Ray Comfort's 180: Pass It On?

Christ and Pop Culture’s writers are pro-life, but when 180 began to go viral, we found ourselves at odds about the film. Is Ray Comfort’s signature socratic style a model for Christians to follow when debating the issue with other Christians? More crucially, does every Christian have a responsibility to post videos like this on their Facebook walls so that their non-Christian friends can watch and learn from them? On the other hand, is the video too flawed to support in any way? In order to try and answer some of these questions we commissioned two regular writers to watch the video and grapple with these questions.

An Imperfect Message Framed by an Unloving Method, by Alan Noble
I am glad that Comfort works so hard to share the Gospel and confront the serious problem of abortion. I am confident that God will use them to accomplish His good work. That said, I also think that the 180 movie is poorly conceived and could very well be a hinderance to our witness, particularly in the area of abortion. In addition, I reject the notion that Christians are forbidden from criticizing (in love, naturally) fellow believers in their work.

To begin with, the content of the movie is rhetorically flawed. Take one example: Nazis. As Justin Taylor has discussed, the film’s evocation of Hitler and the Nazis is, at the very least, a bad rhetorical decision; I suspect that many viewers of 180 will tune out immediately after seeing Hitler.

However, there is a more fundamental problem: the movie works under a false concept of the human person and how we form beliefs. Comfort’s method of discussing abortion is to engage people on the street with a series of questions meant to reveal their prior moral commitment to the sanctity of life, and then to force them to admit that if they would preserve life in one situation, then they must logically preserve it in another; therefore, they should oppose abortion.

But this method assumes that our beliefs are essentially logically determined cognitive positions. In reality, our beliefs are shaped by our culture, biology, families, experience, and our reasoning. Attempts to argue someone to a Pro-Life position using socratic questions and abstract thought-experiments are misguided because they disembody the issue and the other person by focusing entirely on drawing the interviewee into a logical trap. Such arguments fail to acknowledge the complex way a low view of human life is intricately woven into our entire cultural system.

In Comfort’s case, the conversations are even more disembodied since the interview scenarios are so contrived. We don’t see raw documentary footage of serious dialogues about abortion between friends. Rather, the interviews typically involve Ray Comfort posing challenging questions to a stranger who has a camera and microphone awkwardly stuck in his or her face. Is it any wonder that some of these people “change” their beliefs?

Aside from the content, I am also concerned about the way the film as been marketed as a viral YouTube video. Comfort has been asking his followers to share and promote the video, even going so far as to urge them to “save lives” (or something to that effect) by using the 180 logo as their Facebook image. But we ought to ask whether or not this medium is really appropriate.

Is a 30-minute video posted on your Facebook page really a reasonable and effective way to publicly address abortion, probably the most controversial topic in our culture? Can a YouTube video accurately, thoughtfully, and fairly present the moral problems with abortion? I believe that their method borrows more from the secular advertising industry than the Great Commission, and that this mistake can lead to seriously uncharitable and counter-productive exchanges. For example, a few days after 180 was released, a number of Christians spammed the Planned Parenthood Facebook page with links to the movie. The administrators kept deleting the posts, but Christians continued to post them, encouraging each other to spam the page.

Of course this was done by what I assume was a small group of overzealous Christians who don’t represent the intentions of Comfort. But, my point is that the marketing strategy that they encouraged and the medium of their message naturally lend themselves to this kind of Internet warfare. Faux-documentaries do not encourage open discourse; they encourage partisan posturing. Viral marketing encourages “fans” to promote a product without restraint or discernment. Spamming a Facebook Page with a Pro-Life faux-documentary does not create a good impression of the kindness, reasonableness, or love of Christians.

In general, most Christian attempts to address abortion have focused on two strategies: make abortions illegal and/or convert people so that they oppose abortion from their hearts. The 180 movie uses both methods. Comfort seems to be trying to convert people in order to help win support for outlawing abortion. But I’d like to suggest that our task is much broader: we must make an effort to create a culture that promotes life at every level.

Instead of merely fighting for the sanctity of life in the extreme cases (euthanasia and abortion), we need to promote it in the more mundane, typical ways. We need to ask ourselves some difficult questions about our cultural habits and values and what we can do to effect them:

How do we celebrate pregnancy and childbirth in our communities, including those among the poor and unmarried?

How can we embody the sanctity of life and the beauty and goodness of children among those most likely to seek abortions?

How can we oppose the cultural view that poor children are insignificant and a burden to our society?

How can we challenge the individualism in our cultural practices that provides the philosophical foundation for abortion?

How can we provide for the hundreds of thousands of orphans that would be born if women stopped seeking abortions?

How can we alter the current economic and civic system so that single parents are able to care for their children?

What kinds of laws will reduce all abortions, not just legal ones?

The answers to these questions will give Christians a firm foundation to work against abortion, because  to answer these questions we must view our public witness as broad and complex, as opposed to confining it to politics or disembodied witnessing.

I am grateful for Ray Comfort’s work, but I hope that we might learn more charitable, effective, and loving methods of sharing the Gospel and opposing abortion.

Flawed But Helpful, by Brad Williams
I found out about Ray Comfort’s 180 video through the internet rumor pipeline. I am fairly familiar with Ray Comfort and The Way of the Master materials, so I made a mental note to check the video out when I got the chance. When the video went viral on the internet, I figured that I should take a look sooner rather than later.

I went into the video thinking that it would be an evangelistic video, and while it has evangelistic elements, that is not the main thrust of the production. The main purpose of the video is to serve as an apologetic against abortion, and in order to do that, Comfort compares abortion in America to the holocaust of World War II.

I admit that I was shocked by this video, and I am not easily shocked. First, I was shocked to find that Ray Comfort is Australian. How have I missed this? My next shock was that there are people out there who have no idea who Adolf Hitler is. I simply cannot understand this since Hitler and the Nazis come up in every single comment section on Yahoo per Godwin’s Law. After I recovered from those two initial shocks, I settled in to see where Comfort was going with his questions.

I admired a lot of what I saw in the video. My admiration centers mostly around Ray Comfort’s bravery and craftiness, and I mean crafty in a good way. It isn’t everyone who is willing to call someone a lying, fornication, blasphemous sinner to their face, and it is even rarer that a guy is crafty enough to get someone else to admit he is right. Ray Comfort is able to do both without getting punched. That is no easy feat.

As I watched this video of Ray Comfort doing what he does, it brought up an uncomfortable dilemma for me. What exactly am I supposed to do with this video? This led me to a greater question: What should I do about abortion? What is my responsibility? 180 demonstrates what Ray Comfort and Way of the Master do all the time, and I, for one, am glad for it. But what am I supposed to do?

I am a pro-life Christian. I support the local Crisis Pregnancy Center. I agree with Ray Comfort that abortion is a holocaust. I once begged a young girl who was pregnant with twins not to terminate the pregnancy. My wife and I, with tears, pled with her for her babies. We swore to her before Almighty God  that we would raise them as our own, and if that wasn’t agreeable, we said we would find a home for them. She moved away, and we soon got word that she had “lost” both babies. I grieve for those children, even as I write this, because I would have taken them as my own. I would have loved them and given them a home.

So yes, we may point out that Ray Comfort’s tendency to argue unsuspecting, ignorant people into an logical cul-de-sac is unfair. It may offend us that he uses Nazis and Hitler to drive his point home. But I will not blame one person for linking that video or another one like it. I know the feeling of helplessness that one feels in the face of an atrocity that has claimed 50 million lives already, and more go into the disposal every day that abortion is legal. Every day, another woman succumbs to the Satanic lie that children are an inconvenience or that death is preferable to poverty.

What else can I do? Go to jail for peaceful abortion clinic sit ins? Should our church make more propaganda videos? If I did, I certainly would not go over to Planned Parenthood’s website and spam it with a hundred links to my new video. I do not think that spamming propaganda will win hearts and influence people towards Christ’s gospel or a pro-life stance, as spam is universally condemned as a terrible sin.

Here’s what I am determined to do: propagate of the gospel of Jesus Christ. The reason that people murder children in the womb or grown-ups on the street  isn’t because they don’t know God’s Holy Law. No one needs Ray Comfort to tell them that murder is bad. The real problem is that people are dead in trespass and sin. The real problem is that people’s consciences are seared by sinfulness. People don’t need Jesus as a parachute. We need Jesus to raise us from the dead. We don’t need a little help. We need a Savior.

Preaching the gospel is not a cop-out, and it’s not an either/or proposition. It is both/and. If you believe that linking 180 is part of that resistance; link away.

About CAPC Writers
  • http://www.diannaeanderson.net Dianna

    I haven’t finished reading the article yet, but quiiiick thought on the intro:

    “More crucially, does every Christian have a responsibility to post videos like this on their Facebook walls so that their non-Christian friends can watch and learn from them?”

    You make the assumption here that every Christian is pro-life in the political sense and that every non-Christian isn’t. That’s a fundamentally flawed premise, boys.

    *raises her hand* Counter-example, right here. Politically pro-choice AND I love Jesus. And I saw this “documentary” (I refuse to call it that without scare quotes) posted all over the place and got annoyed.

    Also: I find it kind of…interesting…that the two people picked to debate what is, at the heart, a women’s issue… are men. Juuuuust saying, Alan.

  • http://goodokbad.com Seth T. Hahne

    Of course, Dianna, the obvious counter is that it’s fine for women *and* men to debate/discuss abortion because it’s neither a men’s or women’s issue, but a human issue. Calling it a women’s issue seems an obfuscation to many (and I presume to both contributors here). So just declaring it a women’s issue isn’t going to gain a lot of traction if it isn’t piggybacked on some sort of argument to demonstrate that such is the case—since depending on how one couches their argument, the women’s issue argument may not at all be apparent on the face of things.

  • Alan Noble

    Two quick comments:

    A. I didn’t write the intro.
    B. Good point about choosing to male writers to address abortion. Lame. But, kind of in my defense, my concern was really with the discourse and rhetoric rather than “abortion” per say. For whatever that’s worth.

  • Alan Noble

    I don’t want to get too distant from the issue of 180, but I do think this is both a uniquely women’s issue and a human issue. And in this case, it would have been more helpful to our readers to not present two male versions of the issue.

  • http://www.diannaeanderson.net Dianna

    I can’t really comment on the rest without forcing the thread off on a tangent of talking about abortion, but I do have some recommendations? comments? thoughts? for discussion – sort of a meta-comment, if you will. My friend Laura Ziesel (lauraziesel.com) recently did a post about how bloggers should approach debate, and she had a relevant point.

    1) If you are talking about a group of people or ideology, always assume that someone in your audience identifies as part of that group or believes that ideology.

    Maybe this criticism is inappropriate. Maybe it’s out of line and I should just keep my mouth shut, but I’m not in a mood that’s particularly inclined to be gracious about this particular topic at the moment, so here goes: you have kiiiind of failed in following that particular piece of advice. Not a spectacular fail, mind, but just kind of a “le sigh” fail – the kind of fail that makes me shake my head and walk away.

    Here’s why: I have several close friends who have had abortions. To hear two men (men for whom this will never be a real life decision) casually discussing my friends’ very tough decisions as “atrocities” on par with Nazism, to hear them affirming that it is a “holocaust,” to claim that women have “succumbed to a Satanic lie.”…That signals to me that there will be no room for debate with you. No room for nuance. And no room for grace or mercy.

    Maybe I’d feel differently if one of my best friends wasn’t in the position today of trying to comfort her friend who had to abort a very wanted pregnancy because the baby was going to only live a few minutes outside the womb. I don’t know. But to come here and read that rhetoric today…that hurt, and not in a “Spirit has convicted me about this topic” way, but in a negative, I don’t ever want to have this discussion with you, way.

    So, sorry, guys. Swing and a miss, at least with this reader.

  • http://www.diannaeanderson.net Dianna

    You guys responded while I was typing. My apologies. The rhetoric of whether or not it’s a women’s issue is a huge tangent, so I won’t go there today. Thanks for listening though.

  • http://www.christandpopculture.com/ Richard Clark

    Generally, these debate-style posts come together pretty organically. The writers will be discussing a subject and it will become clear that a post like this would be valuable and helpful. In this case, Alan and Brad were the ones who were most at odds with one another, and who seemed to be most interested in carrying on the discussion.

    Our writers are primarily representative of a group of Christians who DO belief that abortion should be illegal, but are struggling with what to do about that. That’s the debate we’re addressing here.

    I agree with both Alan and The Dane – would it have been more helpful to have a woman involved? Probably, but we used the writers we had available for the task at the time. In the future, I would be surprised if we didn’t have an article about the subject by a female writer. For now, we have this.

  • http://www.diannaeanderson.net Dianna

    Getting slightly on topic (sorry to dominate the thread, but I’m thinking about this a lot this morning):

    I suppose my reaction to the rhetoric within the piece ends up with me sort of agreeing with Alan in that, yes, this is a discussion that needs to be had, but pro-life rhetoric coming from a pro-life source isn’t going to do anything to actually advance the discussion, ESPECIALLY if it starts from an already offensive standpoint (“abortion is a holocaust,” etc). At that point, it becomes preaching the choir/intellectual masturbation, and it doesn’t do anything to actually change minds. Indeed, when I and my pro-choice friends hear that rhetoric (such as that in the article and in the video), we become less inclined to have any sort of a fruitful discussion. Comfort’s “documentary,” then, becomes a way not to change minds and hearts, but rather a way for Christians who are already sure of their stance to pat themselves on the back and congratulate themselves on being better than those who have “succumbed to the Satanic lie” (sorry, I can’t get over that line).

    And that’s dangerous for any member of the Body of Christ. I guess that’s a big part of why this rankled me so much.

  • http://www.alienman.blogspot.com Brad Williams

    Dianna,

    If abortion is indeed the murder of innocents, exactly how should we parse that in order to make it palatable? The Satanic lie is any argument foisted against a woman that would make her think that abortion is anything other than that. Can a woman fall for that lie? Yes, they can, and that is why we have to use such strong terminology.

    As for this being a “woman only” argument, I simply cannot agree with that. Statistically, I’m guessing in the United States that 50% or so of the children terminated are boys. Plus, just because the father isn’t carrying the child doesn’t excuse him from culpability if he encourages or ignores the woman and the child. Abdication of responsibility is no excuse for what goes on in an abortion clinic to one’s own child. Is the woman guilty? Yes, she is. Is she alone responsible? No way. Could, in fact, the father be more culpable? Yes, indeed he could.

    I believe that the Bible teaches that the man is to be a provider and protector for his wife/girlfriend and child. When he encourages the destruction of his own progeny, and when he is unwilling to help raise a child in a loving relationship with the woman he has known intimately, he is acting despicably. I do not use the phrase “know intimately” because I am afraid to use the word “sex.” I use it because I believe that having sex is more than a physical act. There is an intimacy involved on a spiritual level that goes beyond the physical.

    I’m not going to apologize for discussing this in front of women with another man simply because I am male. I do not view it as a swing and a miss. For one thing, it has generated a conversation with you, and you are female. So here, let’s have the conversation. Alan can make sure we keep it logical.

    You are correct though, I am not up to persuasion on whether or not children in the womb are indeed human beings worthy of full protection of the law. I do think pro-choice means, “I am okay with you killing your child, even though I wouldn’t do that.” Does that mean I am unsympathetic to the stress that single mothers get into? Not at all. We are committed to doing whatever we can to help women in such situations.

    To fully put my cards on the table, the only time I am open for abortion to be legal is when the mother’s life is in jeopardy. Every person has the right to self-defense.

  • Nick

    Dianna,

    Given the context of the article, your last comment makes more sense to me than your first one.

    And based on your last comment, you seem to agree with Alan, right? I mean, that was the whole point of the article – to question the merits of Ray Comfort’s video…

  • http://www.diannaeanderson.net Dianna

    Brad,

    I appreciate that you’ve taken the time to respond, but you’ve missed the point entirely. My point is: Your rhetoric makes me not want to engage. You are not going to succeed in actually changing hearts and minds about abortion if you continue to use and emulate rhetoric that shames women in this fashion.

    It only works on those who already agree with your position. Essentially, you are starting a discussion of abortion by saying to women who have had abortions, “Hey, babykiller.” Maybe that’s an exaggeration, but that’s how I viscerally react when I encounter Christians (and I identify as Christian myself!) who think it’s perfectly alright to shame women by comparing them to Nazis, by essentially calling them morons who have fallen for a lie. There is no grace or mercy in that rhetoric – two things the Gospel calls us to – and therefore no room for productive discussion.

    Thus why I fundamentally disagree with Ray Comfort’s approach, and with your section of the article. I know the response already: “Harsh rhetoric makes an impact; it forces people to think.” But when women, who are already downtrodden and already feeling attacked from all sides, are told that they are behaving like a man who actively eradicated 6 million men, women, and children based solely on ethnicity…That’s not “harsh rhetoric.” That’s just being mean. That is “preaching the gospel” on the basis of shame and guilt, something I don’t see Jesus in at all.

    Frankly, I found your tone in both the article and in your response condescending, especially with this line: “I’m not going to apologize for discussing this in front of women with another man simply because I am male. I do not view it as a swing and a miss. For one thing, it has generated a conversation with you, and you are female. So here, let’s have the conversation. Alan can make sure we keep it logical.”

    There are a number of assumptions, offenses, and problems with the rhetoric in that paragraph alone, not least of which is the implicit assumption that the conversation it has generated has actually been productive (by demonstrating so well that you missed my point and are unwilling to change, have convinced me of the opposite). There is also, however unintentionally, an implication with the last line (“keep it logical”) that by virtue of engaging in this issue with a female, it will have the tendency to veer into the illogical. So, thanks for that.

    Thanks for your reply, but…try to read what I say next time.

  • Alan Noble

    I think I should write a post about charity in Christian discourse. Good news, I did last night!

    But seriously people, Dianna’s point is kind of my point about the “movie”: whether or not harsh language is justified, if it is ineffective, why bother speaking?

  • Nick

    Dianna,

    I would tend to side with Alan in the original debate of the article. But your accusing Brad of implicitly calling women “illogical” is utterly ridiculous.

    Frankly, what you have done with this article other than hijack it with your ideological aims? The article is not about women’s choices – it is about the merits of the viral video. And Seth is right, anyway: abortion is not a “women issue” – it is undoubtedly a human issue.

    So, please, be careful about twisting every jot and tittle of what someone says into that person’s “belittling you as a woman.” Because I can tell you that it is unbecoming as a representative of the countless women who have so profoundly impacted my life as a thinker, rhetorician, and person.

  • http://www.alienman.blogspot.com Brad Williams

    Dianna,

    I did read your comment. I do not see how you aren’t guilty of the charge you are applying to me. Perhaps it is the medium. Or maybe it is irony. Either way, I do not mind charged language. We aren’t discussing a fashion trend; I would expect that you would bring some heat in such a discussion.

    I should start with whether or not my purpose is to make women who have had abortion feel shame about it. First, I’ll ask you if shame is an appropriate response to sin. If it is, then why should I not talk about sin, any sin, in such a way that it would make the hearer feel ashamed of themselves before God? If abortion is a sin before the Lord, then women ought to feel ashamed for having one, and the father’s ought to be ashamed for not taking care of their children. Is that wrong of me to think that way? If someone is already ashamed of a sin, I certainly would not heap guilt on them, but I would talk about grace in Christ. But here, we are debating the issue itself, so I cannot assume that everyone finds it shameful. Do you find abortion shameful?

    I’m uncertain how the quote from me is condescending? It’s frank, to be sure. I find it condescending that you imply men should not be able to talk about abortion because it doesn’t affect them. I’m okay with you saying that. I think you are terribly mistaken, but I am still willing to engage you without thinking that you have done me a personal disservice, or even that you aren’t worth talking to about this issue. As for the logical comment, I was included in that jab. I certainly was not worried about you keeping it logical; I was worried about myself. It was also meant as an aside to what Alan wrote: I do not think that this is the type of conversation that people can remain emotionally unattached from. I wouldn’t expect them to: it is too important.

    As for my not changing hearts and minds using charged rhetoric; I believe that is easily and demonstrably false. Paul’s rhetoric is often quite strong; in fact he says things that I would never say as they are fairly crude and too shocking. The prophets did the same. This is serious business, as you probably agree. So let’s start from where we agree and see what happens.

    First, we both agree that women who have had abortions need to know that Jesus Christ is the Lord of all grace and mercy. So here’s how you can help me. I’ll show you where my dilemma is and you can point out my wrong-headedness. I mean that as an invitation. Don’t be gentle; savage my irresponsibility. I would count it a kindness if you would do so:

    1. I think abortion is sin. (You may agree. I don’t know.)
    2. When we sin, we ought to be ashamed of it.
    3. When the reality of what kind of sin abortion is comes to light; it is a horror and will hurt women who have had one.
    4. When this realization strikes, and women feel guilt, we must offer the grace of God through Christ.

    My dilemma is number 2 & 3. I do not see how I can proceed to 4 without going through 2 & 3. I don’t know how to ease someone into the shame of sin. Is there a way?

    That’s where you can help me, if there is help to be had. I will not change my mind about abortion being the murder of children. It’s simply a fact of Scripture. I don’t know how to say that in a way that isn’t inflammatory. I would either have to deny my conviction or be silent about it because it is offensive. How can I say that in a better way? I really do care about women and their children. Truly, I do.

    Do you disagree with abortion being a sin? If you think that it is a sin, what kind of sin is it? (Is it murder or something else?) If you think it is a sin, how do you tell someone it is a sin without making them feel ashamed of it?

  • Joel Kirkendall

    1. Ray Comfort is a New Zeland Jew… not Australian.

    2. What other approach would you use? What has been the best and most effective approach on this topic in the past? Picketing, billboards, t-shirts, a formal debate, plead with people to change their minds, or just tell them that they are wrong? This format is actually like a good gospel tract, people are forced to hear the arguments, and this film banks on the most powerful one… the law of God written on our conscience. Ask a 5 yr old if it’s okay to kill a baby in the womb. Or ask a senior if it’s okay 2 euthanize the elderly. You’ll get the same answer NO!

    Romans 3:19 Now we know that whatever THE LAW says, it says to those who are under the law, SO THAT EVERY MOUTH MIGHT BE STOPPED, and all the world may become guilty before God. 20 Therefore by the deeds of the law no flesh will be justified in His sight, for BY THE LAW IS THE KNOWLEDGE OF SIN.

    On an atheist website, I read 200 angry atheists mud flinging at Comfort, and angry at him using the Holocaust, but not one disarmed the approach of the conscience.

    Here is a responsibility of the church
    Ephesians 5:11-13 Have nothing to do with the fruitless deeds of darkness, but rather expose them. 12 It is shameful even to mention what the disobedient do in secret. 13 But everything exposed by the light becomes visible—and everything that is illuminated becomes a light.

    Psalm 50:18 – When you see a thief, you join with him; you throw in your lot with adulterers.

    God is saying that we are in essence participating in these things when we do nothing about it.

    3. Here are some bigger named endorsements, http://www.heartchanger.com/endorsements.php

  • http://www.alienman.blogspot.com Brad Williams

    Joel,

    I am ashamed. I apologize to Ray Comfort and all New Zealanders. I know that it is offensive to mistake a New Zealander’s accent for an Aussie’s. I repent in dust and ashes, and as penance, I will pull for New Zealand this year during the cricket season.

  • http://www.diannaeanderson.net Dianna

    le sigh. I was trying so so so hard to avoid an actual debate about abortion. I’ve actually deleted portions of my drafted comments in order to avoid getting into that particular discussion, so forgive me if I continue to refuse to engage in the details of such a debate.

    Here, let me explain where I stand:

    As I have already acknowledged, for many women, abortion is a very, very tough decision. No one walks into an abortion clinic with a spring in their step singing a song about killing their baby. And as I stated in my very first post, I am politically pro-choice, which is different from being “pro-abortion.” There’s a characterization that being pro-choice means being pro-abortion, which it’s not. For me, it is a political stance that recognizes that the circumstances surrounding abortion are multifarious and hard and that abortion is a necessary evil until the day when abortion is no longer a viable option. I do not see that same kind of nuance or effort on the pro-life side, thus why I am pro-choice.

    I became pro-choice after about four years of waffling on the issue and questioning the adamantly pro-life culture in which I was raised. What changed was that I actually shut up and began listening to the stories of women around me who had had abortions, the women who knew precisely what they had done, the women who understood all the implications (spiritual and otherwise) of the choice they were making, and still made it. These were women who knew they could tell me their story because they knew I was actually, actively, listening, not just waiting for a moment when I could shame them for their decision. And, in part, I am able to have this discussion with these women because I understand that I cannot predict the future, and I may be in same position some day.

    Fundamentally, when a man tries to step into the debate, he is looking at it from an outsider’s perspective. If you are biologically male, you will not ever face this decision. Your partner might, someone you love might, but it is not you who has to go under anesthesia, it is not you who has to carry the baby for nine months, it is not you who has to go in for check ups and change your diet and get tutted at in the supermarket because you may or may not have a ring on your finger when you’re visibly pregnant. No matter how emotionally close you are to the issue, you will never be as close as the woman who is actually pregnant.

    It is condescending to presume that women need “the sin of abortion” explained to them. It is condescending to presume it is our place to know what they are going through. It is condescending to suggest that we are doing some sort of mighty “God’s work” by treating women as “Hitler-esque baby-killers.” What’s amazing is that pro-life people can’t seem to understand this: Women know exactly what they are doing when they go in for an abortion. And they do it anyway. They did it before Roe v. Wade and they will continue to do it even if it’s overturned, especially if the alternatives continue to remain bleak.

    Clearly, there is something in the shaming rhetoric that does. not. work to actually prevent abortion.

    You know what does prevent abortion? Education about contraceptive methods. Better funding for low-income area schools. Free women’s health care such as that provided by Planned Parenthood (which is, by the way, where I go for my yearly exams and medically necessary birth control – they do way more than abortion).

    You know what doesn’t prevent abortion? Comparing a woman to Hitler. Really.

    And with that, I’m done with this. Just. Done.

    Goodbye.

  • Nick

    Dianna,

    Here is where we are in complete agreement: active listening to women in very complicated, difficult situations, and the problematic nature of comparing these women to Hitler in any way.

  • http://www.alienman.blogspot.com Brad Williams

    Dianna,

    This pretty much sums it up:

    Women know exactly what they are doing when they go in for an abortion. And they do it anyway.

    If this is true, then I have definitely been wrong all along. My fault, however, is that I have been to gracious. I had assumed that if a woman knew that abortion was the murder of her own child, barring her own life being endangered, that she would have opted to carry the child to term and put the child up for adoption.

    However, I believe that you are mistaken. Because if what you said was true, then we would have a lot more mothers dropping their kids off into the lake when money came up short, support was lacking from the father, or any other excuse you can think of to terminate a child in the womb. Why, do you suppose, women became outraged when Caylee Anthony’s body was discovered wrapped in a blanket, which was stuffed in a trash bag, and then tossed into the woods? Aborted babies are hardly treated any better, right?

    You can answer that for yourself if you are done. Others may weigh in as they see fit.

  • http://www.FillingMyPatchOfSky.com Erin

    I would like to jump in on this part of Alan’s response: “Is a 30-minute video posted on your Facebook page really a reasonable and effective way to publicly address abortion, probably the most controversial topic in our culture? Can a YouTube video accurately, thoughtfully, and fairly present the moral problems with abortion? I believe that their method borrows more from the secular advertising industry than the Great Commission, and that this mistake can lead to seriously uncharitable and counter-productive exchanges.”

    Some people like to engage others like this, but I do not because I don’t think media blasts are the best way to engage people about controversial topics. If changing hearts and minds were only a matter of delivering the right information in the most startling way, then 180 will convert the world after one viewing. But it isn’t just a matter of giving people the facts. We are complex beings who make decisions based on a lifetime of collected experiences and inputs. Even as followers of Christ, it takes time for us to shift from making decisions based on the past to making them based on the Word.

    Also, when it comes to controversial moral debates, I always wonder: Is my goal for the other person to “become moral” or to know the Redeemer? Without knowing the Redeemer, being moral is of little use after life on this earth is done.

  • http://pushofpikes.wordpress.com Stephen P. Hale

    Dianna said:
    “Here’s why: I have several close friends who have had abortions. To hear two men (men for whom this will never be a real life decision) casually discussing my friends’ very tough decisions as “atrocities” on par with Nazism, to hear them affirming that it is a “holocaust,” to claim that women have “succumbed to a Satanic lie.”…That signals to me that there will be no room for debate with you. No room for nuance. And no room for grace or mercy.” She later said this sort of rhetoric isn’t shaped by love and charity, but demonization (I’m paraphrasing here).

    Very well said, Dianna. That’s the problem with this video.

    And to a few other commentors, I’ll respond that it seems to me Dianna is staying precisely on topic: discussing the rhetoric of the video, while Brad has strayed into trying to re-debate the abortion topic, which is not what this thread/post is about.

    To be fair, I only read ~2/3 of the comments, so maybe I’m saying something that is irrelevant by the end of the discussion. In which case, I apologize. :-)

    Anyway, my .02.

  • Tim

    I received a SPAM (read: unsolicited; from an unknown number) txt to my phone encouraging me to watch a cool documentary on WWII. It contained a link to 180movie.com
    I have to say, as a Christian and a father … I was horribly offended.
    This documentary does not show Christians in a good light and it doesn’t share Jesus’s message of love. It presents us as argumentative and insensitive. I get so tired of having to defend my faith to my friends who aren’t Christians, “Yes, but we’re not ALL like that.”
    They will know we are Christians by our LOVE – not our harassment.

  • Hayden Johnston

    Dude, I’m a NZer & I was shocked to find that Ray was one of us. You’re not mistaken on the accent, Ray clearly has an Australian accent.

    I’m not sure whether he’s lived in Australia (couldn’t find anything suggesting he has) or just puts on the accent to be more relatable to Americans (the Aussie accent is well known over there due to Crocodile dundee, Steve Irwin etc)

    Ultimately I’m embarrassed this guy is a Kiwi.


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