A Pro-Choice Christian

 
saralynn
 
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saralynn
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17 February 2012 23:01
 

A friend of mine sent me this.  I think he is planning on sending it to his local paper.  He lives in the heart of the Bible belt. 

I thought it was quite interesting.  He provides some good arguments…...at least I think they’re good arguments….which one might use to influence pro-lifers “on their own turf”.  Anything flawed about his reasoning and conclusions?


The Biblical perspective:

I dread wading into this perspective because it is so full of “opinion” and individual interpretation rather than fact - so I will simply try to state what should be obvious to an honest student of the Bible. From the historical orthodox Biblical perspective “Human Life” does not begin with conception as many pro-life people claim. It begins with self-awareness - the birth of the soul some period after the breath of life enters the body. It is an extended process that turns us into “humans” according to all historical orthodox Biblical teaching. The Bible clearly teaches this in Genesis with the Adam creation story. The text says that God created the body of man from the dust of the earth and then breathed the “breath of life” into the body of that man and then - and only then - did the man “become” a living soul. So the Bible clearly teaches that the part of man which makes him human - the soul - is not created at the moment of conception but instead is created by way of a process of continuing development - sometime after the breath of life enters the human body. The soul - self awareness - is what makes a human a human according to the Bible. The belief in the soul has always been the orthodox perspective of the origins and nature of uniquely “human life”. Only in recent times have political minded religious leaders attempted to redefine what makes a human uniquely human by making the claim that “human life” begins at conception. This has never been the historical orthodox position of any denomination of the Christian church until the modern era.

The old testament has one reference to abortion in Numbers 5:11–31 where a priest is advising what should be done in the case where a husband suspects his wife of pregnancy by way of unfaithfulness. The priest suggests a concoction to induce abortion. Another passage in the old testament suggests the penalty a person should pay for physically harming a pregnant women in such a way as to cause her to miscarry. The price such a person should pay according to the text is in line with paying for damage to a piece of property owned by the husband. The new testament has no direct references that could be clearly interpreted as related to abortion. However there is a very interesting statement by Jesus in the Gospels. Jesus says of the man Judas:  “It would have been better for that man had he never been born.”

So those who choose to distort the scriptures to make the claim that the Bible opposes abortion do so by appealing to fears of those who interpret “Thou shall not kill” to mean what it clearly does not mean.

 
clayforHim648
 
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clayforHim648
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18 February 2012 00:32
 
saralynn - 17 February 2012 10:01 PM

A friend of mine sent me this.  I think he is planning on sending it to his local paper.  He lives in the heart of the Bible belt. 

I thought it was quite interesting.  He provides some good arguments…...at least I think they’re good arguments….which one might use to influence pro-lifers “on their own turf”.  Anything flawed about his reasoning and conclusions?


The Biblical perspective:

I dread wading into this perspective because it is so full of “opinion” and individual interpretation rather than fact - so I will simply try to state what should be obvious to an honest student of the Bible. From the historical orthodox Biblical perspective “Human Life” does not begin with conception as many pro-life people claim. It begins with self-awareness - the birth of the soul some period after the breath of life enters the body. It is an extended process that turns us into “humans” according to all historical orthodox Biblical teaching. The Bible clearly teaches this in Genesis with the Adam creation story. The text says that God created the body of man from the dust of the earth and then breathed the “breath of life” into the body of that man and then - and only then - did the man “become” a living soul. So the Bible clearly teaches that the part of man which makes him human - the soul - is not created at the moment of conception but instead is created by way of a process of continuing development - sometime after the breath of life enters the human body. The soul - self awareness - is what makes a human a human according to the Bible. The belief in the soul has always been the orthodox perspective of the origins and nature of uniquely “human life”. Only in recent times have political minded religious leaders attempted to redefine what makes a human uniquely human by making the claim that “human life” begins at conception. This has never been the historical orthodox position of any denomination of the Christian church until the modern era.

The old testament has one reference to abortion in Numbers 5:11–31 where a priest is advising what should be done in the case where a husband suspects his wife of pregnancy by way of unfaithfulness. The priest suggests a concoction to induce abortion. Another passage in the old testament suggests the penalty a person should pay for physically harming a pregnant women in such a way as to cause her to miscarry. The price such a person should pay according to the text is in line with paying for damage to a piece of property owned by the husband. The new testament has no direct references that could be clearly interpreted as related to abortion. However there is a very interesting statement by Jesus in the Gospels. Jesus says of the man Judas:  “It would have been better for that man had he never been born.”

So those who choose to distort the scriptures to make the claim that the Bible opposes abortion do so by appealing to fears of those who interpret “Thou shall not kill” to mean what it clearly does not mean.

Hey Saralynn, I’l bite wink

While I don’t think the Bible is needed to be pro-life (as I think you know I am), your friends’ interpretation is just as selective as many other biblical defenses.  I don’t have time to find the passages, but you probably know the ones many Christians use to defend a pro-life position; there’s the one about knowing us personally while sitll in the womb, another about John the Baptist leaping in his mother’s womb at Mary’s greeting.  Of course, passages concerning election and pre-ordaining imply that God has plans for us even before we’re conceived.

 
 
saralynn
 
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saralynn
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18 February 2012 10:56
 

Clay: Hey Saralynn, I’l bite

While I don’t think the Bible is needed to be pro-life (as I think you know I am), your friends’ interpretation is just as selective as many other biblical defenses.  I don’t have time to find the passages, but you probably know the ones many Christians use to defend a pro-life position; there’s the one about knowing us personally while sitll in the womb, another about John the Baptist leaping in his mother’s womb at Mary’s greeting.  Of course, passages concerning election and pre-ordaining imply that God has plans for us even before we’re conceived.

I am so pleased that YOU responded because you, more than anyone else on PR,  represent the mindset of the people who are likely to read my friend’s letter to the newspaper. I copied your reply and sent it to him.  I am unable to offer suggestions because, other than the Jesus narrative and Paul’s letters, I haven’t read very much of the Bible.  I learned most of what I know about the Old Testament from movies.  So thanks!  I am sure he will appreciate the feedback.

John the Baptist leaped in his mother’s womb at Mary’s greeting?  When I first read this, I thought you meant that John the Baptist leaped INTO his mother’s womb at Mary’s greeting, and my brain almost short-circuited.

 
Volted
 
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Volted
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18 February 2012 12:20
 
Clay - 17 February 2012 11:32 PM
saralynn - 17 February 2012 10:01 PM

A friend of mine sent me this.  I think he is planning on sending it to his local paper.  He lives in the heart of the Bible belt. 

I thought it was quite interesting.  He provides some good arguments…...at least I think they’re good arguments….which one might use to influence pro-lifers “on their own turf”.  Anything flawed about his reasoning and conclusions?


The Biblical perspective:

I dread wading into this perspective because it is so full of “opinion” and individual interpretation rather than fact - so I will simply try to state what should be obvious to an honest student of the Bible. From the historical orthodox Biblical perspective “Human Life” does not begin with conception as many pro-life people claim. It begins with self-awareness - the birth of the soul some period after the breath of life enters the body. It is an extended process that turns us into “humans” according to all historical orthodox Biblical teaching. The Bible clearly teaches this in Genesis with the Adam creation story. The text says that God created the body of man from the dust of the earth and then breathed the “breath of life” into the body of that man and then - and only then - did the man “become” a living soul. So the Bible clearly teaches that the part of man which makes him human - the soul - is not created at the moment of conception but instead is created by way of a process of continuing development - sometime after the breath of life enters the human body. The soul - self awareness - is what makes a human a human according to the Bible. The belief in the soul has always been the orthodox perspective of the origins and nature of uniquely “human life”. Only in recent times have political minded religious leaders attempted to redefine what makes a human uniquely human by making the claim that “human life” begins at conception. This has never been the historical orthodox position of any denomination of the Christian church until the modern era.

The old testament has one reference to abortion in Numbers 5:11–31 where a priest is advising what should be done in the case where a husband suspects his wife of pregnancy by way of unfaithfulness. The priest suggests a concoction to induce abortion. Another passage in the old testament suggests the penalty a person should pay for physically harming a pregnant women in such a way as to cause her to miscarry. The price such a person should pay according to the text is in line with paying for damage to a piece of property owned by the husband. The new testament has no direct references that could be clearly interpreted as related to abortion. However there is a very interesting statement by Jesus in the Gospels. Jesus says of the man Judas:  “It would have been better for that man had he never been born.”

So those who choose to distort the scriptures to make the claim that the Bible opposes abortion do so by appealing to fears of those who interpret “Thou shall not kill” to mean what it clearly does not mean.

Hey Saralynn, I’l bite wink

While I don’t think the Bible is needed to be pro-life (as I think you know I am), your friends’ interpretation is just as selective as many other biblical defenses.  I don’t have time to find the passages, but you probably know the ones many Christians use to defend a pro-life position; there’s the one about knowing us personally while sitll in the womb, another about John the Baptist leaping in his mother’s womb at Mary’s greeting.  Of course, passages concerning election and pre-ordaining imply that God has plans for us even before we’re conceived.

What do you need to be pro-life?

 
goodgraydrab
 
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goodgraydrab
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18 February 2012 12:51
 

A pro-choice Christian for all the wrong reasons, I don’t know which is worse. The answers aren’t in that big black book, certainly, nothing to do with Adam and Eve. Sorry, can’t give him any credit, it’s still too far down the evolutionary ladder of thought.

 
 
saralynn
 
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saralynn
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18 February 2012 14:13
 

ANSWERER: A pro-choice Christian for all the wrong reasons, I don’t know which is worse. The answers aren’t in that big black book, certainly, nothing to do with Adam and Eve. Sorry, can’t give him any credit, it’s still too far down the evolutionary ladder of thought.

He’s only a Christian in the broadest sense of the word.  Very fond of Jesus, but doesn’t accept the doctrines.  He also stipulates other reasons for his pro-choice stance.  I think he is trying to get Christians to question their assumptions about abortion by interpreting their good book from a different angle.

 
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can zen
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18 February 2012 14:16
 
Answerer - 18 February 2012 11:51 AM

A pro-choice Christian for all the wrong reasons, I don’t know which is worse. The answers aren’t in that big black book, certainly, nothing to do with Adam and Eve. Sorry, can’t give him any credit, it’s still too far down the evolutionary ladder of thought.

Going to the original source of the confusion in order to get a clarification will be met with “Well, that’s your interpretation of scripture” by those who use scripture to arrive at the opposite conclusion. Formulating your conclusions from biblical confusions leads to meaninglessness.

 
 
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18 February 2012 15:27
 
saralynn - 18 February 2012 01:13 PM

ANSWERER: A pro-choice Christian for all the wrong reasons, I don’t know which is worse. The answers aren’t in that big black book, certainly, nothing to do with Adam and Eve. Sorry, can’t give him any credit, it’s still too far down the evolutionary ladder of thought.

He’s only a Christian in the broadest sense of the word.  Very fond of Jesus, but doesn’t accept the doctrines.  He also stipulates other reasons for his pro-choice stance.  I think he is trying to get Christians to question their assumptions about abortion by interpreting their good book from a different angle.

I understand that, so perhaps I should give him an E for effort. While well-meaning, it’s a useless and futile exercise. What preacher/priest is going to include this in their sermons? The markers of ‘when life begins’ is determined by nature and defined by man through science and reason, as is ‘when life ends’. The problem for theists with respect to belief is at both of these ends, failing at one negates the other and shakes the very foundation of religion. They’ll have to arrive at this on their own.

What can be imparted on them is the value of secularism along with a thorough saturation of science with the hope that some of it eventually seeps through.

 
 
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18 February 2012 17:35
 
saralynn - 17 February 2012 10:01 PM

A friend of mine sent me this.


I think your friend has provided a good example of the notion that people (at least some, probably most, maybe the vast majority) form positions based upon more emotional reasons and then fill in the more desirable version after the fact, in this case framed in religious terms.

This is also a good example of how “reframing” would work—presenting a sound argument to an audience that doesn’t think so soundly by reframing the argument in terms of the audience mindset so it doesn’t threaten and ideally actually appeals (I started a new topic about it rather than going into it here—seems as if I may recall a topic about the same issue a little while back, maybe based upon a TED Talk ... anyway, here’s the new one).

 
 
clayforHim648
 
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18 February 2012 20:01
 
saralynn - 17 February 2012 10:01 PM

A friend of mine sent me this.  I think he is planning on sending it to his local paper.  He lives in the heart of the Bible belt. 

I thought it was quite interesting.  He provides some good arguments…...at least I think they’re good arguments….which one might use to influence pro-lifers “on their own turf”.  Anything flawed about his reasoning and conclusions?


The Biblical perspective:

I dread wading into this perspective because it is so full of “opinion” and individual interpretation rather than fact - so I will simply try to state what should be obvious to an honest student of the Bible. From the historical orthodox Biblical perspective “Human Life” does not begin with conception as many pro-life people claim. It begins with self-awareness - the birth of the soul some period after the breath of life enters the body. It is an extended process that turns us into “humans” according to all historical orthodox Biblical teaching. The Bible clearly teaches this in Genesis with the Adam creation story. The text says that God created the body of man from the dust of the earth and then breathed the “breath of life” into the body of that man and then - and only then - did the man “become” a living soul. So the Bible clearly teaches that the part of man which makes him human - the soul - is not created at the moment of conception but instead is created by way of a process of continuing development - sometime after the breath of life enters the human body. The soul - self awareness - is what makes a human a human according to the Bible. The belief in the soul has always been the orthodox perspective of the origins and nature of uniquely “human life”. Only in recent times have political minded religious leaders attempted to redefine what makes a human uniquely human by making the claim that “human life” begins at conception. This has never been the historical orthodox position of any denomination of the Christian church until the modern era.

The old testament has one reference to abortion in Numbers 5:11–31 where a priest is advising what should be done in the case where a husband suspects his wife of pregnancy by way of unfaithfulness. The priest suggests a concoction to induce abortion. Another passage in the old testament suggests the penalty a person should pay for physically harming a pregnant women in such a way as to cause her to miscarry. The price such a person should pay according to the text is in line with paying for damage to a piece of property owned by the husband. The new testament has no direct references that could be clearly interpreted as related to abortion. However there is a very interesting statement by Jesus in the Gospels. Jesus says of the man Judas:  “It would have been better for that man had he never been born.”

So those who choose to distort the scriptures to make the claim that the Bible opposes abortion do so by appealing to fears of those who interpret “Thou shall not kill” to mean what it clearly does not mean.

Another consideration came to mind, Saralynn.  Most Christians that I’m familiar with are not as concerned with finding a biblical passage that clearly shows life beginning at conception.  Most Christians familiar with the Bible know already that there isn’t one passage that spells it out that easy.  In my opinion, the Christian argument really shouldn’t be that much different than a conscientious (?) non-Christian.  Conception sets in motion the natural process by which a baby develops and is born.  Messing with that process is disturbing at best, and murder at worst.  My own opinion is that its disconcerting that people are splitting hairs on this business of “when life begins”, rather than just recognizing that destroying life or potential life growing inside of women is not something that’s good for our culture or our conscience.  Your friend may be able to make a few Christians consider those particular passages, but most Christians should probably just appeal to God-given reason when it comes to opposition to abortion. 

*Possible objections Christians may have against the the two main passages/arguments your friend mentions: 

- using God’s “from scratch” creation of Adam with the breath of life to argue that as the start of life does not quite translate to the rest of mankind.  No one else was created this way.

- your friend may find it difficult also to convince thinking Christians that Numbers 5:11-31 extends beyond the ceremonial law of the Old Testament.  Even theonomists don’t usually carry ceremonial law into the era after Christ as binding for the Church.  Even if they did, abortion would apparently only actually happen with unfaithful wives who conceive with their lovers and are then found out by their husbands.

 
 
saralynn
 
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saralynn
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18 February 2012 22:13
 

Frankly, I think my friend is wasting his time, but he likes battling Christians and Conservatives, which is pretty dangerous where he lives.  His goal is to get the religious folks to view Jesus from a different angle and question the doctrines that distorted Christ’s message through the centuries.  I do believe his views reflect the changes that are occuring in the churches.  Young people simply do not view abortion and homosexuality in the same way as their parents do.

 
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18 February 2012 23:16
 
Clay - 18 February 2012 07:01 PM

In my opinion, the Christian argument really shouldn’t be that much different than a conscientious (?) non-Christian.  Conception sets in motion the natural process by which a baby develops and is born.  Messing with that process is disturbing at best, and murder at worst.  My own opinion is that its disconcerting that people are splitting hairs on this business of “when life begins”, rather than just recognizing that destroying life or potential life growing inside of women is not something that’s good for our culture or our conscience.

That’s why we rely on science, because sometimes the differences between the two are indistinguishable.

 
 
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18 February 2012 23:39
 
Answerer - 18 February 2012 10:16 PM
Clay - 18 February 2012 07:01 PM

In my opinion, the Christian argument really shouldn’t be that much different than a conscientious (?) non-Christian.  Conception sets in motion the natural process by which a baby develops and is born.  Messing with that process is disturbing at best, and murder at worst.  My own opinion is that its disconcerting that people are splitting hairs on this business of “when life begins”, rather than just recognizing that destroying life or potential life growing inside of women is not something that’s good for our culture or our conscience.

That’s why we rely on science, because sometimes the differences between the two are indistinguishable.


Yup ... a good scientific argument is a good argument even if it’s framed in religious terms.

On the other hand good religious arguments are often actually just bad arguments.

 
 
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19 February 2012 00:30
 

Religious arguments are good for those who are ignorant of science, and that would entail at least 65% of American citizens.

Every design requires a designer. Everything had a first cause. Religion answers these questions, Science does not. The latter just gives plausible ‘theories’ or hypotheses. The former talks in metaphors and anecdotes, but those things soothe the human psyche. And apparently, that’s good enough for most.

Sad indeed….......but very true.