the actual title of this page: [ 3 of 6 ]
http://ChristianChoice.Org [Page C]
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Page C) The Flaws of the
Since the most decisive factor in the abortion debate in America for the past half-century has been the position of the U.S. Supreme Court, which leans heavily toward the freedom of women to choose abortion, especially in the first 5 months of their pregnancies, one of the main arguments of the pro-life side has been an appeal to a "higher law", i.e. either "Divine Law" or "Natural Law". Here are the reasons why neither of those options holds any water.Let's be clear:
Let's begin by clarifying something about the word "law". That word can have two rather distinct meanings. Sometimes, we use it to refer to particular laws, like "the law of gravity" or "laws governing marriage". But, oftentimes, we use it to mean a whole collection, or "body" of laws, governing a community, such as "international law", "church law", "US law" or "God's law", which is the way we are using it in this discussion.
Another clarification that needs to be made is that "natural law" is not to be confused with "the laws of nature". Great examples of laws of nature are the laws of gravity and inertia – which all natural objects must obey, usually unconsciously, whether they like it or not.–
"Divine Law" supposedly comes from God. But it is always clergy who deliver this "Divine" legislation to the faithful, clergy who claim that they got it straight from God and that they are only acting as "middle men" for God! Funny, isn't it, how a single divine source delivers all kinds of different versions of his "law", depending who the many different religions and their "middle men" are! This reminds me of the brand of brick-packaged ice-cream that appeared in supermarkets for a while that called itself "Homemade" ! I don't think they persuaded many customers to believe that the actual origin of all that ice cream was somebody's "home".
(According to this excerpt from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Natural_law)
"Natural law is a philosophy asserting that certain rights are inherent by virtue of human nature, endowed by nature – traditionally by God or a transcendent source – and that these can be understood universally through human reason. As determined by nature, the law of nature is implied to be universal, existing independently of the positive law of a given state, political order, legislature or society at large.
Historically, Natural law refers to the use of reason to analyze human nature to deduce binding rules of moral behavior from nature's or God's creation of reality and mankind. The concept of natural law was first documented in ancient Greek philosophy, including Aristotle, and was referred to in Roman philosophy by Cicero. It was then alluded to in the Bible, from which it was subsequently developed in the Middle Ages by Catholic philosophers such as Albert the Great, and Thomas Aquinas."
Laws designed to govern human behavior must answer questions such as "who, what, when, where, how, things are to be done?" It takes a whole collection of such laws to govern the whole range of activities that people in any organization or society engage in. And that collection needs to be published, usually in written form, called a "code" or "codex" from the Greek word for "book", so that people can know "the rules of the game".
Do you know where the "Code of natural law" is?
Don't feel bad, because no one else does either.
"Natural law" isn't a concrete reality. Although it is supposed to be "understood universally through human reason" to be "rights inherent in all men by virtue of human nature", if you don't yet know why Natural Law never has, and never will be spelled out or "codified", just think for a moment how difficult it has been in America to get consensus on just a few issues, like the rights and wrongs of native-Americans, of Africans brought to America to serve as slaves, of women who are still waiting for equality, of marriage-equality for gays. These are a few examples of what would have to be agreed to for a common law to be formulated.
It would be more accurate to call it "ideal law", i.e. the best legal code that people can imagine (which - like beauty - "is in the eye of the beholder"). One famous attempt to codify "the Natural Law" was the French Revolution's "Declaration of the Rights of Man". But how much credence can be placed in a document whose authors were in the process when they promulgated it of chopping the heads off of those who disagreed with them? "Natural Law" is simply "the wish list" of what "the law" would contain, if the people who dream up that "Natural Law" had their way , as opposed to the existing law that they have to live under.
And as for "God's law", unless you are ready to submit to the laws of somebody else's God, why should you expect anybody else to submit to your God's laws? The clergy who produce any such body of laws knows that calling their work "God's Law" will garner it much more respect than calling it what it is, namely "their law"!
"God's law" is just another form of "Natural law" designed by "men of God" who claim that they got it from God.
People who want to submit to what they perceive as "natural" or "divine" law are free to do so, but they are not entitled to demand that others do the same. And so, there is no real court to which the citizens of this country can appeal that is higher than the US Supreme Court, and no higher laws than those passed by the Congress of the United States and signed by its president. Americans who disagree with the decisions of the Supreme Court at any given moment in history are free to disagree with and to argue against those decisions, but unless and until those decisions are changed, they will continue to be the supreme interpretations of "the law of the land".
While science is all about learning things that can be proven (and viewing everything else as "a matter of opinion", religion is all about believing things that cannot be proven. The conviction that religious people have about abortion isn't based on knowledge, but on faith. When men of the cloth or "people of faith" try to use science to "prove" when human personhood begins, they can't help but superimpose their religious faith on the scientific data. That is what they are doing when they imagine that scientific instruments like microscopes, MRI machines, or ultrasound equipment can be used to prove when human personhood begins. But, no matter how powerful the scientific instrument, it will never be able to determine when a human person comes into existence, because human personhood isn't something that you can weigh, or see, or hear, or touch, with or without instruments. The same is true for the existence of God, angels, heaven, hell, the nature of sin, salvation, and any theological concept. No telescope, no matter how powerful, will ever be able to see God, heaven, or hell!
The question of human personhood will always be what it has always been, that is, a matter for debate on philosophical or theological – not scientific – grounds, whether the debaters are judges, legislators, politicians, clergy, "people of faith", or common citizens.
There are many things in life that we simply cannot know, and I mean more than the direction of the stock market tomorrow. Imagine if we spent our whole life standing still, pondering "how can I be sure?", when trying to decide if the spouse we were thinking of committing our life to was really the best one for us, or the car we needed to buy was the best one, or the house, or the best road we should take, or the fastest checkout line we should take in the supermarket, etc.,etc.,etc.
That situation isn't just true for us as individuals, it's true of society as a whole. And the way society deals with such unknowns and unknowables is to look to impartial judges or legislatures to make decisions that we can all live with in peace and harmony, at least for the time being, knowing that future legislatures or courts may eventually make other decisions.
Did you know that as many as one of every four human pregnancies are terminated naturally, that is, without any human intervention? When such deaths are noticed, they are called "mis-carriages", but many of them occur even before they can be noticed. It has taken modern scientific methods and instruments to discover that the natural termination of human pregnancies occurs much more often than we realized in the past.
Now, if the life of the unborn is so precious to God, then how can he cause, or even tolerate, the premature termination of the lives of so many millions of human beings every year?
Many refer to tragic natural events such as these as "acts of God", in which case the premature termination of these pregnancies might well be called "divine abortions", or because of huge numbers, a "sacred holocaust".
In any event, since preventing the premature termination of human pregnancies seems to be such a low priority for God, maybe it should be for those who believe in God as well !
Many pro-life people try to compare the pro-choice position of liberals in America to the NAZI "holocaust". This of course is designed to conjure up images of the mass-murder of Jews during the NAZI holocaust. But I have been studying the role of the Christian churches in that horrible period for decades and have found among other things that the Roman Catholic and Lutheran churches have been literally "getting away with murder" on a mass scale, as I show at the Big Picture. At HitlersFaith, I show that – like many of the billion members that the RC Church brags about – he may have been a "lousy Catholic"; but he was as Catholic as any number of other politicians who claim that religious affiliation. And at Nazi Leadership, I show that most of the other top NAZI leadership were Roman Catholics as well, as were most of the leaders of the other Axis nations, other than Japan.
That being the case, it should come as a no surprise that, far from supporting abortion, Adolf Hitler was a fierce champion of "the unborn", like any number of the many Roman Catholic autocrats have been. In the NAZI bible, i.e. "Mein Kampf", Adolf Hitler made that brutally clear: "I'll put an end to the idea that a woman's body belongs to her . . . NAZI ideals demand that the practice of abortion shall be exterminated with a strong hand." Accordingly, Hitler promoted the utmost respect for mothers who produced Christian Aryan children, and sentenced any woman who terminated any pregnancy that was "worthy of life" to hard labor for the first offense, and to death if there was a second offense. His "pro-life" advocacy for the unborn obviously didn't translate into respect for the life of the born for Hitler then. And neither does it do so in our time.
Pro-lifers who are ill-informed about the period of the Nazi Holocaust mistakenly imagine that such comparisons benefit their side and hurt their opponents. That misguided attempt of theirs is represented in the left-hand "MYTH" column below, while the "Historical FACT" column is on the right:
"Historical FACT" column
|The abortion of fetuses is like the mass-murder of the Jews in the Holocaust.||Only pro-lifers who imagine that they have already won the debate over the nature of those fetuses can compare their abortion with the killing of the human beings in the holocaust.|
|Pro-lifers saving fetuses are like the few heroes who saved some of the Jews.||Far from being anything like heroic saviors of Jews, today's pro-lifers are much more like the Nazi killers of the Jews. BOTH were raised in a conservative Christian culture that taught them to despise not only Jews, but liberals, socialists, homosexuals, and blacks ( see TheNazisConservativeChristians); AND were opponents of abortion, when it came to the 98% of the German population that they viewed as "worthy of life" i.e. Aryan and Christian like themselves. (see AbortionUnderNazis)|
|Pro-choicers are like the Nazis who killed the Jews.||Far from being anything like the Nazi killers of the Jews, pro-choicers are a lot more like the Jewish victims, because the Nazis targeted liberals, socialists, homosexuals, and blacks along with the Jews.|
France's Abortion Rights law is called "la loi Veil", after Simone Veil, the Health-Minister who led and won the fight for those rights in 1974.
Some pro-lifers seem to view freedom of religion as a one-way street. To them, it means that not only do they have the right to believe as they choose, but others have to respect that right. But they don't seem to appreciate the fact that it's a two-way street, and that they have to respect those whose beliefs are the opposite of theirs. In a country like America, where diversity of religion is not only accepted but welcome, the price that every religion must pay in order to be respected itself, is paying the same respect for other religions that they expect to enjoy for their own.
Now let's apply this to the issue of abortion. Despite what the extremists on both sides of the issue would have us believe, abortion has remained a contentious issue for so many years because it really is quite complicated. In less-advanced societies, people have fought over such differences on battlefields, sometimes for years and even decades. America is one of the more civilized societies where people have learned that they can live quite happy lives by simply "agreeing to disagree" and going their own way. Difficult moral issues can go unresolved for long periods of time, with people free, in the meantime, to follow their own ideas of right and wrong. In some cases, such issues are resolved by legislatures and/or local courts. In rare cases, really contentious issues, such as abortion, go all the way to the highest court in the land, the US Supreme Court.
Now that our highest court has recognized the right of women in America to have abortions under certain circumstances, churches can tell their own members that they are not allowed to exercise that right because they view abortion as sinful "murder", but in America no church has any business trying to impose its beliefs, or its interpretations of what it views as "God's Word", on me or on anyone else who doesn't want to belong to such a church. Freedom of religion" is a two-way street. Church-members don't just get it; they have to give it as well!
In an article published April 23, 2004 in the National Catholic Reporter, the U. of Notre Dame theologian, Richard McBrien, makes the point that :
"To have made the moral argument against abortion, for example, is not necessarily to have made the legal argument as well. St. Thomas Aquinas himself had insisted that if civil laws laid too heavy a burden on the "multitude of imperfect people," it would be impossible for such laws to be obeyed and this, in turn, could lead eventually to a disregard for all law. Moreover, unenforceable laws are worse than no laws at all. And without a sufficient consensus within a society, no law is enforceable. Civil laws, therefore, can demand no more than what a pluralistic society can agree upon."
Want Women to Have More Abortions? Make 'Em Illegal In 2012 an important report with that title was published in the journal The Lancet. It tracked global abortion trends and found that the number of abortions performed worldwide had decreased until leveling off in 2008. They also found that rates of abortion are highest in countries that limit contraception and place tight restrictions on abortion and that nearly half of all abortions performed worldwide are unsafe :
"Abortion rates were lowest in Western Europe - 12 per 1,000 - and highest in Eastern Europe - 43 per 1,000. The rate in North America was 19 per 1,000. Sedgh said she and colleagues found a link between higher abortion rates and regions with more restrictive legislation, such as in Latin America and Africa. They also found that 95 to 97 percent of abortions in those regions were unsafe."
This is an excellent article that I would recommend for anyone interested in the points below :
Click here to see the views of abortion in various other nations