Monday, March 5, 2018

The cruel, irratrional God of the Pro-life advocate

There have been some unspeakably wicked things done in the name of God over the centuries. In my lifetime I can't think of a more wicked act done in the name of the Christian God than the nefarious campaign to teach Christians that God opposes abortion.

In Frank Schaeffer's autobiographical book - “Crazy For God” - Frank reveals that his father, Francis Schaeffer (the defacto father of the pro-life movement) came to regret his participation in the politics that would spawn the pro-life movement within the American Republican Party. In Frank's later book - “Sex, Mom and God” - Frank illuminates further the corrupt politics that brought regret to his father's last days. Both of these books, as well as Jonathan Dudley's book 'Broken Word: The Abuse of Science and Faith in American Politics' are excellent resources for anyone interested in knowing the full convoluted history of the anti-abortion heresy being taught in Evangelical churches today for the purpose of maintaining political power in America.

People of faith have wrestled for years with the abortion arguments. Only in the last few years have I come to fully understand the deeply flawed and socially destructive nature of the anti-choice argument.

Safe medical abortion is a relatively new phenomenon in the world. When this procedure was unexpectedly legalized, in 1972, many in the Evangelical Christian world began to wonder out loud where Jesus might stand on the issue of abortion. There were no centuries old church decrees concerning abortion in existence, so the responsibility initially fell on the individual believer to decide for themselves what the 'will of God' might be concerning abortion. 

Although abortion was widely embraced as a godsend by many respected Christian thinkers during the 1970's, including Southern Baptist theologians, opposing forces soon emerged intent on re-shaping the layperson's understanding of abortion - for political purposes. Certain Christian anti-abortion activists and authors such as John Rushdoony and Francis Schaeffer began teaching that abortion is an unprecedented form of last days evil and those who practice it commit murder.

With doctrinal uncertainty brewing in Evangelical America, some leaders within the Republican Party saw an opportunity to seduce a larger segment of the Evangelical voting block away from the Democratic Party by making abortion rights a hot-button political issue among politically minded Evangelicals. Frank Shaeffer and his father were commissioned by Republican political operatives to create several films designed to teach American Evangelicals that God opposes abortion – that abortion is nothing short of murder. These films were then aggressively shown in Evangelical churches throughout America.

This is a thumbnail history of how many Evangelical Christians were first taught to believe God opposes abortion. 

This essay will attempt to expose why the pro-life argument is flawed from both a 'Traditional' and a 'Non-traditional' Christian perspective.

First, what's wrong with the pro-life or 'anti-choice' world view – From a traditional Christian perspective of God?

If it is true that all conception is the will of God, then the pro-life position remains somewhat logical from a traditional Christian perspective.   But if one believes that not all conception is necessarily the will of God - such as conception from rape, incest or uncommitted sex, then the pro-life position quickly becomes irrational.

The logic of the pro-life world view also begins another trajectory off the rails by denying that the creation of human life is an extended process initiated - not by God - but by the will and actions of human beings.  Pro-life advocates declare that 'human life' begins at conception.  A similar statement of false logic might be: A stack of lumber is a house. Pro-life believers stray further from logic by insisting that the soul – or one's self-awareness - comes into existence at the moment of conception.

Perhaps the most illogical aspect of the pro-life argument occurs with the irrational assumption that it is God's universal will and desire that all human conceptions result in live birth.

The belief that God desires all conceptions come to term simply because men and women have managed to produce a conception is illogical because it strips both God and mankind of autonomy of will.  Whether that conception came about as the result of rape, incest or sex between partners unfit to be parents, the pro-life advocate strips God of free will once a conception has taken place by declaring that God desires all conceptions come to term.  God's hands have been tied.   A similar statement of false logic would be: I successfully robbed a bank against God's will so now I should assume God wants me to keep the money.   

It is illogical to think that just because a man and woman have managed to mix an egg and sperm together it must therefore be God's will that a child be born in the world.  In humanity's distant past conception might have been considered an act of the will of God, but doctors today can produce conception on demand in the lab by simply mixing the correct ingredients. Humans and humans alone are who have been given the right to bring forth conception from the void - not God - the will of God need not be consulted.   Any mad scientist can mix the ingredients which starts the process which leads to the creation of human life.

The anti-choice worldview is promoted in our Evangelical churches by means of very powerful manipulations of the emotions, along with a preference for some scripture verses over other scripture.   A well reasoned, common sense approach to human reproduction is denounced as dangerous heresy by pro-life zealots.  Fear and ignorance is the real foundation of the anti-choice argument.

Fundamentalist Christians would do well to settle all the conflicting scriptural arguments concerning human reproduction with the only passage of scripture describing the creation of human life. Genesis 2:17 (KJV) “And the LORD God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul.” 

This passage of scripture states clearly that the creation of a living soul is a process and not an instantaneous event.  The human soul – one's self awareness - does not come into existence until after the breath of life has entered the body and yet the pro-life advocate declares that a human soul, one's self-awareness, comes into existence at the moment of conception.

Scientists now understand, in part, why nature often aborts a partially developed fetus through miscarriage.  Chromosome damage is routinely discovered in the autopsies of miscarried fetuses.  Chromosome damage leads to DNA replication errors, which causes birth defects.   Evidently nature is much more concerned about ensuring a healthy body for a potential human soul than it is about the destruction of a fetus through miscarriage - because nature is by far the most prolific abortionist of all.  Researchers currently estimate that well over half of all human conceptions end in spontaneous abortion.   Some conceptions don't implant in the uterus while others detach after an extended period of gestation.  Why, dear pro-life advocate, is nature involved in such murderous behavior?

Our evolving understanding of miscarriage reveals that nature is at work using her particular brand of wisdom to ensure that not all conceptions result in live birth - attempting to create the perfect human body - for the sake of the soul which will ultimately be required to inhabit that body.  Humans must use their own evolving understanding of reproductive biology in a similar fashion – to abort when necessary - to ensure that no child is born with a defective body needlessly.

So, what's wrong with the pro-life argument - From a non-traditional Christian perspective of God?

A majority of people understand it is illogical and highly counterproductive to oppose reproductive choice.  Abortion is often the most rational course of action for the sake of the woman, her family and the potential child.  Those of us who do support reproductive choice need to better understand how people involved in the pro-life movement begin to become incapable of thinking rationally about the abortion issue.

The answer lies in the psychology of belief in God and the psychology of delusion.  Delusion is a powerful state of mind which when induced divorces one from certain aspects of reality and restricts one's ability to think rationally.  A delusion is induced by embracing any significant 'false' belief concerning the nature of reality, or as Jesus explains in New Testament scripture, "If the light within you is darkness, then great is that darkness." 

Jesus also teaches in New Testament scripture that there are lasting negative psychological consequences for anyone who believes something false about the 'nature' of God.  Jesus called the induction of this particular delusional state, blasphemy against the Holy Spirit (The unpardonable sin) - being in a state of believing something untrue concerning the 'nature' of God - ascribing wicked attributes to one's God.

Leaders of the pro-life movement unwittingly ascribe wicked attributes to their God when they teach their followers that it is the 'nature' of God that God desires women participate in the creation of life process against their will when necessary.  The pro-life advocate teaches that God does not wish for human beings to retain free choice or exercise their own wisdom as to whether or not they become parents once a conception has occurred. 

This unspoken teaching is the perverse theological foundation of the pro-life argument once you strip away the emotionally charged false narratives about person-hood that pro-life advocates employ to snare their prey.  Once a conception has occurred the 'nature' of the pro-life vision of God becomes no different than that of a super villain in a horror story - a mad scientist demanding that his breeding stock carry his fetus to term.

Nature is by far the most prolific abortionist, utilizing her own rudimentary wisdom to ensure the viability of a fetus before birth takes place.  The God envisioned by the pro-life advocate denies that humans should use their own wisdom in a similar fashion, to ensure that no child is ever born unwanted, unloved, severely handicapped or without the vital resources to thrive – the most crucial factors that ultimately ensure the viability of a child. 

A fetus is not a child. A fetus is a potential child.   Those who deny this reality endanger their own mental stability when contemplating the abortion issue.

The God of the pro-life movement has been envisioned by those who unwittingly or recklessly blaspheme the Holy Spirit - by attributing wicked and irrational attributes to the 'nature' of their God.  Those who come to believe in this vision of God are stripped of their ability to think rationally about abortion.

Women contemplating giving birth because of their fear of the pro-life vision of God would be well served to discard their fear – which is not of God – and be sober and circumspect while making their decision, because every newborn child will be subjected to the circumstances of their birth.  Only the individual woman knows if she should allow a conception to come to term.  Pro-life advocates are engaging in the worst kind of subversion of individual will when they attempt to limit reproductive choices.

Jesus said when speaking of his disciple Judas and future humanity,  "It would have been better for the future of humanity had he never been born".  Judas was a man described in New Testament scripture as a common thief.  However, Judas was also the only person in New Testament scripture Jesus specifically calls his 'friend'.  In speaking this way about Judas, Jesus was acknowledging the terrible reality haunting the world today.  Our prisons are full of common thieves with one highly significant thing in common, they were born unwanted or into a desperate poverty. Sadly, it is often the heartfelt testimony of such persons to wish they had never been born.

The pro-life advocate has lapsed into a delusional state of mind by embracing fundamental falsehoods concerning the nature of reality - as well as fundamental falsehoods concerning the nature of God. For this reason the pro-life advocate seeks to fulfill the perverse desires of their perverse vision of God - a God who demands women bear children against their will and against humanity's best interests, and with no regard for the ultimate well being of the potential child.

Until institutionalized fundamentalist religions undergo significant intellectual reformation the world will remain at war with itself politically over the issue of abortion and children will continue to be born into environments unfit for the well being of their souls and all of mankind will suffer for it.