Thursday, August 17, 2006

"Abortion is OK - The Bible Tells Me So"

Filling Up Space recently responded to an article from The Boston Globe that featured "a profile of believers who have reconciled their faith with the right to abortion." One Paul Simmons, apparently a Baptist minister of sorts, is quoted in the Globe's article as saying "Jesus never mentioned abortion." Simmons also points to the fact that the apostle Paul never mentions abortion ("...If anyone was a common-sense moralist, Paul was...") to promote the idea that abortion, by virtue of express Scriptural omission, is a morally neutral issue.

Jesus never mentioned a lot of things, but that doesn't make any of them "right" simply on the grounds of omission. Weak exegesis leads to weak conviction, and weak conviction leads to weak morality, every time.

I would wager that the overwhelming majority of folk like Mr. Simmons simply support "the right for people to have control over their own bodies" or "the freedom to choose... whatever I want." That is to say - in my estimation - they are not defending abortion so much as they are defending an abstract idea of personal autonomy. Abortion is easy to support when it has has no real meaning or context outside of its association with "personal rights," "freedom of choice," and other ambiguous terminolgy. My guess is that Mr. Simmons has never seen an abortion and is sadly ignorant of what he is actually promoting. For a man of pastoral persuasion, that is uninformed ideology at best, blatant heresy at worst.

My humble thanks to Travis McSherley and the FUS gang for including some of my comments in their follow-up article.

The Boston Globe Article - Pious and Pro-Choice
FUS Response - Abortion is OK - The Bible Tells Me So
FUS Follow-Up Article

Abort73 - info about abortion (Thanks to Off the Wire for the referal to this site in one of his past posts. As a warning, some of the videos and the 'photographic evidence' sections are very graphic.)


The Royal said...

VanD...good analysis, however I wouldnt necessarily agree that scripture is silent on the issue. Even abstractlly.

I do think that abortion is a failry cut, black and white issue. However I would be interested to hear your thoughts on the issue of stem cell research...although that may be more of a scientific debate as opposed to that of a biblical debate. Regardless...its good to see you writing lazy bastard.

Clint said...

I've always been firmly against abortion in any situation. The basis of my argument has always been the traditional 'sanctity of life' one. A friend of mine says something like, "I don't think it's ever wrong to argue for life as opposed to death."

These conversations invariably lead to other life/death situations that I've had to reconcile. Also, moment of conception arguments.

Should a good pro-lifer also oppose birth control?

Tough issues.

van.diesel said...

samb - stem cell research, eh? duly noted...

clint - tough issues indeed! birth control is a good one to do some thinking on. there are many implications i think. my wife and i use BC - we very much desire to be obedient to God in the matter, but often find the line between faith and practicality ambiguous with this particular issue.

Allie said...


I liked this post. I am adamently pro-life, always have been. I do want to make two points, however, that your post made think about:

1) One time I went to hear this ecologist speak during grad school. He was talking about so many different subjects; eventually, he came around to the Christian right and the issue of being "pro-life". And he made a point of saying the term "pro-life" is somewhat misleading. Because, so many Christians that are "pro-life" are also pro death penalty and often very supportive of military action. So the next question would be, if a person claims the label "pro-life", does this mean that they are really "anti-abortion"? Or, does it mean they are "pro life" on all acccounts -- sinner or saint, enemy or ally? I thought it was a great point.

2) To arrive at a conclusion about an issue based on biblical omission is, on the surface, humorous. But I think, deep down, the Church does this a lot, too. Sometimes we assume that "conversative culture" is synonymous with "biblical". Take, for example, gender roles in the home. No where in the Bible does it say the woman should stay home with kids, and the man should work. If anything, Proverbs 31 encourages the opposite. But somehow, the Church encourages these roles with an almost religious fervor. We do have to use common sense when we look at Scripture. Biblical omission is a ridiculous argument, and I think it is related to "literalism" (taking the Bible literally when it is sometimes being figurative). So many folks are not readers, and so they have no clue have to critically think and come to a logical conclusion on an issue, based on other Biblical evidence, if the issue is not addressed directly in Scripture.

Anyway, that's all I got. Back to internet chess...