Does the Bible Support Abortion? (Part 2)
These are the 3rd and 4th emails in a continued dialogue about the Bible's view of life's beginning. The first two emails are available in an earlier post.
Thank you so much for your considered response to my questions. I really appreciate getting a personal response. My questions are genuine, and not just rhetorical in support of what I already believe, and your responses are informative. I can't deny however that I did hope to influence your thinking on this issue.
Actually, it was the currently in the news topic of stem cell research and not abortion that led me to research what the bible has to say about ensoulment. I still believe our soul enters our body with our breath. In my beliefs, a human being is the union of the spirit and the flesh, and it is through the breath that this union takes place. Therefore, I don't belief human life begins with conception; it is just that, a concept, a potential human life. Even after reading your comments, I believe there is ample support for this in the Bible.
The problem with any writing is, unless the author is there to verify it, is that it is open to interpretation, not to mention problems with translation. We could debate the meaning and accuracy of the bible, and I do have responses to you commentary on the verses, but I'd rather not respond, because I imagine that it would only lead to further entrenchment in our positions.
Regarding compassion, there are horror stories on both sides of the reproductive rights issue. Adopted children and mother's who gave up their children both grieving their loss for an entire life. We all know that physical pain is much more tolerable that emotional and spiritual pain. A fetus may be sentient and nearly fully formed and feel pain during an abortion, but I do not believe a fetus is a living human being. I believe a child becomes human with the first breath, and with our last breath our spirit leaves our physical body.
I also don't believe that a fetus in the first few weeks of pregnancy is sentient nor does is feel pain, and again I don't believe they are living human beings. There should be no prohibitions to ending pregnancies in the days and weeks following conception. The graphic description you give of late term abortions is horrible, and I hate to think that they are ever performed, and in fact, it is my understanding that they are rare. I also understand that they are mostly used to save a mother's life, and for no other reason. Regardless of what the bible says, common sense says the mother's life is more valuable.
I certainly don't believe that stem cells, created in vitro, are sentient nor feel any pain when they are destroyed, and again, I don't believe they are living human beings. I do believe that the instead of being disposed of, stem cells should be used to find cures Parkinson's and Alzheimer's diseases, and I would like to see more government funding for this purpose.
Finally, I believe that those of faith who oppose abortion, are really opposed to pre-marital sex or recreational sex. They mostly want to control the behavior of young girls and wives. As such, it is more of a political position than a religious belief. As I imagine you know, much political power has accrued to the Christian right and the political right because of it. I wish both groups would be more concerned with economic opportunities and justice for children who have been born, instead of the rights of zygotes, blastocysts, and fetuses. I'm certain the bible encourages us to help the poor and those in need.
Again, thank you for your kind and informative response to my email.
Ps: I don't recommend that you hold you breath for too long. I also don't recommend either of us holding our breath waiting for the other to change what they believe.
You're probably right that neither of us is likely to change our mind, but I am curious about a couple things. Since you don't believe a child becomes human until their first breath, why do you think that late-term abortions are "horrible"? If this isn't a living human being we're talking about in the womb, why should there be restrictions on abortion at any point in the pregnancy? Don't you have to admit that, since your definition of when human life begins is not biologically verifiable (and, in fact, opposes basic biological principles), that it's at least possible you are wrong? And if there is a possibility that you're wrong about the beginning of human life, wouldn't it better to error on the side of caution, just in case it is a living human being that is being destroyed by abortion?
With regard to adoption, if you took any child or adult who laments being adopted and any mother who regrets having placed her child for adoption, and asked them if they would rather they (or their adopted child) be dead, 95% are going to say "no", and the rest are probably lying since they haven't already killed themselves (or their child). My point is this, the "horror stories on both sides of the reproductive rights issue" are not equally compelling. I don't see how it is fair to compare the suffering of being adopted with the finality of being dead.
Finally, I can assure you that my opposition to abortion has nothing to do with wanting to "control the behavior of young girls and wives". While pre-marital sex and abortion are both biblically immoral (one explicitly and one implicitly), only abortion is a violent assault on another human being. As such, it is not just a moral issue, it is a justice issue. This is what motivated my involvement in the first pace. This is what keeps me involved despite the financial and emotional strains that come with such involvement. Ultimately, the Bible only commands two things: Love God with all your heart, mind and strength, and love your neighbor (all other people) as much as yourself. This is the great commandment in two parts, the summation of all that God requires of us. It is profoundly simple and utterly impossible to keep. If keeping the law was the only means of maintaining fellowship with God, none of us would have any hope. Thankfully, God has provided us with another means of becoming acceptable to Him... by being united to God the Son, Jesus Christ, through faith. For those of us who have, by the grace of God, placed our lives in submission to Him, we don't just throw out God's law because it is impossible to keep. We pursue its application as best we can, finding that, for the first time in our life, we actually have some capacity to keep it. For me, one of the applications of loving God with all my heart, mind, and strength is to keep His commandments, including the commandment to maintain a sexually pure relationship with my wife. The application of this command doesn't justify me before God, but it is evidence that He has already justified me through the death and resurrection Christ. My efforts towards educating students about abortion stem from the second half of the great commandment, to love my neighbor as myself. In this case, it is my unborn neighbor. If my life were in jeopardy of being ended before I was even born, while I was powerless to do anything about it, I would want one of my neighbors to intervene for me. Since that is what I would have wanted someone to do on my behalf, that is what I'm compelled to do for others. My efforts, admittedly flawed and imperfect, do not earn me the favor of God, nor do they seek to force those around me into some kind of constrained, external morality. They are merely the outpouring of a sinner who's been saved by grace, and is doing his best to love God and love his neighbor.
Thanks again for your interest. I hope that all makes sense...
Michael Spielman is the founder and director of Abort73.com. His book, Love the Least (A Lot), is available as a free download. Abort73 is part of Loxafamosity Ministries, a 501c3, Christian education corporation. If you have been helped by the information available at Abort73.com, please consider making a donation.