Is The Pro-Life Position Religious?

Should we throw out the pro-life position due to being religious? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

When I have seen debates going on about abortion now, something that seems to come up consistently is that this is a religious position. We have separation of church and state. We are not to be controlled by religious laws.

Is this the case? After all, many people who are explicitly religious are pro-life. Would these people be pro-life if they abandoned their religion? If their reasoning is religious in nature, can we rule it out? Even if it isn’t, surely that is their motivation. Right?

To begin with, there are many laws that we have today that are found in religious texts. Most of us seem to think that murder and stealing are wrong and to some extent, lying, such as in cases of perjury, lying under oath. While there are people who are more loose than I think should be with sex, we generally tend to think you shouldn’t cheat on the person you’re with and condemn adultery.

Who among the most radical atheist would like to abandon the law against murder because it is found in the Ten Commandments? Anyone? Do you think it should be allowed for people to steal what belongs to you? Do you think your partner should be just fine with cheating on you?

Christians are often falsely accused of picking and choosing, but atheists do the same thing. They don’t want us to be ruled by ancient laws in the Bible, but they don’t seem to mind some of those laws. Let’s also keep in mind that those laws are not given as if they are new information.

Before the Ten Commandments, we see murder being condemned, even at the very beginning with the story of Cain and Abel. The Ten Commandments were not giving new information for the most part. They were giving beliefs that the Israelites already knew of and understood. It’s not as if they got the commandments and said “Whoa! Turns out murder is wrong!”

Now let’s suppose though that my motivation is largely religious, even if my argument is not. So what? That doesn’t matter. Imagine if you had myself here and with me was atheist Albany Rose. She is a well-known pro-life atheist on social media.

Let’s suppose that we each give the same argument for why abortion is wrong. Now my perspective you could believe was religious and that was my motivation. The same could not be said of Albany Rose. Is the argument valid when it comes from her but not when it comes from me?

Of course not. Arguments stand or fall on the merit of the argument and not on the merit of the person giving it. Now if you think that someone is untrustworthy and a liar, you can be possibly rightly suspicious of their evidences. However, suppose that those evidences do turn out to be true. If that is so, then the argument stands or falls on its own.

If it is the case that the person is not one who has a reputation of being untrustworthy, then pointing out the motivations of the person doesn’t matter a bit. Arguments are either true or false. They don’t have motives. Only the people presenting them do.

Saying someone is religious in their argument is not a refutation. It is just a dodge. Sure, if I quote the Bible and you don’t believe it, then you could say you reject on those grounds, but if I give a more natural law or scientific argument, that still stands or falls on the data itself. Dealing with the person will not deal with the argument.

In Christ,
Nick Peters
(And I affirm the virgin birth)

Book Plunge: One Nation Under God

What do I think of Bruce Ashford and Chris Pappalardo’s book published by B&H Academic? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

Two of the things you’re never supposed to discuss at the dinner table are politics and religion. What happens when you bring both of them together? Usually, matters become even more explosive. Some Christians want to avoid politics altogether and think that the Kingdom of God should have nothing to do with the governments of men. Some would prefer to combine the two together and say that we will make the Kingdom of God come on Earth through the government.

Ashford and Pappalardo have problems with both positions. Something interesting about their book is that you will not find hard condemnation of either conservatism or liberalism. You will not find targeting of the Republican party or the Democrat party. You will find discussions of the issues, but the writers leave it to you, the reader, to decide where you will take your stand beyond that.

The book starts with opening sections describing the relationship between Christians and culture. Many views are critiqued and some are settled on. It also talks about not only what the content of our presentation will be in the public square, but also how it is that we will go about presenting our viewpoint in the public square. Make no mistake, the writers definitely think Christians do need to stand up for their position.

When it gets to the issues, there are explanations of what is going on in each of the issues and then there are examples of Christians who are taking a stand on those issues. These are quite helpful as they provide often not just examples of the content but how the writers want to see Christians go about making their case in the public square. The writers then end each section with several recommended books. These are classified in range from beginning level to advanced so that if you don’t know where to go, you can have a general idea.

Issues discussed include topics like abortion, the nature of marriage, the environment, economics, war, race relations, and immigration. The writers again do not side with any one party on these issues explicitly. They do take a stand and often explain where it is that they make their stand, but they also leave a lot left unsaid. After all, this is meant to give you just an introduction to the basic facts and they don’t so much I suspect want to tell you their views, but rather how they think that you should go about coming to your own conclusion.

I do sometimes wish more sources had been given on a topic. One main example is that in the section on the environment, there was no mention of the main Christian response to this, the Cornwall Alliance For The Stewardship of Creation. There were a few other sections where I thought more works could have been added, but what is there is certainly sufficient to get someone started on the path.

This is a good and short book. If you work hard, you could read it in a day, but it will prepare you for when it comes time to vote. The reader will start to have a better grasp on the issues and can further read on the issues that interest them most.

In Christ,
Nick Peters