Based on the title of this post, it could seem like I’m in the mood to make people mad at me, but that’s not the case. As a Christian, I’m supposed to be against abortion… oops. Whether you agree with me or not, however, the main goal of this post is to point out that some things aren’t as cut and dry as some people want to think, and it’s good to be open minded to different ideas. After all, in ten years I could have the opposite opinion, but for now this is what makes sense to me. Ultimately, being open to hearing different ideas is more about learning; it helps us more thoroughly understand topics and have a more informed opinion. In fact, reading this post might help people think through things and better understand why they’re against abortion. Either way, this is meant to be a learning experience. The great thing about being open minded is it can help talking about risky topics like politics and religion actually be fun… I swear it’s possible… if you do it with open minded people; otherwise it’s terrible. Like this post; if you’re open minded, it could be interesting or if you’re not, it will likely be terrible.
In this post I’ll explain my belief using both logic and scripture because any debate from a Christian should include both (it’s amazing how many believers miss one of them). To begin, however, it’s good to keep in mind three rules that God made for the Jewish people:
- “If someone has a stubborn and rebellious son who does not obey his father and mother and will not listen to them when they discipline him… Then all the men of his town are to stone him to death.” (Deu 21 18-21)
- “If a man is discovered committing adultery, both he and the woman must die. In this way, you will purge Israel of such evil. (Deu 22:22)
- “One day while the people of Israel were in the wilderness, they discovered a man gathering wood on the Sabbath day… So the whole community took the man outside the camp and stoned him to death, just as the Lordhad commanded Moses.” (Num 15:32-36)
These verses point out if we strictly followed Jewish law, there’d be a lot more death happening… and some very excited people gathering good throwing stones because their partner cheated on them. I mention these verses because it points out that God isn’t a gentle Santa Claus type figure like many want to believe. It also points out that He isn’t scared of death; after all, He created it. I note this because it’s important to remember death isn’t evil. I would also like to add that as a Christian, life isn’t the greatest good – God is. This life is really just the precursor to the next, so we need to be careful not to glorify it.
Before I give my reasons why I currently believe in the option of abortion, I will point out that there’s one pro-abortion argument I hate: “A woman’s body is hers, so she should get to choose what she does with it.” That’s a ridiculous argument. If someone was about to commit suicide do you say, “Go for it. It’s your body.” No, you’d try to stop it… I assume… unless it was someone like Hitler then maybe it’s okay; there are always exceptions. Ultimately, I believe we should respect our bodies and if we don’t, we should have some “encouragement” to do so. Your body is your responsibility, and if you don’t treat it properly, you should be stopped. Similarly, with abortion, if you end up in the position you’re considering having an abortion, you should be allowed that choice, but you should be “encouraged” to re-evaluate your life and make changes so you won’t end up there again. Abortion should be the very last resort because it is a disgusting act. In a perfect world, it would never have to be done, but the world is full of people who do stupid things and we need to be able to have choices for how we want to reduce the damage stupid actions cause.
When it comes to abortion, I love the discussion given in Freakonomics where it points out that abortion greatly reduces crime rates. You can read the book if you want the details – it’s a fantastic book – but the main point is simple: Children who grow up feeling unloved, unwanted, abused, and roll-modeled terrible behavior, have a high risk of becoming criminals and/or repeating the cycle with their own kids, and abortion reduces the number of people who suffer from this. The harsh reality is if I have the choice of there being abortion and having reduced crime where my own children will grow up safer or no abortion and there being a higher risk of my children getting hurt, I put my family first – let there be abortion. Another way of looking at this is the world has both good and bad people as determined by their actions and choices. If I can limit the number of potential bad people as a way to protect the good, logically that makes sense.
I’m open to being wrong, but the bigger question becomes what is the proper way to show love: Prevent potential hurt or put innocent people at risk? It’s not an easy question to answer. To me this question is proof the abortion debate isn’t as clear cut. After all, God was okay with people being killed for being bad children or working on the Sabbath. That being said, my wife would argue that’s Old Testament God, but even that leads to the question of does God change between the Old and New Testament?
See how it’s more fun to be open minded and question rather than just be stuck on an answer?
Recently someone said to me if you’re for abortion I should watch the procedure because that would change my mind. I don’t watch videos on how my burger is made, why would I watch that? If I can avoid being the one to kill the cow, I’ll avoid being the doctor who does abortions. On the flipside, I’d be more than happy to support someone struggling with what they should do, what they’ve done, or wish they would’ve done, which I think is the more important factor. A Christian’s personal beliefs shouldn’t get in the way of their compassion and should never lead to being judgemental.
Very quickly, here are a couple more logical thoughts/questions.
- If Christians are going to be passionate about something, shouldn’t our passion be to help people find Jesus and not make enemies trying to force mothers to give birth to babies they don’t want?
- Whether Christians agree with abortion or not, do we have a right to impose our beliefs on others who don’t follow the same standards?
- Is it better to be born and live a life that sends you to hell or not be born and go to heaven?
- If a husband has to choose to save his wife or the baby, isn’t it cruel to let the wife die, especially if there are other kids? I can make another baby, but raising kids as a single parent wouldn’t be nearly as effective as with a partner? And how does the widow not look at the child and feel sad because it’s a constant reminder of the loss? Isn’t it selfish if the wife says to let her die because she doesn’t want to live with the loss of an unborn child when it forces her family to live without her? Death is easy; living is hard.
Scripture wise, there is nothing specifically about abortion. Some people say it’s murder, but that seems like a stretch to me. But either way, is murder ever okay? Were the people fighting in WWII all sinful for killing even though it was war? Is it okay to murder people to save others or to punish serial killers who are dangerous to society? Is letting one person die to save 100 people ever acceptable? Is it okay to let people sign “Do not resuscitate” declarations when that means we have to let them die when it can be prevented? Is quality of life ever a reason to let someone die? Who gets to be the judge and decide when anything is acceptable? Here’s a brutal question: Is it better to have a baby be aborted or be born fully deformed because the mom was a heroin addict? Is that really a life worth living? Is it fair to expect someone else to provide for a child that was deformed by a drug addict? What if the number of heroin babies being born was one in five children, do you keep letting them be born or do something to stop it?
Since there aren’t any verses specifically about abortion, here are a few verses/scripture references I would loosely associate to this topic to show that God may not be as against abortion as some Christians:
- Noah’s Ark: God wiped out the world minus Noah and his family. I’m pretty sure there were a few pregnant women in that genocide.
- Moses and the Plagues: One of the plagues was for the angel of death to kill all of the first-borns in Egypt for those who didn’t put lambs blood over the front door.
- David and Bathsheba: After Bathsheba and David had a baby through their affair, God killed the child as punishment for David’s sin. David even begged God not to punish the baby for his mistake, but God did it anyway.
- Ecclesiastes: This book is all about how life is meaningless (it’s more encouraging than it sounds). The main idea is that we shouldn’t take things so seriously and find contentment in the little things. It follows the idea that life is fleeting: You’re alive one minute and then you’re dead. Many people seem to worship life and the pursuit happiness, which can become an idol. As a Christian, life is good, but it’s not the be all and end all.
The one passage in Ecclesiastes that isn’t directly about abortion, but it’s interesting to consider: “A man might have a hundred children and live to be very old. But if he finds no satisfaction in life and doesn’t even get a decent burial, it would have been better for him to be born dead. His birth would have been meaningless, and he would have ended in darkness. He wouldn’t even have had a name, and he would never have seen the sun or known of its existence. Yet he would have had more peace than in growing up to be an unhappy man. He might live a thousand years twice over but still not find contentment. And since he must die like everyone else—well, what’s the use?” (Ecc 6:3-6) Maybe I’m misusing this passage, but I can’t help but think if a baby isn’t born they avoid all the disappointment and trauma of life and they get to go straight to heaven. In Monopoly that’s a “go straight to GO and collect $200 moment.” Is this a negative view of life? Perhaps, but as someone who regularly hears people talk about the trauma, the struggles of life, and the occasional suicidal thought problem, maybe not being born isn’t the worst thing.
But again, maybe I’m wrong. Either way, abortion in the medical sense wasn’t a thing when the Bible was written, so how can we really have a set opinion on it when there wasn’t a set rule given? In a healthy marriage, we need to pick our battles and the same goes with being a Christian. Maybe I should care more about sharing God’s love than forcing my standards on others.
This week may you consider how all issues have more than one side, so we should be open to learning.
Rev. Chad David, ChadDavid.ca, Learning to love dumb people (like me)