t explicitly clear either.

    On important topics like when is murder allowable, we must speak clearly to one another if we are going to get anywhere.

    My offer still stands. I would like to discover where Bryan L. really stands on abortion. We can deal with any slice of the pie you want to serve up. Both (or others) will clearly respond to the issue on the floor. Game?

    1. Rape
    2. incest (a teenager being raped by their father or uncle or brother or something)?
    3. others??

  53. Benjamin A March 13, 2008 at 3:46 pm #

    More others-

    What about all the other complicated issues that get raised?

    What about the pre-teen raped by her father or uncle?

    What if it doesn’t just kill the mother but makes her disabled?

    What about the crack addicted prostitute that has AIDS?

    What about the poverty stricken mother of 4 who can’t even provide a life for the children she has?

    What about the country where the children are just going to be born to eventually die of starvation or some preventable disease?

  54. Lucas Knisely March 13, 2008 at 3:47 pm #

    Bryan,

    Thanks for responding.

    You said:I understand where y’all are coming from believe me. But the fact is that at some point you see it as the lesser of two evils and that it is in fact ok for a mother to kill her child. You come at it from the view that it is better to save one life than neither, but again if you carry the analogy of infanticide that is often appealed to on this blog and the angry uncompromising rhetoric that it is no different than infanticide or mass murder then the logical consequence is that it is no different in the situation where the mother’s life is at stake.

    The infanticide analogy doesn’t apply in an instance where a life is being saved. If you are actively choosing to save a life, and the consequence is that the baby’s life is terminated, that is nowhere close to the same as leaving a child to die because it is unwanted. You have to see that motive changes the situation. If you can’t agree that motive changes the justness of a given situation, then what do you do when a man is going to kill your wife and you have a gun aimed at his head? That is far different from shooting a stranger just because you don’t think he deserves to live.

    You said: All of you wanted to now use softer language. No longer is it murder and abortion and killing the baby it is ‘allowing to die’, ‘removing’, ’saving the mother’s life’, etc.

    So in my above example with the man that is going to kill your wife, would you like to be called a murderer or a hero? You save your wife’s life and we just have to stay consistent and use strong language, so sorry Bryan you aren’t a hero, you’re a murderer. I think, again, that the different motive and situation calls for different language. “Oh I’m so sorry you had to be a murderer in order to save your wife’s life. That poor murdered baby.”

    You said: It sounded oddly similar to people who are pro-choice and try to see the complexity of the situation, and the difficult choice a mother is left with. Not that they want abortion but that they recognize how tragic it is and how some people see it as their only option and the lesser of two evils.

    The difference is that no matter what the reason, be it born into poverty, bad home situation, rape, etc. None of those are motivated by saving the life of another person. There simply is no adequate parallel.

    You said: But is this the only legitimate time a mother is allowed to make that decision; when he life is in danger? What about all the other complicated issues that get raised? What about the pre-teen raped by her father or uncle? What if it doesn’t just kill the mother but makes her disabled? What about the crack addicted prostitute that has AIDS? What about the poverty stricken mother of 4 who can’t even provide a life for the children she has? What about the country where the children are just going to be born to eventually die of starvation or some preventable disease?

    All these hypothetical situations are a tad exhausting, but let’s take them one at a time.

    The rape incest rape victim I’m always cautious when we use a graphic sin to justify another. Many abuse victims use drugs and have destructive behavior. Does the abuse justify their sin? And why let a rapist be a murderer as well? What ever happened to God’s grace being sufficient?

    The possible disabled mother This example is just poor, but for the sake of argument… Being disabled isn’t ending your life, and should therefore not be a reason to justify aborting the birth.

    The crack addicted prostitute with AIDS These type of extremes are just exhausting, Bryan. This example is someone so steeped in sin that you would need to deal with many other issues before even attempting to convince this person to not have an abortion.

    You said: What is it about life that makes it the ultimate good so that it should be held on to in all situations, no matter what the quality of it is? Why do we care so much about people that are born but not so much the quality of life they are born into?

    Because the quality of life argument is pure speculation and driven by humanism rather than God’s word. If a doctor comes to me and says, “If your wife births this child, she will die.” That is a far cry different from a woman saying, “I don’t have enough money to give my child a high quality of life.” One is speculation from someone who has obviously made a poor judgment call, ie: having sex when you can’t afford another child, and the other is a professional seeking to save the mother’s life.

    You said: I’m not saying that I’m pro-choice (at least not in the complete sense), but if we can decide that in a particular case it may be acceptable and not considered murder, why must the line get drawn there? Who decided that? Could there be other issues too? Do we have to pretend that everyone who is pro-choice thinks that abortions are good and doesn’t struggle with the fact that they’re ending a life; and that everyone who gets one is just selfish and wants to live their own life without consequences?

    I will agree with you whole heartily that some people are not compassionate and use harsh rhetoric condemning everyone involved with abortions. This topic should be met with tons of compassion, but also an uncompromising commitment to God’s truth. Don’t use one extreme: those using harsh rhetoric; and retreat to another extreme: flimsy relativism that embraces numerous exceptions.

  55. Benjamin A March 13, 2008 at 4:03 pm #

    Lucas,

    Well said. Very clear. Good work.

  56. Bryan L March 13, 2008 at 5:09 pm #

    Lucas,

    “The infanticide analogy doesn’t apply in an instance where a life is being saved. If you are actively choosing to save a life, and the consequence is that the baby’s life is terminated, that is nowhere close to the same as leaving a child to die because it is unwanted.”

    I’m sorry but who arbitrarily decided this? The same person that decided abortion is always murder and no different than infanticide? If all you are telling me is that this is your opinion, ok, but that is in no way convincing. As I pointed out if a mother sacrificed her child that was outside the womb because her life was in danger and she was trying to save it no one would think she was morally justified.

    “You have to see that motive changes the situation. If you can’t agree that motive changes the justness of a given situation, then what do you do when a man is going to kill your wife and you have a gun aimed at his head?”

    Your analogy doesn’t fit. A better one would be what do you do when your child has a gun pointed at your wife’s head. An even better one would be your wife has your child by the hand while the child’s dangles over a cliff but if she do not let the child go the child will pull her with them. And there are even better analogies than that but ti would get to long and drawn out to keep listing them.

    “So in my above example with the man that is going to kill your wife, would you like to be called a murderer or a hero? You save your wife’s life and we just have to stay consistent and use strong language, so sorry Bryan you aren’t a hero, you’re a murderer.”

    Again your above example wasn’t a fitting analogy. And all that this show’s is that language like hero and murderer are purely for emotional and rhetorical effect and will be used by those who know that logic and argument alone aren’t enough but that we have to appeal to people feelings.

    “None of those are motivated by saving the life of another person. There simply is no adequate parallel.”

    Again you hold life up as the highest good possible without any question as to the quality of life. And no it’s not purely humanistic to question this. They are many many cultures that do not hold up life as the highest good but other things like honor and family and even quality. Look at Samson in the Bible. His quality of life at the end was crap and he decided that he would rather die than continue living that way and God granted him that wish. Was God just being humanistic? When a mother gives up her child to another person so that the child can have a better life is that just humanism?

    “Because the quality of life argument is pure speculation and driven by humanism rather than God’s word.”

    Pure speculation? What is it speculating about? Is giving birth to babies so important that we think even if they are going to be born into a hell hole where they’ll die of starvation of preventable disease it’s still worth it? The quality of life argument is not speculation at all. You have people who are saying we can make a difference now in the quality of life of people. We can help lessen poverty and make these environments where these babies are being born in way better, and then you have others who come along and say that’s a secondary issue, let’s spend all out time fighting a battle that is only concerned with our own country (making abortion illegal in America) and which is probably near impossible to win, while those other things keep getting worse and worse. Quality of life is not speculation. If people don’t care for others who are living and breathing and who have lives right now then don’t tell me how much they care for babies inside the womb. That care goes out the window once they’re born.

    “Because the quality of life argument is pure speculation and driven by humanism rather than God’s word.”

    God’s word? What part of God’s word? Was it the part that said kill all the Canaanites including the children? Was it the part where God said ‘”Abraham sacrifice Isaac” and he tried to do it? Was it the part that said blessed is he that dashes Babylonian babies against the rocks? I’m sorry but there is quite a bit of killing and disregard for life in the Bible so I think I might have missed he exact verses that you are referring to.

    “If a doctor comes to me and says, “If your wife births this child, she will die.” That is a far cry different from a woman saying, “I don’t have enough money to give my child a high quality of life.” One is speculation from someone who has obviously made a poor judgment call, ie: having sex when you can’t afford another child, and the other is a professional seeking to save the mother’s life.”

    I’m glad you used the weakest of my examples. How about the girl that has been raped by her brother and the child is going to be born deformed or retarded? Was that just her bad decision too? Or the prostitute that is turning tricks to support her crack addiction. I’m sure it was just a bad decision when she started smoking it but it is still a reality that happens.

    “Don’t use one extreme: those using harsh rhetoric; and retreat to another extreme: flimsy relativism that embraces numerous exceptions.”

    I bring up the harsh rhetoric because it always clouds this discussion. If you don’t like it in return, then next time speak up against those on your side who are using it instead of letting them get away with it.

    What’s flimsy about it? Is it an all or nothing issue so that to allow a few more exceptions opens the door for everything else? Must it be either an absolute ban or all out relativism? Of course not because you’ve made an exception to the life of a woman being at stake and you don’t think the door has swung open. Can we say there are some other situations that we can see as also morally justifying an abortion (although still tragic and the lesser of 2 evils) and still not open the door for every case and situation?

    We can’t elevate laws (even Christian laws) over people. We weren’t made for the laws, laws were made for us, and the minute we begin to elevate a principal above a person then we have loved the law more than them.

    Bryan

  57. Lucas Knisely March 13, 2008 at 5:26 pm #

    Bryan,

    You said:I’m glad you used the weakest of my examples. How about the girl that has been raped by her brother and the child is going to be born deformed or retarded? Was that just her bad decision too? Or the prostitute that is turning tricks to support her crack addiction.

    Apparently you missed the part where I addressed each of your examples one by one. And I’ll take your response piece by piece when I get a chance.

  58. Bryan L March 13, 2008 at 5:47 pm #

    Lucas I did not miss them. In fact I thought they lacked compassion and were rather dismissive showing a complete disregard for these peoples actual lives and holding up the good of life (regardless of quality) up as the highest good in these situations.

    And when it came time for you to show what the difference was between a mother who’s life is at stake and one that wasn’t you chose to pick the most mild of cases, a woman who doesn’t have enough money to provide a child with a HIGH quality of life. You used that situation for rhetorical effect to show complete polar opposites instead of something that is a little closer on the spectrum to the seriousness of a woman’s life being in danger. Your’s was purely for rhetorical effect. Mine were actual cases that can and do come up and which I am asking why there can’t be exceptions for these issues as well and not just for the woman who doesn’t have enough money to send her child to college.

    Bryan

  59. Lucas Knisely March 13, 2008 at 5:57 pm #

    Bryan,

    You threw out a smattering of examples and I attempted to deal with them briefly for the sake of anyone reading. If you feel they lacked compassion, maybe firing off a bunch of different examples isn’t the best approach to having them each dealt with slowly and compassionately.

  60. Bryan L March 13, 2008 at 6:01 pm #

    Maybe attempting to address everything when you can’t do so adequately and compassionately isn’t the best approach.

  61. Lucas Knisely March 13, 2008 at 6:07 pm #

    Bryan,

    You are the one throwing out large responses with tons of examples and hypothetical situations. I wasn’t the only to point this out. If you are just going to be condescending and act like nobody’s response is good enough, then you’re giving us a view into how much you really want to discuss topic this in the first place. I wasn’t trying to insult you, Bryan. I was pointing out how you were the one making it difficult to slowly go through each example. So don’t turn this into some passive insulting match.

  62. Bryan L March 13, 2008 at 6:17 pm #

    No body told you you had to respond to everything. It was your desire to be exhaustive in your refutation. Don’t blame me for that fact that you feel like you have to answer every single thing said. And I’m not even being condescending to you. I’m not talking to you like your slow or stupid (which I don’t think you or anyone here is). And I didn’t come with tons of examples and hypothetical situations. I came with 4. That’s beyond exaggeration and hyperbole.

    I didn’t act like nobody’s answer was good enough. I criticized the weak dichotomy you set up (between the mother trying to save her life and the mother who just can’t give her child a HIGH quality of life) which you did so for sarcastic and rhetorical effect so as to make the issue look less complicated and messy than it was. When I objected you then pointed to your answers to my hypothetical situations but the problem is that those answers are irrelevant because they weren’t in the context that your dichotomy was and they were all a lot more difficult than the example you decided to use. Plus as I mentioned you just showed a lack of compassion in them and that’s why I didn’t even choose to address them at all.

  63. Bryan L March 13, 2008 at 6:24 pm #

    I just want to state what the points I’m trying to make are before I get pulled off in a direction that I’m not looking at going.

    1.) I don’t care for the rhetoric that is often used here concerning abortion. Often it is called murder like it was cold blooded and desensitized no matter what the situation. It is also compared to infanticide as if someone were putting a bullet in the head of their 2 year old. I don’t have a problem with people seeing abortion as immoral or wrong, but to employ this type of language is merely for rhetorical effect and it shows an unwillingness to discuss the actual issues as it is attempting to color peoples perceptions before the fact ad it is in some way begging the question as it assumes that abortion in every situation is on the same level as murdering a child. And sometimes it’s even worse when people’s salvation is called into question without anyone speaking up against this, because it’s not their salvation being called into question.

    2.) If you insist on seeing abortion as murder and comparable to infanticide because whether a child is inside the womb or outside the womb, they are still a person on the same level as everyone else, then it follows that you should see it as murder in every case even if the mothers life is at stake (if you are being consistent and not making up the “rules” arbitrarily). This is because if the situation were the same outside the womb where a mother had to choose between saving her life by killing her child or both of them dying, we would see it as murder and evil if she decided to kill her child even if she were able to save her own life.

    3.) If you can see abortion in the case of saving a woman’s life to be morally justifiable (even when some people who are more hardliners on the subject can’t and they see even that as black and white) is it possible that there might be other situations that are a little gray or not so white and clear? And is it possible to be a little understanding to those people who see those other issues as just a serious?

    4.) I would rather us maintain our differences but tone down the rhetoric and stop acting like it’s all unambiguous and everyone who chooses to have an abortion is just selfish and wanting to live life without any consequences (which we don’t want to lift a finger to help with when they face those consequences). There are some cases where it’s not so nice and simple and neat and no matter what is chosen it is a lesser of two evils.

    Blessings,
    Bryan L

  64. Lucas Knisely March 13, 2008 at 7:46 pm #

    Bryan,

    I’m going to respond to your most recent points since they are easier to address and say most of the same things you said to me in your initial response.

    1.) I don’t care for the rhetoric that is often used here concerning abortion. Often it is called murder like it was cold blooded and desensitized no matter what the situation. It is also compared to infanticide as if someone were putting a bullet in the head of their 2 year old. I don’t have a problem with people seeing abortion as immoral or wrong, but to employ this type of language is merely for rhetorical effect and it shows an unwillingness to discuss the actual issues as it is attempting to color peoples perceptions before the fact ad it is in some way begging the question as it assumes that abortion in every situation is on the same level as murdering a child. And sometimes it’s even worse when people’s salvation is called into question without anyone speaking up against this, because it’s not their salvation being called into question.

    And I don’t care for people clouding the issue with extreme hypothetical examples in an effort to distract from the fact that millions of children are murdered while the hypothetical examples aren’t even close to being the norm. Attempting to complicate the issue just because you personally think it is far more complex than some of us make it is your opinion, and I think you hotly disregarded my opinion early. One could claim your hypothetical examples are merely employed for rhetorical effect and that it shows an unwillingness to see this as a fairly simple issue, save the one example of a birth causing the death of a mother (which is extremely rare). You are the one using emotional arguments to sway people into thinking that abortion may sometimes be acceptable.

    If the entire point of your argument is to say, “You guys aren’t treating this with compassion, my examples show that you need to be gentler in how you talk about this.” Then say just that. But I sense a deeper purpose in your responses. You aren’t asking us to only lighten up our language; you are asking us to consider other situations where killing a child might be justified. And you are doing this through emotionally charged extreme hypothetical examples, which is the definition of “rhetoric”.

    2.) If you insist on seeing abortion as murder and comparable to infanticide because whether a child is inside the womb or outside the womb, they are still a person on the same level as everyone else, then it follows that you should see it as murder in every case even if the mothers life is at stake (if you are being consistent and not making up the “rules” arbitrarily). This is because if the situation were the same outside the womb where a mother had to choose between saving her life by killing her child or both of them dying, we would see it as murder and evil if she decided to kill her child even if she were able to save her own life.

    Again, we have response that is based on speculation. A doctor is a professional in a non-hostile environment (his life isn’t being immediately threatened) and he/she is in a position to make an educated judgment call. You are manufacturing an example that is so beyond actually ever happening that I can’t believe you expect anyone to take it seriously. When would a mother ever be faced with dying alongside her child or sacrificing the child to survive outside of the situation we are discussing? If you can’t come up with a plausible situation then your example is just more emotionally charged hyperbole and proves nothing.

    3.) If you can see abortion in the case of saving a woman’s life to be morally justifiable (even when some people who are more hardliners on the subject can’t and they see even that as black and white) is it possible that there might be other situations that are a little gray or not so white and clear? And is it possible to be a little understanding to those people who see those other issues as just a serious?

    All the examples you’ve thrown out haven’t warranted being taken serious because they were extreme and hypothetical. You can’t possibly expect a bunch of strangers to read your manufactured extreme examples and tearfully write up compassionate responses. I’m not saying this to be mean, but honestly, your examples are cold cut to begin with.

    And “quality of life” is a terrible argument, and I’ll tell you why. What about the incredible stories of people that haven risen from the ashes of poverty, sexual abuse, and forced drug abuse to be very successful and influential people? You are basically saying that it might have been justifiable to abort them because they were born into a terrible, poverty stricken, abusive filled, and low quality of life situations. God allows people to face terrible things every day, and we can’t start manufacturing what we think are acceptable living conditions and abort babies accordingly. Nor can we approach every possible pregnancy with open ears and arms, keeping abortion on the table as an option.

    4.) I would rather us maintain our differences but tone down the rhetoric and stop acting like it’s all unambiguous and everyone who chooses to have an abortion is just selfish and wanting to live life without any consequences (which we don’t want to lift a finger to help with when they face those consequences). There are some cases where it’s not so nice and simple and neat and no matter what is chosen it is a lesser of two evils.

    I don’t like it when people hotly condemn those who’ve had or approve of abortions either. But I also don’t like it when examples and rhetoric are used to make some abortions out to be “mercy killings”. To me, it’s worse than the people who throw around hostile rhetoric about abortion. One is someone who, while in need of tact and compassion, knows where they stand; the other position is confusing, flimsy, and passively giving many people a free pass on the basis of the “complexity” of the decision.

  65. Bryan L March 13, 2008 at 8:41 pm #

    Over and over Lucas you show that you fail to get the main points I am trying to make and want to continue making this a shouting match. Fine. I don’t expect much else from this blog anyway. Most discussions come down to ‘you’re wrong and I’m right’, ‘forget rational arguments and analogies that illustrate a point, your just trying to use that to cloud the real issue’. You over and over beg the question and never set out to prove what you are arguing for but just assume it. This is easy to do on a blog where everyone agrees with except for a few.

    You also seem to have trouble seeing what the purpose of an analogy is. It helps us understand something by looking at something else that is really similar but not exactly the same. It helps us to see that if something is wrong in this situation then it is also wrong in an analogous situation when certain key criteria are still in place. Yet you think it is just for rhetoric. Is it because I accused y’all of so much rhetoric that you felt you had to try and turn it around on me and make it look like I am the one who is over and over appealing to emotion? That seems to be one of your favorite things to do Lucas: try to turn the tables around and say, ‘nah ah you did it, not me!’.

    Of course in addition to the analogies I was using to make a point for one thing, I also used extreme examples for something else I was discussing (you seem to confuse the analogies and the examples and group them all together and mix them up). That’s what you don’t seem to be getting Lucas. Those examples were not for rhetorical effect so that I can play on your emotions and open the door for everything else. I have said that is not what I’m trying to do. I brought up those extreme examples because even if they are rare, it doesn’t matter how rare they are when it happens to you or someone you love. 1 in a million means nothing when you’re that one and Christians need to have a real answer for those situations other than just sorry this didn’t fall into the one exception we allow.

    I love how you point out all the wonderful people that have “risen from the ashes of poverty, sexual abuse, and forced drug abuse to be very successful and influential people” and then accuse me of using extreme hypothetical examples. Do you really want to compare statistics of how many people go through those situations and nothing good happens to them and the few that rise above them. Incredible. I guess when those extreme examples serve your purpose then they’re perfectly fine to use.

    I also think it’s sad how you throw it on God as the one responsible for people having crappy lives. I guess that is what I would expect from a tradition that emphasizes the all determining will of God in everything. If God allows these people to be born into these crappy situations is he also allowing them to have all these abortions? If one is somehow his will is the other? Funny how that works out. Oh I’m sorry is that emotional rhetoric again? My bad.

    The worst thing you do though is when you characterize my position as saying that abortion is an option in every case(“Nor can we approach every possible pregnancy with open ears and arms, keeping abortion on the table as an option.”). It convinces me that you hear me saying whatever you want to and are not actually listening or paying attention.

    I’ll be honest with you Lucas and I hope you don’t take this the wrong way. I’ve debated and discussed and had conversations with a lot of people on this blog. Lots. But I have never found anyone as frustrating to try to communicate with as you. I’ve never felt like I’m completely talking past someone as with you. I don’t say this lightly, but others on this bored seem easy to connect with and get a point across to and even have some fruitful dialog with (they’re getting rarer and rarer though). Not so with you. I don’t know why this is. Maybe this is something you’ll pat yourself on the back for but if our purpose on here is discussion, understanding and dialog (and some debate), I wouldn’t. Honestly most of the time I don’t even really want to respond to you because of my past experiences with you but sometimes because you post such long responses to my long posts there’s no getting around it and I’m too prideful to let others think I have nothing to say in response (one of my weaknesses). I’ll learn someday. Maybe now would be a good time. Take care.

    Later.

  66. Denny Burk March 13, 2008 at 9:47 pm #

    Bryan (in #63),

    You wrote: “If you insist on seeing abortion as murder and comparable to infanticide because whether a child is inside the womb or outside the womb, they are still a person on the same level as everyone else, then it follows that you should see it as murder in every case even if the mothers life is at stake (if you are being consistent and not making up the “rules” arbitrarily).”

    An elementary principle of justice says that when two legitimate rights conflict, the right that protects the higher value should prevail. We deny the right to drive at 100 miles per hour because the value of life is greater than the value of being able to drive as fast as you want.

    The right of the unborn not to be killed and the right of a woman not to be pregnant may be at odds. But they are not equal rights. Staying alive is more precious and more basic than not being pregnant. But in abortion, we reverse this order. (source)

    However, in rare situations in which two lives are at stake and only one can be saved, then you have two lives at stake that have equal claim to a right to life. In situations in which you have to choose one or the other, choosing to save a life is the right thing to do.

    There are virtually no conditions that threaten the mother’s life in which abortion is a medically recognized treatment. In some conditions (e.g., an ectopic pregnancy or a cancerous uterus) a treatment may be required which indirectly kills the preborn. But in such cases, the treatment does not legally or morally qualify as an abortion. When removing a cancerous uterus, the intent is to save the mother; every effort to save the child should still be made. Thus even if the child dies, the treatment is still fully justified. The death of the child was never INTENDED. In contrast, for an abortion the intent is always the same: to kill the preborn child. (source)

    Moral culpability for murder only obtains where there is intent.

    Denny

  67. Bryan L March 13, 2008 at 10:10 pm #

    Oh my God! Denny you never respond to me. Why now? Either way thanks. It helps me better understand your viewpoint. I wish you would have responded a long time ago though. You would have saved me a lot of time : ) Although the only question that comes to mind is who decides what is the higher good and greater right in different circumstances? What is the basis of those decisions?

    But I’ll leave that for another time as you have answered my question to my satisfaction.

    Be Blessed,
    Bryan

  68. Lucas Knisely March 13, 2008 at 10:28 pm #

    Bryan,

    Once again the “you are misunderstanding my points” bow-out is used, and big surprise it’s riddled with baseless and passive accusations. You can summarize my responses any way you want, but any careful reader will see that I was attempting to deal with every aspect of your responses and never once turned it into a “shouting match”. You are apparently “frustrated” when someone takes your responses and addresses them piece by piece, and for that I can’t apologize.

    I suppose I could throw my hands up and say “you aren’t understanding my points” and then hurl a bunch of baseless and unfair accusations at you, but it is wrong and ultimately achieves nothing.

    And Denny just showed and reinforced what I’ve been saying the entire time! Your parallels don’t function due to difference of intent.

    You asked me what my position was on ONE issue: when a mother’s life is at stake. You then responded to my post with a bunch of examples that I and now Denny have shown, do not parallel in the way you tried to make them.

    Bryan, my guess about me being the only one that frustrates you is that I’m the only one that addresses your comments piece by piece, and that is something you aren’t used to. I don’t do this to be intentionally frustrating. I do it because I feel it is the only fair way to respond to what someone has said. It is too easy to start going off on a tangent when a response isn’t guided by the actual comment it is responding to.

  69. Bryan L March 13, 2008 at 10:36 pm #

    I’m sorry if I hurt your feeling Lucas. Please forgive me if I did. I just wanted you to know why if I don’t respond to you in the future, what the reason is. I just don’t think we are able to have fruitful dialog for whatever reason and I find myself spending too much of my time trying to and I end up just spinning my wheels. Maybe it is me not you. Whatever, it doesn’t matter to me either way. I just don’t want you to have any hard feelings or think that I’m trying to blow you off.

    Have a good one.

  70. Lucas Knisely March 14, 2008 at 7:27 am #

    Bryan,

    No hard feelings bro.

  71. Benjamin A March 14, 2008 at 2:51 pm #

    Bryan L,

    Well, it looks like you and Lucas wore each other down. Having read all those posts I still don’t know where you stand on saving a mother’s life. I’m still left assuming a position for you.

    It seems, from what you have said that you are open to allowing an abortion in several extreme cases. I’m not trying to put words in your mouth, just trying to decipher all that you have written.

    Maybe you could make it simple for me. Respond to this post and list all the cases you would see abortion as being a legitimate choice. I won’t debate them, and I won’t even make a response to them. But I am interested in knowing where you draw your lines on the issue of abortion.

    Thanks.

  72. Bryan L March 14, 2008 at 3:42 pm #

    Ben,
    I don’t know where I stand on them. Sorry. I know you probably thought I has some preconceived views on them but I actually don’t. At the least I do agree that abortion is morally justifiable to save a mothers life but on some of the other issues I’m not so sure such as in the case of rape or incest or in cases where the child would only be born into extreme suffering (disease, starvation, genocide, raised for prostitution). In either case I think it would be a tragedy and mean picking between the least tragic. But again I go back and forth on my opinion on those.

    As you mentioned though I’m not looking at debating these and will not even bother trying since I don’t know where I really stand on these. Hope that helps.

    Bryan

  73. Benjamin A March 14, 2008 at 3:58 pm #

    Bryan L,

    Thanks for the reply.

    Enjoy the weekend.

  74. GrimeTime March 15, 2008 at 8:49 pm #

    Bryan L,

    I thought I would ask about your using the Lord’s name in vain in post #67. We should only use God’s name when addressing Him, praising Him, or talking about Him. His name is holy and shouldn’t be used as an expression of any kind. I hope that it is just that you didn’t know it is blasphemy. And before anyone can accuse me with Matthew 7:1, understand the point of what Jesus is saying. He was talking about judging self righteously and hypocritically. My intent and hope is that you see your sin and turn from it. It is no small thing.

    You shall not take the name of the LORD your God in vain, for the LORD will not leave him unpunished who takes His name in vain. Exodus 20:7

    In His name as His saint,
    GrimeTime

  75. Bryan L March 15, 2008 at 10:04 pm #

    wow. That’s different.

    Is God’s actual name “God”? I must have missed that when Moses was asking him who shall I say sent me and he said “Tell them GOD has sent me to you”.

    Either way thanks for your concern.

    Blessings,
    Bryan L

  76. Quixote March 16, 2008 at 8:15 am #

    Denny:

    Check out this article about a new study showing that having an abortion can lead to mental illness:

    http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/life_and_style/health/article3559486.ece

  77. Brett March 20, 2008 at 9:22 pm #

    GrimeTime,

    Big misunderstanding of that commandment brother. It’s very common though, so I’m not surprised.

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