The ‘biblical view’ that’s younger than the Happy Meal

In 1979, McDonald’s introduced the Happy Meal.

Sometime after that, it was decided that the Bible teaches that human life begins at conception.

Ask any American evangelical, today, what the Bible says about abortion and they will insist that this is what it says. (Many don’t actually believe this, but they know it is the only answer that won’t get them in trouble.) They’ll be a little fuzzy on where, exactly, the Bible says this, but they’ll insist that it does.

That’s new. If you had asked American evangelicals that same question the year I was born you would not have gotten the same answer.

That year, Christianity Today — edited by Harold Lindsell, champion of “inerrancy” and author of The Battle for the Bible — published a special issue devoted to the topics of contraception and abortion. That issue included many articles that today would get their authors, editors — probably even their readers — fired from almost any evangelical institution. For example, one article by a professor from Dallas Theological Seminary criticized the Roman Catholic position on abortion as unbiblical. Jonathan Dudley quotes from the article in his book Broken Words: The Abuse of Science and Faith in American Politics. Keep in mind that this is from a conservative evangelical seminary professor, writing in Billy Graham’s magazine for editor Harold Lindsell:

God does not regard the fetus as a soul, no matter how far gestation has progressed. The Law plainly exacts: “If a man kills any human life he will be put to death” (Lev. 24:17). But according to Exodus 21:22-24, the destruction of the fetus is not a capital offense. … Clearly, then, in contrast to the mother, the fetus is not reckoned as a soul.

Christianity Today would not publish that article in 2012. They might not even let you write that in comments on their website. If you applied for a job in 2012 with Christianity Today or Dallas Theological Seminary and they found out that you had written something like that, ever, you would not be hired.

At some point between 1968 and 2012, the Bible began to say something different. That’s interesting.

Even more interesting is how thoroughly the record has been rewritten. We have always been at war with Eastasia.

Click over to Dr. Norman L. Geisler’s website and you’ll find all the hallmarks of a respected figure in the evangelical establishment. You’ll see that Geisler has taught at Trinity Evangelical Seminary, Dallas Seminary and Southern Evangelical Seminary. You’ll see a promotion for his newest book, Defending Inerrancy, with recommendations from such evangelical stalwarts as Al Mohler and J.I. Packer, as well as a link to an online store offering some of the other dozens of books written by Geisler. And you’ll see a big promo for the anti-abortion movie October Baby, because Geisler is, of course, anti-abortion, just like Mohler and Packer and every other respected figure in the evangelical establishment is and, of course, must be.

But back in the day, Dudley notes, Geisler “argued for the permissibility of abortion in a 1971 book, stating ‘The embryo is not fully human — it is an undeveloped person.'” That was in Ethics: Alternatives and Issues, published by Zondervan. It’s still in print, kind of, as Christian Ethics: Contemporary Issues and Options. And now it says something different. Now it’s unambiguously anti-abortion.

I don’t mean to pick on Geisler. He’s no different from Packer or Graham or any other leading evangelical figure who’s been around as long as those guys have. They all now believe that the Bible teaches that life begins at conception. They believe this absolutely, unambiguously, firmly, resolutely and loudly. That’s what they believed 10 years ago, and that’s what they believed 20 years ago.

But it wasn’t what they believed 30 years ago. Thirty years ago they all believed quite the opposite.

Again, that’s interesting.

I heartily recommend Dudley’s book for his discussion of this switch and the main figures who brought it about — Francis Schaeffer, Jerry Falwell, Richard Viguerie, etc. But here I just want to quote one section about the strangeness of this 180-degree turn, and how it caught many evangelicals off-guard:

By the mid-1980s, the evangelical right was so successful with this strategy that the popular evangelical community would no longer tolerate any alternative position. Hence, the outrage over a book titled Brave New People published by InterVarsity Press in 1984. In addition to discussing a number of new biotechnologies, including genetic engineering and in vitro fertilization, the author, an evangelical professor living in New Zealand, also devoted a chapter to abortion. His position was similar to that of most evangelicals 15 years prior. Although he did not believe the fetus was a full-fledged person from conception, he did believe that because it was a potential person, it should be treated with respect. Abortion was only permissible to protect the health and well-being of the mother, to preclude a severely deformed child, and in a few other hard cases, such as rape and incest.

Although this would have been an unremarkable book in 1970, the popular evangelical community was outraged. Evangelical magazines and popular leaders across the country decried the book and its author, and evangelicals picketed outside the publisher’s office and urged booksellers to boycott the publisher. One writer called it a “monstrous book.” … The popular response to the book — despite its endorsements from Carl F.H. Henry, the first editor of Christianity Today, and Lew Smedes, an evangelical professor of ethics at Fuller Theological Seminary — was so overwhelmingly hostile that the book became the first ever withdrawn by InterVarsity Press over the course of nearly half a century in business.

The book was republished a year later by Eerdmans Press. In a preface, the author noted, “The heresy of which I appear to be guilty is that I cannot state categorically that human/personal life commences at day one of gestation. This, it seems, is being made a basic affirmation of evangelicalism, from which there can be no deviation. … No longer is it sufficient to hold classic evangelical affirmations on the nature of biblical revelation, the person and work of Christ, or justification by faith alone. In order to be labeled an evangelical, it is now essential to hold a particular view of the status of the embryo and fetus.”

The poor folks at InterVarsity Press, Carl Henry, Lewis Smedes and everyone else who was surprised by the totality of this reversal, by its suddenness and the vehemence with which it came to be an “essential” and “basic affirmation of evangelicalism” quickly got on board with the new rules.

By the time of the 1988 elections, no one any longer spoke sarcastically of “the heresy” of failing to “state categorically that human/personal life commences at day one of gestation.” By that time, it was simply viewed as an actual heresy. By the time of the 1988 elections, no one was aghast that a strict anti-abortion position was viewed as of equal — or greater — importance than one’s views of biblical revelation or the work of Christ. That was just a given.

By the time of the 1988 elections, everyone in American evangelicalism was wholly opposed to legal abortion and everyone in American evangelicalism was pretending that this had always been the case.

We have always been at war with Eastasia. Everyone knows that.


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  • Mattflannagan

    “The woman who has deliberately destroyed [her fetus] is subject to the penalty for murder. And among us there is no fine distinction between a completely formed and unformed [embryo]. For here justice is not only to be procured for the woman, who conspired [to kill] herself, because the women who attempt such things often die afterwards. Moreover, added to this is the destruction of the embryo, another murder, at least according to the intention of those who dare such things. Yet, it is not necessary to extend this penitence until their death, but one should accept a period of ten years’ [penitence]. Moreover, their restoration (therapeian) should be determined not by time, but by the manner of their repentance ”
    Basil of Ceaseria letter 188:2, explaining the practise of the early church regarding abortion  as laid down in the council of Ancyra in 374 AD ( no doubt Fred thinks he was eating at McDonalds at the time). 

  • P J Evans

    Matt, please take your prooftexting somewhere else. it isn’t impressive here, it merely annoys people. So do your assumptions that the modern Christian church has always said X, even when there’s proof that it hasn’t, and that the ‘church fathers’  (in quotes because that’s not how they thought of themselves) were always right and would approve of what Benny-the-Pope is doing to the modern Catholic church.

  • Mattflannagan



    I think it’s a little dishonest to misrpesent the issues and
    change the subject when the accuracy of a post has been called.

    First, you try and suggest I am “proof texting”, this however
    is false. I am providing primary source citations which is what a previous
    commentor asked I do. If people find something unwelcome they should not
    request I do it.

      Second you state my
    assumptions are  “the modern Christian
    church has always said X, even when there’s proof that it hasn’t, and that the
    ‘church fathers’  (in quotes because that’s not how they thought of
    themselves) were always right” 

    But I never said any of these things at all. Did I?

    The original claim was, not that the “modern church” had
    changed its view, nor was that the church fathers sometimes got it wrong. It
    was  that a particular interpretation of
    the bible was younger than happy meal. That claim has been shown to be false.

    Several defenders then made other false claims to back this
    up;Ross stated that the Septuagint does not condemn feticide as homicide. I
    cited the Septuagint to say that was false.

    Lori: then said that . “that prior to the 1980s believing
    that abortion is murder was not considered a core belief of Christians with
    orthodoxy demanded”

    That claim is also false, I noted that the earliest Christian
    catechism considered it a core Christian belief. Moreover, Basil shows it was
    an offence that required church discipline. Canon law made it an
    excommunicatable offence.

    EllieMurasaki  then claimed I had provided no citations. That
    also was false I had provided several, including Philo, the didache, the Septuagint
    and Calvin.

    then claimed the
    bible was never considered to be homicide between quickening and conception.

    was also false, the postion of the Septuagint, canon law and pretty much the
    consensus amoungst theologians for most of church history was that it was
    homicide at least by formation which is between conception and quickening.

    EllieMurasaki  then claimed I had not provided “actual
    citations, just names” this was also false I had already provided
    several citations as suggested above

    EllieMurasak:  then stated that all the forms of Judaism he
    is familiar with   abortion is
    permissible and cited a Wikipedia source.

    This was also false the very source he provided said quite
    clearly that abortion was condemned by Judaism historically and was permitted
    only in rare cases where the mothers life was at risk.

    This is a repeated pattern of demonstrably false claims to
    support another demonstrably false claim.

    At the point you suggested the problem was that people of my
    persuasion were  “turning off all
    higher brain functions and becoming a robot for Jeebus. This of course
    is simply offering an insult when the facts have proved other than what was

    Now apparently the claim is that no one ever intended talking
    about the past  but about the “modern
    church”  and merely the claim that church
    fathers were not always correct.  The
    problem is this also is false isn’t it PJ.


     All the above examples
    show they were making claims about the past. Claims were made about the Septuagint,
    what was considered a core belief, what Judaism taught and so on.

    Sorry PJ but Fred has been shown to be making false claims so
    have you and the other interloctuors in here.

    Why not just concede you were mistaken, the evangelical
    church in saying abortion is homicide from early in the pregnancy are
    reflecting a millennia old tradition, which dates back to the first century and
    even earlier in the LXX. There interpretations of Exodus reflect the way the
    passages were interpreted by Calvin Aquinas and many others. You might think
    this tradition is wrong, but pretending its novel is just not accurate.

    And engaging in the kind of tactics I mention above
    demonstrates not just that you are ignorant of the history here but you will
    engage in dishonesty to further that ignorance rather than just admit you were

  • Lori


    Basil of Ceaseria letter 188:2,

    One problem with this is that Basil of Ceaseria didn’t have the same understanding of the concept of fetus that you do.

    Aside from that, the fact that a man is trotting out a long parade of men telling women what they may and may not do with their own bodies is less than convincing.

  • JMP

    “Before I was forming you in the belly I knew you”I take this to mean when Jeremiah was an embryo and before he was a fetus with parts being formed.

  • JMP

    There is no verse which says God is omniscient, that is a Catholic invention.  What it says is that he can make anything happen he wants to happen and no one can prevent his purposes from being fulfilled.  Is 55:11

  • Oh, those wascawwy Catholics!

    Seriously. *rolls eyes*

  • Mattflannagan

    Lori,  that again changes the subject to wether Basil ünderstood the fetus the way I did or whether he is a man or whether certain pro choice slogans are acccurate.  

    That however was not the question was it?  what you said was that

    “that prior to the 1980s believing that abortion is murder was not considered a core belief of Christians with orthodoxy demanded” 

    Similary, Fred said the idea that abortion was condemned as murder was a new view younger than happy meal. 

    Care to admit that this was total twaddle or do you want to change the subject again?

    You don’t get to make stuff up just because it furthers a cause you think is pro women. 

  • I and almost everyone else who has read it throughout history* take it to mean “From the dawn of time, long before Jeremiah and Jeremiah’s parents or grandparents were even born.”

    * The process of fertilization in mammals was not discovered until 1875. The human ovum was discovered in1825, this being when science first started to question whether or not women just might play some role in human reproduction other than as disinterested incubators. You can not posit that the ancients attributed any particualr attributes to the human embryo because they did not know it existed

  • Tracy

    That Jeremiah line — seems like we have to take a line of poetry and turn it into something else to make it be about  abortion. When someone sings, “I have always loved you,” –do we take that to mean they have ALWAYS loved — like, you know, in kindergarten, before they ever met?

  • Pentamom1

     You could start with Psalm 51

  • Cncharrison

    “When men strive together and hit a pregnant woman, so that her children come out, but there is no harm, the one who hit her shall surely be fined, as the woman’s husband shall impose on him, and he shall pay as the judges determine. But if there is harm, then you shall pay life for life, eye for eye, tooth for tooth, hand for hand, foot for foot, burn for burn, wound for wound, stripe for stripe. (Exodus 21:22-25 ESV)

    Seems clear. Maybe why the verse wqs referenced yet not written out.

  • Glennwilliamspdx

    Yes, in the Bible, life and breath have always been connected. God breathed into Adam the breath of life. There seems to be a correlation between viability and individual personhood.

  • Nana Sheila

    The page on this link cites a number of Bible verses claimed to support the “sanctity of life” . . .

  • MagentaLizard

    What Fred doesn’t mention is that this occurred as part of Karl Rove’s agenda under Reagan to bring Catholics and Evangelicals into the Republican fold (along with the anti-gay ‘pro-family’ rhetoric). Thus, I believe this is largely a political tool driving the religious shift.

  • I only just came across this. It’s a well-written piece. Kudos.

  • bearzee

    The abortion issue makes a handy lure for the bait-and-switch in order to lead “Christians” to Ayn Rand greed and anti-Christian work.

    Right-winger Paul Weyrich of the Committee for the Survival of a Free Congress.

    Weyrich said:

    “What galvanised the Christian community was not abortion, school prayer, or the ERA. I am living witness to that because I was trying to get those people interested in those issues and I utterly failed. What changed their mind was Jimmy Carter’s intervention against the Christian schools, trying to deny them tax-exempt status on the basis of so-called de-facto segregation.”

  • “There is something about certainty, that makes Christianity un-Christian.”  — Marilynne Robinson.

  • Tim

    Fascinating. The article does
    not speak about the cultural context from which the theologies emerged.
    Developing a theology of soul in preabortive times is certainly
    different than when preborn babies are systematically destroyed with the
    safety of technological advances and on a large-scale. Moving abortion
    from deviant and relatively rare behavior to legal and commonplace will
    change theological discourse. In much the same way I expect theological
    discourse will change and evolve as the ethical questions of genetic engineering
    continue to progress and grow in scale and scope. Theological development is not new nor should it surprise us whether it is evangelical theology or any other kind.

  • SBNoel

    Proverbs 6:16-17King James Version (KJV)
    16 These six things doth the Lord hate: yea, seven are an abomination unto him:17 A proud look, a lying tongue, and hands that shed innocent blood,

  • And this is in aid of… what?

  • rangerkat

    Desperate women in every culture throughout all of human history have ended pregnancies by whatever means they have available. Long intellectual discussions and books of theology will never change that. All pregnancies should be planned and all people should have that option. Right now we are losing those possibilities in the push back from those who are terrified of women having control over their bodies and their lives. Some of them are women who know they can only be okay with their men if they take those stands. The black market of the future may be the morning after pill. Vast parts of the nation only have access to health care controlled by the Roman Catholic Church. They will buy their way to saving us one way or another. That’s what I believe.

  • Danny

    Could it be that they changed their mind?  Not only is Biblical teaching constantly being reevaluated to see what we misunderstand, medicine and biology is constantly being updated.  In regards to the state of the unborn, we know volumes more about babies prenatal than we did in 1979.  This too has led many to change their beliefs.

  • Bmrsnr99

    It seems somewhat sick to use a verse in which a woman gets hit and miscarries to support any legal position other than it’s not ok to hit women and cause miscarriages.

  • Sawmillpastor

    To understand the Bible sometimes you need to research the orignal meaning of some of the words used. There is lots on this verse in Exodus, here is one of them

    But what does the Bible say about this?
    Exodus 21:22-25 (New International Version)22 “If people are fighting and hit a pregnant woman and she gives birth prematurely, but there is no serious injury, the offender must be fined whatever the woman’s husband demands and the court allows. 23 But if there is serious injury, you are to take life for life, 24 eye for eye, tooth for tooth, hand for hand, foot for foot, 25 burn for burn, wound for wound, bruise for bruise.
    The Hebrew word used here was yasa or to come out of. If they fight and the child comes out of the woman.
    The Hebrew language has a term (shachol) that denotes an abortion, or miscarriage (see 2 Kgs. 2:21; Hos. 9:14), yet that word is not employed in this context. This passage deals with a premature birth, not an aborted fetus.
    The Hebrew word used here is yasa, meaning “to come out.” Though the word has a wide variety of uses in the Old Testament, it is frequently employed of an ordinary birth. God told Jeremiah, ” . . .before you came forth out of (yasa) the womb I sanctified you . . .” (Jer. 1:5). In Exodus 21:22 the verb is used “of untimely birth” (Brown, Driver, & Briggs, Hebrew Lexicon, p. 423), or of “premature birth” (cf. NIV; NKJV).

  • THANK YOU!   I am old enough to remember back before Evangelicals insisted that life began at conception.

    They just *didn’t*!    This came with the Far Right’s deliberate takeover of Evangelical Christianity in the late 70s and early 80s.   I was there.   I remember it well.   I’ve been telling the story for about 30 years, and people generally disbelieved me.

    Thanks for the Sanity Check.

  • For an explanation of how the Catholic church, never previously opposed to abortion or contraception, trapped itself in an inescapable net of new orthodoxy it cannot escape, read:


  • Who wrote that book?  An obstetrician, or a neonatologist?  It’s certainly obscure enough for anyone!

    It’s difficult, I think, to imagine a ban on abortion in the same book that treats the death of a post-born infant up to a month old as a property crime if against parental wishes, with no penalty at all for a parent who does him in.

  • By the way, I view those verses NOT as implying ensoulment of the fetus in general, but rather (as it does frequently in the texts of several other faiths) that God’s hand and his particular interest in those certain persons at conception or before birth set them aside from all others.  This same conceit is used later in the New Testament to set aside Jesus as THE ONE whose conception was planned and caused at God’s command, who did not grow to become the Son of God but was created uniquely for that purpose.

  • The weasel argument that covers the fact that abortion is prohibited nowhere in the Bible, that is, it is covered by inference from the prohibitions against murder, is a recent invention (but then, the hysteria about abortion is a recent invention to start with).  It is so recent that I remember its happening–I’m old, but not that old.  For quite a while, evangelical Christians went about saying to each other that God forbids abortion, and nobody contradicted them.  Then they began saying it to other people, like me, who had actually READ the Bible, and learning that in fact it is NOT proscribed in the Bible.  So they went back to their preachers, who presumably went back to their bosses, and in a year or two the problem was solved and they were all trained to reply that it’s forbidden in the 10 Commandments, under “Murder.”  

    Well, not even the Catholic Pope who initially forbade abortion, and set the trap they’re stuck in now, ever equated it to murder, but hey, it’s a living religion.  The Bible has a lot of words in it; with a little work, one can justify just about anything–including, of course, murder, in huge quantities.

  • You are correct; there is none.  See below.

  • Tim Harman

    “This Assembly regards the destruction by parents of their own offspring, before birth, with abhorrence, as a crime against God and against nature: and as the frequency of such murders can no longer be concealed, we hereby warn those that are guilty of this crime that, except they repent, they cannot inherit eternal life.  We also exhort those who have been called to preach the gospel, and all who love purity and the truth, and who would avert the just judgments of Almighty God from the nation, that they be no longer silent, or tolerant of these things, but that they endeavor by all proper means to stay the floods of impurity and cruelty.”  
    United Presbyterian Church in the U.S.A General Assembly, Minutes 1869, p 937

  •   ‎”וְכִי-יִנָּצוּ
    אֲנָשִׁים, וְנָגְפוּ אִשָּׁה הָרָה וְיָצְאוּ יְלָדֶיהָ, וְלֹא יִהְיֶה,
    אָסוֹן–עָנוֹשׁ יֵעָנֵשׁ, כַּאֲשֶׁר יָשִׁית עָלָיו בַּעַל הָאִשָּׁה,
    וְנָתַן, בִּפְלִלִים. ” Shemot (Exodus) 21:22 There is
    absolutely nothing about the idea of life’s beginnings, whether at
    conception, or at birth, or any other moment. It says that if two men
    are fighting and a fetus dies as an accidental consequence
    (w’nag’phu…w’yatz’u), then there will be a restitution, because it
    wasn’t an intentionally murderous act   Wa’yikra (Leviticus) 24:17    “וְאִישׁ, כִּי יַכֶּה כָּל-נֶפֶשׁ אָדָם–מוֹת, יוּמָת.”
    Here, it is contrastingly understood as direct, and deliberate
    (yakeh). It doesn’t set a precedent of valuation of adult life over
    fetal. Life WAS always viewed as beginning at conception, and
    abortion WAS murder. Complete and utter prohibition of abortion still
    isn’t reasonable, since they didn’t have the ability to anticipate
    survival odds and such. People in serious and life threatening
    situations have the right to choose, but it’s too often a matter of

  • Dan Audy

    Guys, this post is over 6 months old and the discussion well worn.  If you had read through the comment section you would have noticed that your arguments have already been presented and responded to.

  • Dengel3

    Ross, I don’t know anyone who believes that…. but plenty of people who believe that life begins a conception.

  • Guest

    According to your view, then the mother (who knows more about life than the “outsider”) should also be able to kill her newborn, right? If that’s not OK, how about 1 day before birth? How about 1 week? 1 month?

  • EllieMurasaki

    No, see, if the mother of a newborn wants to be rid of the newborn, she can do that. It’s called ‘adoption’. It’s not physically possible to adopt out a fetus–once the fetus is in a position where the woman need not have any connection to the fetus, it’s not a fetus, it’s an infant. And unless you are going to argue that the uterus is communal property–don’t–the woman has the right to evict an unwanted occupant therein. (Unless, I suppose, the fetus pays rent.) How long the fetus has been there and how much longer it would otherwise stay are irrelevant.

  • SisterCoyote

     I… what? This was five months ago, why are you responding now? And to my comment, out of the five hundred and so more articulate and better-phrased comments? Damn.

    I think it was pretty clear that my comment was about when the fetus is a bundle of cells, not a sentient human being. You’re sort of straw-manning my argument – I said that the mother knows more about the life that is being carried inside her (than an outside observer). Is the newborn being carried inside her? No? Then what does your response have to do with my comment?

  • Mr. Clark,
    I take exception to your statement “Ask any American evangelical, today, what the Bible says about abortion and they will insist that this is what it says.”  I am an American evangelical and I know that the Bible does not specifically address abortion.  I also know that *some* evangelicals have interpreted particular Scriptures to mean a certain thing.  This is not true for all of us.  Please do not make general statements about evangelicals, and I will refrain from making general statements about journalists.  Thank you.

  • AnonymousSam

    The very next sentence seems to suggest this was already taken into consideration.

  • h4x354x0r

    Warning: Long Post, May include math. 

    First, medical research indicates that nearly half of all conceptions – fertilized human eggs – never even implant. So much for the “every conception is sacred” ideology. 

    Second, of those that do implant, miscarriages – spontaneous abortions – outnumber human-induced abortions by up to 50%. 

    Fact is, biological reproduction is a very messy, imprecise, low-yield process. The natural, “God given” failure rate for conceptions approaches 70%. It accounts for the demise of well over 7 million unborn every year in the US alone. It’s a 6:1 unborn kill ratio vs. humans. 

    Face it, nobody’s “God” cares about the unborn. If we want to be concerned with the welfare of an embryo, we need to come up with our own reasons.

    Third, there is known, proven technology that has been shown to reduce abortion rates by roughly 70%. It’s called, “Contraception.”

    Wait, what? 70% reduction?!? Yes, it’s true. And this is the question I pose to anti-abortion rights peeps: What would you be willing to give, to achieve a 70% reduction in abortions? 

    Their answer is… ironically, hypocritically, and duplicitously… explicitly *NOT* birth control. Anything, BUT birth control! Harassment, intimidation, even murder is fair game for these folks to achieve their goals, just… don’t talk about contraception. 

    The pound of cure is a real and tangible liability if the ounce of prevention isn’t given, no matter how righteous you feel about it. That’s exactly where the entire anti-abortion movement is right now: refusing to give the ounce of prevention, and complaining bitterly that they are stuck with the pound of cure. 

    The only rational conclusion that can be drawn from these facts and information is that what truly concerns the abortion foes is simply people having sex. Not life itself, not mother’s health and welfare, not actually reducing abortions, just… an obsession with sex. That’s it: Nosy, sex-obsessed busybodies, using a broken “cart before the horse” strategy to control other people’s sex activities. 

    The basis of the ideology (purity and sanctity of conceptions and unborn) is utterly false. The refusal to embrace the one real tangible solution is willful. The entire anti-abortion mantra is nothing, absolutely NOTHING, but selfish-righteous control-freakism. 

    They need to go crawl back under the rocks they came from.

  • naugiedoggie

    Dang it.  I’m already reading Diane Bass’s Christianity for the Rest of Us and Derek Flood’s Healing the Gospel, and here comes another book to add to my must-read list.  I can’t keep up!  Thank you very little! ;-)

  • Truthspew

    I remember seeing the rise of this type of thinking. Having studied the text of the Bible I realized that there really is nothing in there per se that explicitly forbids abortion or even sets the date at which a blastocyst becomes a person. 

  • raine1951

     It isn’t in the Bible at all. I’ve read it in many versions, none of the Bibles I’ve read hold a verse to conclude that abortion is wrong.

  • Alison Swihart

    Obviously one of the reasons the position has changed is because science has advanced to the point that it can fairly accurately state when life begins, when the baby feels pain, etc.  We know more now about when life begins than we did 40 years ago.  I remember Geisler’s position.  It was more of a position of hierarchy – the life of the mother supercedes the life of the unborn child.  

  • Jeffle

    Hi – hey, sorry to come by so late. It seems to me that this passage, with its leading phrase “hit a pregnant woman and she gives birth prematurely, but there is no serious injury” is talking about the woman being not seriously injured. “If there is serious injury,” then, is referring to the woman again, not the fetus.

  • Amber

     I don’t disagree with you, but lumping an accidental miscarriage into the same group as a modern abortion just isn’t the same thing.  “Playing God” aspect of modern medicine is what has makes these earlier dates in a pregnancy questionable.  If you are actively seeking to control the end result of the pregnancy, no matter how far into the gestation cycle, that’s where new issues are raised.  Comparing the modern knowledge of the human body to a pre-enlightenment era knowledge is apples and oranges.  Its because we know so much and now have the ability to make decisions that we were unable to make before that brings about these grey areas to debate. 

  • EllieMurasaki

    So it was perfectly all right for a woman to take medicine to ‘restore menstruation’ but it is not all right for a woman in the same stage of pregnancy to get an abortion? What gives?

  • NodAndSmile

    “…life begins at ejaculation”
    I’d never thought about that before but that makes sense for some believers. After all, that is when the woman is blessed with the (any) man’s seed. She should do as he wants from that point.


  • Guest

    The main verse used is from Psalm 139: “For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well. My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place. When I was woven together in the depths of the earth, your eyes saw my unformed body.”  Also Jeremiah 1:5, “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart;” There are more at: