Archive for pro-choice

Abortion and the Bible

Posted in agnoticism, Atheism, Atheist, belief, Bible, Christianity, culture, faith, humanity, life, medical, nature, random, religion, science, thoughts with tags , , , on November 1, 2010 by chouck017894

More important than the event of being born into this harsh material world is the prospect of what the quality of that newborn’s life is likely to be.  This is not an aspect that those opposed to abortion seem willing to consider seriously.  They prefer to let incompetent religious hucksters manipulate them and short-circuit their reasoning ability by use of cherry-picked biblical verses taken out of context of certain stories.  To use two or three biblical verses out of context to claim a godly pronouncement against abortion, and jimmy them into a doctrine stoked with hatred amounts to true sacrilege.  Far more verses can be lifted out of context that will contradict the antiabortion stance, not to mention  that whole chapter in the Old Testament tell of god-approved slaughter of babes, infants, children and parents.  The book of Joshua, for example, is glorification of a holocaustic orgy of such slaughter of innocents. 

Anti-abortionists declare themselves to be “pro-life,” and yet they extend no compassion or thought as to the quality of  life into which a forming fetus is to be born.  Very few of those pro-life activists ever lift a finger to do anything about the infants after they are born into life-demeaning or life-threatening circumstances.  If these pro-life activists really were pro-life they would organize to help all those infants who are  born into poverty and have only a bleak, miserable existence waiting for them.  To ignore such tragedy that is played out all around this overpopulated planet is a testimony that pro-lifers actually lack any true spiritual perception. 

As a small example of how they blind themselves to the enormity of real life and spiritual problems, consider these facts from United Nations.  One-point-four billion people around the planet live in extreme poverty where income is less than $1.25 per day.  Around a billion people have no access to clean water, and infants and very young children perish from contaminated water.  And more than a billion persons, mainly infants and very young children, are chronically undernourished.  These are just a few examples of conditions of conscious, self-aware life, not potential life.  What do those who claim to be pro-life do to actually raise the quality of life in this world?  Nothing.   For pro-life fanatics to claim themselves as pro-life but ignore these tragedies while indulging in social mayhem amounts to nothing more than a stimulant for masturbating their egos. 

Nowhere in “holy word” is it said that God defined a fetus as being a sentient person.  In fact, in the timeframes in which the few cherry-picked verses were written a babe was not considered a person until it had passed its first year of life.  That is historical fact.  And it is made clear in the book of Exodus, chapter 21, verses 22 through 25.  It is highly unlikely that the anti-abortionists ever exert themselves to really read the Bible so here is what it says:  “And if men struggle and strike a woman with child so that she has a miscarriage, yet there is no further injury, he shall be fined as the woman’s husband may demand of him, and he shall pay as the judges decide.  But if there is any further injury, then you shall appoint as a penalty life for life, eye for eye, tooth for tooth, hand for hand, foot for foot, burn for burn, wound for wound, bruise for bruise.”  So if a woman were to lose a fetus when accidentally struck as two men are fighting, it was not deemed a capital offense.  If the woman had been killed, however, then another life had to be forfeited.  In other words, a fetus was not deemed to be a person, but the woman was man’s property.

Biblical translations abound, and one can pick and choose what they want to use as basis to practice some prejudice.  In the verses quoted above, the word miscarriage is changed in some editions to read “gives birth prematurely,” which is claimed to be closer to original text. (The New International Version of the Bible.)  But here, too, the choice of words are not scripturally correct.  The Hebrew word yalad, a verb, was translated as the word “miscarriage” or as “gives birth prematurely;” but more correctly it describes the process of expelling a fetus, not the personhood of the fetus itself.  And in the wretched book of Leviticus, a baby had to reach the age of one month before it was judged to have any monetary value (27:6).  In the book of Numbers (3:15) it tells of a census that was taken, but any babes under one month were not to be counted, so it is certain that any fetuses were not counted as forthcoming persons. 

Still the anti-abortionists love to point out cherry-picked verses chosen for them by some egocentric faith merchant, and then go forth in God’s name to bomb women’s clinics or indulge in outright murder of doctors who serve such clinics.  What part of the phrase pro-life do they not understand?  The favored verses chosen by the unspiritual faith merchants as a rallying cry for practicing hatred come from alleged special case character in some biblical tale.  One of their favorite rallying choices comes from Psalms 139:13-16, which reads:  “For thou didst form my inward parts; Thou didst weave me in my mother’s womb.  I will give thanks to Thee, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; wonderful are Thy works, and my soul knows it very well.  My frame was not hidden from Thee, when I was made in secret, and skillfully wrought in the depths of the earth.  (Wrought where?)  Thine eyes have seen my unformed substance; and in Thy book they were all written, the days that were ordained for me, when as yet there was not one of them.”

The verse quoted above is alleged to have been written by David, but sounds suspiciously like priest jargon.  In any case, it is about one  particular person who was to be used by God to intruded upon regional politics: that one glorified womb product was not in reference to every conception and fetal growth. 

Another cherry-picked phrase taken out of context and thrown around to stimulate their urge for inhumane conduct is, “Before I formed thee in the belly I knew thee.”   And who was it that God allegedly said this to?  It was not to all humankind but to one particular prophet: it was to Jeremiah, supposedly chosen for a divine purpose.  The full passage reads: “Then the word of the Lord came unto me, saying, Before I formed thee in the belly I knew thee; and before thou camest forth out of the womb I sanctified thee, and I ordained thee a prophet unto nations.”  This hardly applies to the run of the mill fetuses.  And further on it says: “See, I have this day set thee over the nations and over the kingdoms, to root out, and to pull down, and to destroy, and to throw down, to build and to plant.”  How does that possibly apply to every fetus?

There is one  more favorite cherry-picked Bible episode lifted out of the New Testament book of Luke (1:39-41); the crafted scene where Elisabeth, mother-to-be of John the Baptist, meets with Mary pregnant with Jesus.  “And Mary arose in those days, and went into the hill country with haste, into a city of Juda; And entered into the house of Zacharias, and saluted Elisabeth.  And it came to pass, that, when Elisabeth heard the salutation of Mary, the babe leaped in her womb; and Elisabeth was filled with the Holy Ghost.”

Once again it is an alleged divine prophet that is portrayed as a sentient fetus.  Fetuses may kick and move as muscles and nerve systems develop, but the impulses of energy hardly makes every fetus a god-fashioned sentient person.  And using Bible verses out of context cannot be legitimately pointed to as a mandate against abortion.  If those who claim to be pro-life could find the stomach to actually read the “good book” from cover to cover they would find absolutely nothing in regard to abortion—neither condemning nor defending it.  As far as holy word is concerned, abortion is a non-issue.

Abortion Anxiety

Posted in Atheist, belief, Bible, biological traits, faith, humanity, medical, nature, random, religion, science, thoughts with tags , , , , , , , on October 29, 2009 by chouck017894

Thoughts in regard to news that an extreme fringe group of anti-abortionists is trying to drum up cash for legal defense of Scott Roeder, killer of Dr. George Tiller who tried to provide for women seeking safe abortion.

Ask most anti-abortion supporters where in the Bible it is stated that inducing abortion is forbidden and they dutifully allude to three or four selected biblical verses, especially the sixth Commandment forbidding killing.  Other verses cited are in regard to the conceiving of one special person such as a man who is allegedly meant to be a “prophet” or who is to become king.  Because God is referred to as having worked in the womb of some certain woman for God’s special purpose, none of the verses used as authority declare or even imply that God is the active participant in every conception.

A favorite bit of anti-abortion propaganda is a phrase in the first chapter of the book of Jeremiah, verse 5, that goes; “Before I formed thee in the belly I knew thee…”  If these Bible pickers would just read the rest of the passage, the words there do not support their argument.  The phrase held in such fanatic respect was allegedly spoken to Jeremiah personally, to whom God also allegedly said, “…before thou camest forth out of the womb, I sanctified thee, and I ordained thee a prophet of nations.”  The soliloquy continues through verse 10 and elaborates on Jeremiah’s call as “prophet.”  So, unless everyone is to play the role of “prophet” to nations it cannot be said of them, “…before I formed thee in the belly I knew thee.”

Another favorite bit of cherry picking the Bible is Psalms 139:13-16, supposedly composed by King David, that alludes, “…thou hast covered me in my mother’s womb.”  And, “My substance was not hid from thee, when I was made in secret, and curiously wrought in the lowest parts of the earth.  Thine eyes did see my substance, yet being unperfect; and in thy book all my members were written which in continuance were fashioned, when as yet there was none of them.”  So, once again, only one particular pregnancy was personally activated and it does not support the claim that every conception is God-ordained.

The third popular selection of holy word ferreted out by anti-abortionists comes from Luke 1:39-41 that describes the unlikelihood of a fetus (who was to become John the Baptist) carried in Elisabeth’s body leaping in his mother’s womb when Mary, pregnant with Jesus, greeted her.  That passage is taken by anti-abortionists to imply that all gestating fetuses are sentient persons; but once again the account is in regard only to a “prophet” allegedly ordained by God. 

Religious dogma too often celebrates ignorance, such as the untruth that self-aware physical personhood begins at conception.  A fertilized egg—a zygote—within a woman’s abdomen becomes active with 23 chromosomes from her egg and 23 chromosomes from a man’s sperm.  The resultant single cell that evolves then contains all the DNA to initiate a cellular glob, but that cellular mass has only the potential to evolve into a physical independent being.  The unproven assertion that a cognizant human exists is not a scientific or holy fact.

During the gestation period, a simple cell amoeba becomes activated by drawing upon nutrients and oxygen supplied by the carrier, which then converts (evolves) into biological energy which causes cells to divide, multiply and grow.  The developing energy-substance, although containing all 46 chromosomes for a potential human being, is not yet endowed with consciousness of self.  It is still simply a growing amoeba, meaning that it is without consciousness of personhood.  This is the indifferent method as described in Genesis by which all life in nature was programmed to renew itself.

Although a zygote, the fertilized egg, does contain all 46 chromosomes that can involve and evolve as a potential human, it is alive only as a mass of cells that are multiplying as an energy substance which continues to lack any consciousness of self.  That energy-mass will react to stimulus around itself just as “dead” tissue can be made to jerk by electrical stimulation, but it does not and cannot exist except by drawing all necessary life stimulants from its carrier.  Until the developing mass can breathe and take nourishment with a smattering of consciousness, it remains only a potential person.