06 Oct Stop Invoking God’s Will in the Abortion Debate
To be clear, I am a Christian and God does influence my understanding of right and wrong. However, I don’t believe it is generally necessary to invoke the Will of God in the abortion discussion. In fact, I think doing so may be harmful to the argument for a few reasons: 1) Governmental questions are not evangelistic conversations, per se. 2) You don’t need to invoke God’s Will to address abortion legislation. 3) By invoking God’s name, you a) give people a reason to automatically reject your argument (you can’t simply invoke God’s will in a non-theocratic government) and b) you make evangelism more difficult, because the unrepentant simply view you as forcing arbitrary religious rules on them. In other words, it puts the cart before the horse – sanctification ahead of justification.
So, how do we address abortion without invoking God’s Will? It’s actually quite simple. To make this as easy as possible, let’s consider the basic question: “Should abortion be prohibited?” To answer this question we have to ask two other questions:
- Do we have a responsibility to protect innocent (legislatively not theologically) human life?
- At what point does the being produced in the womb become a genetically unique human life?
* If the answer to question 1 is yes, then at whatever point a unique human life is created, we have a responsibility to protect it. Pretty simple.
The first question is technically one of ethics and requires a presuppositional foundation about right and wrong. Most people, however, be they secular, Christian, or otherwise, tend to agree that we have a responsibility to protect human lives (especially those who have not committed a crime). As such, we generally don’t need to argue this point. If people disagree they are unethical and frankly evil and most reasonable people won’t disagree.
The question that is most often debated is the latter of the two. For some reason Christians tend to invoke God in this debate. This becomes problematic when dealing with a non-theocratic government. In such governance, we must be able to communicate truth to those who do not share our religious foundations. By invoking God as the reason for our conclusion, we give people an “easy out.” They simply disregard it as a religious argument and tell you that you cannot impose your religious views on them.
Conveniently for the pro-life crowd, the second question can be easily answered using science and a little logic. We now have the technology to understand the development of life. Science shows us quite clearly that a distinct genetic human life is created at the moment of fertilization. Therefore, if someone agrees with the first premise that “we have a responsibility to protect human life,” then science takes us the rest of the way. A new human life begins at fertilization. End of story – no need to invoke God. No need to make this a religious argument.
With that said, being aware of this problem, pro-choice/ pro-abortion advocates have tried to draw artificial distinctions between a life and a person or various other arguments that fall to basic intellectual scrutiny. I address just about every argument that I have heard in the short book: Abandoning Abortion: My Journey From Pro-Choice To Pro-Life And Why You Should Make The Switch. For now, take some time to learn the basics and consider using science and logic instead of God to help change the minds of those who say they value science and logic instead of God. In doing so, you will be more effective in helping people learn why abortion needs to be legislated from the moment of fertilization, you will avoid them simply disregarding you as an archaic oppressive religious person, and you will protect the Gospel from being misinterpreted as an arbitrary tool for legal mandates.
WHAT DO YOU THINK? What other philosophies have twisted God’s truth? Leave a comment below and share to get your friends in on the conversation… We will pick a handful of your recommendations to cover in later issues of The Daily Rebuke!
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For more like this, check out: WHAT I WANT YOU TO KNOW ABOUT ABORTION