Addressing Some Pro-Abortion Retorts

Bad Arguments Addressed

According to Romans 1:18-32, God has revealed himself to all men as their Creator, Sustainer, Lawgiver, and Judge. We all know that God has created us to exemplify his moral character, but apart from being born again by the Spirit of God, we will only ever suppress the truth in unrighteousness. Rather than condemning sin absolutely, we draw distinctions that have no basis in reality, other than the reality of our own corrupt desire to avoid being responsible to God for our sin.

An obvious example of this in our day can be seen in the arguments made by many abortion proponents. While those who perform abortions, who receive abortions willingly, and who support the practice of abortion know for certain that abortion is nothing other than the murder of an innocent human being, they nevertheless try to argue in favor of murdering the unborn. Their resulting arguments are structurally and ethically corrupt, but this typically will not stop abortion proponents. Instead, they will attempt to formulate more arguments in favor of their sin. They suppress the truth in unrighteousness.

Nevertheless, I think it is helpful to see how enemies of the truth argue. This will help us to see through the threadbare excuses for sin that the world promulgates, and guard us against falling prey to seemingly sound arguments in favor of the murder of unborn children. So I’ve decided to respond to some of the more commonly heard retorts of proponents of abortion. Hopefully, the responses will be of benefit to you.

1. “Unless you’re a woman, you can’t speak to women’s issues” –
This assertion makes all communication impossible, for every person has had unique experiences that shape how they think about certain subjects. Who, then, draws the limits around which unique experiences can or cannot be addressed by any other person? If you say that there is no one who does this, then communication, again, is impossible. If, on the other hand, there is someone who can do this, then the argument falls apart, for at least some mode of communication is possible between the one who has experienced x and the one who has not experienced x.

Even more to the point, if A says that B cannot comment on x because x is an issue only A or people like her can and do experience, and is, therefore, an issue only A or people like her can and do understand, then B cannot even be said to understand that x can only be understood by A or people like her. In other words, if it is true that only people who experience x understand it and, therefore, have a right to speak about x, and A or those like her believe that they can communicate this truth about x to others, then it is not the case that x can only be understood by A or people like her. Furthermore, it is also not the case that x cannot be spoken about by only A and people like her. If B is addressed regarding the specifics of any aspect of x, then B is assumed to have the capacity to understand x by A or people like her.

2. “It is better to abort a child who will be born with a terminal illness, or debilitating genetic deficiency, or extremely short life span than to keep her alive. The child will not have to endure physical suffering; the parents would not have to endure emotional stress and financial stress; and society would not have to bear the weight of using resources to fight an inevitable and irreversible outcome.” –
Ironically, it the superficial self-righteous justification for abortion given above that is the cause of its own demise. Let’s take a look at this in detail.

In the first place, we all are going to die (with the exception of the saints who will be alive during the return of Christ). This end is inevitable and irreversible (from the world’s perspective). Does this, then, justify the annihilation of the human race? After all, if we are all going to die, and our lives are essentially a typically slow process of decomposition, then why subject anyone to the pain and suffering of living, breaking bones, getting ill, watching pets and love ones die, feeling the financial pain and stress of having to take care of one’s on-going needs (e.g. housing, clothing, food, employment, and so on)? If it is morally good to eliminate those who will suffer needless, since they will inevitably and irreversibly meet the same fate, viz. death, then it is even better, morally speaking, to kill all humans….right?

Of course not.
But you see the problem, I pray.

The line being drawn between typical lifespans of suffering and hardship and those of the unborn is completely arbitrary. This reasoning is wicked, and asinine. If one person’s suffering and hardship is good reason to kill them, then how much more justified is the killing of the entire human race? Unless the pro-abortionist is going to likewise justify specicide in the case of humans, she must abandon this foolish kind of reasoning.

In the second place, the pro-abortionist claims made in the above example reduce to the same thing in the end, namely that it is better to not live at all than it is to experience pain and suffering and stress and heartache. This implies that the betterment of one’s intellectual, emotional, and social skills is morally preferable to the perpetuation of an unborn child who may not ever get to experience the betterment of his intellectual, emotional, and social skills. Problematically, however, it is precisely by learning how to deal with pain and suffering and futility and strife and heartache that our intellectual, emotional, and social skills are honed. Save for the sociopath, the experience of suffering helps us empathize with others when they suffer. The experience of dealing with extreme lack forces us to learn wisdom as regards not only our financial resources, but also our social resources. We are intellectually, emotionally, and socially matured by the limitations, stress, pain, suffering, and heartaches we experience. Without them, we would be much worse off than we already are; however, if abortion is advanced on the grounds that it will eliminate those things, then even we will be reduced to savage, mindless, and self-destructive monsters.

Note that this assumption is already presupposed by the pro-abortionist who makes the above claims. The pro-abortionist who makes those claims assumes that empathy, birthed from the mutual understanding of pain and suffering/etc in her and her hearer’s lives, will drive the anti-abortionist to abandon her opposition to abortion. This is self-contradictory, as allowing for abortion for the stated reason above would eliminate the very means by which our intellectual, emotional, and social maturation which largely contributed to our own ability to empathize with those who make the claim that they should be listened to because they are seeking to end pain, suffering, etc.

3. “Bodily autonomy is a fundamental human right naturally possessed by everyone. To outlaw abortion, therefore, is to eliminate a woman’s ability to exercise bodily autonomy.” –
This kind of reasoning is irrational in several regards. Firstly, if everyone has the right to exercise absolute bodily autonomy, then there can be no legal restrictions on what anyone does with their body. This knife cuts both ways, then, for if it is true that absolute bodily autonomy is possessed by all men, and that restricting the ways in which individuals use their bodies is an immoral thing to do, then any restriction on how, say, a serial killer uses his body is likewise immoral. This may seem like an extreme case, so let’s take an example from the very abortion debate we are referencing. If bodily autonomy is absolute, then there will never be a just restriction of how others use their bodies, including those who oppose abortion. So if it is the case that bodily autonomy is morally good, and the restriction of bodily freedom is not good, then it follows that the anti-aboritonist’s bodily expressed opposition to abortion cannot be violated by anyone.

Concluding Remarks

I presented my arguments above in order to show that the retorts of pro-abortionists are not only immoral but also fallacious. If retort 1 is true, then it is necessarily false. If the value hierarchy assumed by retort 2 is true, then retort 2 is expressly immoral. And if retort 3 is true, then abortion and anti-abortion advocacy are equally condemned. It needs to be said that these objections are probably not what you’ll hear on the street from women and men on their way to enter the abortion clinic. However, they are objections that you will likely hear in discussions online or among your family members or non-Christian friends and family in some other context. My responses are meant as a guide for you think through the logical problems of the pro-abortionist retorts. Perhaps by pointing out that the above listed objections are inherently self-defeating and, therefore, false, you can show how irrational the thinking behind pro-abotion advocacy is, and by that further draw emphasis to the reality of sin’s effects on the heart of man.

Soli Deo Gloria
-h.

From Monologue to Dialogue – Some PoMo Words Defined

Backloading Postmodernism

Recently, The Gospel Coalition announced that it is offering a course on the poststructuralist/postmodernist philosophers Jacques Derrida and Michel Foucault titled “Derrida, Foucault, and the Bible.”1 They state that the “course will help [students] see what Derrida and Foucault are really saying, and show [students] how [they] can bring their thought into conversation with the Bible.”2 Sadly, many today don’t recognize the “conversation” language as specifically postmodern because it is so prevalent in our society. The same is true for terms like “dialogue,” “community,” and “spaces.” These are, of course, common terms, but they are loaded when placed in contexts such as the above mentioned intro to a course on poststructuralist/postmodernist philosophers. The point of this blog, then, is to point out some loaded terms that Christians should be aware of when we are speaking with proponents of social justice, critical race theory, and cultural Marxism.

Such language is reflective of an underlying worldview that is at odds with the Christian faith. For instance, when a postmodernist states that we should bring x into conversation with y, this implies that neither x nor y “has all the answers” regarding the subject matter of which they speak. For the postmodernist, there is no overarching theory or story of life, no meta-narrative, and so x and y do not emerge from a more general epistemological structure against which they may be evaluated for consistency, cogency, or approximate distance from the truth. Instead, x and y have emerged from different epistemological backgrounds that may be attempting to deal with a particular question or concern of philosophy or anthropology or science or religion, etc, and they are, therefore, related to one another as different approaches to obtaining knowledge. They may be compared and contrasted, as well as heuristically combined in order to further each individual approach, but they are separated from one another at the epistemological root. Bringing a text into conversation with another, therefore, does not mean simply comparing and contrasting different texts, but doing so under the guiding assumption that neither text has “the” “T”ruth, but only articulates, because it is only capable of articulating, a partial and perspectival set of relatively important “t”ruths.

Similarly, the postmodernist privileges dialogue over and against monologue, seeing as no one text can be said to have the Truth to the exclusion of other texts. In postmodernism, monologue is regarded as a totalitarian form of communication, a means of enacting ideological and metaphysical violence in which the voices of those who do not have power are suppressed and marginalized as wrong, incorrect, untrue, or aberrant. For the postmodernist, dialogue places individuals on level ground, where they can exchange ideas with one another in an open-ended format of communication. The assumption, again, is that there is no top-to-bottom communication that gives us an absolute standard against which we may compare and contrast ideas in order to see which are better or worse, more or less conformable to the truth, and true or false.

Given that there is no single unifying narrative, delivered in the form of a monologue, that provides an objective basis for the veridical and axiological evaluation and analysis of ideas, it follows that there are no individuals who are completely isolated and sovereign Subjects capable of obtaining those ideas on his or her own. Thus, the postmodernist privileges the many over and against the one, i.e. the community over and against the individual. Everyone belongs to a community, therefore, without which he or she would be unable to be what they are; thus community is privileged over and against the individual.

Lastly, the notion of “space” in postmodernism follows the same line of reasoning. Rather than viewing social relations as really being hierarchical in nature, postmodernism views them as relative to one another on a horizontal plain. Thus, postmodernist philosophers and theorists will speak of “making space” for marginalized concepts, persons, practices, etc. This is an implicit rejection of transcendence and its necessary consequence – hierarchical arrangement. Implicit in this notion of space, then, is the assumption that the occupation of space by individuals is not due to any divinely or naturally ordained set of circumstances (e.g. fate, predestination, mechanical determinism, psychical determinism, etc), but to human agents actively negotiating the boundaries that separate them from one another.

Concluding Remarks

This short list is by no means complete, but it covers some of the more extensively used language taken directly from postmodern philosophy. Listen to a podcast and you will likely hear phrases such as the following –

“This is the conversation we need to be having in our institutions…”

“We need a dialogue, not a monologue, if we are going to make any progress…”

“Those of us within the Christian [or Gamer, or Black, or White, or Asian, or Hindu, or Technological, or – take your pic!] community…”

“Marginalized people need to know that we are making a safe space for them to be themselves…”

And you might even come across a statement like this one –

“Our community is open to having conversations about how to carve out spaces” for underrepresented communities, with an eye toward having a healthy dialogue about subject x.”

When these words show up in particularly postmodernist influenced contexts, or when they appear within a cluster of other postmodern specific terms (e.g. decentering, centering, the Other, othering, et al), be careful to actually hear where the speaker is coming from. Understand that the postmodernist is saying something very specific that only bears a superficial resemblance to what you, as a Christian, may mean.

Until next time,
Soli Deo Gloria
-h.

P.S.
If you want to read about more of these terms, check out my article at the Facebook Biblical Trinitarian page, Social Justice “Buzz Words” and Why You Should Not Use Them.

1 https://www.thegospelcoalition.org/course/derrida-foucault-bible/#course-introduction.
2 ibid. (emphasis added)