Book Plunge: The Ethics of Abortion

What do I think of Christopher Kaczor’s book published by Routledge? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

Kaczor’s book on abortion is a rather surprising one, and that’s a good thing. He starts out by laying out the parameters of the discussion. He wants to make it clear that his goal is not to antagonize people who have had an abortion and paint them out as monsters. He wants to make sure we know we are making a statement about an action and not about the people who do an action.

Kaczor’s book is systematically outlined to go through all the arguments that he can. He deals with the concept of personhood and why the human embryo even should be seen as a fully human person with rights equal to yours and mine. He regularly interacts with defenders of abortion and for those concerned that this is just a religious rant, he does it without appealing to the arguments of a particular religion. His arguments are scientific and philosophical.

For my money, the best part of the book is the sixth chapter. In this, Kaczor deals with many of the objections that will often be raised up against the pro-life movement. Some, such as the case of twinning, can be dealt with in many other works. Some, I’m not used to seeing talked about. For instance, Kaczor talks about the scenario of being in a burning building and being given the chance to save five adults or ten embryos and points out that most of us would save the adults. Are we being inconsistent? Kaczor presents a powerful argument as to why this is so. (And yes, I don’t tell it because I think you need to go out there and get the book yourself.)

Kaczor also interacts with questions such as asking if contraception is the same thing as abortion. He comes down on a side that is very favorable towards contraception when properly used. I found this to be a quite interesting take on the matter and helped deal with something that is often leveled especially against Protestants who are pro-life.

Kaczor has a final chapter dealing with the idea of artificial wombs. If science were to invent something like this, would this end the abortion debate? Kaczor seems to think it would certainly help so perhaps some scientifically minded people out there who are pro-life might want to consider this. Of course, Kaczor wants to make sure these actions are not done for frivolous reasons and does criticize that too often abortions take place for those reasons. One such example he gives is sex-selective abortion.

Kaczor’s book is a thorough takedown of the pro-abortion position and yet at the same time incredibly fair. He does not demonize his opponents and tries to present their arguments in the best possible light. Kaczor is certainly systematic and rigorous. If you are interested in learning about the best in pro-life argumentation, you owe it to yourself to read Kaczor’s book.

In Christ,
Nick Peters

Debunking 9 Truly Evil Things Right-Wing Christians Do Part 4

How do we handle the issue of childbirth? Let’s talk about it on Deeper Waters.

Once again, I return us to my wife Allie who has written part four in her own series. As always, her opinion is not necessarily the same as my own, but I do want to take the chance to share her work.

4. Obstructing humanity’s transition to more thoughtful, intentional childbearing is evil. (http://www.alternet.org/belief/9-truly-evil-things-right-wing-christians-do?page=0%2C1)
The first thing the article says in this section is a quote from Martin Luther, “If a woman dies in [child]bearing, let her die; she is there to do it.” There is no source of where they found this quote, it’s just labeled as one Martin Luther says. I did some research on this quote and I found that while a lot of pro-choice people quote this, there’s actually no real evidence that Martin Luther actually said this (http://www.tektonics.org/af/bogusq.php). That’s probably why there was no source to this quote in the article, because there was no source to begin with. The rest of the article mainly complains about how Christians aren’t for family planning. This is not completely true for all Christians. Some Christians believe in “natural family planning.” This is basically abstaining from intercourse when a woman is most fertile during her menstrual cycle if they wish to avoid conception (http://www.natural-family-planning.info/). This is well accepted among Catholics for example. Other Christians are fine with other uses of birth control, but won’t accept certain kinds (IUD’s for example) because they can cause early abortions (https://www.spuc.org.uk/education/contraceptives). Christians are against any form of abortions. If there is an unplanned pregnancy, there are other ways to deal with the issue than abortion. There are many couples for example who would love to have children but for some reason they naturally can’t. If you don’t want the baby, put it up for adoption and let another couple who are seeking to have a child love and take care of it. The author of the article complains, saying “If evidence-based compassion— the intersection of truth and love—was at the top of Christian priorities, hunger and destitution would be vastly diminished because millions of mothers would be able to plan and prepare for their babies.” Look, there’s a simpler way to solve some of this than the writer realizes. Teens, young adults, I’ve said this before in another section, and I’ll say it again, wait until you’re married before you have sex. It’s more fulfilling and you don’t have to risk an unplanned pregnancy. No birth control is 100% pregnancy-proof (other than not having any sex at all). When you do get married, don’t have kids until you are ready to have kids and can take care of them. Do your research. You can try natural family planning, or use a safe birth control that is not abortive. If you do happen to get pregnant and you’re not ready, don’t be afraid. There are organizations who can help you with taking care of the baby if you decide to keep it. If you choose to not keep the baby, put it up for adoption and allow another couple to love and care for it as their own child. There are many couples who can take care of the baby and would love to care for the baby if you don’t want to or can’t.
I beg of you, with all my heart and soul, please, do not abort the baby. You may be pregnant and have been told your child will be physically or mentally disabled. You may be thinking, “How can this child live? This child will live such a horrible life! No one would ever fall in love with this child, they’ll always be alone! I can’t allow this child to suffer!” If you are in that position, listen to me closely, my husband and I have Aspergers Syndrome (a form of Autism). Is it easy? No. I got bullied terribly growing up. There are a lot of people who think because of the disability my husband and I have, we should’ve been aborted. But my husband and I are glad to be alive! We love each other, and even if we never found each other, we know we are still loved by our families, friends, and even more so, our Heavenly Father! Don’t take away the life your child could have! Let them live! Our next section will be: 5. Undermining science is evil.

In Christ,
Nick Peters

Debunking 9 Truly Evil Things Right-Wing Christians Do Part 3

Is the church demeaning and subjugating women? Let’s talk about it on Deeper Waters.

We have part 3 from Allie here. Tomorrow I do plan on a book review and then Thursday will be something different. For now, here’s Allie:

We are moving into a third part of the series from the article: http://www.alternet.org/belief/9-truly-evil-things-right-wing-christians-do?page=0%2C0 Our next section is: 3. Demeaning and subjugating women is evil. Like the second part of the series, this should be pretty short as well. I’ll go ahead and copy what they said first:

“When it comes to dignity and equality for women, instead of acting as moral torchbearers, Bible believers have been at the back of the pack for generations, along with conservative factions from other Abrahamic traditions ranging from Islam to Mormonism. The American Quiverfull movement, “ complementarianism,” the expulsion of Southern Baptist women who were making inroads into the clergy, the Mormon Patriarchy’s threats to excommunicate women who seek equality, the Vatican’s decision to crush nuns who thought poverty was a bigger problem than abortion . . . Need I say more?”

First of all, one of the sources they used (for the explusion of Southern Baptist women) was an Atheist website. If you are going to to complain about something about a religion or a politician or anything for that matter, don’t use a source that agrees with you, use the source that it actually comes from! If you’re going to complain about the Southern Baptists, use a source directly coming from the Southern Baptists. If you’re going to complain about Islam, use a source that directly comes from Muslims. If you’re going to complain about the Bible, use the Bible as a source. This irritates me to no end. But, I will let this slide because I will assume this person doesn’t properly know how to do their research. Of course, if you’re defending a position, it’s fine. For an example, in the first part when the author of the article was accusing the Bible to support child sacrifices, I used the Bible itself as a source to show that it in fact did not support child sacrifices. This is fine, but it’s also good when defending your case to use sources that support your case that may not believe the same things you do. For an example, if you are arguing whether or not Jesus actually existed, there are many people who aren’t Christians who believe Jesus did in fact exist. They may not believe he was a holy deity, but they believe he was in fact a man who was a good teacher who was crucified and did actually exist. Anyway, let’s move on from there.
So the first thing they bring up is the term “Quiverfull.” I’m pretty young and honestly not too bright, so I was like, “What in the world is Quiverfull?” Luckily, they were kind enough to provide a link to it! Basically, they don’t believe in any kind of artificial insemination, birth control, etc. Everything is natural and they have as many babies as God gives them. Their view is basically, “As arrows in the hand of the mighty man, so are the children of ones youth, happy is the man who hath his quiver full of them.”(Psalm 127:4) I guess that’s where you get the term “Quiverfull.” So, here’s my question to the author and to you, why does it matter? If they don’t want to use birth control, what difference does it make to you? If they want to have a lot of kids, what difference does that make to you? People who are for same-sex marriage say, “Why do you not want people to get married to the same gender? It’s not going to bother you!” That discussion is for another time, but I bring that up because you say something like that won’t affect us. Well, a family who chooses to not use birth control and do everything naturally and have however many kids God gives them won’t affect you either! As long as they can provide for the children and are not foolish to take on more than they should. But even then, God will help even the most foolish of people and he won’t abandon his children.
The next point they bring up is “Complementarians.” Basically, the belief that men play a more dominent role in the church than women. I know for some women this could be a little bit of a touchy subject, and I understand why too. It used to bother me how so many men were in ministry and it seemed like few women were in ministry; and if women were in ministry, it seemed like they were only in ministry because their husbands were in ministry. Even when I would read my Bible, it would upset me sometimes that it was always men preaching. All the famous prophets – men. The apostles – men. There were a few famous women in the Bible, but they weren’t famous like the men except for maybe Jesus’ mother, Mary. Most women in the Bible to me seemed more like they were in the background, and in my life I always felt like I was in the background. As someone with high anxiety problems, I didn’t mind being in the background, but at the same time, I wanted to do more than just be in the background: I wanted to make a difference in people’s lives! I wanted to show people the love and mercy Christ has for everyone, as he has shown me! So I really do understand where women come from when they want to make a difference in people’s lives for God’s kingdom. Men and women’s roles are different. But women can be involved in ministry. Like a couple, a man and a woman have to work together. The man is head of the family, but at the same time, they both submit to each other. I think in a way it’s the same way in a church. A man is the head of the church, but men aren’t the only ones in ministry, they need women to help in ministry too! They help each other out! Women can be in charge of children’s ministry for example! God gave us women a more nurturing spirit than men tend to have, and children really need that! Women’s ministry! It’d be pretty awkward for a man to lead a women’s ministry. I can just imagine my husband (we both have Asperger’s Syndrome) who’s a minister, if he had to lead a women’s ministry. All the drama us women have to face daily, men cannot handle that kind of drama! I’m sorry but men are not going to understand your periods or your menopause! He just knows that time of the month you get really cranky and he knows he’s going to be in the tenth circle of hell for a few days. Only another woman is going to understand the drama other women face. There are so many other ministries women can do: music ministry, missionary work, counceling, and so much more! You can’t just have one pastor do all the work! You need a team! Who’s going to help with the children? Who’s going to help with the youth? Who’s going to help with the music? Who’s going to help with getting the church setup? Who’s going to help with organizing the funds? Who’s going to organize the events? So much more goes into a church that one person can’t do all the work!
The author brings up the excommunication of women wanting to join the all-male priesthood of the LDS temple. As sad as it is for them to be excommunicated, the temple is still an all-male priesthood. I don’t agree with the LDS church, but if they don’t believe women should be priests for moral reasons, why should they be forced to allow women to be priests? As an Atheist (author of the article I’m responding to), how does this affect you? Isn’t it your personal mission to bring others to Atheism? To bring people to what you believe is “Reason?”
The last thing the author brings up for this part is how the Vatican is “destroying” nuns who are saying the issue of poverty is more important than other issues such as homosexuality and abortion. These are all important issues for sure. Abortion is a type of child sacrificing. Homosexuality is a type of sexual sin. We (The Church) are also commanded to take care of the poor! But we have dropped the ball and instead the government is taking over that job and I’ve gotta tell you, they do a really bad job at it. You know why they do a really bad job at it? Because it’s originally supposed to be our job! We are not perfect. I’ll be the first to admit I’m not perfect! Name any commandment in the Bible and I’ve broken it more than a million times! The Apostle Paul calls himself the “worst of sinners” and I completely relate to him with that; I often call myself the same thing! But, poverty is not the most important issue either. It’s very important, but it’s not the most important issue. Homosexuality is not the most important issue. It’s very important, but it’s not the most important issue. I’ll even go as far as to say abortion is not the most important issue. It’s very important, but not the most important issue. We get so passionate about all these political issues going on around us, even I get really passionate about some of them. But they are not the most important. They are important, but not the most important. Here’s the most important issue, are you ready? Jesus Christ is Lord and there are people who either don’t know this or refuse it. There are people who are alone and suffering in the world who think nobody cares about them and are literally killing themselves because they have no hope. People are screaming out for help and us Christians are sitting on our butts in front of the computer or the tv all day complaining about Obama or complaining if our favorite tv stars get kicked off a show. People are going to the pits of Hell because we’re sitting here waiting for Jesus to come back! Get off your butts and go out there and do something! Bring people to the truth! Set people free with the truth of Christ’s freedom and redemption! If people reject you, remember they rejected Christ first and dust the dirt off your feet and go somewhere else where they will listen to you! We are dropping the ball! Get up and do something! Turn the tv off, get off the computer or smart phone! Change a person’s life by allowing Christ to use you!
The next part will be: 4. Obstructing humanity’s transition to more thoughtful, intentional childbearing is evil.

Debunking 9 Truly Evil Things Right-Wing Christians Do Part 2

What else does my wife have to say about the claims of right-wing Christians? Let’s talk about it on Deeper Waters.

For today, I am going to continue the series that my own wife has written. Enjoy:

I am continuing with debunking the arguments from the article from this page: http://www.alternet.org/belief/9-truly-evil-things-right-wing-christians-do?page=0%2C0 This is a pretty short section, so I’ll just go ahead a post what they said:

“The U.S. government just spent a decade and a billion dollars on failed abstinence-only education programs concocted by Bible believers who live in some delusional world where prohibition works and virginity is next to godliness. Thanks to their influence, straight-faced educators tell teens that a girl who has had sex is a licked lollipop. Instead of medically accurate information and thoughtful conversation about intimacy and childbearing, teens get promise rings and slut shame. The result? Here in the U.S., more than one in four girls gets pregnant before she turns 20, often with heartbreaking multigenerational consequences for women, children and whole communities. More than half of girls who give birth during high school drop out, permanently. Only two percent ever graduate college.”

In high school, I actually did a project once where my partner and I did a sort of debate on whether teaching “safe sex” was a better choice than teacher abstinence. I defended the side of abstinence, but I did do research on the side of “safe sex as well. If you want to see the video (it’s an old video) here is the link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Rr6aZF7R3ts The reason I put quotations around “safe sex” is because to me, there is no such thing as safe sex. Even if you use contraceptives, it doesn’t always prevent unwanted pregnancies, nor does it prevent STD’s. You also deal with the emotional pain of when you break up. Sex is truly something sacred. Today we treat it so casually. We treat it as if it were the same thing as a hug or a kiss – like it were as casual as a greeting. If it’s something so casual, why do we want it so much? I’ve heard sitcoms say things like “We’ll just have meaningless sex!” We’ll laugh about it but we treat it like it is meaningless, and if it’s so meaningless, why do we want it so much? Why is the sex industry one of the top money making industries in the world? Sex is important. Now, why should we wait until we’re married? Don’t we deal with some of the same issues? People get divorced, so you still deal with the heartache of a break-up. You can still get unwanted pregnancies. It’s still possible to get some STD’s. After all, some STD’s you can get just by touching another person’s skin! I’m sure you took health class, the most common ways to get an STD are unprotected sex, multiple sex partners, and sexual activity at a young age. But if you can have these problems even if you wait until you get married, why wait? What’s the point when you can just go out and have fun now? Honestly, as much as I wanted to wait, sometimes I asked myself the same question. There were many times I came close to losing my virginity before getting married to multiple guys, and when I think back, I’m so glad I didn’t – they all turned out to be real losers! It was really hard to wait, really, I know. I made some mistakes I still regret to this day. But then when I got married, I was so glad I waited until the wedding night because I got to share that moment with the man who truly did love me and I knew he wasn’t going to leave me no matter my flaws were. It didn’t matter how heavy I was. It didn’t matter how many rolls I had or my zits or scars (physically and emotionally), it didn’t matter about my past, he was going to stick with me and still love me. Sex is sacred. God created sex to be sacred. He created it to be enjoyed, but he also created it to be very special. Read the book in the Bible “Song of Songs,” also known as “Song of Solomon.” It’s got some pretty raunchy stuff in there! It’s the king at the time, Solomon, and his lover. But, it’s also a metaphor. See, Jesus describes himself as a bridegroom, and we are his bride. He loves us so passionately and so deeply, that while sex connects a man and a woman, it also represents how we are connected with Christ. We are supposed to love our spouses as Christ loves the Church! Sex is sacred, and when we use it for any other use, it loses its sacredness. It becomes trash. It becomes an idol. Sex is meant to please the other person, not necessarily ourselves. We are to please the other person and the other person is to please us. It’s an act of giving. But we use sex as a means of getting what we want often. That’s why we look at pornography. That’s why children are sold as sex slaves. That’s why there’s prostitution. Because we are looking for our own benefits instead of the other persons. You’re only looking for receiving pleasure. Or if you’re producing/selling the product, your only interest is making money off it. You don’t care who it hurts. It’s what you get out of it. So many marriages end today because a spouse gets involved with pornography. The article talks about high percentages of teen pregnancies and an even higher percentage of them dropping out of school. If they knew how sacred sex was and that it’s worth saving until marriage, there would be less teen pregnancies. If they were encouraged to wait, they would wait. The article talks about heartbreaking consequences for teeage girls who get pregnant. There are consequences for every action we make. Some are good, some are bad. That’s how life is. Teenagers are not ready to deal with pregnancies. I’ve always wanted to be a mother, but there’s no way as a teenager I would’ve ever been ready to be a mother! Teenagers are too dramatic, too emotional, and too lazy. Now some teenagers do actually work hard, but even they are not ready to be parents. How can they be ready for parenthood if they haven’t even reached adulthood yet? Of course there’s always the option of putting the baby up for adoption. But even that is difficult. I’ve heard many stories of even teenagers regretting putting their babies up for adoption. I know if I ever had a baby, I couldn’t put it up for adoption. I would NEVER recommend abortions! In the last note I discussed the issue on child sacrifices. The article accuses the Bible of promoting child sacrifices (which if you read my previous note, it doesn’t), but if anything promotes child sacrifices it’s today with abortions! We get abortions because of convenience. “We don’t want a baby” or “We’re not ready for a baby” or “We have enough kids, we don’t want another one!” It’s all convenience. People yell “Women’s Rights! It’s the woman’s right to her body!” Doesn’t the baby have any rights to their body? You are sacrificing an infant to the god of convenience! We are having more child sacrifices than any other time in history! It’s sickening! The Bible records child sacrifices that went on, but God never wanted it to happen! But I’ve already talked on that subject. Anyway, I hope this has been helpful. The next note will be on:

3. Demeaning and subjugating women is evil.

In Christ,
Nick Peters