Created Dec. 10, 1999 - Updated Dec. 6, 2009
Those Dangerous Emotions!
4th Century Writers Say . . .
Those Dangerous Emotions!
Imagine the horror you or I might experience if God suddenly spoke to us and ordered an abortion of a baby we were expecting or carrying? What would you do? Would you call God wicked? Question Him? Or simply, and without hesitation, obey?
Well, consider my brothers, what our Lord asked Abraham to do. After having promised great things through his son Isaac, God now tells Abraham to sacrifice (Kill if you will) Isaac. What? So did Abraham stop and say wait a minute! You told me some years before that Isaac was to do this and that. Now you have gone back on your promise. What is the meaning of this? Well, Abraham could have. It would be hard to find fault with him if he did. And yet, amazingly, Abraham did not flinch or hesitate to obey his God. Yes, he had so much trust and faith in his God that he never even thought it possible that God could go back on His promise to Abraham. Paul informs us that Abraham imagined that God could and would raise Isaac from the dead. He could never imagine bad things from God. What a remarkable testament of faith, would you not agree with me? Is not Abraham noted for his faith? I am sure we are in agreement on this.
Abraham could have gotten really up set. He was asked to sacrifice his son. Most would have had a fit. Kill your own son??? Are you kidding me? Yet look at Abraham's reaction! Cool and controlled, completely obedient to God, almost beyond comprehension. Abraham's emotions were completely under his control and subject to God and His commands. Would you not agree that God blessed Abraham for this type of outstanding faith, so that, among other things, any who would read this account would understand the type of faith worthy of imitation and most pleasing to God. Are you listening to God?
So when God asked for sacrifice, Abraham did not even think of calling it murder or betrayal. Abraham let God define all things, did he not? If God said to do it then it was not murder. It is murder when man does it without authorization from God or God's law. In the case of God's law, God defines what is worthy of death and what is not. And God prescribes the death penalty where He decides it is merited. When God prescribes that execution be carried out, is it murder? Never may that be the case. When God authorizes it, then it is not murder. God has the right to take life or give it, and He has the right to order someone else to do it or not, as Abraham clearly demonstrated in his willingness to obey such an order.
So then, am I not right in saying that only God can define murder, only God can prescribe execution. When done without the authorization of God's law or God, then it becomes murder. I certainly hope I could find agreement here.
My next consideration is an article in 2009, from what I assume is the London
Times. It just says Times and is published in the UK and London. The link to it
Want to keep your wallet? Carry a baby picture - July 11, 2009, by
of wallets were planted on the streets of
Richard Wiseman, a psychologist, and his team inserted one of four photographs behind a clear plastic window inside, showing either a smiling baby, a cute puppy, a happy family or a contented elderly couple. Some wallets had no image and some had charity papers inside.
When faced with the photograph of the baby people were far more likely to send the wallet back, the study found. In fact, only one in ten were hard-hearted enough not to do so. With no picture to tug at the emotions, just one in seven were sent back."
"The baby photograph wallets had the highest return rate, with 88 per cent of the 40 being sent back. Next came the puppy, the family and the elderly couple, with 53 per cent, 48 and 28 respectively. At 20 per cent and 15, the charity card and control wallets had the lowest return rates.
Overall, 42 per cent of the wallets were posted back � more than the team had anticipated. �We were amazed by the high percentage of wallets that came back,� said Dr Wiseman.
Scientists have also found evidence for a baby instinct in brain scanning experiments. A recent study at the
Even though all of the photographs were matched for attractiveness, activity in the section of the brain associated with empathy was much more responsive to the baby faces than to adult faces. The response happened too fast to be consciously controlled, according to the study."
1 And Nadab and Abihu, the sons of Aaron, each took his censer and put fire in them; and they put incense on it and brought strange fire before Jehovah, which He had not commanded them.
2 And fire went out from before Jehovah and consumed them; and they died before Jehovah.
3 And Moses said to Aaron, It is that which Jehovah has spoken, saying, I will be sanctified by those drawing near to Me; and I will be honored before all the people. And Aaron was silent.
4 And Moses called Mishael and Elzaphan, sons of Uzziel, Aaron�s uncle, and said to them, Come near, carry your brothers from the front of the sanctuary to the outside of the camp.
5 And they came near and carried them in their coats to the outside of the camp, as Moses had commanded.
6 And Moses said to Aaron, and to Eleazar, and to Ithamar, his sons, You shall not uncover your heads and you shall not tear your garments, that you may not die, and He be angry on all the congregation. As to your brothers, the whole house of
7 And you shall not go out of the door of the tabernacle of the congregation lest you die. For the anointing oil of Jehovah is on you. And they did according to the word of Moses.
of Aaron's sons had offended God in their priestly performance so Jehovah struck
them with fire (likely lightning). But Aaron and his other 2 sons were commanded
to not feel emotion or grieve for they were serving as priests for God and such
a duty was to be performed above and beyond anything else for God and service to
God are the highest possible priorities man and priest has, but especially
priests. But wouldn't it be easy to grieve or feel pain as a father who just
lost 2 sons? You would think so but God wants to make it clear that absolutely
nothing should interfere with the duty of serving God, including our feelings
and emotions. We are duty bound and must be guided by our intellect and
16 And you shall destroy all the peoples whom Jehovah your God is giving to you. And your eye shall have no pity on them; and you shall not serve their gods; for it shall be a snare to you.
Israel was not to have any compassion on the peoples of Canaan for it was Jehovah who had judged the Canaanites as not deserving of life and the land. Israel was to carry out the duties given to them by God to carry out. Often, Israel was required to kill all men, women, children, even babies! Can you believe it? God did not say to adopt those babies! He said to kill them. Now there were times when young virgin maidens were allowed to live but not males of any age, including, yes, you guess it, male babies. Is God a monster or are babies relative in the eyes of God? Babies can be worthy of death, too. If God says it must be, then it must be. Will you obey God?
6 If your brother, your mother�s son, or your son, or your daughter, or the wife of your bosom, or your friend who is as your own soul, shall entice you secretly, saying, Let us go and serve other gods, which you have not known, you and your fathers,
7 of the gods of the people around you, those near you or far off from you, from one end of the earth even to the other end of the earth,
8 you shall not consent to him, nor listen to him, nor shall your eye have pity on him, nor shall you spare nor hide him.
9 But you shall surely kill him; your hand shall be first upon him to put him to death, and the hand of all the people last.
Trying to get your family to serve other gods was a horrible crime. God demanded that if someone in your family were to suggest serving other gods, you shall turn him in and all Israel must kill him, but you had to be first, showing your loyalty to God, even above family or babies. Would you turn in a family member? Many would not, yet we are told to do so by God. Feeling sympathy for family would be normal and natural but we are to ignore that state of compassion and turn in and kill family who betray God. So says God! Will you obey God and ignore your feelings? If you want to live, you had better! But it is also obvious, is it not, that obedience to God is not always easy and is sometimes quite the challenge. Are you up to it? Or would you rather give up and die? Are you willing to turn your back on a baby if God say to do so?
11 And if a man hates his neighbor, and lies in wait for him, and rises up against him, and strikes his life from him, so that he dies, and flees to one of these cities,
12 then the elders of his city shall send and bring from him there, and give him into the hand of the avenger of blood, that he may die.
13 Your eye shall not pity him, but you shall put away the innocent blood from
21 And your eye shall not pity; life shall go for life, eye for eye, tooth for tooth, hand for hand, foot for foot.
When enforcing justice and law, Israel was not allowed to feel bad for a criminal. Now when you grab a man and drag him off to die, it is quite likely that he may cry and plead for mercy. It is very difficult to hear such desperate pleas and not feel tempted to give in. It is natural and normal to feel sympathy for pleading. Bt God warns us not to feel compassion or pity on such men. That means we will have to have our guards up and emotions in check so that we do not get weak or foolish and slight justice and God, as well as the victims. We must be resolute and determined to follow God's instructions to the letter. Obedience is absolutely essential, is it not?
11 Therefore, as I live, says the Lord Jehovah, surely because you have defiled My sanctuary with all your idolatries and with all your abominations, so I also will withdraw. And My eye shall not spare, and I will not have pity.
Jehovah is letting His people know that He will not tolerate disobedience. If someone disobeys Him, that person will be judged and die without mercy or pity. God is normally very merciful and gracious but when His laws are deliberately ignored, that mercy and grace disappears. It should be the same with us who love God. We must be willing and able to turn off mercy and compassion at certain times. The law of God demands it!
4 And My eye shall not spare you, and I will not have pity. But I will lay your ways on you, and your abominations shall be in your midst, and you shall know that I am Jehovah.
Our heavenly Father does warn us again that He will have no pity and spare no one who deliberately disobeys Him. Surely you do not want to ignore Him, do you?
4 And Jehovah said to him, Pass through in the midst of the city, in the midst of
5 And He said to those in my hearing, Pass over in the city after him and strike. Do not let your eye spare, and do not have pity.
6 Slay old men, choice men, and virgins, and children, and women, all to destruction. But to every man who has the mark on him, do not come near. And begin from My sanctuary. And they began with the old men who were before the house.
Well, here we are again with Jehovah our God killing off children, and that includes babies, my friends! God can be quite the baby killer when He wants to be. He has that right. Would you like to interfere with Him or tell Him He does not know what He is doing? Imagine, babies who do not receive any pity or compassion! Can you handle that? You had better. It is the command of God. Angels will have to do it and men had to do it at times in Canaan. And it may be, if we are willing to judge the doctrines of God justly with due diligence and care, that we might have to exonerate people who have supposedly killed their babies when God's law may not see it that way.
In fact, when acting as judges, we are to be void of feelings and be guided strictly by the directions given to us by God in the Bible. Aristotle once said, "law is reason, free from passion" and may I add, prejudice. Our minds, our intellect, the very thing which separates us from the animals and makes us like God, in His image, are to completely take control when acting as judges or deciding matters. We are to be guided by our powers of reason, with the ground rules given by God, and from these, make our decisions on all matters pertaining to God and our worship and behavior.
Indeed, this is the job requirement before us now. To put aside our feelings, emotions, and prejudices, and carefully determine what the rules of God are, governing matters pertaining to abortion. But its not going to be easy because we do react severely to the idea of cutting off the life of a baby. Here is perhaps the most controversial issue in all of Christianity. I have come to believe that abortion is not clearly forbidden in the scriptures. I have some very good reason for believing that. Also of concern to me is how far some Christians will go to prevent anyone from getting an abortion. I do realize this is because they view it as killing a baby. Yes, a baby is a beautiful and precious thing. A baby evokes powerful feelings in humans. Being small, weak, delicate, vulnerable, at our mercy, it brings out the most tender and protective emotions, our deepest feelings of care and nurturing come out, and our first instinct would be to revolt at the thought. We instantly leap to the defense of an infant.
They have good reason to be upset over such an act . . . unless God, Himself, does not view it as a baby until it is out of the womb and breathing on its own. But does God have that view? We will see. But it would seem logical to me that if God did not view it fully as a human life in the womb, then we should not be taking the very severe action that some Christians are taking in regards to this issue. Let's be sure before we decide to take the life of someone for performing an abortion. We may have no defense before God and that would never be a good position to be in, would it?
Courage is an important Christian quality is it not? Revelation 22 says that cowards have no place in God's Kingdom. Moral cowardice is disgusting. Moral courage is an absolute necessity since Christians, sooner or later will be tested and need that courage to resist Satan. I don't expect any disagreement at this point, either.
If I could show from God's law that abortion, or at least the accidental destruction of the fetus was not murder, would you have the moral courage to consider such a proposition? Would you be willing to give it an ear? Abortion is usually spoken of as murder and if God's law forbids it, that would be correct. But if it does not forbid it, and defines life another way, would you still call it murder?
But really, wasn't Abraham being asked to sacrifice Isaac just as revolting? But Abraham was willing to hold his gut emotions back and in check when God was the source. In fact, how revolted was God at having to let His son die unjustly at the hands of thoroughly wicked men? I am sure He must have been sick. Yet He and Jesus were both willing to allow that so that we could all be saved. Should we not treat God's law as coming from God and hold our emotions in check and consider very carefully and unemotionally what God's law has to say or not say on the matter of abortion? Isn't that the least we can do for a God who willingly gave His own son for us?
The only scripture that supposedly implies a prohibition of abortion can be found in Exodus 21:22. This scripture is interpreted differently by various Bibles. I will quote from two translations to show the difference in each.
The following comes from the Jerusalem Bible, a translation authorized/sanctioned by the Catholic Church and expresses the same spirit of thought as that of all the Catholic Bibles including the traditional Douay-Rheims version of 1609.
"If, when men come to blows, they hurt a woman who is pregnant and she suffers a miscarriage, though she does not die of it, the man responsible must pay the compensation demanded of him by the woman's master; he shall hand it over, after arbitration. But should she die, you shall give life for life, eye for eye, tooth for tooth, hand for hand, foot for foot, burn for burn, wound for wound, stroke for stroke."
In this translation, the miscarriage (read abortion if you like) is not treated as a life but as something to require that damages (financial compensation) be paid to the husband for loss of the child and perhaps the suffering caused to the wife for that loss. If her own life was lost or injured then the same would be exacted upon the guilty one causing the death or injury. But note that the loss of the fetus did not result in the death penalty as did the loss of the wife's life. There is a distinct difference in God's view of the unborn from that of the living mother, is there not? This clearly shows God's view of what the fetus is and isn't.
I am sure God took care to be certain to mention this as it would have been easy for judges to mistakenly take the life of the fetus to be as that of any living breathing person. That would cause them to execute the offender for causing the death of the fetus. This is not what God wanted so He made a careful distinction in mentioning this scenario. The fetus was not yet a living being drawing breath on its own and, therefore, you could not take the offenders life for causing the loss. Only financial damages could be assessed.
But now think about it. There are very few people who are not tenderly moved by a small helpless, non-threatening, innocent looking baby. Such a little person brings out very strong powerful emotions in us, doesn't it? So it is clear why many Christians by instinct alone, find it absolutely abhorrent that someone could attack or kill a baby. And rightly so. To kill a fully born and breathing baby is about as low as you can go. Anyone not moved to spare a baby's life is certainly as far gone as a human can go. We can all understand this. And so can God. He knows how we would react to such a thing. And He also knows what conclusions we might jump to in a case such as the one we just read in the Bible. So He obviously felt it important for us to understand His thinking and judgment on this matter.
God once told Samuel: "Do not look on his appearance, nor to the height of his stature, for I have rejected him. For man does not see what He sees. For man looks for the eyes, but Jehovah looks for the heart." (1 Samuel 16:7, Green's Literal Translation).
It is natural for us to be susceptible to what we see. We interpret our world through how we see. We tend to be attracted to visually appealing people. And we are very protective of small delicate babies. But God sees other things. He does not get fooled by visual appearances. He can see our hearts. And He knows best what He has created and how He wants us to handle certain situations. So He lets us know that despite our inclination to judge a man as worthy of death for causing the death of a fetus, it is not God's will that he be judged that severely. Apparently, In God's eyes, there are important distinctions between a fetus and a baby out of the womb and breathing and feeding from his mother's breasts. What those distinctions are we do not know but God knows and made his judicial decree in Exodus 21.
Many people are persuaded that life begins at conception. And it certainly is on its way at that point. But we all know many things can happen between that time and the time of birth. Even the birth process itself can fail and the baby die during birth. Nothing is guaranteed. But if the baby can manage to draw breath on its own after making it out of the womb, then the worst is past and the baby has a good chance from there. He is now able to support himself without relying on the mother for his most basic sustenance, oxygen from the air, that he was getting through his mother's blood.
Adam was said in Genesis 2:7 to become a living soul when God gave him the breath of life. It would seem reasonable to infer that Adam was not a living soul before having received the breath of life. Observe:
Genesis 2:7 "And Jehovah God formed the man out of dust from the ground, and blew into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul."
A similar allusion is made in the following:
Genesis 6:17 "And behold, I, even I, am bringing a flood of waters on the earth in order to destroy all flesh in which is the breath of life from under the heavens."
In fact, the Bible is loaded with allusions to breath and life being synonymous, one in the same. Here are just a few of many examples that exist in the Bible. Look up breath in a concordance and you will be amazed how many there are. These are all from Green's Literal Translation.
Job 33:4 The Spirit of God made me, and the breath of the Almighty gives me life.
Job 34:14 If He sets His heart on him, if He gathers his spirit and his breath to Himself,
Psalms 146:4 His breath will go out, he returns to the earth; his thoughts perish in that day.
Ecclesiastes 3:19 For that which happens to the sons of men, and that which happens to beasts, even one event is to them. As this one dies, so that one dies; yea, one breath is to all; so that there is to the man no advantage over the beast; for all is vanity.
Isaiah 42:5 So says Jehovah God, creating the heavens and stretching them out; spreading out the earth and its offspring, giving breath to the people on it, and spirit to those walking in it.
Jeremiah 10:14 Every man is stupid from lack of knowledge; every refiner is put to shame by the carved image. For his molten image is a lie and no breath is in them.
Jeremiah 51:17 Every man is brutish in knowledge, every refiner is put to shame by idols. For his casted image is a lie, and no breath is in them.
Ezekiel 37:5 So says the Lord Jehovah to these bones: Behold, I cause breath to enter into you, and you shall live,;
Ezekiel 37:6 and I will put on you sinews and will bring flesh on you and spread skin over you and put breath in you, and you shall live. And you shall know that I am Jehovah.
Ezekiel 37:8 And I watched. And, behold! The sinews and the flesh came up on them, and the skin spread over them from above. But there was no breath in them.
What I want you to pay particular attention to are the descriptions in Ezekiel. Notice how everything was formed in 37:8. The sinews, the flesh, the skin; they are all there. Yet still, they are not yet alive, even though formed. They have not been given breath. The breathing process had yet to be granted. They would be living only when the last part had been finished. A baby may be formed in the womb to some degree and sustained by its mother's blood, yet God may not still consider it alive until it first draws its own breath.
Now that does not mean that we can callously ignore a baby a week before it is born and terminate it. But neither can you charge someone for murder for cutting short the process of the growth of a new life. The process is not fully complete and finished until the breath of life is established.
Another dilemma! What about the baby's destiny if it should die prematurely of natural causes? Does it go to heaven? Will it be resurrected? Does the Bible say for sure? It does not that I know. And should the baby be deliberately terminated before birth, it would be the same, whatever that is. I bring this up because at least 2 religions have gone on record as insisting that a baby will not be resurrected if it dies prematurely. The Mormons and Jehovah's Witnesses both have this view. Others may also have it but I am not aware of them. And yet, they all say abortion is wrong.
It is not a soul who will be brought back but yet it is murder? It seems rather contradictory to me. Lets just say the baby will be resurrected. Shall he or she be put back into the womb? Advanced beyond their past development and resurrected outside the womb? None of it seems very believable to me. I actually agree with those 2 religions about the fact that a premature baby will not be resurrected. Unlike them, I don't believe that abortion is necessarily wrong.
But it would seem reckless to interrupt the process so late, so close to the finish. I would not be comfortable with that, either. However, there are circumstances that might merit interrupting the process, even at a late stage. If the mother's life seemed in probable danger, then I could still see some justification to ending the process before its complete finish. Of course, today we have the benefit of a caesarian section where the womb is surgically cut open and the baby removed, avoiding the natural delivery of the baby. But this would have to be anticipated. If an emergency developed during delivery, then the baby could be sacrificed, in my mind.
Is the baby going to be defective? Then I would say that as soon as that can be determined, it might be permissible to terminate the process of development. One thing for sure, our modern day surgical techniques open many more possibilities then we have ever had in the past. But I would certainly agree that late term abortions should be avoided at nearly any cost. I would be very uncomfortable as a doctor, intervening in late stages. Early term abortions would not bother me at all.
Performing an abortion has been an ability among some, nearly since the beginning of God's creation of man. Some tribes of people have always been aware of plants or substances from plants that cause a fetus to abort. Recent surgical developments have made it quite easy to terminate the growth and development process of a potential human being in the womb. These were very rare in the past, though not absolutely unheard of. But they were dangerous in the past when the techniques were primitive and crude.
But stopping the process of the formation of life can not be certainly determined to be a murder as some frame it to be. Exodus 21 gives us plenty of reason to give pause to that idea. We need to be considerate of the ambiguity of "life" in the womb. We need to be respectful of the right of each one of us to determine for ourselves whether a fetus in the womb constitutes life or not.
There may be many reasons why even a mature Christian couple might decide that terminating the life growing process might be in order. Maybe the mother is having health problems when the pregnancy occurred. Perhaps the husband lost his job and their economic status plunges to severe depths. It happens all the time. Many unpredictable events could happen that might make a couple, once looking forward to a child, now reconsider it when pregnancy finally occurs. Their future and that of their ability to care for their child may be in doubt. So they may decide that it would be better to wait until more certain and secure times arrive.
Far from being irresponsible, this is showing good sensible soundness of mind, quite possibly. Many in the past didn't have such options. But today, we do have those options. If a couple elects such options, that should be respected by others, even if they would not do the same. I would find fault with no one who could not bring themselves to have an aboriton. But neither would I find fault with someone who did. It has to be and should be a personal individual decision for each mother or couple.
I find the option of abortion a much better alternative then the option of adoption that so many so called Christians recommend. I will speak more of this later. Anyway, lets return to a further consideration of Exodus 21.
Most all translations, popular, traditional, or obscure, translate this passage this way. The Bible in Basic English is even more forthright.
Exodus 21:22 "If men, while fighting, do damage to a woman with child, causing the loss of the child, but no other evil comes to her, the man will have to make payment up to the amount fixed by her husband, in agreement with the decision of the judges. 23 But if damage comes to her, let life be given in payment for life, 24 Eye for eye, tooth for tooth, hand for hand, foot for foot, 25 Burning for burning, wound for wound, blow for blow."
However, There is at least one exception. The New International Version (of 1978), which I believe may be influenced by modern "Christian" interpretation not favoring abortion, has rendered it this way:
"If men who are fighting hit a pregnant woman and she gives birth prematurely but there is not serious injury, the offender must be fined whatever the woman's husband demands and the court allows. But if there is serious injury, you are to take life for life, eye for eye, tooth for tooth, hand for hand, foot for foot, branding for branding, wound for wound, stripe for stripe."
In this translation, it is not clear who the serious injury is applied to, the premature baby or the mother. I grant that the original Hebrew text is somewhat vague as is often the case in regards to the "Law of Moses" but most translators have had no problem in seeing past the fog and correctly translating this text as is the case in the first translation quoted.
I believe the ambiguity is enhanced or amplified by the translators of The New International Version to help support the view that the fetus may be the injured party and therefore avenged by the execution of the offender.
The Bible had already prescribed punishment for injuries or death of a man or a woman; namely, the old eye for eye, life for life statute. This is if a death was caused deliberately. But if a person were killed accidentally, the Bible requires that the person who caused it would flee to a city of refuge to be protected from avengers. He or she could leave the city only if the High Priest died. Otherwise, they would live their lives out at one of these cities or refuge that were set up throughout Israel. See Numbers Chapter 35 for a discussion of the cities of refuge.
What is introduced in this Bible passage, additionally, are two new features or exceptions, I should say. First is that she is pregnant and that damages are to be paid for the termination of pregnancy. The 2nd is that the death here is accidental. Even though the men were struggling with each other and not the woman, the fact that she was pregnant, in God's eyes, required that anyone within the presence of a pregnant woman should conduct themselves with extra care and gentleness in her presence.
Likely, God may have considered a pregnant woman more vulnerable to harm in her pregnant state. Especially so in the late months or term. She was not as fast on her feet so that she could get out of the way, defend herself, or exert herself in her own defense. So if men did not exercise more consideration and care in the presence of a pregnant woman and carelessly caused her harm, they would pay, eye for eye, tooth for tooth, life for life. So a pregnant woman was given special consideration that was to be observed at all cost.
Well, since we already know payment for injuries to the woman (eye for eye, life for life), the new damages introduced must apply to the loss of their expected child.
Evidently, the loss of the fetus' potential life is not grounds, in itself, for taking the life of the offender. Only the mother's death would warrant that. The focus in the scriptures here is the parents and their loss, not the loss of the fetus' life for its own sake.
I am sure God also took care to be certain to mention this as it would have been easy for judges to mistakenly take the life of the fetus to be as that of any living breathing person. That would cause them to execute the offender for causing the death of the fetus. This is not what God wanted so He made a careful distinction in mentioning this scenario. The fetus was not yet a living being drawing breath on its own and, therefore, you could not take the offenders life for causing the loss. Only financial damages could be assessed.
The ambiguity of the original text comes partly from the Hebrew word yatsa' or yaw-tsaw'. Translated typically as depart, go forth, miscarry, or miscarriage, it is assumed by most as indicating death for the fetus.
Hammurabi's Code. Now for
something not so ambiguous. This discovered in February 2018, from the book, ""The
Ancient Near East Volume I An Anthology of Texts and Pictures"
Edited by James B. Pritchard 1958 Princeton University Press PAGE 162, numbered 209-214. This was the code of Hammurabi, king of the old Babylonian dynasty. He ruled for 43 years, from 1728 BC to 1686 BC. Moses at Mt. Horeb at Sinai was about 1500 BC. What follows is in most respects, identical to Exodus 21:22 that I just covered previous.
209: If a seignior struck a(nother) seignior's daughter [Exod. 21:22-25] and has caused her to have a miscarriage2, he shall pay ten shekels of silver for her fetus.
210: If that woman has died, they shall put his daughter to death. >>The bible requires the execution of the man, not his daughter. This is an unjust law here. The man should die. But all the same, the fetus, by Hammurabi's law, is not death but a fine of 10 shekels of silver.<<
211: If by a blow he has caused a commoner's daughter to have a miscarriage, he shall pay five shekels of silver. >>Babylonian code ranks various people by their status in society, near to rich, middle and poor or slave class. it has different applications for each class.<<
212: If that woman has died, he shall pay one-half mina of silver. >>Jehovah says "Death Penalty!"<<
213: If he struck a seignior's female slave and has caused her to a have a miscarriage, he shall pay two shekels of silver.
214: If that female slave has died, he shall pay one-third mina of silver. >>Still death says Jehovah! Slaves had little value and their loss of like did not constitute the death penalty as it did in the bible. I am going back to black Text now.<<
What is very dlea here in this Babylonian law code is that the fetus did not even come close to meriting the death penalty for its loss. Just as Exodus does, it only required a fine. Babylon I specified the amount. God left out the amount, perhaps figuring in inflation or market vaule or even the degree of damage or consideration. It was not one standard price.
What this extra account does is show that there was a fairly standard viewof the loss of a fetus as opposed to the loss of the mother, a living breathing human being. How has Christianity missed this for so long. Where are the shepherds and guides of the faith? Why have they not corrected the views of their flocks? Why have they blown the value of the fetus way out of proportion and invalidated the word of God at Sinai? They should be burned at the stake! Well, OK, just shun them ;-) << End Hammuabi's Law.
Most premature births prior to modern medicine ended in death for the infant unless premature was less than a month and then still uncertain. One may assume here that it is likely the fetus dies as a result. That is why damages are prescribed to be paid. If the fetus was to survive then there would be no problem, right?
While "born prematurely" is vague and leaves the slight possibility that the infant survives, translating "yatsa" as miscarriage eliminates the doubt as to the unfortunate outcome. Once you eliminate the fetus by death, you can not also apply injuries to it after, can you? So it makes it more clear that the "life for life" policy is applied only to the woman. This is confirming what is prescribed in another part of the Bible if she was not pregnant but harmed by someone. The difference in Exodus 21 is that the cause of injury or death was accidental but still accountable as if it were deliberate in the case of a pregnant woman.
But some will insist that "not serious injury applies to the baby, not the mother. So they believe it is quite likely the infant survives. That seems a little hard to believe. But lets run with it for a minute. OK, it applies to the baby. So if the baby is otherwise OK, only damages are paid. But if the baby is injured or dies, then it is eye for eye, life for life. So then, if the baby dies, even though an accident, then the men must die, too. So if that accidental death merits the death of the men, shouldn't it also require the men's death if the mother occurs? But the mother is otherwise ignored if the baby is who is addressed.
So either the baby is worth more than a normal human life or we must assume that this case also applies to the mother and supercedes the city of refuge provision. I find that hard to believe. God had to spell this out because to take a man's life for an accident certainly was a departure from what God had first prescribed for accidental death and He couldn't afford to leave this to doubt. He needed to show the protection the mother merited. If this scripture applied to the baby, it certainly should apply to the mother, too, and I would expect that to be spelled out as well. I think the problem is that some don't want to accept the obvious and admit they are and have been wrong about abortion.
This scripture alone should end the debate on how God views a fetus. It is not a life like a healthy normal baby is. If it is terminated prematurely, only damages are paid for the loss. But why are people not convinced. Well, not only do babies evoke powerful feelings, but humans are also easily moved by the presence of another human. If not terribly defective, we have a natural empathy reaction in us.
God commanded that some types of criminal action should merit death, usually by stoning. No doubt this would normally be a tough duty for the community to carry out. It is easy to feel sympathy for another human being, murderer or rapist, or not. In fact, God on a few occasions commanded Israel to kill certain Canaanite cities, every man, woman, child, and baby. Imagine how tough that would be. Yet Israel was required to do as God commanded. How would you feel if God asked you to kill your own son as He asked Abraham to do? Would you be a little hesitant? I might. But if God commands it, wouldn't you obey? Would your feelings for your child cause you to hesitate or refuse. It could for some. Why? Because their natural instincts and emotions would get in the way, wouldn't they? But true servants of God will obey at any cost as did Abraham.
These are examples of why we sometimes might need to have our emotions in check. They are not the final word. God is the final word on a matter. He sometimes commanded His people this way in regards to some tough action they had to take.
Deuteronomy 7:16 "And you shall destroy all the peoples whom Jehovah your God is giving to you. And your eye shall have no pity on them"
We are told in this scripture to bypass our normal compassion. Same in the next:
Deuteronomy 13:6 "If your brother, your mother's son, or your son, or your daughter, or the wife of your bosom, or your friend who is as your own soul, shall entice you secretly, saying, Let us go and serve other gods, which you have not known, you and your fathers, 7 of the gods of the people around you, those near you or far off from you, from one end of the earth even to the other end of the earth, 8 you shall not consent to him, nor listen to him, nor shall your eye have pity on him, nor shall you spare nor hide him. 9 But you shall surely kill him; your hand shall be first upon him to put him to death, and the hand of all the people last."
Due to modern medical techniques, now one can choose to end a pregnancy themselves. Since of their own choosing, they abort their child, then there would be no damages to be paid to the owner (husband) as it was their choice to do this. Now I am not saying this is a green light to get an abortion. But it certainly does not give us the right to kill someone who performs an abortion for a woman.
So to execute a doctor for this would bring us into contempt with God. That is definitely not a good thing for a Christian to do. God has the right to make rules, not us. And if He decrees that a life should not be taken for the miscarriage or abortion of a child, then neither should we. Doesn't that make sense to you?
But it does not settle things for the Conservative Right and most all other so called Christian religions. They bring up a few scriptures that they feel are conclusive proof that God sees the fetus as much more. Let us look at those.
Jeremiah 1:5 "Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, and before you were born I consecrated you; I appointed you a prophet to the nations."
Psalms 139:14 "I will thank You, for with fearful things I am wonderful; Your works are marvelous, and my soul knows it very well. 15 My bones were not hidden from You when I was made in secret; when I was woven in the depths of the earth. 16 Your eyes saw my embryo; and in Your book all my members were written the days they were formed, and not one was among them.
These could be seen to contradict the former scriptures. But what are they actually saying. Was God actually a friend of Jeremiah before he was formed in the womb? Is that even possible? Of course not. But what God could have been indicating is that He had foreseen Jeremiah's birth and had planned to use him as a prophet.
David's psalm speaks more of God's ability to see the things going on in the womb, the miracle of conception, development, and growth in the womb leading to birth. David was amazed at the wonders of creation. It does not mean that God viewed the developing fetus as a life that should require another life to be taken if it were terminated prematurely by someone.
They also bring up the signs and portents that took place in the wombs of Elizabeth and Mary who were carrying John and Jesus. Those were certainly exceptions to the norm. But they are hardly an indication of how God views a routine fetus. Those miracles took place to demonstrate that John was to be a prophet and that people should acknowledge that and that Jesus was the Messiah sent to them and that they should listen to him. They were not intended as examples of how God views a fetus. They were given special protection not doubt. One can see that when the angels prevented him from being killed by Herod. Not a normal circumstance by any means.
I want to quote several other scriptural passages to show the view some servants of God in the Bible may have had toward abortion when their expressions are carefully considered by us. These are in considerable contrast to these last two quoted.
I will start with Job chap. 3. In this chapter, Job complains and mourns about the day he was born. To him, birth and life were a curse, something to lament and regret. He states how wonderful death might be as it would bring peace and an end to suffering. Verse 3 reads:
"Let the day perish in which I was born, and the night which said, A man child has been conceived."
And verse 11:"Why did I not die from the womb, come from the womb and expire? Why did the knees go before me; or why the breasts, that I should suck? For now I would have lain down and have been quiet; I would have slept." [Jay Green's Literal Translation].
Job is expressing that he wished life would have passed him by. He would have preferred to have missed it and be at peace. Life was not wonderful for him; it was a curse. This chapter is loaded with beautiful language expressing a deep message of how life can be quite bitter. It was not desirable to him, anyway. And Job was said to be a faithful servant of high standing with God.
Next, let's look at Jeremiah 20:14 for his view:
"Cursed is the day in which I was born; let not the day in which my mother bore me be blessed. Cursed is the man who brought news to my father, saying, A man child is born to you; making him very glad. And let that man be as the cities which Jehovah overthrew, and did not repent. And let him hear a cry in the morning, and the shouting at noontime; because he did not kill me from the womb; and that my mother would have been my grave, and her womb always great with me. Why did I come forth from the womb to see toil and sorrow, and my days consumed in shame." [Jay Green's Literal Translation].
Pretty powerful sentiments to come from a prophet of a God who supposedly forbids abortion, isn't it? Solomon, the wise king of the Bible and writer of Ecclesiastes expressed this in Ecclesiastes 1:18 - "For in much wisdom is much grief; and he increasing knowledge increases pain." [Green's Literal Translation].
As Solomon contemplated the absurdity of life, the vanity of it, the insanity of it, he exclaimed in chap. 2:17 - "So then I hated life; because the work that is done under the sun is evil to me; for all is vanity and striving after wind." [Jay Green's Literal Translation].
Solomon next states in Ecclesiastes 4:1:
"Again I saw all the oppressions that are practiced under the sun. And behold, the tears of the oppressed, and they had no one to comfort them! On the side of their oppressors there was power, and there was no one to comfort them. And I thought the dead who are already dead more fortunate than the living who are still alive: but better than both is he who has not yet been, and has not seen the evil deeds that are done under the sun." [Revised Standard Version].
Well, I think that blows a rather sizable hole in the idea that life is nothing but wonderful and everyone should want it for themselves and for others. Some of us might have preferred to have been spared the misery of life. This seems to be the sentiment of Solomon, anyway.
All these writers and servants of God express a curiously morbid sense of life; that it was something to be despised, deplored, even rejected. Something you might want to spare someone from having to go through. A person feeling this way might feel that sparing a child birth into this world and into this life would be showing them kindness and mercy. And often, this may be the case.
What a contrast between what the Bible expresses in regards to life from what someone on the Religious Right has to say. They seem to feel that life is nothing but beautiful and a blessing and why would anyone not want it. And there is nothing wrong with that view. One is very blessed to never have experienced the more bitter side of life. But hopefully, our bliss will not blind us to the fact that like many servants of God, some people may have experienced the more painful side of life which makes it hard to continue to love life and see it as a blessing. The Bible passages of God's servants should demonstrate that life can be viewed in more than one way depending on how fortunate you are. Do not judge one another on how you view life. God certainly intended it to be a blessing but since our rebellion in the Garden of Eden, it has not always been that way and God knows that as does His servants, too. That is why their views are in the Bible for us to read.
Tertullian was a late 2nd century Christian writer in his treatise "On the Soul" had this to say about abortion practiced in his time.
"But sometimes by a cruel necessity, while yet in the womb, an infant is put to death, when lying awry in the orifice of the womb he impedes parturition, and kills his mother, if he is not to die himself. Accordingly, among surgeons' tools there is a certain instrument, which is formed with a nicely-adjusted flexible frame for opening the uterus first of all, and keeping it open; it is further furnished with an annular blade, by means of which the limbs within the womb are dissected with anxious but unfaltering care; its last appendage being a blunted or covered hook, wherewith the entire fetus is extracted by a violent delivery. There is also (another instrument in the shape of) a copper needle or spike, by which the actual death is managed in this furtive robbery of life: they give it, from its infanticide function, the name of <greek>embruosqakths</greek>, the slayer of the infant, which was of course alive. Such apparatus was possessed both by Hippocrates, and Asclepiades, and Erasistratus, and Herophilus, that dissector of even adults, and the milder Soranus himself, who all knew well enough that a living being had been conceived, and pitied this most luckless infant state, which had first to be put to death, to escape being tortured alive.
Of the necessity of such harsh treatment I have no doubt even Hicesius was convinced, although he imported their soul into infants after birth from the stroke of the frigid air, because the very term for soul, forsooth, in Greek answered to such a refrigeration! Well, then, have the barbarian and Roman nations received souls by some other process, (I wonder;) for they have called the soul by another name than <greek>yukh</greek>?"
Tertullian calls an abortion a cruel necessity in cases where the mother's life was in danger. Tertullian does not seem to find fault with the procedure. Of course, this does not mean that all abortion was seen as permissible nor does it resolved the issue of when the baby is seen by God as a living being. But it shows that there was at least one reason why abortion was considered appropriate, however unfortunate it might be. Christians today do not think any circumstance is appropriate. That would not seem to be the early Christian opinion in the late 2nd century.
Of course, what the right wing conservative so called Christians fear is that if you can find any reason for abortion, then maybe you can find a number of reasons for it. What about rape? Can one abort for that? What is one was too young, though not raped? What about non-Christians who might not be in a good circumstance financially or mentally? It gets very scary because those are all very good reasons why giving birth might not be such a good idea, if God has not forbid it.
4th Century Writers Say .
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Really, there is little material from early Christianity to settle what the
prevailing view was, if it was settled at all. But maybe tings got better by the
4th century, right? Well, not really. We have the opinions of Jerome (348-420
AD) and Augustine of Hippo (354-430 AD), both high ranking and reputable
Catholics leaders and called "Church Fathers" by many. Oddly, from a
church supposedly united, we have 2 differing opinions. This was reported on by
Mark Rose, in Archaeology Magazine, Mar/Apr 1997 in News Briefs section: "Why
would prostitutes at
>The bones of nearly 100
infants were deposited in a late Roman-early Byzantine sewer beneath a bathhouse
at Ashkelon, on the southern coast of
The excavators were puzzled as to why birth control and/or abortion were not employed as both were practiced at that time quite liberally. Most noteworthy was what Mark Rose dug up on Jerome and Augustine on the topic of abortion. Rose reports Jerome as having condemned the use of potions that cause "sterility and murder those not yet conceived." I assume there is an error in translation in that conceived should have been born, for if one had not conceived, then there would be no reason to abort or murder. No murder could take place. But Jerome seems to object to what I assume is aborting after conception but before birth, by using potions to sterilize or abort.
On the other hand, Augustine - held that as long as the fetus was no more than "some sort of living, shapeless thing" homicide laws did not apply because it had no senses and no soul. While he may have still objected to a fully formed infant as might be the case by 6 month's time, he does indicate that for some period after conception, there was no guilt of murder due to the lack of sense and soul. Of course, we could argue all day about when the fetus is no longer shapeless, but not as regards living in the sense Augustine uses. Augustine sees a certain amount of development needed before the fetus has form and a soul. Of course, we might ask how it is he can state this so certain as this definition is not to be found in the Bible, but neither is Jerome's, either.
But Augustine clearly does not subscribe to the idea that the fetus is a life at conception for it is clear he does not buy that. What is also very clear is that there was a definite disagreement between Jerome and Augustine's lives overlapped for most of their lives, amounting to 66 years in common between the two. Combined with all discussed and proven so far or soon to be discussed, it is quite clear that there was no common or consistent view among early post-Apostolic Christians writers and nothing to be found in the Bible. Each seems to have formed their own opinions and conclusions as is the case with all opinions offered on the matter throughout time.
They may be using certain ideas from the Bible to the bet of their ability but I have used the Bible to show they did not do a thorough enough job, even as the Pharisees did not do a good job of reasoning in regards to saying it OK to recue a lamb/sheep on the Sabbath but not heal/rescue a human being such as an old woman.
It is also clear that there was no established or prevailing view on abortion in the early centuries. The view in existence today came at a far more recent time, possible only since the 20th century. I do believe that the Bible does say clearly, that Adam did not become a living soul till he received the breath of life (from God) that he could sustain on his own afterwards. Who am I and who are you to argue with God?
A Clear Legal Boundary Missing
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I'll also point out that when God forms a law, He usually draws a line that is quite east to discern and recognize, even though it might not be all encompassing in what it covers. Let me illustrate. A female could have her genital area stimulated and the male would not be guilty of any serious crime that cold be held against him as rape or requiring him to marry the female. But if he were to penetrate her, genital to genital, and break her hymen, called by some "virginity" or taking virginity, then if she was insisting, he would have to marry her or at least pay the dowry. Evidence of a broken hymen was the requirement given in the law. God picked it, I suspect because it was a clear sign easily verified and covering nearly any situation. A line in the sand!
Now such intercourse was also spoken of as defiling a virgin. God took sex seriously because it could result in pregnancy and offspring and producing a child was a serious responsibility and obligation, not ever to be taken even the least bit lightly. So indiscriminate sex and breeding was forbidden. But now I am going to show some flaws or loopholes in this requirement but you can be damn sure God knew and understood it. He was not concerned about it. One can never rule out all things and find a perfect standard from the standpoint of men.
Lets' suspend reality for just a minute and venture off into some speculation as I do from time to time. Suppose semen was introduced into the female, thereby defiling her, without detectable penetration. Can it be done? It could. Its not very likely, but it is absolutely possible. Pregnancy is hard to achieve this way but certainly not impossible. Semen dabbed on, near or through the hymen could accomplish a pregnancy. In fact, a slender hypodermic could achieve a very reach and be right near the cervix and make pregnancy quite likely. She could get pregnant and demand to be examined to prove she was a virgin and was overcome by the holy spirit or some other spirit if she likes. What would we say? I have never heard of it being done, but it would not really be a problem to accomplish it.
I can tell you that one time on TV or maybe I had read about it somewhere, how a man was shot and the bullet went through his testicle and hit a neighbor woman in the womb area and she got pregnant. They and the doctor figured out what took place and the man offered to marry the woman even though he did not have an obligation to do so. He likely wanted to see the child, brought about by his genetics, to be cared for and for all we know, the woman might have been a nice catch anyway. They did marry, I believe. By the way, I do not recommend this method for getting pregnant ;-)
On the same hand, one could easily break the hymen with fingers and never have sexual penetration (with the male "instrument") or give semen. Was she defiled? No, unless you consider the hymen being torn a defiling. Could she have gotten pregnant? Absolutely not! Is it fair to prosecute the man for risking pregnancy or defiling her? Depends on how you look at it. But from God's standpoint, if you break it, you buy it since no one is going to believe that you would break it without finishing job off. It is a reasonable legal grounds rendering a decision on whether he did or didn't.
Oh yeah. Don't try the Holy Spirit did this to me argument if you managed to get pregnant without the typical method since it also requires verification by an angel from God, which is kind of hard to pull off unless it really was the Holy Spirit.
God chose something as a sign and evidence, that enabled a clear distinction and eliminated, within reason, other possibilities. The hymen was a substantial piece of evidence that was allowed as a means to convict. It would be the same with conception, birth, and determining when life begins. How do you prove a conception when it first takes place? Often, a woman does not know without a test or when she notices her abdomen swell. Even then, a few don't notice till they are giving birth since they were kind of heavy anyway.
At what point can you determine whether the fetus is formed enough as Augustine suggested, to then become a life? You can't see it in the womb. Is there a set length of time? No, not in the Bible, anyway! Besides, what if you do not know when it was conceived for sure? What if a woman decides, "Hey, I just had sex. Maybe I ought to use this potion that causes abortion just in case I have gotten pregnant. No one could convict me for they can not prove I was pregnant." And she would be right. Really, about the only time you can be sure of what you have or not is when the baby is born. You know clearly what you have at that point. Either the baby is breathing or will shortly or it will not and is dead or soon will be. The baby is not certified as living until it comes out and breathes. It only makes perfect logic and sense.
This is a distinction that can be clearly made and verifiable and beyond dispute. Little wonder that God chose the wording He did with Adam coming to life. Adam existed before the breath of life was given by God but was not a living soul till he began to breath.
The problem with many laws today in the USA and many other countries is that laws do not have any clear distinction or boundaries. It is left up to vague nondescript undefined laws that can be applied in any arbitrary manner a lawyer, judge, or jury feels like. For instance, if a city were to say, grass can not be grown tall or long or you will pay the city for mowing plus a fine of $100. This would be a lousy law for tall and long have not been defined. One man's tall is another man's short. But if the law said that if ten blades could be found in excess of 6 inches, then it is tall and the punishment stands. Now we have some clear definition.
I am being kind for I do cover in other articles laws far more absurd and without any merit, reason, definition, distinction, boundary or decency. Just one example. Rape! If a rape truly takes place, one can be punished by any amount of time or no time at all. Maybe just community service. For one, they say there are varying degrees of rape or variable circumstances. I say this is crap and and a poor excuse. You create a line, a boundary and enforce it all the same. In the Bible, if you forced a woman, and she appropriately protests and cries out, then it is rape and is always punished the exact same way. The rapist is executed by stoning. Anything else is arbitrary and inexcusable.
Nor does it matter if she can shrug it off, determined not to let the bastard defeat her, or suffers from it for years after, remaining a victim indefinitely. Either way, the rapist must die in God's law. He takes rape, real rape, seriously. On the other hand, if the woman does not offer substantial protest or crying or the like when being forced, then she can not ask for the death penalty. Its marriage or the dowry paid. If its marriage, the man can never divorce her except if she were to commit adultery. Not other reason allowed.
God does recognize lesser forms of pressure or seduction, but those are not called rape and bring much smaller penalties. If I woman does not protest, it is not rape. Reluctance is not rape if you do not protest adequately, with tears or crying out for help. A barely audible whisper of "please stop" said without conviction is not rape by God's measure. It must be convincing. If a man tricks, lies, or otherwise seduces, it is not rape. It is deceit or seduction and requires the guy to pay the hefty dowry and marry the woman if she requires it and the parents allow it, and he can never divorce her. We call all these things rape today. God said otherwise. God drew distinct boundaries and definitions that were clear and enforced the same.
So I say to those who protest abortion, give me something clearly defined that has no gray area. Show me it is clearly supported by the Bible. If you can do this, I will retract this article. This article has been on the net since late 1999. We'll say Jan. 1, 2000 for an easy way to calculate time. Since that time, not a single soul has been ever able to refute my points on a forum, discussion board or anywhere, or any place at any time since. And this article got a lot of distribution in those first few years. No one ever sent me a private email refuting anything, other than the definition given in the law about 2 men struggling and injuring a pregnant woman, which they twist and distort.
They have never been able to refute any points satisfactorily. Most points are ignored, being too tough to tackle. They are not crazy about anything that might put doubt on their extreme and severe stand. In fact, this could be said of most or my articles. They stand unopposed since it is pretty much impossible to refute the whole truth, and nothing but the truth, which is what I have put together for consideration, to the best of my knowledge and ability at the time of writing. To avoid it, is to fear it, is to be incapable of refuting it, and knowing full well I am right. For if I was clearly wrong, it should be quite easy to prove me wrong since truth is far stronger than lies. Lies have no power over truth. Only liars fear truth and avoid it.
I will also show how motive plays such an important part in determining whether something is right or wrong, permissible or not. One of the best examples that comes to mind is that of Joseph and Mary, the parents of Jesus. Joseph had arranged to have Mary be his wife. But he found her pregnant before bringing her to his home to live and have sexual relations with. He figured as any of us would have in that situation that she must have been playing around. This hurt him as could certainly be understandable and he did not want to have her as his wife any longer.
Of course, he did not know that God had planted that life in Mary's womb. Now Mary was just a teenager in all likelihood, as most women were, who got married at that time so Joseph did not want to see her harmed. The Law of the Bible prescribed death for adultery, although that was not always enforced by those in the nation of Israel. But Joseph wanted to spare her undue harm so he decided to divorce her in secret.
The Bible calls Joseph righteous for this. Now ordinarily, a "righteous" person in the Bible is one who carries out the Law of the Bible, not neglecting any of it. That would mean stoning the adulteress and clearing out of Israel what was bad. But Joseph was neglecting the law of the Bible but observing the law of Love. What he was really doing was showing kindness and mercy, having some concern for her welfare as well as his own feelings. So he was called righteous, though in a different sense from its normal usage. I hope this gives those of us who are strict, die-hard, letter of the law, sorts of people a reason to ponder and contemplate our positions a little more carefully? Some like things black and white. But really, life is many shades of gray. Mercy is always commendable.
But apparently, motive plays a role in God's assessment of a person's actions. Is it not our motives and conscience that allow or forbid many things. This is thoroughly discussed under the "Tolerance and Individual Belief" I wrote elsewhere. By the way, God also let Joseph know what really happened so as to put him at ease and have him keep his wife as many of you well know.
What if a child was due to be born into a less than desirable circumstance? Would wanting to spare that child suffering and harm, showing concern for its future welfare, and extending mercy by preventing birth into a bad circumstance, be proper action to take? How you view life could determine whether your intentions/actions are benevolent or malevolent, kind or cruel.
What I am trying to show is that not all Christians have the same view of life. We need to respect that in each other. And this could be a big part of why some of us do not see abortion as the horrible tragedy that others see it as.
Children Are A Gift
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They certainly are . . . if you are God-fearing, married, got a job and secure at the moment. But what if you are in the middle of a famine in a time other than ours and you and your family are starving? What if the baby you are carrying was due to your being viciously raped? Or you are unemployed and filing for bankruptcy? What if you are not a Christian and did not have loving parents and have no idea where you are going or how to raise a child? What if you are dealing with way too many things to know which way is up and you had sex because you were starved for love and not really thinking because no one really gave you such skills?
It is easy when you came from a loving family and raised as a proper God-fearing Christians who have a sense of purpose, direction, and duty. In those circumstances, you have little excuse for being in a bad position. But if you had none of those things to start off with, you are missing quite a bit. Sadly, many kids are born into horrific circumstances that are not of their creation and that they had no control over. Life, a good life, is a gift from God. But life without love and security can truly be a living hell.
When I write this article, I would expect Christians to reflect the mercy and compassion of their Lord, Jesus, the Messiah and Son of God. But oddly, they seem to be missing that mercy and compassion which moved our Lord to forgive an adulterous woman, a tax collector, even a prostitute. You would have thought that maybe followers of Jesus might have had some of that mercy and compassion rub off but not so. They can not imagine the terror and bewilderment of a young man or woman, lacking the emotional and spiritual upbringing some of us were gifted with, for which we have no right to brag about, as if it was our doing and not a gift, and look down on these unfortunate people, who perhaps more than anything, could use some love, concern, and help and guidance.
It is a very sad thing when a child is conceived without the things God intended for all conceptions and births to have such as loving parents in a stable marital relationship, reinforced by a by grandparents, a community, their own land, in a stable situation of somewhat reliable circumstances and without threat of war or crime. A child might still turn out good, despite the worst of circumstances, but it will still be with great suffering and difficulty, and it won't be often. Most of the time, it will be tragedy and suffering without much good to say about it in the end. As I said earlier in this article, there are some things worse than premature death or death at a young age. For some, life can be a living hell, a lake of constantly burning fire that never lets up.
Even if you are a Christian brought up by loving parents and circumstances, what if you conceive just after an invasion by a foreign army. Maybe your wife was raped by a soldier passing by. Or maybe birth occurs after a great storm or earthquake, or a locust attack and your food is wiped out. Maybe it is during a famine. Is it still a gift or is it more of an unfortunate turn events that it should come at this time? Life was always intended to be a gift in God's eyes but we can not be blind to what life can throw at us and that despite God's best intentions, the arrival of a child might not be a good thing at that moment. We make the best we can of it, but it may be difficult and it could be that the child dies to to circumstances beyond our control. I call that bitter.
Due to a choice Adam made for us all in the Garden of Eden, life has often become a living hell. there are many circumstances that we can not control at any given moment, no matter how well we were prepared for life. And its even worse if we were not prepared for it. It is said that one man's heaven is another man's hell. Likewise, one man's "gift" can be another man's hell and torment. For those who have received a gift from God, be very grateful. But don't look down on others who have not been a fortunate and blessed as you have been. They deserve mercy, compassion, and understanding. They probably do not deserve judgment. Leave that to God. It is God's to judge those on the outside. Your job as a Christians is to only judge those on the inside, those in your congregation of brothers and sisters in the faith.
Besides, consider that while these people who might want an abortion, due to being sort of lost in life, are perhaps possibly committing an offense against God, though I would not be so sure of that; consider that they may, at a time later in life, finally come around to accepting God and becoming obedient to him. We want to leave them with a good impression of God by leaving them with a good impression of His followers. That's you and me!!! We do not need to alienate or turn people off to God. Paul says we are ambassadors for God who are supposed to represent Him in an exemplary manner and fashion so that maybe in time, they will turn toward Him, remembering that His followers were the only ones who showed them goodness, warmth and kindness, not judgment, condemnation, harassment, criticism. Our job, as assigned by God, is not to judge the world, but only judge our own in the faith. God has reserved it to Himself to judge the world and He does not like interference. If you do not obey God and respect His assignments for you, then you might find yourself receiving the same harsh judgment you are inflicting on those who might be thinking about an abortion.
I know I am repeating myself but I think it is pretty necessary, given that Christians do not seem to be using their heads at all. There is enough judgment and condemnation in the world already. We do not need more. The world is tough enough to bear without us making it worse. People make many mistakes due to not having direction. the Bible says that Jesus saw a crowd and felt pity for them for they were as sheep without a shepherd. Isn't that the way you should feel? Shouldn't there by pity for the suffering masses without guidance, rather than condemnation? Jesus gave hope by giving mercy and pity. What will you give?
35 And Jesus went about all the cities and villages, teaching in their synagogues and preaching the gospel of the kingdom, and healing every disease and every infirmity.
36 When he saw the crowds, he had compassion for them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd.
37 Then he said to his disciples, "The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few; 38 pray therefore the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into his harvest."
This is really the big test for any of you who call yourselves Christians. For though you call yourselves that, who do you really reflect by your actions? Do you show mercy, love, compassion, understanding, giving hope to people, or will you show judgment which God reserved only for Himself to make and carry out. Disobedience to God is actually worship of the devil. So if you judge when commanded not to, it is not Christ you are following. When people think of you, would they describe you as a Bible thumping Christian always looking down on people and telling them everything they are doing wrong? Or do you show compassion, knowing they have not been properly introduced to God or life. Maybe you could show them the kind side of God instead of the harshness and lack of compassion.
Nobody knew the laws of God better than God's son, but Jesus was known for compassion and forgiveness. He faulted the Pharisees for their hard hearts and harsh judgments of people. Jesus offered the people hope. Let your light shine before men, right? Do you have any light in you to show? Light is compassion and understanding. Not everyone has received a gift from God. Do not hold it against them. the only thing Christians owe the people of the world is love and compassion. God will take care of any judgment He might deem necessary. Its His business and not ours.
These crusaders often recommend that rather than abort a child, a pregnant mother go through with the birth and give the child up for adoption. I am amazed at this. Adoption is much more clearly spelled out as wrong in the Bible. I have written an entire article on it for all to consider. Click here or you can also get the link at the bottom of this page/article. There is a link there that can bring you back to this article. Just drop down to this sub-heading after getting back.
This is the outstanding trait of religious fanatics. They contradict themselves on nearly every political issue (every one I've covered so far, anyway), especially those based on religious ideas. Do they have an ulterior agenda or are they simply mad. I would suggest that it is insanity.
An article appeared in the Maine Sunday Telegram (and likely other papers throughout the U.S.), 1/14/96, from Milwaukee. "An abortion foe was convicted Friday of stealing $260,000 from a van used by an armored car company to transport cash. He had planned to use the money to finance attacks on abortion clinics, authorities said. Robert E. Cook faces up to 50 years in prison for theft, laundering $27,000 and soliciting someone else to plan attacks against abortion clinics and physicians."
Apparently in his "zeal," this man forgot that stealing, like murder, is also a violation of the 10 commandments. Where was his head at, I ask? And did you hear any Christians get upset about this man violating the commandment "Thou shalt not steal?" Well, they should have!
Of course, there have also been protesters of abortion who have killed doctors and other medical personnel and blown up abortion clinics in the name of God and justice. Evidently, if others murder, then it is alright for Christians to murder, too. Only problem is, I haven't been able to find it in the Bible. And I wish I could because there are a few I might like to get rid of myself! Just kidding. But 2 wrongs do not make a right. Can I go out and commit adultery because everyone else is doing it? I sure hope so. Sorry, just kidding again! I can't help it! No! Just because others ignore God's laws does not mean that we can. But I guess this does not apply to those who consider abortion wrong.
And they are getting ever worse and bolder in their insane pursuit of one solitary issue without any time, money, effort, or even violence given to any other aspect of children suffering or any other social injustice. Imagine this much effort in the pursuit of peace, elimination of poverty, or the improvement of adoptive services and care. Wow! But don't look to see it from this bunch of fanatical freaks. They care about babies but not kids. To hell with kids! Only babies matter to them.
And now "Christians" can evidently steal, murder, sabotage, or anything else as long as it serves God. At least that seems to be the policy of the right wing extremist, of which I would say there are more than you think. Since when were Christians authorized or permitted to carry out judgment and execution in behalf of God. Isn't God supposed to handle those on the "outside?" (See "Remaining Neutral Toward Governments & Politics" at the end of this article). But these Christians have rebelled against the authority of God and the Bible. There was another in the Bible who rebelled against God's authority and his name was Satan. Perhaps they are confused about which god it is that they are trying to serve. The only thing a Christian owes to those on the outside is love as was discussed elsewhere (Remaining Neutral Toward Governments & Politics").
They have tossed God off His throne and kicked Him out of heaven. Such arrogance is just amazing. But I am sure God will not take too kindly to being forced from His position. Not that He is literally thrown out, but it is as if He has been by them. He will soon let them know how He really feels about that.
But rather than love their enemies, the extremist right shoots and kills them. But a real Christian reaches out beyond his own group or clique and shows love and compassion even toward his enemies, trying to win them over to God, rather than judge them. Indeed, anyone doing this stands out as a real genuine authentic follower of Christ; a true Christian. One is left to wonder if there really are any real Christians out there. But if there are, they will not be stealing, killing, blowing things up, or any other acts of violence, terrorism, or harassment of individual human beings. The ends does not justify the means, ever!!!
What about when these acts of violence are committed by protesters of abortion? Do others who are against abortion speak out boldly against such behavior. I would say that the voices are small and few. Not anywhere near as loud as the voice of protest against abortion, for sure. And while not all may approve of violent extremist activities in the name of God, most seem to approve of or do not object to the harassment of those seeking abortion or those performing abortion. Hardly what I would call Christian love and not a very good way to win (read convert or reconcile) people over to God's way of doing things, either.
Not only do I hear little in the way of objection to the use of violence and terrorism from most, but I often hear those from among their own rank who applaud them or at least try to justify the actions of extremists. I would say that quite a number are in favor of this illegal activity, if not by out-spoken support, then by silent consent and approval. They are afraid to speak out publicly in favor of the actions for fear of the authorities or for fear of gaining an extremist label and identity. But at heart, they sympathize. If they don't then they should get off the fence and speak out against it and be counted with the righteous.
I do not suggest that all anti-abortionists sympathize with these un-Christian activities. But most of them support some sort of vigorous public protest and at least partial harassment of others. It is this intolerant state of mind that breeds the wackos and fruitcakes that carry on war against government sanctioned lawful legal abortion. There are members of this group who are past all sense of logic and reason, immersed in total blind fanaticism, and will stop at nothing to win their "holy war" against abortion to the exclusion of all other relevant issues and sane conduct.
It would take a complete change of heart on the part of the whole group to wear away against this sort of lunatic mentality and approach anywhere near a state of rational sanity. This is not likely to happen. I would suggest that it will get worse rather than better. Like racial problems, this is likely to blow up into all out war, eventually. And I want to make it clear that this has nothing to do with the Bible or real Christianity, which is so rare as to have its existence doubted.
Related to abortion is the issue of suicide, also forbidden by religious folk as a rule. Don't you just love my topic selections? I recommend considering the article Suicide which is related to life issues and could shed light on abortion in particular as well as the topic Birth Control.
Many of these hard line extremist Christians fear the government interfering with the raising of their children. And that is a justified fear in my opinion. They want to be free to raise their kids as they think they ought to. Sounds right, doesn't it? And yet they do not hesitate to attempt intervention in others' lives when it comes to certain forms of so called child abuse or when it comes to abortion. Either the government has the right to all interventions or none. I prefer the none. I will let others do as they see fit with their own and I will do as I see fit with mine.
Freedom and forced intervention are double edged swords. Are Christians sure about which is best for them in the long run? Do they want to lose control or even custody of their children? If not then perhaps they should consider a live and let live tolerance for other's decisions in regards to unborn kids. Another danger is that the government could tire of Christian meddling in laws and trying to dictate morals, which the so called Christians seem to have as little of as anyone else at times. The governments could launch their own attack on Christians. I personally think such as attack has already begun. But it could get worse if the trouble makers keep it up.
God knows our motives and it is He who will make an inspection and accounting of each one of us individually. We will not be responsible for what others do, only what we do, will we answer for. However, if we force our ways upon another, we may have to answer for that, for the Bible says, "Do not judge, or you too will be judged. For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you." [Matthew 7:1 New International Version]. Sobering, isn't it?
The topic of Suicide bears a lot on this issue as does Birth Control. As as for each doing as they see fit and exercising their own conscience, I think everyone could profit tremendously from a consideration of Tolerance and Individual Belief. Be sure to check them all out.
The following articles cover topics that strongly relate to this subject. They are:
Conscience and Individual Belief
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