Little-Known Bible Verses XIII: Fetuses Don't Count

It’s consistently been part of the anti-choice strategy to treat unborn fetuses as separate, autonomous people, even well before the point of viability. For instance, the anti-abortion website Abort73.com says:

It is illegal to execute a pregnant woman on death row because the fetus living inside her is a distinct human being who cannot be executed for the crimes of the mother. (source)

In fact, such niceties did not occur to the authors of the Bible. They did not value the unborn nearly so highly, as we can see from a little-known Bible verse.

In Genesis chapter 38, the Israelite patriarch Judah marries off his firstborn son, Er, to a woman named Tamar. Unfortunately, Er “was wicked in the sight of the Lord; and the Lord slew him” (38:7). Judah, who was nothing if not practical, instructs his secondborn son Onan to marry his dead brother’s wife and impregnate her, to perpetuate his brother’s family line. Onan, who isn’t feeling the brotherly love, consents to have sex with Tamar, but pulls out at the last moment and spills his “seed” on the ground. “And the thing which he did displeased the Lord: wherefore he slew him also” (38:10). (In case you were keeping track, this primitive, ridiculous little bloodbath of a myth is recorded in a book which is believed by billions of people to be the word of God.)

Judah was running low on sons by this point, but bravely soldiers on, instructing Tamar to “remain a widow at thy father’s house, till Shelah my son be grown” (38:11). However, Tamar – who seems understandably fed up by this point – disobeys, puts off her widow’s garb and goes out and sits in the open, wearing a veil. Judah comes across her, doesn’t realize she’s his daughter-in-law, and, well, you can probably guess what happens next: Judah “thought her to be an harlot; because she had covered her face” (38:15) and agrees to pay her one goat from his flock in exchange for sex. No, I’m not making this up.

Tamar conceives a child. When Judah sees her again, he still doesn’t realize she’s the woman he slept with – but he does see that she’s pregnant, and hasn’t married his son yet, and is therefore enraged.

“And it came to pass about three months after, that it was told Judah, saying, Tamar thy daughter in law hath played the harlot; and also, behold, she is with child by whoredom. And Judah said, Bring her forth, and let her be burnt.” (38:24)

Judah was fully aware that Tamar was pregnant from her act of infidelity – and yet he still orders her to be put to death straightaway! The life of that “distinct human being” inside her seemed not to concern him at all. Certainly there’s no mention made in the text of him intending to wait until she had given birth before having her burned alive. In the end Tamar escapes her fate, so the issue never comes to a head, but there is no indication that it was a consideration before her reprieve.

There are plenty of other verses in the Old Testament which strongly suggest that its authors did not view unborn fetuses as equivalent to born children. Exodus 21:22 says that if men fight and injure a pregnant woman, causing her to miscarry, the guilty party is merely fined, but if the woman dies, the responsible person is also put to death. (Some apologists claim that this text merely means the man is fined if the woman’s injury causes her to give birth prematurely without doing any other harm. Readers are invited to imagine a physically plausible scenario under which this could occur.)

The Book of Numbers, starting in verse 3:15, tells of a census God ordered Moses to carry out among the Israelites. Pregnant women are not counted as two people. In fact, this verse specifically says that even children less than a month old weren’t counted! This shouldn’t be surprising; a tribal society with a high rate of infant mortality could scarcely afford to invest large amounts of resources into newborns, until they had passed a point where they were more likely to survive. But this brutal necessity hardly fits with the “pro-family” mindset that the modern religious right claims to derive from the Bible.

Numbers 5 also contains the infamous “law of jealousy”, where a man who suspects his wife of being unfaithful can take her to the priests and force her to drink “bitter water”. This potion appears to be some form of abortifacient, because if the woman has been unfaithful, the text says that it will cause her to have a “miscarrying womb” (according to the NIV translation). Many modern anti-choice advocates argue that even a pregnancy conceived from rape should not be grounds for an abortion, but the biblical authors had no compunction in describing it as the appropriate response to spousal infidelity.

Following the theme from Genesis 38, Hosea 13:16 thunders that “Samaria shall become desolate; for she hath rebelled against her God: they shall fall by the sword: their infants shall be dashed in pieces, and their women with child shall be ripped up.” Again, the innocent lives incubating inside these sinful women do not stay the hand of the divine executioner.

Other posts in this series:

About Adam Lee

Adam Lee is an atheist writer and speaker living in New York City. His new novel, Broken Ring, is available in paperback and e-book. Read his full bio, or follow him on Twitter.

  • mikespeir

    I advise against using Bible stories like that of Tamar as indications of the morality the Bible teaches. Nowhere does it suggest that a good thing has transpired. It’s not as though it’s saying, “Thus saith the Lord! It’s okay to kill a pregnant woman who has ‘played the harlot.’” We’re simply being presented with a supposed historical account of what happened. It’s not a morality play.

    Atheists make this kind of mistake a lot. It’s one of the gripes I have with Julia Sweeney’s otherwise excellent “Letting Go of God.”

    Now the Numbers 5 thing is different. That law is said to have come from God. That is telling.

  • http://www.raywhiting.com/MyLife Raytheist

    mikespier, I understand what you are saying.

    But what about those who assert II Tim 3.16: “All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness”

    “All scripture” would have to include these not-so-nice passages. And it’s not so much that crappy things are reported as happening, but that God allegedly ordered such things, or at least failed to punish those who behaved badly. If God were truly against such wicked behaviors, that should have been recorded along with the stories of abuse that are amply recorded.

    We already know humans can behave badly toward others. But the Bible is supposed to reveal the nature and character of God, who himself seems to let such bad behavior slip by with a wink and a nod.

  • Rob Schneider

    To be fair, the bit from Hosea also says that the “infants shall be dashed in pieces,” so I’m not sure if the “women with child shall be ripped up,” is really any worse. Of course, if gOd has no problem with infanticide, why would he care if the foetus was born or not? The gOd of the passage is a monster, no matter how you look at it.

  • http://superstitionfree.blogspot.com/ Robert Madewell

    Dont forget Deuteronomy 21:18-21.

    This passage is a law concerning disobedient children, who are to be stoned to death. That verse also is said to come from God. Obviously, children in the OT are considered mere property.

  • mikespeir

    Raytheist:

    It doesn’t mean that all the examples are good examples. Some might be “profitable” as counterexamples. Indeed, I think the case can legitimately be made that some episodes are included for their very egregiousness.

    Look, there are plenty of real Bible problems….

  • mike

    a distinct human being who cannot be executed for the crimes of the mother.

    Well, that doesn’t sound very Biblical..

    The LORD had fast closed up all the wombs of the house of Abimelech, because of Sarah Abraham’s wife. Gen 20:18

    I the Lord thy God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation. Ex 20:5, Deut 5:9

    Visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children, and upon the children’s children unto the third and to the fourth generation. Ex 34:7

    The LORD is longsuffering, and of great mercy, forgiving iniquity and transgression, and by no means clearing the guilty, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation. Num 14:18

    A bastard shall not enter into the congregation of the LORD; even to his tenth generation shall he not enter into the congregation of the LORD. Deut 23:2

    Cursed shall be the fruit of thy body. Deut 28:18

    I will perform against Eli all things which I have spoken concerning his house … I will judge his house for ever … because his sons made themselves vile, and he restrained them not. 1 Sam 3:12-13

    Wherefore hath the Lord pronounced all this great evil against us? … Because your fathers have forsaken me, saith the Lord. Jer 16:10-11

    Thou … recompensest the iniquity of the fathers into the bosom of their children after them. Jer 32:18

    … and many others

  • Stacey Melissa

    Exodus 21 is the passage I always use. In that chapter’s list of “eye for an eye” retribution rules, killing a free adult means you die in turn. Killed slaves and fetuses, however, are treated as property damage, incurring a fine to be paid to the owner, in the case of the miscarriage. And if a fetus is simply the property of the parents, then it’s up to them to do whatever they want with it, including abort, if so desired. The only real problem with the miscarriage verse is that the fine is supposed to be paid to the father rather than to the mother or to both parents.

  • tghjol

    I would love if some Christian husband asked his priest for some “bitter water”, referring to that passage.

  • 2-D Man

    I recall reading this passage for the first time and concluding that it’s nothing more than smut for primitive people (or possibly poorly translated). I mean, there’s plot manipulation and lame dialog… it’s essentially a soap opera.

  • Scotlyn

    It is not so much the passages cited here (although I take Mikespeir’s point), but the fact that I cannot find a single positive passage that forbids the taking of an unborn life separately from the life of the mother.

    I still cannot work out how this particular insistence on the life of the unborn being equivalent to the life of the born is even worked out if it is supposed to be based on scripture – what scripture?

    God’s willingness to kill children, just for the sake of demonstrating his might and power is, however, well attested in the story of the Passover. Neither the firstborn children of the Egyptians, nor their parents, would have had any control or say in the actions of Pharoah, for whose actions they died.

    On the other hand, the Tamar story is not as irrelevant as one might think – as I understand it, God’s annoyance at Onan for spilling his seed is one of the few scriptural pillars on which the Catholic church rests its opposition to contraception.

  • http://fargazmo.blogspot.com Fargus

    mikespeir, we don’t even have to go to other verses for this. Christians use this very verse for teaching that masturbation and coitus interruptus are wrong. God’s got an active role in this story, so we’ve got to assume that since he kills some people for transgressions, when he decides to let others live, it’s got to be because he’s OK with what they’re doing.

  • http://gaytheistagenda.lavenderliberal.com/ Buffy

    The Bible god and his followers didn’t care much for born children, let alone unborn children. Just look how many times god ordered the slaughter of children, and even infants, throughout the Bible.

  • ildi

    Stacey:

    Killed slaves and fetuses, however, are treated as property damage, incurring a fine to be paid to the owner, in the case of the miscarriage. And if a fetus is simply the property of the parents, then it’s up to them to do whatever they want with it, including abort, if so desired. The only real problem with the miscarriage verse is that the fine is supposed to be paid to the father rather than to the mother or to both parents.

    That’s because the woman is property, too. You know:

    You shall not covet your neighbour’s house; you shall not covet your neighbour’s wife, or male or female slave, or ox, or donkey, or anything that belongs to your neighbour

    Much of the OT makes a lot more sense when you keep in mind that women and children were considered to be property. That’s why, BTW, I’ve never been fond of the traditional wedding custom of asking: “Who gives this woman away?” and then having the father hand her over to the groom a la a set of car keys.

  • Polly

    Re the Bible’s decidedly anti-life position: Duh! The passage from Exodus 21:22 was the clincher for me long ago that the Bible was not the friend of pro-lifers. Before that I had already felt queasy referring to the OT for anything resembling a moral argument except as a bad example.

    I brought up the story of Tamar and Judah over Friday lunch last week. It was my example of one of the few nice plot twist in the Bible. There’s so little…how shall I say… inspiration and imagination in the stories. Mostly, it’s just:

    God told Jehu to whack Ahab and his family.
    Jehu did as god commanded.
    God gives Jehu props.
    The End
    epilogue: god contradicts himself and curses Jehu’s descendants

    But, Tamar’s story is pretty interesting reading. Though not even enough material for a short story, as biblical anecdotes go, it was worth reading of clever Tamar’s little trick. She forced his hand. hahaha…
    I don’t think even the Bible writers/editors intended Judah’s reaction to be held up as a good example. He was being a hypocrite and she got him.

    Joseph, despite its awful political-economicy is a pretty good read, too. It’s got everything – jealousy, favoritism, revenge, compassion, reunion, and forgiveness, and suspense. You don’t really know what he’s up to until the end.

  • Jim H

    I’ve never understood why so-called bible literalists (or inerrantists) don’t seem to mind the passage from Hosea, or Psalm 135 (Especially Psalm 135!), yet still claim to be pro-life. To tell the truth, I don’t know how they read those without throwing up…

  • Wayne Essel

    This is one of the areas where my views are closer to the humanist’s views than fundamental Christianity. I think that it is obvious that the Bible is full of anthropomorphism and myth.

    It’s all useful. In some cases it might be more useful to the Atheists than the Christians…

    In my mind, joking aside, reading the Bible with discernment one can find plenty of wisdom. Even the mythology can be useful for teaching human development via archetypes. Sometimes the archetypes are too old to be useful. The fact that some of the Bible needs discernment does not render all of it useless. If nothing else, the dubious parts still capture the history and views of Judaism and Christianity. Conversely, the presence of some obviously inspired chapters does not render the entire work infallible.

    It does give me the creeps when someone uses the Bible to warrant bigoted thought and behavior.

  • Danikajaye

    I find it highly irritating when when bible verses are picked apart, some parts used and others disguarded. It reminds me of people picking fruit at the grocery store (Hmmm… this pear is nice and juicy, I’ll take that, oooo no this one is a bit hard I don’t like that- back it goes). If this particular verse is meant to be a counter example then in my mind it can’t then be used as an example against contraception. I think a chapter needs to be taken as a whole and as I have had heard said before who has the disgretion to decide what is literal and what is not?

    Reading this example makes my feel like I have to build a fortress wall around my body so that nobody can claim ownership and mistreat it. This is one of many examples of biblical text that make me feel physically ill. For the most part everything I have ever read in the bible, particularly in regard to being female, lead me to feel degraded. I always feel curious as to how female theists can believe in God and have any self esteem or sense of worth other than as an incubator.

  • Danikajaye

    *discarded* *discretion* sorry I need to proof read better

  • Alex Weaver

    I still cannot work out how this particular insistence on the life of the unborn being equivalent to the life of the born is even worked out

    It makes more sense when you keep in mind that it’s not what the anti-choice really believe.

  • Scotlyn

    Alex Weaver, you are so right – and thanks for the link – its a very good one.

    Still, to me it is the major weakness in the anti-choice position – that they cannot support it on much of a positive scriptural base – and it therefore fails by their own internal logic.

    Curiously, (at least here in Ireland, where abortion remains completely illegal – thank goodness for our British “back door”) this failure is often made up for by frothing at the mouth with extra spittle.

  • Reginald Selkirk

    In my mind, joking aside, reading the Bible with discernment one can find plenty of wisdom. … The fact that some of the Bible needs discernment does not render all of it useless.

    One has to realize though, that one is cherry-picking, and that the good judgment comes in the “discernment” and is not a noticable feature of the starting material. If one has enough “discernment,” even Moby Dick contains plenty of Wisdom.

  • velkyn

    The bible is fraught with instances where God is evidently okay with the actions of his believers. He certainly could have intervened and did a lot in the OTthough often not where “good Christians” think he ought to have. To claim that “oooh, this inconvenient story is to be ignored and isn’t what God “really wanted”" nonsense. In context, it is indeed “God saith” to kill Tamar. There is no way to know if this is a morality play or not and to claim so means an apologist is just one more person who thinks he has a magic decoder ring.

    Now, I’m suprised taht some Christians hasan’t made the usual claim that “ooh, by then God really wasn’t “with” the Israelites and they did a lot of horrible things and it’s not God’s fault”.

  • Nes

    To further support Alex’s point, consider this video which poses a question to abortion protesters that is similar to the first box in the chart at Alex’s link. According to them abortion is murder, but only one of the people interviewed said that abortion should be punished like murder (and that one was hesitant to do so).

  • mikespeir

    In context, it is indeed “God saith” to kill Tamar.

    Wow, velkyn, that’s an amazing thing to write! Can you show me where the story says that? Can you point me to how the context leads there? On the contrary, it would seem that only Judah wanted her dead. There’s nothing even to remotely suggest that this desire of Judah’s was any reflection of God’s desire.

    Like I said above, the Bible is chock full of problems. But when we start making up stuff, believers are going to think we don’t know what we’re talking about at least, and likelier that we’re being dishonest.

  • gentoo

    @Raytheist: Take a look at Judges. God’s chosen people always did stupid stuff that went against God. God did not condone any of the ‘sinful’ acts committed by his people. Judges is a great example of that. Judges also shows you how when you close doors that God opens up for you (the path He is leading you towards,) He will open up new doors for you to to accomplish His will.

    Judges 21:25 (New International Version)

    25 In those days Israel had no king; everyone did as he saw fit

    This verse sums things up nicely. Even the judges were not perfect… just-like-every-other-human. Look at Samson. He did great things for the Lord… but did not always obey God (with women, etc). Even Moses messed up, which kept him from seeing the promised land. Judges talks about the Israelites going against God. They were not trusting in God and took matters into heir own hands. In chapter 21, the Benjamites were nearly all wiped out because of the actions of the Israelites.

    So in the end here… what I am getting at is that the Bible contains records of all bad things as well as good… and it has to. I feel like the majority of the people out there will just look at a story in the Bible (such as Samson) and see only the top layer. Learning from the Bible requires diving deeper into the meaning behind everything. You look at Samson and see what happened in his life while walking with God… and then you look at what happens when he turns from God and gives into his bodily desires. Just as the original commenter said, these evil acts were not spoken as law from God. Everything in the Bible is there for a reason. You pointed out exactly what I am trying to say when you quoted II Tim:

    “for instruction in righteousness”

    When you read the stories in the Bible, you relate them to your own life. If there were no mention of any bad deed, then how would we learn? You cannot learn without a frame of reference (sin). This is just like in the world…

  • Matt

    Interesting read. Although not an athiest (I believe in creationism and evolution, having occurred over many millennia), I do find many parts of the Bible to be in conflict. I also feel that many portions of the Bible are not translated properly (as most educated people are aware, the KJV Bible was wrought by human hands and edited through history by people with their own agendas) and, as such, we must use our best judgment when attempting to adhere to its teachings.

    That said, I think your constant use of Old Testament works may come to your undoing. Many “Christians” will tell you that the OT is simply reference material, the words of prophets and forecasters. The NT is where our salvation and hope are imbued, and where our updated laws and constraints are held. In essence, I agree that the OT passages that you quote are horrible and certainly reason for disgust, but as mikepeir has pointed out, you cannot simply take a verse here and there, and create a defense or point of aggression around it and expect it to draw any amount of thought less than ire.

    Next, to the point of abortion, in general, although many would not call me a Christian for saying so, I believe in the woman’s right to chose. Is abortion murder? Maybe. But it’s not -my- place to chose the decisions of other sentient beings. Will the person go to Hell? What are the limitations? Are there any “special circumstances” at all? That’s between the person and their best conscience.

    Of course, I also believe that if a fetus is aborted in any way, shape or form, any research that we can do on that being is for the greater good toward the preservation of mankind, stem cell or otherwise. Some people will pervert the research, yes, but that doesn’t mean that the research, on the whole, no less valuable to the man who needs a new heart.

    Finally, as alluded to in previous posts, I am disappointed in the people who find it necessary to protest against and kill those that do not believe the way they do. Persecution, in any fashion, for faith is unnecessary. But, I would propose, that this is just as full of venom and attack as those that protest. Like Christians, some atheists are so hardened to their need for “lack of faith” it makes them equally as disappointing. Not all, mind you, but a lot. Just as many Christians are disenfranchised with their faith, and, as a result of need for reaffirmation, go on the attack against anything they deem unholy, I find that this is just another example of atheism giving in ard going for the jugular, rather than provoking thought, which is, from what I’ve seen, a large point of atheism.

    Could have been a good post, but unfortunate, nonetheless.

  • Isaac

    This is taken entirely out of context. Judah is the bad guy in this story. He in no way represents what is allowable or good.

  • Michael

    Well, this is silly.

    Quoting the bible in order to prove a point is, in a way, compromising one’s own beliefs as an atheist. The bible shouldn’t be a shield for pro-lifers not because it carries pro-choice sentiment, and not because it contradicts itself, but because the entire idea of a book written by the all-powerful cloud father is ridiculous. Why should we, as atheists, even bother with this nonsense? No one is going to change the way they feel because you have quoted the bible. If someone is really using the bible in order to form their opinions in any way, they’ve already committed to being ignorant.

  • nice try

    “Is abortion murder? Maybe. But it’s not -my- place to chose the decisions of other sentient beings. ”

    Really? I suppose Jeffrey Dahmer would agree with you there. The reality of murder is based on a personal opinion? Huh? That’s some scary logic.

  • Paul

    Quoting the bible in order to prove a point is, in a way, compromising one’s own beliefs as an atheist.

    All this time I was unaware we had an atheist system of beliefs. When can I expect my atheist dogma checklist in the mail?

    Arguing that using bible citations to counter anti-abortion protesters (the vast majority of which are religiously motivated) seems like an odd position to take.

    Why should we, as atheists, even bother with this nonsense? No one is going to change the way they feel because you have quoted the bible. If someone is really using the bible in order to form their opinions in any way, they’ve already committed to being ignorant.

    One would think an atheist would understand the need for pragmatism. Like it or not, those “committed to being ignorant” types outnumber atheists by a large margin. If you’re not willing to try to argue in a manner they can relate to, all that’s left is a shouting match. And they are louder.

  • Arch

    Untl t s rcgnzd tht psts lk ths n r mkng rrns clms d t flty Scrptrl ntrprttn, t s gng t b dffclt t dlg. Fr ths wh r pn t ndrstndng th Chrch’s tchng, I ffr th fllwng lnk t th Vtcn II dcmnt n th Wrd f Gd, D Vrbm.

    http://www.vtcn.v/rchv/hst_cncls/_vtcn_cncl/dcmnts/vt-_cnst_19651118_d-vrbm_n.html

    [As noted in the comment policy, I insist that reader comments be their own thoughts in their own words. If any of us want to know what the Vatican thinks, we are more than capable of looking it up for ourselves. —Ebonmuse]

  • Arch

    Until it is recognized that posts like this are making claims based in faulty Scriptural interpretation, it is going to be difficult to dialogue. If you are going to continually misinterpret and prooftext passages of the Old Testament, then you are going to continue to make claims which you feel debunk Scripture and Christ… but they are far from debunking the validity of Christ, Scripture, or the Church. The “Little-Known Bible Verses” are actually well known, and understood within the context of accurate O.T. and N.T. interpretation. You are not debunking anything by believing that these verses teach an objective truth that they do not. Once again, I recommend reading Dei Verbum as a starting point for reading the Old Testament or New Testament alike.

  • http://www.myspace.com/driftwoodduo Steve Bowen

    from Dei Verbum

    Therefore, since everything asserted by the inspired authors or sacred writers must be held to be asserted by the Holy Spirit, it follows that the books of Scripture must be acknowledged as teaching solidly, faithfully and without error that truth which God wanted put into sacred writings

    The bible is literal truth.

    the interpreter of Sacred Scripture, in order to see clearly what God wanted to communicate to us, should carefully investigate what meaning the sacred writers really intended, and what God wanted to manifest by means of their words.

    and can mean whatever you damn well want it to mean

  • jessie

    I suppose atheists consider it an art to debunk a Christian’s moral belief using Christian literature? However, as a couple previous posters alluded to, you have done nothing to further your side’s arguments.

    The stories you refer to are based on a system of righteous living, wherein bad decisions were subject to the punishment prescribed by the law. In essence, each individual was responsible for doing right (and/or offering a spotless sacrifice, such as a lamb, goat, or birds) in order to earn God’s favor. HOWEVER, because “God so loved the world…He sent his only Son” to be the spotless sacrifice so we were free to live outside all those laws, rules, and works and still have a chance to stay right with God.

    SOOO, what does this mean in light of abortion? The bottom line you’ve missed regarding all your verse references is that the loss of a child was considered a PUNISHMENT. It wasn’t done because ‘oops, the condom broke’ or better yet, ‘we were too drunk to use a condom’. Someone generally wanted the baby, but the law said no.

  • http://whyihatejesus.blogspot.com OMGF

    How does that in any way make anything better? You’re claiming that it’s OK to abort a baby if you are punishing someone and that’s supposed to prop up your anti-choice position?

  • Alex Weaver

    The bottom line you’ve missed regarding all your verse references is that the loss of a child was considered a PUNISHMENT.

    This has no relationship to anything else in your post and is ethically problematic in all sorts of ways. Beyond that…do you actually think that anyone who has ever had an abortion in the history of the world wouldn’t have prefered to not get pregnant in the first place?

  • jessie

    OMGF – what the hell? No. But I have to sit with the reality that 95% of women who get abortions do so because, oops, they weren’t careful enough and got preggo. Whoever decided to attempt a bash at Christian morality pulled up a bunch of verses that can’t and don’t second present-day thinking. When an abortion was conducted (within the context of the aforementioned verses) it was done so to punish someone. I wouldn’t hesitate to say that probably 95% of those women DIDN’T want an abortion. Our country’s current habit is to abort in an attempt to avoid unwanted responsibility. So YOU tell ME how those verses in any way support the pro-choice movement?

    Secondly, learn to deduce when reading. No, it is NOT okay to abort for punishment’s sake. That was an Old Testament live-and-die-by-the-law tactic.

    Alex, I apologize if I confused you. Here it is in simple terms:

    Old Testament (where all the pro-abortion verses of the original post were pulled from) – people lived according to the law. The law included abortion as punishment for adultery.

    Now a days – We don’t live by Old Testament law. We don’t have to perform abortions. But we do. Why? Because the women now WANT them.

    Beyond that…do you actually think that anyone who has ever had an abortion in the history of the world wouldn’t have prefered to not get pregnant in the first place?

    No, I know for a fact not all have.

  • Alex Weaver

    Old Testament (where all the pro-abortion verses of the original post were pulled from) – people lived according to the law. The law included abortion as punishment for adultery.

    Now a days – We don’t live by Old Testament law. We don’t have to perform abortions. But we do. Why? Because the women now WANT them.

    This formulation does not make this statement less logically incoherent nor the sentiment less morally insane.

    No, I know for a fact not all have.

    [Citation needed]

  • Alex Weaver

    So YOU tell ME how those verses in any way support the pro-choice movement?

    Since the pro-choice movement is based on respect for individual liberty and opposition to unnecessary suffering rather than the tribal superstitions of iron-age goat herders, they are relevant only in that they further undermine our opponents’ already flawed arguments.

  • http://www.myspace.com/driftwoodduo Steve Bowen

    Jessie

    Old Testament (where all the pro-abortion verses of the original post were pulled from) – people lived according to the law. The law included abortion as punishment for adultery.
    Now a days – We don’t live by Old Testament law. We don’t have to perform abortions. But we do. Why? Because the women now WANT them.

    Ebon isn’t looking for biblical justification for abortion, but he is pointing out that there is no O.T justification to oppose it.

    HOWEVER, because “God so loved the world…He sent his only Son” to be the spotless sacrifice so we were free to live outside all those laws, rules, and works and still have a chance to stay right with God.

    Apart from the ludicrous notion that an almighty universe creating god would need to change the rules (twice if you agree with Islam) I am not aware that anything in the N.T contradicts the impression that the Christian god is any more concerned about fetuses than the Jewish one.

  • http://whyihatejesus.blogspot.com/ OMGF

    Jesse,

    Whoever decided to attempt a bash at Christian morality pulled up a bunch of verses that can’t and don’t second present-day thinking.

    What does present day thinking have to do with it? If you wish to use the Bible to support your position, you can’t use your modern moral rules and impart them back onto the Bible and claim that you are using the Bible for guidance.

    When an abortion was conducted (within the context of the aforementioned verses) it was done so to punish someone.

    I know, you said that. And, I wondered aloud how that supports your position in any way. Apparently, god doesn’t have a problem with abortions that are done out of punishment? (Which I asked and you seem to have answered, “No.” But, then you continue to assert that god set wrote it into the Bible to punish women by giving them abortions, so which is it?)

    So YOU tell ME how those verses in any way support the pro-choice movement?

    If you are going to argue that abortion should be illegal/immoral/whatever, then how does god saying, “Do it for punishment” make it illegal/immoral/whatever?

    Secondly, learn to deduce when reading. No, it is NOT okay to abort for punishment’s sake. That was an Old Testament live-and-die-by-the-law tactic.

    If you take one second to go back and look at what I wrote, you’ll hopefully be embarrassed that you’re chiding me for this.

    Old Testament (where all the pro-abortion verses of the original post were pulled from) – people lived according to the law. The law included abortion as punishment for adultery.

    Now a days – We don’t live by Old Testament law. We don’t have to perform abortions.

    Ah, I do so love to see Xians resorting to relative morality.

  • Katie

    I’m not sure if you know, but the child that Tamar was carrying ended up to be an ancestor of Christ. If Judah, acting in sin, would have killed Tamar and her unborn child, the lineage of Christ would have ended in a terrible sin.

  • http://uncyclopedia.wikia.com/wiki/User:Modusoperandi Modusoperandi

    And the Biblical timeline has her as an ancestor of Raymond, of “Everyone Loves Raymond”. So it’s six of one and a half dozen of the other, really.

  • http://whyihatejesus.blogspot.com OMGF

    I’ve never understood why the lineage of Jesus was so important to god. As long as he knocked up any old virgin the child would be pure and worthy of the human/divine sacrifice that somehow allows for transferrance of our sins, right? What is so special about Jesus’s lineage except for trying to make sure that it adheres to some prophecy?

  • Thumpalumpacus

    If Judah, acting in sin, would have killed Tamar and her unborn child, the lineage of Christ would have ended in a terrible sin.

    Wow, it’s pretty easy to frustrate an omnipotent god.

  • http://uncyclopedia.wikia.com/wiki/User:Modusoperandi Modusoperandi

    Not to mention omniscient.

  • Pingback: Genesis 38: A Brief Digression With Judah and Tamar « Carpe Scripturum

  • agnostic721

    To those stating that quoting scripture doesn’t enlighten people already mired in fundamentalist theological doctrine, I offer myself up as proof that it can.

    While the vast majority of the time you will be up against an impenetrable fortress of willful ignorance every now and then someone might start asking questions for themselves about this “inerrant truth”.

  • Axaproromnal

    I would like to make the point that the “anti-choice,” better-termed as pro-life, mindset is not limited to Christians. I am an agnostic and I believe fetuses are separate, autonomous people.

  • http://www.whyihatejesus.blogspot.com/ OMGF

    I would like to make the point that the “anti-choice,” better-termed as pro-life…

    Nope, sorry, it’s anti-choice, and for good reason. The supposedly “pro-life” side is not any more pro-life than the side that favors choice, and even less so in most instances.

  • yprior

    I am not an atheist, but I find it interesting when Christians say they do not have to follow the old testament (the law) anymore. The following verse is from Matthew 5:17-18 from the New Testament and clearly states in Jesus own words, that he is not abolishing the Law (old testament) and that it still must be followed:

    “Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them. For truly I tell you, until heaven and earth disappear, not the smallest letter, not the least stroke of a pen, will by any means disappear from the Law until everything is accomplished.”