God is a man ... and he's against abortion

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30 comments posted
the trouble with arguing on scripture

on one hand, i agree with alot of what you said.

the trouble with arguing against, or for, any religion, is that there's always the fine line of ambiguity with quoting scripture.

and with every religion there is always some who take it too far; fundamentalists who interpret and re-interpret one line of scripture as they please, while disregarding the thematic meaning behind it. we see this lack of theological integrity everywhere in the religious community; mormons, jehova's Witness, and so on..

i would never be so smug to claim that religion is bullshit.

and it's also very brass to clump together all negative zealots with those of a true mind and heart..

but i digress.

anyway just for arguments sake, let's look at the genesis account.

since woman was the last part of creation, we could say that she indeed was the pinnicle of creation. the true meaning is that man and woman were created equally for each other, but for some reason many people -- catholics for example -- seem to "interpret" it as a sort of degradation against women..

heck, even in ancient Sumerian texts/tales, whathaveyou, there's an account of Ninhursag in the garden of eden, the female ruler of life... same basic meaning from the genesis writing.

but, you do have a point. it seems that political leaders are using alot of points of religion negatively to promote their motives. this of course is extremely disheartening to alot of people in faith, who do NOT perpetuate the patriarchy.

sorry for my lack of eloquence, i just wanted to pipe in with my short little comment.

john's picture
Posted by john (not verified) on 26 February 2006 - 8:21am
Separating church and state

Thank you for taking the time to read my post and to add your insights.

I agree with you that arguing scripture is a minefield. One of the reasons that the Bible is such a powerful book is that it can be interpreted in some many ways - just like the Constitution of the United States. There are those who take the Bible literally. There are those who take the Constitution "literally."

Sometime select sentences are given more weight than other sentences and the zealots have emphasized that men ought to be in charge, "it says so in the Bible."

I do not want to argue scripture, nor was the post intended to exactly take on Biblical passages, but here's what I see is the problem. Take for example the Ten Commandants. There is the Commandment, "Thou Shalt not Kill." Yet, does society need the Bible to come to the decision that this is a Commandment (law) we ought to follow? It is a reasonable rule that does not require a belief in God for it to be adopted.

Zealots will argue that since many religious rules make sense to us - they do to me - that we open the floodgates and let a raft of (all too often Christian) rules run society.

Yet there are rules about the slaughter of animals and selling daughters into slavery - which are Biblical - but which are not in step with modern times. Rules such as observing the sabbath and keeping it holy does not exactly sound like it has a place in secular society.

Thus, I am not out to argue scripture. Rather, I am saying the scripture should not play a role in how a secular society - one that guarantees religious freedom - ought to be governed.

To say a sperm-and-egg constitutes a human with a "right to life" is a religious belief. I won't go into what all that presupposes, but words like spirit, and soul, and human life, are but a breath away once we head down that path.

When a state makes a law that a fetus must be carried to term irrespective of all other considerations, it is forcing a woman to bear a child and the moral authority for that seems to rest on the idea that to abort the fetus in some ways is unholy. That a fetus must be brought to term.

By what authority, I ask, can a state really demand this, save for its naked power. What moral authority does a state have to compel a woman to carry a baby to terms. What gives these cells any Constitutional standing that trumps the standing of the woman carrying the fetus - especially when it is the result of rape, incest, or when the mother's life is endangered.

This is when a religious theory, even a seemingly reasonable one, jumps the emotional divide and church starts to dictate to state.

And when women are perceived as being who are lesser, the state act with what seems like moral ascendancy.

Does the government have jurisdiction over the womb? The zealots say "yes," by claiming that "life begins at the moment of conception."

I am saying, that's a religious assumption, and if that assumption is not taken as a matter of faith, their "moral" stance is less certain.

Matsu's picture
Posted by Matsu on 26 February 2006 - 9:37am
Property rights over human rights

In South Dakota, the new ban makes no provision for the life of the pregnant woman. In other words, the man's property -- the fetus or precursor -- has more right to life than the woman does. Why?

The man says because the fetus' life is "innocent life," and we all know just how awful and horrible women who have had sex are, right?

But maybe it's just a matter of property rights. After all, if a woman can divorce a man, he cannot really claim her as property. But he can claim a baby -- or even pre-baby matter -- as his own, to be disowned by him or not (as property owners have the right to do). And that means that even if the entire process of pregnancy leads to the woman's and fetus' death, the man wins because his property rights are reaffirmed by the State.

Interesting how male assertions over the womb and attempts to ban the thousands-of-years-old practice of aborting a pregnancy coincide with women's suffrage and women's emancipation.

So who's womb is it, anyway?

media girl's picture
Posted by media girl on 26 February 2006 - 8:58am
interesting point

Of course, it SHOULD be the woman's choice.

I'm not arguing against this.

In fact I am increasingly horrified by this blanket ban on abortion; rather, the lack of acknowledgement that it IS the woman's body and choice, I find entirely disturbing.

The issue should really be WHY there is not adequate availability of contraceptives for women, and subsequently, why is the ban on abortion so unconditional -- when rape and incest seem to be the bigger issue really.

But it raises the question: where is the line when people willingly have promiscuous and/or unprotected sex, and of which are indifferent to the concequence of pregnancy?

At least to me, the idea of abortion 'just because' seems illogical, regardless of if you're religious or not. When it -- the pregnancy process itself -- posses no risk to the woman, and was not a result of rape or incest. If you do not want the baby then just give it up for adoption and make the millions of other people who CANNOT give birth happy.

Not really sure where you are going with this anyway, it started as a contemptuous attack on religion, then went to men's attack on the suffrage movement.

Over generalizations are never good.

john's picture
Posted by john (not verified) on 26 February 2006 - 9:30am
The why and what of it
When it -- the pregnancy process itself -- posses no risk to the woman, and was not a result of rape or incest.

No risk? No risk to the man, perhaps. Every woman who is pregnant runs some very large risks to her life, to her health, to her ability to have children in the future. And in our society, she also risks losing her job, being evicted from school, and ending up indigent and living on public assistance, if any is available. What so many young women face, on top of everything else, is that she risks losing her ability to actually raise and sustain a family.

So why do women abort pregnancies? Choose any of those reasons above for starters. And try to avoid the judgmental thoughts you offer up about "promiscuous" women. After all, having sex does not abridge one's constitutional rights. If it's the woman's womb before, then it is the woman's womb after; there's no game of "tag" where if the guy tags the woman, she suddenly becomes less than human.

(Where is all the hand-wringing over the "promiscuous" men?)

And then there are the matters of complications. Birth defects. Ectopic pregnancies. Any of quite a vast number of biological problems could make the pregnancy a risk to the woman and/or result in certain death for the fetus.

You want to call this "just because," but that doesn't wash. The issue is much more complicated than what politicians have acknowledged in this effort to force pregnancies upon women.

There is no "no risk" pregnancy.

But set that aside for a moment. Let's say you decided to start up a garden with tomatoes. But the next week you decide, for whatever reason, not to do it. Do I have a right to demand upon you that you grow the tomatoes anyway? After all, it's "no risk" to you. If you don't want the tomatoes, you can give them to me after you're done growing them.

Some logic, eh? But it's the same logic, and that's the problem with it.

media girl's picture
Posted by media girl on 26 February 2006 - 9:50am
indeed

By saying, “no risk� I was referring to pregnancies without complications to the woman or to her fetus’ health and welfare. Obviously, not all pregnancies have complication; and with current trends in medicine, a lot of these issues can be rectified and avoided. When they cannot, and the risks ARE there, then obviously the abortion of said pregnancy needs to be addressed. I never denied that.

Every woman who is pregnant runs some very large risks to her life, to her health, to her ability to have children in the future

But, where’s the guarantee that an abortion is safe for the woman regardless? Some instances it has seriously damaged the woman’s ability to give birth also.

So why do women abort pregnancies? Choose any of those reasons above for starters. And try to avoid the judgmental thoughts you offer up about "promiscuous" women. After all, having sex does not abridge one's constitutional rights. If it's the woman's womb before, then it is the woman's womb after; there's no game of "tag" where if the guy tags the woman, she suddenly becomes less than human.

My point asks where the line between the availability of contraceptives and pregnancy information is right now. I never said “promiscuous� women, solely. It was implied that “people� who willingly disregard the use of contraceptives.

However, you’re jumping around the discussion, and taking what I said out of context.

Merely aborting a pregnancy because you face ostracizing from society is as out of context and silly, as your tomatoe garden analogy.

john's picture
Posted by john (not verified) on 26 February 2006 - 10:52am
The real heart of the question, though

...is why you feel you have a say as to what happens in someone else's garden? Who are you to decide? Who is the state to decide? As you point out, there are some big decisions to consider -- and they are the woman's decisions to make, because it is her body. Her "garden."

Love the Dan Quayle spelling style, by the way. ;)

media girl's picture
Posted by media girl on 26 February 2006 - 11:48am
interesting.

you are very right.

ultimately it is the woman's decision.

who's dan quayle

john's picture
Posted by john (not verified) on 26 February 2006 - 1:53pm
Attack on the state

If you are speaking about me, let me clarify. I am not attacking religion. What I am concerned about is an attack on the state by a zealous minority of Christians who are pushing the state to take theocratic positions. This group is organized, well-financed, and has the ear of those in power, and of many of the rank-and-file. They are running on a "holier than thou," and "more patriotic than you," platform.

This development is a grave threat to the Republic and one which moderates would be wise to oppose.

Matsu's picture
Posted by Matsu on 26 February 2006 - 9:57am
agreed of course

It's just hard to find the fine line between religiousity and politics.

And I will admit that the short-comings of promoting purely religious based ideas of sex can be a threat to what is right to people. As was mentioned, interpretations can be a detriment.

But, the balance has to be there somewhere; we cannot willy nilly make blanket generalizations about MEN trying to take over women's rights.

that is about as silly as claiming that all feminists are lesbians because the heterosexual union of men and women perpetuates the inequalities of the patriarchy.

john's picture
Posted by john (not verified) on 26 February 2006 - 11:00am
Godless Capitalism - a fine line?

I was a Conservative and quite involved, at the local level, with the right-wing takeover of the Republican party. We started by winning at the Precinct level - right-wing Precinct Captains - a thankless job that was hardly ever contested - so we could influence the District Caucuses. From the Districts, we massed and took over the Counties. The Counties to the State, so that when we went to the National Convention, our Delegates were locked into a right-wing slate, complete with right-wing platform.

One of the Republican strengths was their opposition to Communism - what at the time they called "Godless Communism." I suppose this is where I began to question my fellows who wanted to have "one nation, under God, indivisible."

Would Communism be okay if it were "Christian Communism," or "Islamic Communism," or "Pious Communism?" I was kind of against Communism whether God was in the picture, or not.

Capitalism is a better system. Is Capitalism better served by having God in the equation? Yet under Capitalism - at least as I understand Adam Smith - the invisible hand does some sort of work. That invisible hand is as close as I want "God" to be part of our system.

Bringing religion into government, in my view, in not a fine line. Government does not work well when religious authorities come into the picture, because religion tends to be totalitarian. They insinuate themselves into peoples lives and conduct - when civil law can do an equal, or better job.

The state should not interfere with religion. And likewise, religion should stay out of government.

Godlessness is no sin, strange as it sounds.

And to make sure I am not misunderstood, I am not against religion. I am against religions that elevate the male principle above the female principle. I am against male clerics that deny women equal authority in religious matters. I do not believe that God is a "man."

Men are using people's faith as a means to govern. Whether it's a blind belief in Marx, or some religious guru, the result is the same.

The problem with Communism wasn't that it was Godless. The problem with our current government is that it is trying to become "pious."

Matsu's picture
Posted by Matsu on 26 February 2006 - 12:07pm
clarification

Just to clarify, the South Dakota law actually does make an exception for the life of the mother.

Robert's picture
Posted by Robert (not verified) on 26 February 2006 - 9:58pm
That's mighty white of them

Thank Gawd that now We can Proceed with Gawd's Will!

media girl's picture
Posted by media girl on 26 February 2006 - 10:00pm
why do the ignorant males still lecture?

anyone who's studied the south dakota lege, and the monkey-shit they throw at the cage walls when the zoo is in session, knows there's no concern about the mother except that she be forced-birthed. they left out all heath-of-the-mother exceptions intentionally and the only reason they left in life-of-the-mother is because not even the present supreme court will bite without that one.

what's really funny is massa robert thinks we aren't familar with the bill itself and he's here to "edumacate" us.

hey robert. if you really want to show off how intelligent you are why don't you leap past the life-of-the-mother clause every anti-abortion law ever passed has to retain to pass muster, and dive into the truly novel legal aspects of the bill.

In passing the bill, the Senate amended it to make it even more pro-life, adding a sentence to state that the due process clause of South Dakota's constitution "applies equally to born and unborn human beings."

now why don't you run along and do some real work (i know, i know, flapping your lips is easier) on the ramifactions of applying the due process clause to zygote and fetus and come back when you have something to add to the conversation.

bayprairie's picture
Posted by bayprairie on 27 February 2006 - 1:41am
What is an "unborn" human being?

What a mine field!

What is an "unborn human being?" I am not sure there is a definition of that. To be sure, there are religious authorities what will take that one on, but their view is simplistic.

An egg is an unborn human being. So is a sperm.

If I miscarry, does a death certificate need to be filed? Can I claim my baby as a dependent for IRS purposes?

If I am arrested when pregnant for committing a crime, is the "unborn human being" denied due process if it is arrested along with me? Can it sue for false arrest?

Matsu's picture
Posted by Matsu on 27 February 2006 - 8:54am
God, Bible, Abortion

God, the Bible, and Abortion - I have had long debates with anti-abortion religious individuals who comment on this topic from my web site. They can't overcome the lack of Biblical condemnation of abortion nor that clearly God meant for the official beginning of human life to be at birth. - http://www.lifeandlibertyforwomen.org/issues/issue...

GOD BIBLE AND ABORTION

God gave legal personhood status to human beings at birth just as our civil laws do today - giving born women legal status and the right to life over unborn human life - conception to birth - no exceptions.

1. God never condemned nor condoned legal abortion in the bible. Given that God spoke to many other important issues - i.e., marriage and divorce, it's very telling that God didn't speak directly and in no uncertain terms to the issue of legal abortion, isn't it?

2. God recognized the official beginning of human life as being at birth. Genesis 2:7, "God breathed into his nostrils the breath of life and man became a living soul."

While the process God used to create Adam and Eve and a baby born today are very different - and with good reason - Adam and Eve being created as the mother and father of all mankind - Adam and Eve and a baby born today do share a common bond in the culmination of their creative processes.

They breathe the breath of life through the nostrils. By God's own desire and design human beings born today don't breathe the breath of life through their nostrils until they're born.

3. Neither God nor Life and Liberty for Women has ever argued that the fetus isn't alive in the womb, but that fact doesn't speak to the official recognition by God of the beginning of life, that is at birth.

4. In Exodus 21:22-25 God leaves no ambiguity that for him a born woman's life is paramount to that of an unborn fetus's life through all nine months of pregnancy.

Precisely because it is the born woman who God gave legal personhood status to in those verses. The unborn wasn't afforded legal personhood status by God. If antiabortion Extremists have a problem with that, they need to take it up with God.

Clearly while those verses in Exodus do not address abortion - they do address the status of the unborn as it compares to the status of the born woman that hosts its existence.

By God's own desire and design human beings born today don't

breathe the breath of life through their nostrils until they're born.

Exodus 21:22-25 says: "When men strive together and hurt a woman with child so that there is a miscarriage and yet no harm follows, the one who hurt her, shall be fined, according as the woman's husband shall lay upon him and he shall pay as the judges determine. If any harm follows then you shall give eye for eye, tooth for tooth, life for life." (Revised Standard Version)

The King James Version says, "…hurt a woman with child so that her fruit depart from her and yet no mischief follow: he shall be surely punished,…and he shall pay as the judges determine. And if any mischief follow, then thou shalt give life for life…"

The very act of forcing her fruit to depart from her - regardless of whether the woman miscarries or a premature birth results - and the woman suffers no other harm or is killed, the punishment was only a fine for causing her fruit to depart from her.

No particular time in pregnancy was specified in these verses in any translation. That's significant because a premature birth of a healthy fetus cannot occur in the early stages of pregnancy.

Further, in Biblical times fetuses born much before 40 weeks gestation, wouldn't have survived - so biblical translations using premature birth are inaccurate and deliberately misleading.

It is clear that the law God articulated in these verses is applicable during all stages of pregnancy.

In fact, the New International Version, which translates the verse to read premature birth", footnotes that verse with these words, "Or she has a miscarriage." They footnoted it that way because they considered that interpretation to have equal validity or they judged another interpretation was possible and important enough to be represented in a footnote. Comparative Study Bible - Revised Edition, 1999 by the Zondervan Corporation.

Abortion - The termination or killing of pre-viable human fetal life -under the guidelines of Roe vs. Wade is not a criminal act or murder,

even God subscribes to that view - witness Exodus 21:22-25.

The verses go on to say: However, if any harm/mischief to the woman followed, then the punishment was an eye for eye, tooth for tooth, and life for life. The word "harm" or "mischief" in these verses refers only to the woman. The phrase "with child" is merely descriptive of the woman, it's an adjective describing the woman and doesn't change the object of the word harm or mischief, that being the woman, in both verse 22 and 23.

What about the Ten Commandments:: "Thou shalt not kill/murder" Exodus 20:13 - Deut. 5:17 - Matthew 19:18

In both the Hebrew and English languages, murder and kill are used interchangeably.

Both the Revised Standard Version of the Bible and the King James Version use the word kill in Exodus 20:13 and the word murder in Matthew 19:18 The King James Version uses the word kill in Deut. 5:17 The Amplified Version uses the word murder in Exodus and Deut. and the word kill in Matthew.

The New Strong's Exhaustive Concordance of the Bible - 1995 does not find a Hebrew translation of the English word "murder." It gives the Greek translation as "phoneuo" from "phoneus" meaning "to be a murderer - kill, do murder, slay…always of criminal or at least intentional homicide."

Webster's New World College Dictionary makes note in the definition of murder that "kill" is a synonym.

Abortion - The termination or killing of pre-viable human fetal life -under the guidelines of Roe vs. Wade is not a criminal act or murder even God subscribes to that view - witness Exodus 21:22-25.

If antiabortion extremists can pluck the verse out of the Bible that says "Thou shalt not kill/commit murder" and indiscriminately apply it to abortion, that verse can be just as easily plucked from the Bible and indiscriminately applied to the death penalty, the United States war on terrorism, or even the Middle East Crisis between Israel and the Palestinians.

Additionally Dr. Roy Bowen Ward, a professor of religion at Miami University, Oxford, Ohio, 1996, commenting on Matthew 19:18, correctly notes that "No direct object is supplied for the verb 'to kill{murder}.' Certainly the commandment doesn't indiscriminately refer to killing anything alive. The Israelites were expected to kill animals, both to eat and sacrifice. They were also expected to kill Philistines and other enemies in war. The command not to kill was certainly not 'pro-life' in an unqualified way." Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice Web Site

For example: If antiabortion extremists can pluck the verse out of the Bible that says "Thou shalt not kill/commit murder" and indiscriminately apply it to abortion, that verse can be just as easily plucked from the Bible and indiscriminately applied to the death penalty, the United States war on terrorism, or even the Middle East Crisis between Israel and the Palestinians.

However Say Antiabortion Extremists Thou shalt not kill/commit murder can't be applied to the death penalty or war (I wonder about innocent lives lost in war) because in other verses in the Bible God condoned killing/murder in such circumstances.

If that's true, then obviously other verses must be consulted to determine what is included or excluded from the command thou shalt not kill/murder. Where are the verses that will make the case to either include or exclude abortion from that command, especially considering God never spoke specifically and in no uncertain terms to the issue of abortion?

Those verses would be Genesis 2:7 and Exodus 21:22-25

Does God condemn Roe vs. Wade?

No - God does not condemn Roe vs. Wade.

Our civil laws give born human life legal personhood status - not unborn human life - absolutely in line with God's laws.

Roe vs. Wade does not criminalize the killing of pre-viable human life just as God did not. Roe vs. Wade does not criminalize the killing of pre-viable human life just as God did not.

While God did not criminalize the killing of viable unborn human life - Roe vs. Wade allows states to do so - with the only exceptions being for the protection of the health and life of the woman. (42 states and the District of Columbia have such laws on the books)

Going no further than God in the criminalization or not of the killing of unborn human life - assures us that God does not condemn Roe vs. Wade.

And God himself committed the deliberate act of abortion.

Hosea 9:14 Revised Standard Version, To punish Israel for their impiety and idolatry, God Gave them "miscarrying wombs."

1. The Hebrew word for gave is "nathan" - to give, cause, commit The New Strong's Exhaustive Concordance, 1995 page 97 - Hebrew section

Webster's New World College Dictionary, 3rd Edition:

A. Give: to produce in a person, cause to have

B. Cause: A person acting voluntarily as the agent that brings about an effect or result

C. Commit: To do or perpetrate

2. In this verse the Hebrew word for "miscarrying," is the word shakol The New Strong's Exhaustive Concordance, 1995, page 141 Hebrew section: which is translated: "to miscarry, i.e., suffer abortion."

Miscarriage involves a spontaneous action or one with no external cause - while abortion involves a deliberate action - an action involving an external cause.

God committed the deliberate act of abortion.

Peggy Loonan

Founder and Executive Director

Life and Liberty for Women

Peggy Loonan's picture
Posted by Peggy Loonan (not verified) on 26 February 2006 - 11:08am
That is a wonderful compendium of Biblical evidence

Thank you for posting this!

media girl's picture
Posted by media girl on 26 February 2006 - 11:44am
Thank you for posting here...

I had landed on your site a couple months ago... I found it by following 2 trolls back to the Klusendorf site (he had dispatched them to this site and a couple others)... and googling ''Klusendorf'' I found your wonderful site.

Thank you for all you have done...

Marisacat's picture
Posted by Marisacat on 28 February 2006 - 12:07am
The thought of having people

The thought of having people believe in a book written so long ago by superstitious old men is insane to begin with, that they live their lives by it is just stupidity and or ignorance.

Ole Blue's picture
Posted by Ole Blue (not verified) on 27 February 2006 - 3:20pm
right.

how exactly is the theory of evolution any different? more and more, science is disproving this obsolete ideaology.

the fact is, with religiosity between every culture on earth, throughout history, all have very similiar roots and beliefs.

you can't argue with history, and you can't argue with experience.

then again, most people who have an atheist view haven't really studied religions, and just go by the few "bad apples" who exploit it for their own agenda.

john's picture
Posted by john (not verified) on 27 February 2006 - 4:31pm
You seem to be blinded by your own ideology

The theory of evolution is a scientific theory, not ideology. If facts emerged that proved evolution to be wrong, then the theory would change or be rejected outright.

Not so with ideology, including religious ideology, which is dogma based on nothing but dogma.

Ever get a flu shot? Guess what! By doing so, you're proclaiming your belief in evolution!

media girl's picture
Posted by media girl on 27 February 2006 - 4:58pm
How is science different from religion?

Science is based on investigation and experiment. Religion is based on faith and supernatural explanations.

Evolution is not an "ideology," as you call it. Phylogenetics and the human genome project have expanded our understanding of evolution, not discredited it.

You may find the following link enlightening, from the Anneberg/CPB series.

And yet, this thread is not about science versus faith.

I acknowledge that many ancient tribes were theocracies and the reason people did not kill, or steal, or covet, or commit adultery was because it was written on stone tablets that were found by a burning bush. But we do not need a "God" in order for us to accept these values. Completely secular societies that separate church and state come to many of the same conclusions, and they do so based on reasoning.

It is a religious argument that personhood occurs the moment a sperm penetrates an egg. It is a religious argument that this state of affairs has some sort of "right to life." These assertion require no facts, and no evidence, and no proof. In fact, they cannot be "proved."

Proof is what separates religion from science.

You also make a presumption that those who follow the scientific path are "most[ly] people who have an atheist view [who] haven't really studied religions, and just go by the few 'bad apples' who exploit it for their own agenda."

I am not sure you are right on this, but right or wrong, I agree that someone whose set of beliefs maintains that abortion is wrong, should do what conscience dictates. On the other hand, another's person faith should not be imposed on others.

That's what the separation of church and state is all about.

Matsu's picture
Posted by Matsu on 27 February 2006 - 6:07pm
God is a man

I hear what you're saying here, and you say it very well. Some things about conception are not fair. Some people are bothered by that, some people aren't. The concerns of the people who are bothered should be taken seriously. Their concerns are not trivial. They should be treated with respect.

Ed Bremson's picture
Posted by Ed Bremson (not verified) on 27 February 2006 - 4:33pm
Yes, pity the oppressors

Their wish to control other people's bodies is sincere, and therefore deserving of consideration. Advocates of forced pregnancy are people, too!

media girl's picture
Posted by media girl on 27 February 2006 - 5:01pm
Taking concerns seriously

I agree that a person's serious concerns should be treated respectfully, but the greatest respect should be paid to the person who has to do the work.

I liked the idea of the tomato patch that media girl spoke about. Just because something has stated to grow does not mean a person should be forced to cultivate it. Earlier a contributor to this thread said that if a woman did not want a baby, she could put it up for adoption - but to the tomato allegory, the individual is still required to serve when she does not wish to.

If sex is forced, it's considered rape. Forcing a woman to carry a child is an extension of that.

I understand that another person - a man or a woman - would be against abortion. I know many women who say they would never have an abortion themselves, but they do not presume to tell someone else what that other person should do.

This is a private matter and not one for religious authorities or the state.

Again, I agree the concerns are real and many people will carry a rapist's child or a child who results from incest - but these decisions effect the person involved more than they do me or you or anyone else, so I say we let the person decide and then do what we can as a society to handle the outcomes.

Matsu's picture
Posted by Matsu on 27 February 2006 - 6:51pm
Apple Flambe', Anyone ?

most people who have an atheist view haven't really studied religions, and just go by the few "bad apples" who exploit it for their own agenda.

Even going by the ridiculous premise that only a few "bad apples" have perpetrated shit on this sad planet, I'd have to say that they have perpetrated a remarkable amount-- given their supposedly small numbers.

How many dead bodies can Shrub and Bin Laden claim to having produced by their malicious garbage, all by using their version of God the way a gigolo uses cheap cologne ?

When was the last time an atheist blasted a hole in a doctor who worked at a women's health clinic, or blew one up ? With nobody to tell us that it was a great idea to kill adults to save fetuses, I guess we all opted to go shoot some pool and slide back some shots and beers instead.

alsis39.5's picture
Posted by alsis39.5 (not verified) on 27 February 2006 - 7:40pm
Schooled in Divinity

Permit me to generalize - and I am not aiming at the people who have taken their time to respectfully discuss this topic.

When it comes to religion, people tend to be parochial - literally. When people say "religion," they mean their religion, usually Christianity. When they say God, they mean their God, usually God-the-father. When they say "religious study," they usually mean their interpretation of the Holy Writ, usually the King James version of the New Testament.

I think atheism is a very tough conclusion to come to in that it is psychologically upsetting to conclude that there is probably not a God, at least in the usual sense, nor eternal life, in the sense of a heaven; that when we die, the lights go out, and that's it.

There are no atheists in the foxhole, nor in the bedroom. "Oh God! Oh God! Oh God!" Fear and love are strong emotions and when we tumble into metaphor, it is when we truly wish that the story of God were true. Yet, being an atheist is probably not the result of not getting the (good) word.

People are ready to believe in the implausible. Santa Claus, the Easter bunny, Dracula, the bogeyman, ghosts ... you name it ... people are ready to believe in the invisible and to attach supernatural causes to things.

Part of maintaining the faith (for some) is the belief that "God," or some such thing, is there when the sperm enters the egg. It keeps up the idea that the universe takes humans into account in a deep way.

And yes, there are atheists who are against abortion, who believe that the mixing of the genetic information ... once started ... should not be stopped.

Religion inspires and moves. Mysticism is also part of science and we can have awe about what "God" is when we look at the complexity of the universe and the utter beauty of the laws on which this place operates - even the laws of chaos - hats tipped to Heisenberg.

I don't think it's a lack of learning about religion that causes a person to reject some or all faiths. There is something that religion must answer within us, and if religion is unable to answer that something, we tend to discount it, no matter how many missionaries knock on our doors and hand us pamphlets to read.

Like so many things, religion is personal and private and while I am sure that many draw comfort in believing in the Christian God as interpreted by some religious authority, there are others for whom that model does not work - and it isn't because they are flawed or out of touch.

And that is why religion should stay out of politics and government.

I worry about a man who has the finger of one hand on the button and the finger of the other pointed to a Biblical passage in the Revelation of St. John, his eyes fixed, his faith unshaken ... he speaks of the End Times.

Now THAT's a nightmare!

Matsu's picture
Posted by Matsu on 27 February 2006 - 8:10pm
Hmmm...

I think atheism is a very tough conclusion to come to in that it is psychologically upsetting to conclude that there is probably not a God, at least in the usual sense, nor eternal life, in the sense of a heaven; that when we die, the lights go out, and that's it.

Well, I often tell folks that I became an atheist because I got tired of the mental gymnastics required for me to believe in God. The evidence seemed to stack higher and higher against belief as I got older, and one day I just decided to be done with fussing about it. Voila ! Atheism. A question with no understandable answer was shelved, and I could get on with the important business of trying to solve issues on the physical plane rather than the psychic plane.

I'll grant you that what works for me may not work for everyone. In politics, I don't really care what compelled my allies to come to my side, as long as they're there. Deeds are the most important. Words are window dressing.

alsis39.5's picture
Posted by alsis39.5 (not verified) on 28 February 2006 - 7:34pm
The day I found out that there was no Santa

I was very young and my parents explained that Santa Claus brought gifts to little children. But things weren't adding up. How could he get into our house - we didn't have a chimney.

Ahhh... (pause) ... he has a key.

(Sounds like a burgler.)

How come there are Santas at every Department Store? I thought there is only one.

Ahhh ... (pause) ... those are his helpers and they dress like him.

(Sounds like the wrong thing to do.)

How does he get around the entire world in one night?

All right! All right! All right! We give up. There is no Santa. It's us. But little children don't understand the spirit of giving.

(Actually I recall being a bit shocked. I was waiting for the next trick up Santa's sleeve.)

After that "the mental gymnastics required for me to believe in [Santa]."

Good observation, alsis39.5

Matsu's picture
Posted by Matsu on 28 February 2006 - 7:46pm
Bishop Shelby Spong

An Episcopalian Bishop says,

I've tried to develop a vocabulary to enable us to begin to conceive of and talk about a god beyond the theism/atheism debate – a Christ beyond incarnation, a concept of prayer that is something more than an adult letter to Santa Claus, which is what most prayer seems to be. I propose a basis for ethics not based upon an ancient code like the Ten Commandments, which is sexist to its core, the tenth commandment suggesting that you cannot covet your neighbor's wife. Nowhere in the Bible is there a prohibition against coveting your neighbor's husband. You just can't covet your neighbor's wife. The reason: When the commandments were given, only males were considered human enough to be part of the covenant community. The woman came into the covenant as the child of a father or the spouse of a husband, but she was property: "You shalt not covet your neighbor's wife…nor his ox." At least the woman was above the ox. That same theme is present in the seventh commandment, the one that says you shalt not commit adultery, that seems so straightforward and so clear. Yet, you need to recognize that when the commandment, "You shalt not commit adultery" was put into the Ten Commandments, polygamy was the style of marriage, and a man could have as many wives as he could afford, because women were property. Three hundred years after Moses was supposed to have given the Ten Commandments, King Solomon had a thousand wives. I don't know what adultery means when a man has a thousand wives. If you have a thousand wives and still have some need to commit adultery, you've got a problem – and may I suggest it's not just a moral problem.

- emphasis mine

This was part of a talk at the Commonwealth Club following 9/11. It is worth reading.

Matsu's picture
Posted by Matsu on 28 February 2006 - 8:00pm