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

The ‘biblical view’ that’s younger than the Happy Meal February 18, 2012

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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What Are Your Thoughts?leave a comment
  • Personhood of the fetus is entirely moot if the woman is a person too. Because there is absolutely no circumstance under which you can compel one person to donate the use of their body as a life support system for another person against their will.

  • In what jurisdiction is that true?

    Because I’ve never heard, EVER, of a case where someone was forced to provide room and board for someone against their will and without compensation, and I’ve never heard of anyone being charged with murder for evicting them.

    In your hypothetical, where someone, say, falls out of the sky into my house, and removing them would kill them, what do you imagine would happen? Would I be legally required to take care of them? Because I’m fairly sure that what would actually happen is that trained professionals employed by the state would try to remove the person, making every effort to save them, but if they died, there is no one in the world who would claim I had murdered that person by not just lettingthem stay there.

    And what’s more, there’d be someone I could sue for the damage done to my house by this person being dropped into it.

  • Bartleby

    There are plenty. The Supreme Court has said there are some circumstances, so you’re clearly wrong there.

    Go read the “majority*” opinion in Roe v. Wade. They set a time limit for the periods in which abortions can be made.

    *I put majority in quotes because it’s actually the controlling opinion and not the majority. There was no majority. Note that I don’t challenge the legal basis of the opinion, only the use of the term ‘majority.’ The assent for the right to abortion was five different opinions that each agreed on the right to abortion for different reasons. The other four all signed a single dissenting opinion. They formed the plurality.

  • Bartleby

    It’s not impossible for them not to die. Leave them alone. That’s all I said.

    I then said that if you took specific action to kill them, you’d be a murderer.

    You said an unwanted fetus, by its very nature, violates the rights of another. I used the kidnap victim as an example of someone who, against their will, is put in a spot where they can either die or sit dependent upon another, unwanted, for nine months and noted that such a person is not violating anyone’s rights, because such a violation requires intent (and it is not a home invasion, that requires *intent*).

    Rape is another item that requires intent. Do you understand the word, ‘intent’? It’s a legal as well as grammatical concept. Mens rea – it refers to someone done purposefully. The person that is kidnapped has not formed intent, and neither has a fetus. It is NOT equal to a nine month rape. The fetus is not violent. The fetus is not attacking. The fetus is *gasp* trying to LIVE. How DARE it try and continue its life.

    I’m really done now. You’re using straw men and other logical fallacies as fast as you can, and I don’t have time to go over them and give you links to every logical fallacy you use so you know to stop using them, because you won’t. You’re too emotionally involved in this to use reason and logic. Sam, though he disagrees with me, was rational and logical. Sadly, you are not.

  • There’s a little thing in the US constitution you’ve apparently never heard of. It’s called “Equal Protection”. It means that if you actually declare that some miscarriages are murder, you can’t just selectively enforce that law. You don’t get to say “Well, normally if someone young and apparently healthy died at home with no witnesses, we’d investigate it to see if it was murder, but since it was a Fetal Person, we’ll just assume it was natural causes without any investigation unless someone comes forward to accuse the woman of miscarrying deliberately.”

    We’ve also got something called The Privacy Act, and something else called HIPPA, which means that the very knowledge that a woman has had a miscarriage CAN NOT be released to the police without a warrant.

    There is literally NO WAY to enforce fetal personhood laws without revoking the right to medical privacy for women, and more than it would be impossible to enforce laws against murder if it were illegal for the police to investigate missing persons.

  • EllieMurasaki

    Yeah, it’s not the kidnap victim’s fault. THERE IS STILL A KIDNAPPER. THAT IS THE PERSON WHO INVADED THE HOME. THE WHOLE SITUATION IS THEIR FAULT. YOUR EXAMPLE IS STILL BULLSHIT.

    Even more bullshit if the homeowner really does “leave them alone”. How is the kidnap victim going to get fed? Does the homeowner have a responsibility to feed them, or to let other people tramp through their home to make sure the kidnap victim gets fed?

    The analogy between unwanted pregnancy and rape is from the perspective of someone you keep pretending isn’t there: the pregnant person.

  • Leaving aside that your stupid contrived scenario is not a useful analogy, what happens if instead of moving them myself, I have a trained medical professional do it?

    you know, the exact thing that would happen in every possible real-world construction of your stupid pointless hypothetical?

  • EllieMurasaki

    I bet they say it’s the equivalent of having a doctor kill the baby rather than getting an over-the-counter abortion pill.

  • Or, since he doesn’t give a rat’s whether his hypothetical is actually comparable to anything, he’d just say “That is not an option”.

    To which I say, “I stand trial for murder, but escape on my unicorn, because the unicorn is the least fantastical thing in this whole scenario”

  • Bartleby

    Leaving aside your inability to understand the concept of a *HYPOTHETICAL SITUATION IN WHICH MOVING THE PERSON WITHOUT KILLING THEM IS IMPOSSIBLE* your response isn’t worth the time spent phrasing a response.

  • Bartleby

    Straw man? Appeal to outrage? Got any more fallacies to show how pathetically useless your position is?

  • EllieMurasaki

    Leaving aside that you haven’t actually come up with a plausible hypothetical that actually parallels pregnancy…wait, we can’t.

  • EllieMurasaki

    No, I think Ross nailed it. You dismissed all criticism of your hypothetical exactly as he predicted.

  • Bartleby

    …and I’m absolutely done with you. Your comments have degenerated into an emotional rant that cannot stand up to rational scrutiny.

    I bid you adieu.

  • EllieMurasaki

    Answer a couple things before you go.

    Why do you think emotions are less valid than reason, and what is your cold unemotional reasoning for why fetuses are more important than pregnant people?

  • It’s not that I don’t understand. It’s that the situation is so contrived and fantastical that your claim ‘Eveyrone would agree that moving them was murder’ is utterly unjustified. If we are in a world where a person can be stuck in my house such that they can physically not be removed without killing them, but if you leave them there and do nothing else to them they will be fine, we are in a fantasy world where the laws of biology and physics of our world do not apply. So it makes absolutely no sense to assert that somehow you can draw the conclusion that in such a world, moving the person would be indisputably murder.

    I mean, unless you mean “I assert that it just by fiat is murder in my hypothetical world for no reason other than because I say so.” Which is fine, but it is utterly uninstructive about the real world in which we live.

    The thing you have constructed is not an abortion analogy. It’s just a weird fantasy world that serves no purpose, to justify your love of dehumanizing women.

  • I have a philosophy degree. I have a degree in mathematics. I even have a degree in computer science. And since you seem like the sort of person to whom it matters in terms of “capable of rational discussion”, I also have a penis.

    So, rational scrutiny: Under what circumstance can one human being be forced to yield their bodily integrity and become an unpaid slave in service of another’s interest?

  • Wait, did you just say that rape must be violent to count as rape?

  • Uncertain if this already posted, since Disqus is being its usual useless self.

    Biological impetus is not a sufficient argument for me. Something can have no intent to do harm and still cause significant injury. Tumors do it all the time, and the relationship between a pregnant person and a fetus is not dissimilar — the fetus consumes resources, forcing the body to work harder in order to maintain normality, sometimes failing (again, not always with immediate fatal results). The relationship is parasitic, and no other organism is afforded the kind of automatic deference that a fetus receives when it comes to whether or not that parasitic relationship is considered morally necessary to be allowed to continue.

    The usual direction this goes in from here is “There’s a difference between a parasite and a baby,” to which I say, “Yes, the fetus grows into an adult capable of independence, but not before months of putting its host at risk, then either years of financial and time commitment or being abandoned to our dismal adoption system, which I am deeply convinced is not a preferable alternative.”

  • Bartleby

    I don’t believe emotions are completely invalid. I think they are invalid as a basis for legislation.

    I don’t think fetuses are more important than pregnant people. I think the right to live is more important than the right to remove a burdensome fetus (et al) from one’s body. If I thought the right of the fetus was more important than the right of the pregnant person, then I would say that they cannot abort even when failure to do so would kill them. Since I have made it abundantly clear I do not think that should be illegal, I also do not think the rights of the fetus are more important. QED.

    While I recognize the right to intervene to remove such burdens from one’s body, I recognize that the right to live is stronger than that right when rights are not intentionally threatened by the person whose right to live is in jeopardy.

    I believe the right to live is the paramount right, and I do not believe in people being administratively deprived of that right for any reason. I do believe in exigent circumstances where another person’s life is in significant danger (again, not 14.5 in 100,000…but actual threat of death), where they may act to defend their own life, and in so doing, take the life of another.

    Legally, one may not be deprived of life, liberty, or property without due process of law. The greater the deprivation of right, the greater process is due before one may be deprived of that right. I do not believe one can receive sufficient due process in an administrative proceeding where the circumstances are not exigent to be deprived of one’s right to live. That includes abortion, the death penalty, or the targeted executions of US citizens via drone for people on the terrorism lists.

  • Bartleby

    Ross, I don’t have time for you. Why? Because I don’t like your fallacies, I don’t like your ad hominems, and I seriously doubt you have a degree in philosophy. I believe if that were true, you would use fewer slanters, fewer logical fallacies, and would not use ad hominems (“I also have a penis”) in your ‘arguments’ against me.

    You are either calling me sexist without any basis in truth or reasonable knowledge thereof, or you are being a sexist by implying that women are incapable of rational thought.

  • I don’t think fetuses are more important than pregnant people. I think the right to live is more important than the right to remove a burdensome fetus (et al) from one’s body.

    The distinction is lost upon me. They have the exact same outcome: the woman’s rights to her body are suspended and she is compelled to use it to benefit another.

    I believe the right to live is the paramount right, and I do not believe in people being administratively deprived of that right for any reason.

    Does this include persistant vegetive states? Brain death without body death? Severe anencephaly? There are many circumstances in which a person isn’t dead, but is incapable of life…

    Legally, one may not be deprived of life, liberty, or property without due process of law.

    You do realize that we are at rights to make the exact same argument with regards to a pregnant person?

  • EllieMurasaki

    You are either calling me sexist without any basis in truth or reasonable knowledge thereof

    Nope, he’s calling you sexist because you, in all cases where you would prevent a pregnant person from ending an unwanted pregnancy, are valuing the fetus over the usually-female pregnant person.

  • Bartleby

    Rape IS violent.

    Do you understand the difference between what I said and what you’re trying to make it sound like I said? The quietest, softest rapists in the world who sneak and drug their victims and never leave a bruise or scrape on them has violated the very core of their being. Thus, it is violent, since they have been violated.

    I’ll quote something for you from the National Institute of Justice:

    http://www.nij.gov/topics/crime/rape-sexual-violence/

    The term “sexual violence” refers to a specific constellation of crimes including sexual harassment, sexual assault, and rape.

    A child residing in its mother’s uterus sufficiently long to survive is not violating her in any way VAGUELY like what is happening in a rape. While her rights are being infringed upon until such a time as the child may survive elsewhere, they do not equate.

  • EllieMurasaki

    UNWANTED PREGNANCY IS VIOLATION.

  • You are not pro choice. You advocate forced pregnancy, the forced enslavement of women for the benefit of others. The only comparable situation you can come up with where a man would be similarly enslaved is a hypothetical that (a) does not even begin to place the same kind of burden as pregnancy, and (b) is complete and utter fantasy set in a universe so unlike our own as to defy any attempt at rational scrutiny (and you simply declare out-of-bounds any attempt to address that).

    You are by definition a sexist

  • Dismissing the arguments of those with feminine usernames as “too emotional” doesn’t help either. Shades of calling feminist arguments “shrill.” See also: tone argument.

  • Bartleby

    See. This is why I’m done with you. You’re misrepresenting my position. This is like the crap where people refer to the people on the other side as ‘anti-life’ or ‘anti-choice.’

    I have pointed out how I am PROVABLY not valuing the fetus over the pregnant person (if I was valuing the fetus over the pregnant person, I’d say let them die rather than abort). I am valuing one RIGHT over another RIGHT.

    Right to live > Right to remove something from one’s body

    It’s that simple.

    The name-calling of sexism assumes that I’m only arguing to protect the lives of male children. That’s a rather gross assumption.

    This is why I refuse to argue with you. This is why I refuse to argue with Ross. You fail to do so with sufficient maturity to address my *actual* position and my *actual* points. You use fallacies and misrepresent. You call names.

    I don’t mind exploring ideas to either firm up my position or, if I’m shown to be incorrect, change my mind (I used to be a pro-choice voter). I don’t have time for garbage where people will behave rudely and immaturely, and cannot respond in a calm and rational manner. The behaviors shown here are completely lacking in respect and an honest willingness to explore ideas. Ross claims to have a degree in philosophy, but fails to think critically and react with reason and logic. On at least one occasion you responded to my actual argument, for which I was grateful, but on several occasions you’ve misrepresented them, and I’m not going to spend my time going back over what I *actually* said to show where it differs wildly from what you are SAYING I said.

    The comparisons of rape disgust me and make me wonder if the people who made them have any concept of what it’s really like (I have direct and personal experience in the matter; an anal fissure is an unpleasant agony that reminds one of the violation again and again).

    Why more people on either side of this argument cannot present reasoned arguments is beyond me. The people who agree with my principles but behave this way disgust me as much as those who disagree with me on my principles but behave this way. The people who disagree with me but present rational arguments do not disgust me, and I enjoy lively discussion with them.

    Unfortunately, I only found one who seems to have presented such for me here and he has stopped posting.

    One last item for you though; you’d asked why I value reason over emotion, and it occurs to me that my answer might sound like a bit of circular logic (‘I prefer reason because I prefer reason.’) While I prefer reason and logic for items of a legislative nature, it is because reason and logic is consistent and predictable, both of which are hallmarks for a proper legal system. The citizenry must be able to read a law and know what is or is not addressed by that law. Emotion is neither consistent nor predictable, and is only valid as an argument to support items appropriate to emotion, such as sadness that a loved one is hurt, sick, or has passed away. “It is because of my emotions that your rights should be infringed” is not convincing nor compelling to me. “It is because of my rights being violated that you must be enjoined to stop doing so” is convincing and compelling, so long as the claimant is properly identifying the right that should give way. For example, if I am told my right to not be hit must give way to John Doe’s right to swing his arms, that is clearly an invalid indicator of whose right must give way. Conversely speaking, if I am told my right to swing my arms must give way to John Doe’s right not to be hit, that is a clear and compelling reason for infringement.

    In addition to that though, I am also mildly autistic. I am lucky in that I can communicate well for one with my condition.

    I am absolutely done. I am disgusted at the personal attacks that masquerade as rational discussion in this forum. I am disgusted at the name calling. I am disgusted at the rudeness. Lastly, I am saddened and disgusted by the misrepresentation. Would that rational and mature discussion were the norm on this subject. If it were, a workable solution might be found. Sadly, it seems that all sides of this argument are heavily populated with people who refuse to argue honestly or rationally.

  • Bartleby

    Sam: I wasn’t going to post anything else in this thread, but I saw that you had replied, and I thought it important to reply to you in particular.

    Thank you for being courteous, respectful, and honest in your disagreements with me. You have been an interesting and enjoyable conversationalist, and I wish the others had not made it so difficult for me to be here. As I said in another reply, I am autistic and those behaviors are particularly vexatious to me. Rather than grow overly upset, and respond in a way that I would find to be crass or undesirable, I will step out.

    To you sir, I bid a very good day, a happy life, and all the wonders life may bring you.

    -Bartleby the Scrivener

    P.S. It may be of some interest to you that I am a father to three amazing daughters…all adopted.

  • EllieMurasaki

    Would that rational and mature discussion were the norm on this subject. If it were, a workable solution might be found.

    Suppose we agree that the pro-life voters have a point, and the pro-choice voters have a point, and there isn’t any way to draw a hard line between them, so we give one third of the pregnancy to the pro-lifers (no abortion in the third trimester except in case of imminent risk to the pregnant person’s life or health or when the fetus would die anyway) and one-third to the pro-choicers (abortion on request in the first trimester, no restrictions) and let each state divide up the trimester in between.

    Oh wait, we HAD that, we called it Roe v Wade.

  • EllieMurasaki

    FYI, you’re misgendering Sam.

  • Funny enough, now you have me wondering if you live in Pennsylvania. If so — we know each other.

  • Bartleby

    Nope. Indiana…the state, not the city in PA.

  • Judy

    Nailed it.

  • mathbard

    See. This is why I’m done with you. You’re misrepresenting my position. This is like the crap where people refer to the people on the other side as ‘anti-life’ or ‘anti-choice.’

    Since the actions of the majority of the group that calls themselves “pro-life” are really only “pro-babies-being-born-and-don’t-bother-us-about-them-after-birth”, they are in effect both anti-life and anti-choice. Those are descriptive statements of their actions, not name-calling or misrepresentations of their positions.

    I have pointed out how I am PROVABLY not valuing the fetus over the pregnant person (if I was valuing the fetus over the pregnant person, I’d say let them die rather than abort). I am valuing one RIGHT over another RIGHT.

    Right to live > Right to remove something from one’s body

    It’s that simple.

    It’s not that simple. You can say until you’re blue in the face that you value the pregnant person and fetus equally, but the net result of only allowing abortion to save the life of the mother has the effect of valuing the fetus over the pregnant person. Intent isn’t magic.

    The name-calling of sexism assumes that I’m only arguing to protect the lives of male children. That’s a rather gross assumption.

    The assertion that your actions are sexist has nothing to do with the gender of the fetus. It is related to the fact that you have dismissed posters with female-coded names, and you are advocating a position that harms females’ rights.

    This is why I refuse to argue with you. This is why I refuse to argue with Ross. You fail to do so with sufficient maturity to address my *actual* position and my *actual* points. You use fallacies and misrepresent. You call names.

    I don’t mind exploring ideas to either firm up my position or, if I’m shown to be incorrect, change my mind (I used to be a pro-choice voter). I don’t have time for garbage where people will behave rudely and immaturely, and cannot respond in a calm and rational manner. The behaviors shown here are completely lacking in respect and an honest willingness to explore ideas. Ross claims to have a degree in philosophy, but fails to think critically and react with reason and logic. On at least one occasion you responded to my actual argument, for which I was grateful, but on several occasions you’ve misrepresented them, and I’m not going to spend my time going back over what I *actually* said to show where it differs wildly from what you are SAYING I said.

    I haven’t been participating in the discussion, but I’m quoting this so you can’t claim I didn’t respond to what you wrote. I’ve read Ross’s statements, and zie has spoken reasonably and logically.

    The comparisons of rape disgust me and make me wonder if the people who made them have any concept of what it’s really like (I have direct and personal experience in the matter; an anal fissure is an unpleasant agony that reminds one of the violation again and again).

    I do have personal experience on this. Rape doesn’t always look violent, and yes, having an unwanted fetus growing inside one for nine months is quite comparable to a nine-month rape. Whether or not an action is rape is dependent on consent.

    In addition to that though, I am also mildly autistic. I am lucky in that I can communicate well for one with my condition.

    I am absolutely done. I am disgusted at the personal attacks that masquerade as rational discussion in this forum. I am disgusted at the name calling. I am disgusted at the rudeness. Lastly, I am saddened and disgusted by the misrepresentation. Would that rational and mature discussion were the norm on this subject. If it were, a workable solution might be found. Sadly, it seems that all sides of this argument are heavily populated with people who refuse to argue honestly or rationally.

    I have opinions on your claim that being “mildly autistic” means you’re “lucky in that I can communicate well for one with my condition”, but since I don’t know where on the spectrum you consider “mild”, I’m going to hold my tongue.

  • I’m assuming Asperger syndrome. A lot of the high functioning autism people I’ve met had that.

  • mathbard

    Likewise, but most of the people with Asperger’s (including myself and my brother) don’t have that big an issue communicating via text. We’re not very good in social situations, but we can communicate. “Lucky in that I can communicate well for one with my condition” implies being further on the spectrum than Asperger’s to me.

  • *Nods* That hasn’t stopped some people I’ve known from referring to it as a significant hindrance to communication though. One in particular — the same one I thought this fellow might be — was like that. His Aspergers sometimes verged on being a convenient excuse to let him have his way because he didn’t want to accommodate anyone else. If you didn’t know he had it (because he would remind you of it frequently), you’d just think he was a jerk.

  • Tim Wright

    Biological fact, all life begins at conception. Everyone here on this site started life at conception, whether we want that life to continue to live is answered by another question, what aspect of my god created essence becomes malformed if I choose to end the life of a child in a womb?

  • EllieMurasaki

    We were all conceived billions of years ago? Huh.

    Since you don’t, I suspect, have a uterus, it’s an academic question to you and therefore none of your business, especially since there are actual people with actual uteruses who, for whatever none-of-your-business reasons, do not want those uteruses occupied by people who don’t pay rent.

  • Tim Wright

    Hi Elie, no I don’t have a uterus. Following your logic, since I don’t have a uterus my thoughts are null, are like someone saying that since I don’t have slaves, my opinion in that matter is also voided. You are created in the image of God, but our opinions don’t trump eternal reality, that children are precious, like you and our Father desires to know us. I pray you come to know His peace. Bless you.

  • Tim Wright

    Hi Elie, no I don’t have a uterus. Following your logic, since I don’t have a uterus my thoughts are null, are like someone saying that since I don’t have slaves, my opinion in that matter is also voided. You are created in the image of God, but our opinions don’t trump eternal reality, that children are precious, like you and our Father desires to know us. I pray you come to know His peace. Bless you.

  • EllieMurasaki

    You can take your blessings and shove them up your ass, unless you have some magical way of ensuring that pregnancy stops terrifying the ever-loving fuck out of me for reasons, in order of least to most important (because lucky me, I’m middle-class), including financial, emotional, physical, and mental. Body horror is NOT FUN and I am NOT DOING IT so if I ever get pregnant and you want to save that fetus you need to find a way to make sure the pregnancy doesn’t induce body horror, you hear me?

    Have fun with that.

  • How about I mention the part where there is this thing called “miscarriage” through which of no fault on anyone’s part a baby that would be born is not born and is in fact dead when it leaves the uterus.

    Now who is at fault here?

  • BenW3

    This is all very interesting about the foibles of Evangelicals and their flip-flopping, but in some ways it is irrelevant since the NT and especially the ethic of Jesus is rather clear on the sacredness of human life and the obligation to avoid killing of any kind. If Jesus can say that a person who causes a little one to stumble would be better off if they had never been born, you can just imagine what he would say about those who sanction, even thinking it’s ethical, abortion. Abortion is simply yet another example of how cheap life still is in America. Ben Witherington

  • EllieMurasaki

    Yeah, Governor Perry’s a real stellar example of pro-life values, he’s executed how many alleged criminals? At least two hundred last I heard.

  • Over two hundred and fifty, or 52% of all the executions since 1982 when the death penalty was reinstated.

  • It’s hard to say. Jesus wasn’t big on divorce and assured paternity is still emphasized in the New Testament, which is what led us to have the killing of non-virgins and fetuses in the Old Testament. Jesus never addressed either, but Paul referred to marrying before having sex (with the ideal state of being as “never have sex if you can help it”) to prevent immorality, so it’s questionable whether all of the old laws were being dismissed as readily. It wasn’t until late in the first century, well after Jesus had died, that the practice of killing fetuses in the womb with poison was formally abandoned.

  • BenW3

    Sam I’m afraid you’ve misread both the OT and NT. There is nothing in the OT sanctioning killing of fetuses. There is legislation about compensation for miscarriage, but nothing about sanctioning abortions. Furthermore, there is no evidence at all of early Jews or early Christians doing away with fetuses by using ‘pharmakeia’. BW3

  • EllieMurasaki

    It’s in Numbers. I forget exactly where, but the gist of the passage is that a woman accused of being pregnant through adultery got hauled to the Temple and made to drink this nasty concoction. If she was innocent, per the passage, nothing would happen, but if she was guilty, bye-bye fetus.