Tuesday, January 27, 2015

When Does Life Begin? And Does it Matter?

The media would have us believe there is a huge divide in this country over pro-life issues. Perhaps there is a divide among white male conservative and liberal politicians.  But to the average person on the street, no so much.

According to Gallup Poll trends, from 1975 to 2014, the belief that abortion should be legal under certain circumstances has not wavered from an average of 52%.  So despite legality or illegality of the procedure, support for the ability to access abortion care remains supported by the majority of Americans.

Conservatives tend to get hung up on the question, "When does life begin?"  Apparently, it is believed that even a single celled organism or an embryo should be considered "life" because it is believed that even that small an organism contains a "soul."

I don't believe that science can provide any proof that a soul does or does not exist, nor when it comes to reside in a bundle of cells in a woman's womb. The picture at left was taken at the 7th week of pregnancy.  There is no way this bundle of cells has a brain yet, let alone consciousness. 

However, since those making this argument appear to be making for religious reasons, perhaps they should listen to what the Bible has to say on the subject.

The Bible is very clear about when life begins.  Genesis 2:8 says, "Then the Lord God formed a man from the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living being."

Was man considered a living being as soon as he was created?  No...not until he breathed his first breath was he considered to be a "living being" or have a "living soul."  As further support for the idea that the requirement for "life" is that the organism be breathing, the Greek for "spirit" is the word pneuma, which means, "breath."  It was clearly understood in Bible times that for one to be considered to be alive, one had to be breathing.  This would preclude the idea that an embryo or single cell could be considered to be alive or have a soul.  Nor does the age of "viability" make any difference.  When Adam was created, as he lay there on the ground, not breathing, he certainly was viable.  But until he took his first breath, he was not "alive."  An unborn baby, even after 20 weeks, if it has never been outside the womb and has never taken a breath of air, it is not considered alive. 

Some might say, "Well, those that wrote the Bible simply didn't have the science we have now so they didn't know that babies in the womb are conscious and alive."

No, that line of reasoning doesn't fly either because if God wrote the Bible, if it was inspired and every word is correct, then God wrote exactly what he meant.  Even if the men who wrote the Bible down didn't know the science behind pregnancy and birth, God knows, and should have written exactly what was correct.  You can't have it both ways.  If you want to claim that the writers of the Bible didn't write things down scientifically, then you have to assume that God knows nothing about science, because he should have been able to have them write exactly what he wanted said.   

Pro-life supporters often say they want to ban abortion and don't even want to allow it in the case of rape or incest because, they say, "It's not the child's fault that they were conceived through rape, so why should be child be punished by being aborted?"  or "It's not the child's fault their parents made a mistake, why should the child pay the price for his parents' mistake?"

The person who would say this obviously has not read Numbers 5:19-22:

19 Then the priest shall put the woman under oath and say to her, “If no other man has had sexual relations with you and you have not gone astray and become impure while married to your husband, may this bitter water that brings a curse not harm you. 20 But if you have gone astray while married to your husband and you have made yourself impure by having sexual relations with a man other than your husband”— 21 here the priest is to put the woman under this curse—“may the Lord cause you to become a curse among your people when he makes your womb miscarry and your abdomen swell. 22 May this water that brings a curse enter your body so that your abdomen swells or your womb miscarries.”

Now...what is happening here?  A husband suspects his wife of being unfaithful and getting pregnant, and he takes her to the priest, who administers to her a bitter liquid which she drinks and the liquid causes an abortion to take place.  

And why?  Look at the title of Chapter Five.  "The Purity of the Camp."  It was believe that a child of a man and woman that weren't married was "impure" - so it should be eliminated.  

Now, I don't subscribe to the idea that ANYTHING makes an a human being impure.  But, to say that God does not support the idea of abortion is simply wrong if you believe the Bible.  Here is an example where it was used.

Now, what do conservatives say when  a woman becomes pregnant and wants to abort her baby?  "Oh, it's not the child's fault, why should the child be aborted?"  But in the above example, God didn't seem to care if it was the child's fault or not.  He said, "Abort it."  or rather....God was credited with aborting the baby after the woman drank the bitter water. He didn't seem concerned about preserving that supposedly innocent life. 

So Pro-Lifers, you don't have a leg to stand on if you are going to assert that God hates abortion.  If he did, he wouldn't have advocated it here.

And if you are going to say "Well, this was the Old Testament and we don't live under the Old Law anymore...You're absolutely right.  We live under the law that says "Judge not lest ye be judged" and "Let he who is without sin cast the first stone."  Which means, stop judging those who would have an abortion.  Stop calling them terrible people and trying to make them feel guilty. Understand that they are trying to make the best decision they can for their own situation, and they need our support, not our judgment.  You don't have the right to judge.  The law of love demands they be treated with tenderness, love and respect.  While there may be doubt that the unborn child is actually a living soul, there is NO DOUBT that the mothers are.  If in fact those babies are innocent and blameless, then they will go to heaven if they are aborted.  You don't need to worry about their fate.  What is more humane...to demand that baby be born into poverty, disease and suffering, or allow it to mercifully be sent to its heavenly home?  

Oh, I know....you somehow believe that suffering is noble and a life of suffering is more pleasing to God than ending it.  

But God said, "I desire mercy, not sacrifice."   God is firmly on the side of mercy and compassion.  He does not expect human beings to sacrifice everything.  That's man's idea of what women should do.  It's not a godly idea.  

Then why did he sacrifice his son, you say?  I don't believe he did.  But that's another discussion for another day.

But even if he did, he's God, and we're not.  He doesn't expect us to be perfect, hence the mercy.  We are made perfect in love.  We will never be able to sacrifice enough to be good enough for heaven.  But we can love enough.  

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