Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Death throes of a great deception - the fall from grace of the pro-life movement

There have been some unspeakably wicked things done in the name of God over the centuries. In my lifetime I can't think of a more wicked act done in the name of the Christian God than the nefarious campaign to teach Christians that God opposes abortion.

In Frank Schaeffer's autobiographical book - “Crazy For God” - Frank reveals that his father, Francis Schaeffer (the defacto father of the pro-life movement) came to regret his participation in the politics that would spawn the pro-life movement within the American Republican Party. In Frank's later book - “Sex, Mom and God” - Frank illuminates further the corrupt politics that brought regret to his father's last days. Both of these books, as well as Jonathan Dudley's book 'Broken Word: The Abuse of Science and Faith in American Politics' are excellent resources for anyone interested in knowing the full convoluted history of the anti-abortion heresy being taught in Evangelical churches today for the purpose of garnering political support for the Republican Party in America.

People of faith have wrestled for years with the abortion arguments. Only in the last few years have I come to fully understand the deeply flawed nature of the anti-choice argument.

Safe medical abortion is a relatively new phenomenon in the world. When this procedure was unexpectedly legalized, in 1972, many in the Evangelical Christian world began to wonder out loud where Jesus might stand on the issue of abortion. There were no centuries old church decrees concerning abortion in existence, so the responsibility initially fell on the individual believer to decide for themselves what the "will of God" might be concerning abortion. 

Although abortion was widely embraced as a godsend by many respected Christian thinkers during the 1970's, including Southern Baptist theologians, opposing forces soon emerged intent on re-shaping the layperson's understanding of abortion - for political purposes. Certain Christian anti-abortion activists and authors such as John Rushdoony and Francis Schaeffer began teaching that abortion is an unprecedented form of last days evil and those who practice it commit murder.

With doctrinal uncertainty brewing in Evangelical America, some leaders within the Republican Party saw an opportunity to seduce a larger segment of the Evangelical voting block away from the Democratic Party by making abortion rights a hot-button political issue among politically minded Evangelicals. Frank Shaeffer and his father were commissioned by Republican political operatives to create several films designed to teach American Evangelicals that God strongly opposes abortion – that abortion is nothing short of murder. These films were then aggressively shown in Evangelical churches throughout America.

This is a thumbnail history of how many Evangelical Christians were first taught to believe God opposes abortion. 

So what's wrong with the pro-life or 'anti-choice' world view - from the traditional Christian perspective?

If it is the will of God that all conception (including conception from rape, incest or fornication) result in live birth, then the pro-life position remains somewhat logical.   But if one believes that not all conception is necessarily the will of God, then the pro-life position becomes not only illogical but highly counterproductive and destructive to society.
 
The logic of the pro-life world view begins its trajectory off the rails by denying that the creation of "human life" is an "extended process" initiated - not by the will of God - but by the will and actions of human beings.  Pro-life advocates proclaim that "human life" begins at conception and all conception is the will of GodPro-life believers stray further from logic by insisting that what is of ultimate value to God (and humanity as well) in human life comes into existence at the moment of conception - the soul.  But the most illogical aspect of the pro-life argument occurs with the irrational assumption that it is God's universal will and desire that all human conceptions proceed to full development and result in live birth.   What could possibly be the evidence for such illogical beliefs - in scripture or anywhere else?   There is none.


The belief that God desires for all conceptions to come to term simply because men and women have managed to produce conception is absurdIt defies logic and even strips God of autonomyA similar statement of false logic would be: I successfully robbed a bank so now I should assume God wants me to keep the money.   How can one say that just because a man and woman have managed to mix an egg and sperm together that it must therefore be God's will that a child be born in this world?  In humanity's distant past conception might have been considered an act of the will of God, but doctors today can produce conception on demand in the lab by simply mixing the correct ingredients. Humans and humans alone are who have been given the right to call forth conception from the void - not God - God has no say in the matter ultimately.   Any mad scientist can mix the ingredients together that start the process that can lead to the creation of human life.  God has no say in the matter - by design - for good reasons.

The anti-choice worldview is promoted in our Evangelical churches by means of very powerful manipulations of the emotions, along with a preference for some Scripture over other Scripture.   A well reasoned, common sense approach to human reproduction is denounced as dangerous heresy by pro-life zealots.  Fear and ignorance is the real foundation of the anti-choice argument.

Those who are more apt to be Bible believing Christians would be wise to settle all the conflicting Scriptural arguments concerning human reproduction with the only passage of scripture describing the creation of human life. Genesis 2:17 (KJV) “And the LORD God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul.” Clearly the Bible states that the creation of a living soul is a process and not an instantaneous event that takes place at conception.  The elemental "soul", as traditionally understood by Christian theologians, is one's self-awareness - the awakened self.  The pro-life world view denies that the creation of human life is a process and instead asserts that "human life" begins at conception.  A similar statement of false logic would be:  A stack of lumber is a house.

“God's invisible qualities--his eternal power and divine nature--have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made.” (Romans 1:20 NIV).   Science is the study of what has been made.

Scientists now understand, in part, why nature often aborts a partially developed fetus through miscarriage.  Chromosome damage has been regularly discovered in the autopsies of miscarried fetuses.  Chromosome damage leads to DNA replication errors, which causes birth defects.   Evidently nature is much more concerned about ensuring a healthy body for a potential human soul than it is about the destruction of a fetus through miscarriage - because nature is the most prolific abortionist of all.  Researchers currently estimate that well over half of all human conceptions end in spontaneous abortion.   Some conceptions do not manage to implant in the uterus while others detach after an extended period of gestation.  Why is nature involved in such murderous behavior?
 
Our evolving understanding of miscarriage reveals that nature is at work using her particular brand of wisdom to ensure that not all conceptions result in live birth - for the sake of attempting to create the perfect human body for the soul that will inhabit it.  But we also know that nature often fails to create the perfect human body.  Therefore, humans have been called upon to seek to understand how to correct the failings of nature, as we evolve in our understanding of nature, to advance humanity's well being.

Traditionally, the hallmark of any Christian heresy is this:  any belief or doctrine that, in practice, envisions God as “less than wholly good”.

Most people of faith understand - at some level - that a “good” God can not possibly desire any human soul awaken with unhealthy bodies or into environments that would be toxic.  How could a "good" God desire any child be born to a mother that does not want a child or to a mother that can not provide for a child?  However, the pro-life movement clearly values the survival of the fetal body over the well-being of any potential human soul that will inhabit a fully formed human body.


The anti-choice God is the vision of those who do not understand or accept certain aspects of realityThe anti-choice advocate refuses to take full responsibility for their own part in the creation of human life process.  The anti-choice advocate strips God of any autonomy by declaring that their own actions - the production of conception - dictates the will of God for that conception.  This vision of God makes humanity mindless pawns of their own ignorance and teaches women that they should be willing to bear children against their own will and even against the better interests of society.

 
Clearly the truth of the matter is nature uses her wisdom, at times, to destroy a fetus - to ensure the best "body environment" for the potential human soul to inhabit.  Humanity should follow nature's example by using our own growing body of wisdom to expand on nature's role.   Humanity should judge not just the potential "body environment" but also the "world environment" into which a potential child might be born.   This judgement should include:


Is the mental and physical fitness of the mother and father adequate?   Are there adequate resources to care for the child?  Is there damage to the fetal body that nature might be blind to that would disadvantage the child?  Would pregnancy endanger the life of the mother?   Is the conception against the will of the mother?  And perhaps the most significant of all of a "Good" God's desires for humankind - will the child be wanted and loved?  All of these internal and external environmental factors should be considered by a woman before she could possibly assert that it is "God's Will" that the conception be allowed to come to term.  If these conditions are not met then abortion is the logical, ethical and God given right, even the responsibility, of any woman confronted with an unwanted or damaged conception.

Those who oppose my views will accuse me of advocating a form of eugenics.  I am not.  I am simply advocating that parents rest assured that God is their loving partner in the creation of life processTherefore a woman can and must be free to decide for herself, without fear, if they wish to participate in the creation of life process - or not. 
  
Perhaps the greatest sin of the pro-life world view is that it unwittingly asserts that God wills for some children to awaken in the hell of un-wanted-ness or with severe physical deprivation. Tragically, too many of the world's children are born unwanted or into environments of violence and deprivation, simply because of the irrational fears generated by the pro-life movement.

The pro-life deception is capable of ensnaring anyone willing to close their mind to reason in favor of the potent fears surrounding human reproduction.   If human beings are not free to decline to participate in the creation of life process, at any stage of that creation of life process, then God can no longer be defined as good - and humans are nothing more than machines reproducing more machines. 


If the well being of the "potential child" is not the preeminent concern of mankind when considering the fate of any fetus then mankind has dismissed its real responsibilities to the potential child.  No child benefits or thrives by being born unwanted or disadvantaged.   As Jesus said of his friend Judas; "It would have been better for that man to have not been born."