Skip to comments.The Nightmares of Choice:The Psychological Effects of Performing Abortions
Posted on 08/31/2003 12:50:47 PM PDT by Vindiciae Contra TyrannoSCOTUS
"I have fetus dreams, we all do here: dreams of abortions one after the other; of buckets of blood splashed on the walls; trees full of crawling fetuses," reported Sallie Tisdale of her time as a nurse in an abortion facility. Writing in Harpers magazine, she told of dreaming that two men grabbed her and dragged her away.
"Lets do an abortion," they said with a sickening leer, and I began to scream, plunged into a vision of sucking, scraping pain, of being spread and torn by impartial instruments that do only what they are bidden. I woke from this dream barely able to breathe and thought of kitchen tables and coat hangers, knitting needles striped with blood, and women all alone clutching a pillow in their teeth to keep the screams from piercing the apartment-house walls.
It is not joyful or easy work. "There are weary, grim moments when I think I cannot bear another basin of bloody remains, utter another kind phrase of reassurance," she wrote. ". . . I prepare myself for another basin, another brief and chafing loss. How can you stand it? Even the clients ask. . . . I watch a womans swollen abdomen sink to softness in a few stuttering moments and my own belly flip-flops with sorrow."1
What is the emotional impact of doing abortions on the people who do them? Those who do them have written and said enough to show that it is no ordinary medical procedure. Some, like Tisdale, suffer nightmares. Others suffer many of the other symptoms associated with Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), once called "shell shock" and "battle fatigue."2 The practice of medicine, of healing, should not give you nightmares, should not leave you shell-shocked.
In the following, only pro-choice doctors and nurses and official medical publications will be quoted, except for the two doctors quoted at the end. Their belief that dealing constantly with abortion was an unusual and significant source of stress, more so than ordinary medicine, did not by any means come from opposition to abortion. Their Trauma
Remarkably little study has been done of the doctors, nurses, counselors, and other staff in abortion facilities. Only two scientific studies that look at a large number of people have been done by researchers who did not work in the abortion field. One (by M. Such-Baer) appeared in Social Casework in 1974 and the other (by K. M. Roe) in Social Science and Medicine in 1989.
Both studies were done by people in favor of legal abortion, yet they both note the high prevalence of symptoms that fit the condition now called Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). The study published in 1974, before the term was adopted, noted that "obsessional thinking about abortion, depression, fatigue, anger, lowered self-esteem, and identity conflicts were prominent. The symptom complex was considered a transient reactive disorder, similar to combat fatigue."3
The other study listed similar symptoms: "Ambivalent periods were characterized by a variety of otherwise uncharacteristic feelings and behavior including withdrawal from colleagues, resistance to going to work, lack of energy, impatience with clients, and an overall sense of uneasiness. Nightmares, images that could not be shaken, and preoccupation were commonly reported. Also common was the deep and lonely privacy within which practitioners had grappled with their ambivalence."4
The case that abortion practitioners suffer from PTSD because they perform abortions cannot yet be made. It is a difficult thing to prove: It may be difficult to ascertain who is and who is not doing abortions; those who have suffered worst may have already left the field; it may be that those people who have been through traumatic events already are more inclined to participate in abortions; and finally, the current political debate can affect the way people feel about their work.
However, the evidence so far accumulated shows that further research is certainly needed.
American Medical News, a magazine published by the American Medical Association, reported that the discussions at a workshop of the National Abortion Federation "illuminate a rarely heard side of the abortion debate: the conflicting feelings that plague many providers. . . . The notion that the nurses, doctors, counselors and others who work in the abortion field have qualms about the work they do is a well-kept secret." Among the stories:
A nurse who had worked in an abortion clinic for less than a year said her most troubling moments came not in the procedure room but afterwards. Many times, she said, women who had just had abortions would lie in the recovery room and cry, "Ive just killed my baby. Ive just killed my baby." "I dont know what to say to these women," the nurse told the group. "Part of me thinks, Maybe theyre right."
A doctor in New Mexico admitted that
he was sometimes surprised by the anger a late-term abortion can arouse in him. On the one hand, the physician said, he is angry at the woman. "But paradoxically," he added, "I have angry feelings at myself for feeling good about grasping the calvaria [the top of the babys head], for feeling good about doing a technically good procedure which destroys a fetus, kills a baby."5
Almost All Negative
Such-Baers study, done in 1974, a year after Roe v. Wade legalized abortion across the country, reported that "almost all professionals involved in abortion work reacted with more or less negative feelings." Those who have contact with the fetal remains have more negative feelings than those who do not, and their response varied little: "All emotional reactions were unanimously extremely negative."6
The largest published study involved interviews with 130 abortion workers in San Francisco between January 1984 and March 1985. The authors did not expect to find what they found. "Particularly striking was the fact that discomfort with abortion clients or procedures was reported by practitioners who strongly supported abortion rights and expressed strong commitment to their work," they noted. "This preliminary finding suggested that even those who support a womans right to terminate a pregnancy may be struggling with an important tension between their formal beliefs and the situated experience of their abortion work."
In response, the researchers decided "to interview only practitioners who identified themselves as pro-choice and were committed to continuing their abortion work for at least six months." They thought that these people, "as most free of pre-existing anti-choice sentiments and most resistant to their potential influence, would provide rich insight into the current dilemmas and dynamics of legal abortion work." This lowered the sample to 105 workers.
Seventy-seven percent of those brought up the theme of abortion as a destructive act, as destroying a living thing. As for murder: "This theme was unexpected among pro-choice practitioners, yet 18 percent of the respondents talked about involvement with abortion in this way at some point in the interview. This theme tended to emerge slowly in the interviews and was always presented with obvious discomfort."7
Even Tisdale, who still believed in abortion, admitted the ambiguity of performing them. Abortion, she said, "is the narrowest edge between kindness and cruelty. Done as well as it can be, it is still violencemerciful violence, like putting a suffering animal to death. . . . It is a sweet brutality we practice here, a stark and loving dispassion."8
The stress seems to grow as the unborn child develops. "As the pregnancy advances, the idea of abortion becomes more and more repugnant to a lot of people, medical personnel included," an abortion doctor named Don Sloan noted in a book that vigorously asserts the need for legal abortion. In response, "Clinicians try to divorce themselves from the method." After describing the procedure in graphic detail, including the need to check the body parts to make sure every part of the fetus has been removed from the uterus, he concluded: "Want to do abortion? Pay the price. There is an old saying in medicine: If you want to work in the kitchen, you may have to break an egg. The stove gets hot. Prepare to get burned."9
Late-term abortions pose "an unusual dilemma," said Warren Hern, an abortion specialist, in a paper given to the Association of Planned Parenthood Physicians. The doctors and nurses who do it have "strong personal reservations about participating in an operation which they view as destructive and violent." He explained their reactions this way:
Some part of our cultural and perhaps even biological heritage recoils at a destructive operation on a form that is similar to our own, even while we may know that the act has a positive effect for a living person. No one who has not performed this procedure can know what it is like or what it means; but having performed it, we are bewildered by the possibilities of interpretation. We have reached a point in this particular technology where there is no possibility of denial of an act of destruction by the operator. It is before ones eyes. The sensations of dismemberment flow through the forceps like an electric current. . . . The more we seem to solve the problem, the more intractable it becomes.10
But it is the practitioners dreams that may tell us most. Bad dreams are so common that a mention of them, even a slight one, can be expected in almost all presentations on the subject of an abortion facility staffs emotional reactions to performing abortions. Many of those who stopped doing abortions because they became convinced that abortion was wrong report dreaming about abortion.
The reports vary with respect to the numbers of workers who suffer from abortion-related nightmares: A study by Dr. Hern said that only two out of 23 workers reported dreaming about abortion, while a news item on late-term abortions in ObGyn News said that one-fourth of the workers dreamed of abortion.11 Tisdale said that everyone at her facility had such dreams, but that was probably poetic license.
What are the dreams like? Tisdale told of dreaming of "blood splashed on the walls" and "trees full of crawling fetuses," as well as of her own violation. Another writer told of a nurse who dreamed that she "was stuffing a baby into the mouth of [an antique] vase. The baby was looking at her with a pleading expression. Around the vase was a white ring. She interpreted this as representing the other nurses looking upon her act with condemnation."
He drew the conclusion that her dream "shows that unconsciously the act of abortion was experienced as an act of murder. It should be noted that this nurse was strongly committed intellectually to the new abortion law. Her reaction was typical. Regardless of ones religious or philosophic orientation, the unconscious view of abortion remains the same. This was the most significant thing that was learned as a result of these sessions."12 (This story appeared in an editorial in Obstetrics and Gynecology, which argued that the staff of abortion facilities should be encouraged to talk about their feelings as a way to keep them doing the work.)
American Medical News reported this from the National Abortion Federation workshop: "They [those who perform or help perform abortions] wonder if the fetus feels pain. They talk about the soul and where it goes. And about their dreams, in which aborted fetuses stare at them with ancient eyes and perfectly shaped hands and feet asking, Why? Why did you do this to me?"13
A paper presented to the Association of Planned Parenthood Physicians described the dreams of two people who had dreamed "of vomiting fetuses along with a sense of horror." The writers concluded, "In general, it appears that the more direct the physical and visual involvement (i.e., nurses, doctor), the more stress experienced. This is evident both in conscious stress and in unconscious manifestations such as dreams. At least, both individuals who reported several significant dreams were in these roles."14 Alternative Explanations
How can we account for the practitioners problems, especially their dreams? It may be that this is how the human mind responds to killing, as has been suggested of other groups of people who kill. Those who believe that abortion is killing, and that killing another human being is something few people can do naturally, will find this explanation plausible.
But social scientists have offered two other explanations. One is simply that the people are suffering burnout, as do many in the helping professions. It is thus a more easily solvable problem, requiring only vacation breaks and rotation of duties. Considering the high-volume, high-speed nature of most abortion practices, they may indeed be suffering from burnout, but they may also suffer from conscience or PTSD as well. More importantly, burnout does not explain their dreams.
The other explanation is that people respond negatively because of a primitive or childish misunderstanding of the facts. The editorial in Obstetrics and Gynecology just quoted argued that "the child inevitably mixes fact with fantasy. Unable to conceptualize the whole process in sophisticated terms, the child thinks in concrete terms. He visualized an egg in the stomach and believes that a formed baby develops at the outset, growing for nine months into a full size infant."
The author believes that this is the way to account for the dreams. Although adults understand reproduction, "the primitive fantasies remain in the unconscious. . . . Therefore, even those who become intellectually committed to abortion have to contend with their own unconscious view of a fetus as a real baby. The emotional trauma observed in these nurses was a result of the psychic conflict between their intellectual commitment, on the one hand, and their unconscious views, on the other. Inwardly, they experience themselves as participating in an act of murder."15
If seeing the fetus as a baby is merely a figment of the imagination, a symbol, an oversimplification, the solution is simple. The best way to counter a fantasy is to show the reality. Modern technology has provided photographs of embryos and fetuses at every stage of development, and sonograms show their movements in real time. Yet this technique seems not to work in reducing the symptoms abortion workers suffer, as another editorial, titled "Warns of Negative Psychological Impact of Sonography in Abortion," argued in 1986. A Warning
Defenders of abortion believe that it is a form of medicine. Opponents believe it to be killing. If abortion is the taking of a human life, some or many of those who perform abortions should suffer certain psychological consequences associated with the trauma caused by hurting others. If we find no such consequences, the case that abortion is not violence at all is strengthened. If we find them, the case that it is violence is strengthened. The anecdotal evidence and such studies as we have suggest that some of those who perform abortions suffer psychological damage, that performing abortions has such consequences.
Perhaps the dreams are a warning. If so, these nightmares may be a blessing. Bernard Nathanson, speaking of the time when he was a pioneer in setting up abortion facilities, recalled being cornered by a doctors wife at a cocktail party. "She drew me aside and talked in a decidedly agitated manner of the increasingly frequent nightmares her husband had been having. He had confessed to her that the dreams were filled with blood and children, and that he had later become obsessed with the notion that some terrible justice would soon be inflicted upon his own children in payment for what he was doing." These dreams and these feelings may have been a warning from his conscience to stop.16
Former abortion doctor McArthur Hill has told of how he would try to save premature babies and then find that the babies hed aborted were bigger than the premature ones he had saved.
It was at this point that I began to have nightmares. . . . In my nightmares, I would deliver a healthy newborn baby. And I would take that healthy newborn baby, and I would hold it up. And I would face a jury of faceless people and ask them to tell me what to do with this baby. They were to go thumbs up or thumbs down, and if they made a thumbs down indication, then I was to drop the baby into a bucket of water which was present. I never did reach the point of dropping the baby into the bucket, because Id always wake up at that point.17
Dr. Hill did, eventually, wake up to the reality of what he was doing. Others have as well. If it is true that the practitioners nightmares and other symptoms result from their work, as the evidence suggests, there will be many other abortion practitioners who will be driven by their dreams to listen to the voice of conscience and stop helping kill the unborn.
Rachel M. MacNair, Ph.D., is the director of the Institute for Integrated Social Analysis in Kansas City, the research arm of Consistent Life (http://www.consistent-life.org), and the author of Perpetration-Induced Traumatic Stress: The Psychological Consequences of Killing (Praeger, 2002), which examines several groups that kill, including veterans and executioners.
This article is an abridged version of chapter six of that book. An earlier version, delivered at the tenth conference of University Faculty for Life and relating the abortion practitioners symptoms to the symptoms of posttraumatic stress disorder, can be found at http://www.uffl.org/vol10/macnair10.htm. 1. Tisdale, Sallie, "We do abortions here," Harpers, October 1987. 2. For a list of the symptoms of PTSD, see Table 1 in my "Abortion Practice as a Perpetration-Induced Trauma," found at http://www.uffl.org/vol10/macnair10.htm. For a fuller treatment of this subject, see my Perpetration-Induced Traumatic Stress: The Psychological Consequences of Killing (Praeger, 2002). 3. Such-Baer, M., "Professional Staff Reaction to Abortion Work," Social Casework, July 1974. 4. Roe, K. M., "Private Troubles and Public Issues: Providing Abortion amid Competing Definitions," Social Science and Medicine (1989) 29:1197. 5. Gianelli, D. M., "Abortion providers share inner conflicts," American Medical News, July 12, 1993. 6. Such-Baer, op cit. 7. Roe, op cit. 8. Tisdale, op cit. 9. Sloan, Don & Hartz, P., Abortion: A Doctors Perspective, A Womans Dilemma (New York: Donald I. Fine, Inc., 1992). 10. Hern, W. M. & Corrigan, B., "What About Us? Staff Reactions to the D & E Procedure." Presented at the 1978 meeting of the Association of Planned Parenthood Physicians, San Diego, 11. Hern and Corrigan, op cit; Jancin, B., "Emotional Turmoil of Physicians, Staff Held Biggest D & E Problem," ObGyn News (1981) 16:1531. 12. Kibel, H. D., "Editorial: Staff Reactions to Abortion," Obstetrics and Gynecology (1972) 39(1). 13. Gianelli, op cit. 14. Hern and Corrigan, op cit. 15. Kibel, op cit. 16. Nathanson, Bernard, Aborting America (Toronto: Life Cycle Books, 1979). 17. Prolife Action League, 1989.
October 26, 1978.
1. Tisdale, Sallie, "We do abortions here," Harpers, October 1987.
2. For a list of the symptoms of PTSD, see Table 1 in my "Abortion Practice as a Perpetration-Induced Trauma," found at http://www.uffl.org/vol10/macnair10.htm. For a fuller treatment of this subject, see my Perpetration-Induced Traumatic Stress: The Psychological Consequences of Killing (Praeger, 2002).
3. Such-Baer, M., "Professional Staff Reaction to Abortion Work," Social Casework, July 1974.
4. Roe, K. M., "Private Troubles and Public Issues: Providing Abortion amid Competing Definitions," Social Science and Medicine (1989) 29:1197.
5. Gianelli, D. M., "Abortion providers share inner conflicts," American Medical News, July 12, 1993.
6. Such-Baer, op cit.
7. Roe, op cit.
8. Tisdale, op cit.
9. Sloan, Don & Hartz, P., Abortion: A Doctors Perspective, A Womans Dilemma (New York: Donald I. Fine, Inc., 1992).
10. Hern, W. M. & Corrigan, B., "What About Us? Staff Reactions to the D & E Procedure." Presented at the 1978 meeting of the Association of Planned Parenthood Physicians, San Diego,
11. Hern and Corrigan, op cit; Jancin, B., "Emotional Turmoil of Physicians, Staff Held Biggest D & E Problem," ObGyn News (1981) 16:1531.
12. Kibel, H. D., "Editorial: Staff Reactions to Abortion," Obstetrics and Gynecology (1972) 39(1).
13. Gianelli, op cit.
14. Hern and Corrigan, op cit.
15. Kibel, op cit.
16. Nathanson, Bernard, Aborting America (Toronto: Life Cycle Books, 1979).
17. Prolife Action League, 1989.
But it was a 1974 operation that "changed my mind about abortion forever." While doing a suction abortion, Jarrett found that the suction curette was obstructed by a torn-off fetal leg. So he changed techniques and dismembered the child with a ring forceps:
And as I brought out the rib cage, I looked and I saw a tiny, beating heart. And when I found the head of the baby, I looked squarely in the face of another human beinga human being that I'd just killed. I turned to the scrub nurse and said, "I'm sorry." But I just knew that I couldn't be a part of abortion any more.
The baby's little fingers were clasping and unclasping, and his little feet were kicking. Then the doctor stuck the [surgical] scissors in the back of his head, and the baby's arms jerked out . . .
The doctor opened up the scissors, stuck a high-powered suction tube into the opening, and sucked the baby's brains out. Now the baby went completely limp. I was really completely unprepared for what I was seeing. I almost threw up as I watched Dr. Haskell doing these things. . . .
The woman wanted to see her baby, so they cleaned up the baby and put it in a blanket and handed it to her. She cried the whole time. She kept saying, "I am so sorry, please forgive me." I was crying, too. I couldn't take it.
Shafer later gave congressional testimony about her experience and appeared widely in the media speaking against partial-birth abortion. Seldom, one suspects, has a doctor been so sorry that he hired a temporary worker.
Shafer also saw Haskell do D&E abortions. He would "take three-month-old babies and dismember 'em-just tear 'em from limb to limb while the baby's heart was beating, yank off a leg, yank off an arm and just bring it outside . . . And that was horrible. I'd never seen it before. Never really wanted to think about it before." Mary Meehan -- The Ex-abortionists: Why they quit
...saline abortion is a solution of salt saline that is injected into the mothers womb. The baby then gulps the solution, it burns the baby inside and out and then the mother is to deliver a dead baby within 24 hours.
This happened to me! I remained in the solution for approximately 18 hours and was delivered ALIVE on April 6, 1977 at 6:00 am in a California abortion clinic. There were young women in the room who had already been given their injections and were waiting to deliver dead babies. When they saw me they experienced the horror of murder. A nurse called an ambulance, while the abortionist was not yet on duty, and had me transferred to the hospital. I weighed a mere two pounds. I was saved by the sheer power of Jesus Christ.
Ladies and gentleman I should be blind, burned.....I should be dead! And yet, I live! Due to a lack of oxygen supply during the abortion I live with cerebral palsy.
...Adolph Hitler once said: "The receptive ability of the great masses is only very limited, their understanding is small; on the other hand their forgetfulness is great. This being so, all effective propaganda should be limited to a very few points which in turn, should be used as slogans until the very last man is able to imagine what is meant by such words." Today's slogans are: "a woman's right to choose" and "freedom of choice," etcetera. Hearing on H.R. 4292, the "Born-Alive Infants Protection Act of 2000", Testimony of Gianna Jessen
I am optimistic enough to believe that, one day, Stenberg v. Carhart will be assigned its rightful place in the history of this Court's jurisprudence beside Korematsu and Dred Scott. The method of killing a human child-one cannot even accurately say an entirely unborn human child-proscribed by this statute is so horrible that the most clinical description of it evokes a shudder of revulsion. And the Court must know (as most state legislatures banning this procedure have concluded) that demanding a "health exception"-which requires the abortionist to assure himself that, in his expert medical judgment, this method is, in the case at hand, marginally safer than others (how can one prove the contrary beyond a reasonable doubt?)-is to give live-birth abortion free rein. The notion that the Constitution of the United States, designed, among other things, "to establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, . . . and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity," prohibits the States from simply banning this visibly brutal means of eliminating our half-born posterity is quite simply absurd. STENBERG v. CARHART :Justice Scalia, dissenting.
To dehumanize Jews, Nazi leaders had to suppress facts and propagandize with a barrage of lies about the Jewish people. The dehumanization of unborn children did not occur in a vacuum. Between Two Holocausts
The disturbing concept that an unborn child feels pain while being destroyed has once again entered the public conscience in England, when a pro-choice fetal researcher suggested that anesthesia should be given to comfort the fetus from pain from abortions as early as 17 weeks gestation. The Emerging Reality of Fetal Pain in Late Abortion
Behaviorally speaking, there's little difference between a newborn baby and a 32-week-old fetus. A new wave of research suggests that the fetus can feel, dream, even enjoy "The Cat in the Hat."
As if overturning the common conception of infancy weren't enough, scientists are creating a startling new picture of intelligent life in the womb. Among the revelations:
By monitoring changes in fetal heart rate, psychologist Jean-Pierre Lecanuet, Ph.D., and his colleagues in Paris have found that fetuses can even tell strangers' voices apart. They also seem to like certain stories more than others. The fetal heartbeat will slow down when a familiar French fairy tale such as "La Poulette" ("The Chick") or "Le Petit Crapaud" ("The Little Toad"), is read near the mother's belly. When the same reader delivers another unfamiliar story, the fetal heartbeat stays steady. Fearfully and Wonderfully Made
How can we account for the practitioners problems, especially their dreams? It may be that this is how the human mind responds to killing, as has been suggested of other groups of people who kill.
I don't doubt that the mental effects are awful. How could you do something like this for a living and like your job and feel that your doing something beneficial for society? If you do this and like your job, you're right up there with Reichsmarshall Goering.
Aborting a baby to save a mother is one thing
Perhaps the democrat party should start a movement to serve their favored rite, abortion, in such a way as to prevent the spitirual death of the abortionists. They could recruti and train persons already proven to like serial killing, to man the abortuaries for the women seeking a serial killing. Alas, perhaps the democrats aren't as 'compassionate' as they claim. Besides, that does nothing to mollify the dmaged psyche or soul of the woman who went through with such a horrible act. But democrats and feminists are more than willing to sacrifice these damaged women in order to keep their bloody rite legal and easily obtained. Damn ghouls ...
The Psychological Effects of voting in favor of those Performing Abortions, should qualify one to receive liberal doses electroconvulsive therapy.
Amen. I can't say I have a lot of sympathy. Who or what is forcing them to continue working in the murder practice?
If they're staying because of the money--they're little more than paid serial killers. And now, I'm going to go kiss my beautiful five-month-old daughter, Hoagy, and thank God he blessed me with her.
Keep the faith.
I'm sure that some Germans who were intellectually commited to the Final Solution had to contend with their own unconscious view of Jews as humans. But they went to work at Auschwitz every day anyway.
Nightmares are the least of the worries that abortionists have if there is justice in this world and the next.
I can make a good case for there being an individual human being in the womb or even in a petri dish prior to artificial implantation. Many scientists would heartily agree, and in fact the science of Embryology is based upon this truth. But there are too many who will deny this truth because it contradicts the excuse they give themselves for dehumanizing the prenatal all through the gestational age.
Soon, our antion will be embracing cannibalism in the name of enlightened application of biological sciences. There are already powerful Senators supporting, defending and championing the evil. No less than Nancy Reagan supports it and the AARP publishes her support for it. It doesn't change the truth that what they defend and push is cannibalism. But there will be euphemistic terms devised to hide the truth from the average clueless American, until the behavior is well established in the American system. Then, it will be too late to reverse the evil, just as it has been with abortion on demand and tens of thousands of alive, sentient, prenatal infants slaughtered each year as the natural extension of the evil in dehumanizing the prenatal class of fellow human beings. An entire political party defends and champions this evil, so how are clueless Americans to understand that what the party is defending so vigorously is in fact deep, pernicious evil?
I'm sure that some Germans who were intellectually commited to the Final Solution had to contend with their own unconscious view of Jews as humans. But they went to work at Auschwitz every day anyway.
When Adolf Hitler came to power in Germany in 1933, he scornfully dismissed the Church and her pastors as an irrelevant force which posed no threat to the Nazi agenda for that great nation.
I promise you," he boasted to his inner circle, "that if I wish to, I could destroy the Church in just a few years. It is hollow, it is rotten and false through and through. One push, and the whole structure would collapse. We should trap the preachers," he said, " by their notorious greed and self-indulgence. We shall thus be able to settle everything with them in perfect peace and harmony. I shall give them a few years' reprieve. Why should we quarrel? They will swallow anything in order to keep their material advantage. The parsons will be made to dig their own graves; they will betray their God for us. They will betray anything for the sake of their miserable jobs and incomes."
The dictator's words proved to be tragically accurate. The great majority of Christians in Germany looked the other way and minded their own business. They kept their religion and their politics strictly separate from one another and refused to vote on the basis of single issues which would have set them apart from the rest of the electorate. They blended in and they went along and they followed the path of least resistance. They did that which was expedient and practical and safe, while their country was dragged down into a swirling maelstrom of barbarism and death. Only a few lonely voices were raised in protest. Dr. Laurence White Senior Pastor, Our Savior Lutheran Church ...
Nietzsche's point has even more force in our own society, wherein, with few exceptions, men and women live their lives as if there were no God and yet still carry on a profession of being religious. In Nietzsche's dramatic picture, there is something tragically absurd about the man who is shocked by someone else's atheism when it is impossible to discover any genuine religious faith in him. For the average American today, as for the average individual in Nietzsche's Germany, it simply makes no practical difference whether God exists or not. This is true in spite of those polls that show that 98 percent of Americans believe in God. Nietzsche, Kierkegaard, and the Death of God
Are they really dreams, or just glimpses at the eternity that faces each of them if they refuse to repent.