Skip to comments.Atheists, agnostics, pagans, and more: do they have a place in the pro-life movement?
Posted on 08/15/2013 7:10:04 AM PDT by Morgana
Lately Ive been noticing a new pro-life trend. Quite active on Facebook are groups and individuals who condemn any attempt to convert an abortion advocate without taking a religious approach.
What I can glean of their message from social media and blog posts is that unless you lead with Jesus, you are denying His power to change that persons mind. In other words, taking any approach other than heres what the Bible has to say about abortion is irreligious folly.
I have several issues with this, but lets start with my own personal experience.
Ive shared my conversion story with Live Action readers and in The American Feminist, the magazine of Feminists for Life of America, so I wont rehash it again. But allow me to reiterate that had my lovely friend, with whom I chose to debate abortion one fateful night, used religion as a basis for her argument, I not only would not have been convinced, I would have dismissed her entire thesis outright and probably ended the conversation.
Would I have been, frankly, an idiot for doing so? That is debatable. (By which I mean: yeah, kind of.) But I would also not have become, that very night, a pro-life advocate.
I was converted on the basis of human rights, science, and reason. Was God behind it? In my opinion, yes, He was. He is always behind Truth. I believe God created human rights, science, and reason. So using these to argue is not terribly different from mentioning Him by name.
Because my friend was, to get Biblical, wise as serpents, I became pro-life that night. A year later, I was no longer an agnostic but a Catholic. Coincidence? I guess. If you believe in that sort of thing.
I spent the first few months of my uncomfortable pro-lifeness (after initially trying desperately to become pro-choice again, and failing) splashing around in the shallow but welcoming online pool of the non-religious pro-life. There were pro-life pagans, agnostics, atheists, humanists, homosexuals, and so on. They, like I, had found the argument for the sanctity of unborn human life compelling enough without believing in a Christian God.
For me, this new belief in the unborn led me directly eventually to that same Christian God. I doubt I am the only one for whom this has been the case. It has given me an even deeper love for the fetal among us: they saved my soul.
So not only does a Bible-first approach to explaining the evil of abortion not work on everyone, it outright excludes a small but important faction of the pro-life community, whom I believe we should welcome.
Craig Gross, pastor of XXXchurch, devotes his ministry to helping porn stars leave the sex industry. In explaining his controversial personal friendship with porno legend Ron Jeremy, he explained to Nightline: To me, the message of Jesus unites and doesnt divide. You know what were all against, but you never know what were all for. Like, to me, Im for Ron.
There might be a very profound message in that simple statement.
If I care deeply about the soul of a pro-life pagan and I do! is it for me to tell her she has no place in our movement? Will that endear her to my religion? Will it go any way at all towards bringing her to understand the love of Christ?
No, of course not.
My goal as a Christian should be to bring Christ to everyone I meet. How best should I do that? By yelling Bible verses through a megaphone? By handing out pamphlets? By excluding them from the Godly work of protecting Life?
I recall encountering, for the first time, the priest who would become my first pastor. I attended a tragic funeral for a young man at his parish. It was the second time in my life I had been in a Catholic church, and this happened one month after I became pro-life. (Again, coincidence.) Normally quite hostile to Christianity, I felt peace and indeed holiness in the sanctuary. I also felt what I would later come to know as the Holy Spirit emanating from Monsignor Donald Fischer. I would feel it every time I was in his presence. I would feel it in that same sanctuary when he confirmed me a Catholic, one year later.
All this all this Godliness because my friend didnt mention God.
God has His ways. I believe they have been called mysterious. Perhaps we should be humble enough to accept they dont always involve us being loudly right at everyones face. Are you right to say God is the number one reason to oppose abortion? In my opinion, yes. But being right is not always how you win an advocate for Life or a soul for Jesus.
It is a difficult thing to humbly submit to the will of God when nothing makes sense. Maybe pro-life paganism or agnosticism or atheism or homosexuality dont make sense to you. Maybe they are an affront to you. But just like Craig Gross and his friend Ron Jeremy are both for Ron, arent we all working towards the same goal? Dont we all want to protect life in the womb? Does God frown on you when you embrace a pro-life atheist or does He say, in the immortal words of Dire Straits, Thats the way you do it?
Im thinking its (something like) the latter, and I personally welcome and rejoice in all the pro-lifers. We may disagree about graphic signs, the death penalty, politics, and more, but any friend of the unborn deserves a seat at our table.
1 Cor. 9:19-23
For though I am free from all men, I have made myself a servant to all, that I might win the more; and to the Jews I became as a Jew, that I might win Jews; to those who are under the law, as under the law, that I might win those who are under the law; to those who are without law, as without law (not being without law toward God, but under law toward Christ), that I might win those who are without law; to the weak I became as weak, that I might win the weak. I have become all things to all men, that I might by all means save some.
That's certainly not what Jesus said. He said the Gospel would be incredibly divisive.
Of course they are welcome to the pro-life movement. It is their right to express their views. NO less than a pagan pro-abort has the right to express their views.
How is it a question?
That's a definition of what abortion does, not an explanation of why it is immoral.
Antibiotics interrupt the normal process of bacteria killing you.
Currently the President of the United States is a man who celebrates abortions of all sorts. He was elected twice. The MSM has made a political icon of a vile woman in Texas who promotes late term abortion. America is in an advanced state of decadence. Anytime anyone comes to a rational insight on abortion, it is a welcome occurrence.
There is a moral judgment involved in determining that interrupting pregnancy is good, while interrupting cancer or pneumonia is bad. At the most basic level, it’s the judgment that continuing to live is good, while dying is bad. Almost everyone makes that judgment about himself - life good/death bad - at all times.
Did you not read what I said. He still said it was wrong.
What a ridiculous premise.
Of course someone can be pro-life without necessarily being religious or being of different faiths or being atheist. After all, it the conviction is called pro-LIFE not pro-religion or pro a particular religious ideology.
“O less than a pagan pro-abort has the right to express their views.”
This article is about Pro life pagans not pro abort pagans. Yes they do exist.
Not many people of that if that idea. Most people when they think “Pro Life” they think of Catholics praying the Rosary or protestant street preachers yelling at women as they enter the clinics. No one ever thinks of pagans as being “pro life” but I have met quite a few.
Let me rephrase that. Not many people think of that idea. Sorry not had my coffee yet.
I understand he said it was wrong. But he did not provide you with a reason why it was wrong, only with a definition of the process.
Many things we do interrupt natural processes. There is a general consensus for most those interruptions as to whether they are good, bad or neutral ethnically.
Abortion is one on which people disagree as to morality. It being an interruption of a natural process does not provide any guidance, of itself, as to whether it is right or wrong.
Cancer is a natural process. Surgery and chemotherapy are attempts to interfere with that natural process. Doesn’t make them wrong.
The one thing that major religions agree on is that abortion is wrong.
Any sane person can see that jabbing a needle into a babies head to kill it is wrong.
True. But the judgment is that ending life is wrong, not interrupting a natural process.
BTW, contraception also interrupts a natural process. Most non-Catholic conservatives don’t therefore believe it to be wrong.
I have no data on Cherokee attitudes towards birth control. :)
Please don't think I am putting you down (though I tend in the “Natural Law” direction.) I think the question is important and needs to be examined and discussed.
So, herewith: :-)
Consider: It is “normal,” to judge by history, for some humans to enslave others. Yet we claim there are “natural rights.” (natural <- natus <- nativity => rights that come with or pertain to birth.)
Consider: Some feminists argue that if contraception is not funded by government programs, then neither should Viagra (etc.) be so funded.
IMHO the comparison is flawed because contraception interrupts the “that for the sake of which” (or one of them) the genitals are made, while Viagra restores a function lost through some defect. It would seem to make no sense to say that contraception is the same kind of thing as setting a broken arm, yet because the arm in question is a short one, that distinction is ignored.
Again, that's not meant to be an argument. It's only a hint at another view.
Unfortunately, there are quite a few large (though declining) denominations that disagree with you.
“I understand he said it was wrong. But he did not provide you with a reason why it was wrong, only with a definition of the process.”
Dude he is a Cherokee they are like that. Kinda like Master Yoda. It’s wrong so don’t do it. End of story.
When the Son of Man returns, will He find faith in the earth?
“Atheists, agnostics, pagans, and more: do they have a place in the pro-life movement?”
...inalienable rights to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness apply to everyone, so why shouldn’t they? As long as they’re US citizen’s, they can decide for themselves whether to be left-leaning, “moderate”, right-leaning or some combination of all three positions when they go to the polls as a registered voter.
The right to support and defend those rights are no less applicable to those individuals and groups, are they not?
Why couldn’t a person be pro-life, atheist, church-taxing AND conservative? And as far as I’m concerned, I wouldn’t expect an explanation for what possesses them to have such mixed and seemingly contradictory values.
Would like to post a brief comment on the more general topic of using religious/biblical arguments for political and social issues outside a religious environment.
It is highly counter-productive. I’ve had discussions with people on FR where they thought citing scripture was definitive and should end the argument.
What they don’t seem to realize is that the only people this argument will convince is those who already agree with them. A very large percentage, probably a majority, of those who disagree or are undecided are repelled by such arguments and forced in reaction towards the other side.
Morgana quoted the gentleman as saying, “It interrupts the normal process of pregnancy,” not “It interrupts a natural process.” Those are not the same thing. He might - almost certainly does - believe that interrupting the normal progress of disease is the right thing to do.
Implicit in the reasoning is that the normal process of pregnancy is a good thing, therefore interrupting it is bad. Pregnancy and childbirth are the proper, healthy function of the reproductive system. Tuberculosis is not the proper, healthy functioning of the lungs.
Again, we’re back to “life good, death bad”: a moral judgment.
I also tend to the natural law side.
However, unless natural law is based on something other than human opinion, it has no definition other than popularity.
IOW, how can one define the terms of natural law? Seems to me the term is often an attempt to avoid actually proving their argument. The natural law types jump straight to claiming whatever their position is constitutes part of natural law.
Whereas what they need to do is demonstrate why it is part of natural law.
Fortunately there are fewer such, and they are less insistent, every year.
Abraham, in faith, was prepared to sacrifice his son Isaac by command of the Lord, and God sacrificed his only son our Lord Jesus Christ as blood atonement for the sins of men. The key difference between child sacrifices is this: what is commanded by God - it is up to God and God alone which lives are taken and which are not, and when. God gives life and he taketh it away. He has not commanded the abortions we see happening today, thus they are a violation of the sixth commandment.
Throughout the Bible there are teaching examples of the admonition to avoid alliances with pagans and heathens.
Such alliances offer the illusion of helping in the short term only to ultimately fail us.
This is because the alliance signifies that we are placing our faith in the alliance instead of God, who exhorts us to worship him alone and to be obedient to his word. And his word tells us to separate ourselves from evil, to not deny his Son Jesus Christ, and to worship God and God alone.
We also have the charge to bring God’s Word out to the world. So often we hear that Christ ate with publicans and sinners, that the sick need the physician, which is true. As we do this, however, we must keep in mind that we need to be changing the world to conform to God’s Word, not have the world changing us to reject God’s Word.
Regarding unbelievers all around us, who may agree with us on some points and disagree on others, we are clearly directed in Romans 12 to:
18 “If it be possible, as much as lieth in you, live peaceably with all men.”
Yet nowhere in the Bible are we told that we are thus permitted to use this as an excuse to “agree” with them in order to “get along” or “receive their help” when the “agreement” would imply that we deny even a single truth in God’s Word. If a person can help in the effort to end abortion, but we have to gossip with them to enlist their aid, we need to refrain from the gossip, because the Bible exhorts us to refrain from gossip. We are commanded to be obedient to Scripture AND spread the Gospel at the same time; we can’t say for practical reasons we had to abandon Scripture in order to spread the Gospel.
If we “love” someone, we tell them the truth, we don’t lie to them. We must remember, of course, that the entire Bible can not be pushed into someone’s mind by our preaching to them in a single long conversation.
Whether a particular person is saved or not is not up to us, but entirely up to God.
That does not relieve us of our Biblical duty to testify our faith in Christ Jesus when the situation arises.
It is important to remember that those who are truly saved have the benefit of the Holy Spirit dwelling within them, while those who are not saved do not.
Though not at a point of conversion early in their life, in God’s ultimate redemptive plan for an individual, if he will save them, then he will somehow preserve and protect them until that point of conversion happens in their life, even though such preserving and protecing may not be apparent contemporaneously.
God does work through humans, both saved and unsaved. He employs those whom he will as the means to his ends.
Christians should employ the blessing of their ability to perceive what a person is up to on a case by case basis - there is no Biblical exhortation to be foolish and many to be smart. There is a time for immediate dramatic action and a time for patience; a time to simply hush up, a time to rant and a time to simply speak a wise word or two.
Though we see all the evil and murder of the world happening all around us, God’s Word tells us that we have absolutely never any need to fear, and that we should always continue in our faith in God and obedience to his Word.
Arguments from Scripture are, by definition, not logical arguments. Their validity depends on faith in those Scriptures as the word of God.
Something I happen to agree with, but not something it is logical to expect a non-Christian to accept.
When the Apostle Paul spoke to the men of Athens at the Areopagus, he did not quote the Old Testament to prove his arguments.
He spoke with logical arguments and indeed quoted pagan writers his audience would view as authoritative.
That is true. However, this fact does not force someone who doesn't accept the authority of Scripture to reject the original point.
Suppose I say, for example, "Homosexuality is wrong. It is wrong because the Bible says so." If you (a rhetorical "you") disagree with the supporting argument, because you consider the Bible to have no authority, you have not been given evidence that homosexuality is not wrong. You have simply NOT been given evidence that it IS wrong.
If, from this point, you respond, "Because I don't accept the Bible as an authority, and you made a weak argument, I'm going to say, 'Homosexuality isn't wrong!'," then you are not reasoning logically or effectively.
Not quite - Master Yoda leans more toward: “Do not do, wrong is it so”
Absolutely. Respect for life is not the exclusive province of Christians.
I know only one family who are Cherokee in their spirituality, as opposed to simply by descent. They have an only child, and the mom is clear that this was by choice, rather than by accident.
From this, I draw no conclusions about Cherokees as a tribe or Native Americans in the aggregate. However, as with any other distinctive ethnic-cultural group, group survival in the end requires that they reproduce and that they bring up their children to follow their customs.
do remember: the enemy of my enemy is my friend .. verily, dudes
“Implicit in the reasoning is that the normal process of pregnancy is a good thing, “
We are talking Cherokees here, Yes pregnancy would be a good thing. How many abortion clinics did the white man find when he came to the new world?
Am not criticizing Cherokee philosophy or spirituality.
I sincerely doubt they refuse any and all “interference with the natural course of events” as morally wrong, therefore they have some way to distinguish Group A (morally right or indifferent) from Group B (morally wrong) interferences.
If abortion is indeed considered immoral by them, they have a coherent if not necessarily logical reason for that belief, and it cannot be as simple as “an interference with nature.”
BTW, what makes you think I am Caucasoid or of European ancestry?
How many tribes practiced torture or cannibalism? Or conversely, how many cancer clinics did the white man find?
Anyhow, my point wasn’t about Cherokees but about the precise steps of reasoning that precede the stated position. If a person does not have a position on life issues that is based on his faith, he can base his position on reason, but he should be able to explain his premises and his reasoning process.
On the other hand, he can base his position on emotion or unsupported opinion. We could call that “faith that refuses to admit it is faith.”
Or perhaps a natural one. What is more basic then our fight to live? Just try to bathe a cat, they are of the opinion that it puts their life in danger and will fight like heck to get away from what threatens their life.
So an argument could be made that "life good, death bad" is based in natural law.
But in the case of abortion we are not talking about our life but the life of someone else. So in that case it would be "life good, murder bad" which does indeed require a moral judgment.
But I am only on my second cup of coffee, I could be wrong.
Yes, indeed, and I considered saying this was a no-brainer point. However, people kill themselves.
(Other people, like me, get in cars with teenage drivers.)
If you haven't read it, I strongly recommend:
Feser writes like the love child of Thomas Aquinas and Ann Coulter.
I salute your valor. :)
But suicide is generally considered an aberration among people in almost any society (with a few exceptions) and it certainly is not found in non-humans.
“How many tribes practiced torture or cannibalism?” Yea I could quote Rush Limbaugh and say “look what the tribes did to each other”
The tribes by themselves however were a whole different story. They suffered just what the white man suffered in Europe. This idea of prenatal care is a new thing and has changed how many babies make it and from birth to five years of age.
I have a feeling people like the Cherokees don’t feel the need to explain themselves when it comes to many things. I got that with the Cherokee man I once knew. One almost had to just figure it out on your own unlike in Christianity where you are told why in the Bible. I believe some religions of the world are just like the Cherokees and if they say it’s wrong then you accept it don’t do it and move on. Don’t ask why maybe you are better off. Ask any woman who has had an abortion she might agree.
Yes, that's true. However, in the context of the article, in persuading non-religious people of the right to life, there generally has to be more reasoning offered than, "It's just wrong."