Why is there still controversy over abortion?

Reply Fri 28 Aug, 2015 08:44 pm
Ok, I see your train of thought. I shall play ball! Btw, I am enjoying this convo immensely and appreciate your insights.

I do believe in objective morality. I do believe human rights are derived from the God of the bible. In Genesis, the creation of man is described as being “in the image of God,” therefore ascribing worth and value to humanity above other created things.

I don’t see this being contradicted in Joshua. I believe we need to understand God’s intentions before we can analyze his commands accurately. The Canaanites were involved in child sacrifice, bizarre sexual practices tied to their idol worship, etc. So by God’s standard they were in violation of his law and therefore they deserved death. The Canaanites had been practicing these things for centuries and God postponed judgment (Gen 15.16). This is the same God willing to spare the Canaanite city of Sodom for the sake of just ten righteous people (Gen. 18:32), so understanding his motives and reasons is a complex task involving much more research than this.

I would argue that based on the following passages, God instructed certain peoples to be destroyed in the OT as a form of judgment:

“It is because of the wickedness of these nations that the Lord your God is driving them out before you…” (Deut. 9:5)

“Do not defile yourselves by any of these things, for by all these the nations which I am casting out before you have become defiled.” (Lev. 18:24-25)

“When you enter the land which the Lord your God gives you, you shall not learn to imitate the detestable things of those nations… because of these detestable things the Lord your God will drive them out before you.” (Deut. 18:9, 12)

None of it seems arbitrary nor contradictory to the Ten Commandments. God didn’t tell Joshua to exterminate a random people group for any superficial reason. These commands were exercises of capital punishment on a national scale, payback for hundreds of years of sin. He judged them as a whole for the collective immorality. God sentenced His own people to similar destruction when they sinned in similar ways. It may be unsettling, but it is not inconsistent with the rest of the OT and how God is characterized.

Today, we ascribe rights to people that are taken away – sometimes even with death – when a person commits a crime. Our culture has changed, our context has changed, so the appropriate punishment for crime has changed. But the value of human beings transcends culture and context.

This was not carte blanche for any and all genocide or ethnic cleansing, but instead a directive limited in time to these particular conquests, limited in scope to the Canaanites, and limited in location to the Promised Land after hundreds of years of withholding judgment. To pull this narrative out of the context of the entire bible and use it as proof that God condones mass killings of random ethnicities, genders or age groups based on their physical characteristics alone (abortion, holocaust) is a poor and limited understanding of the text.

I am wiped after doing a bunch of reading about this topic, but thank you for challenging me! This is really making me think.
Reply Fri 28 Aug, 2015 09:26 pm
So by God’s standard they were in violation of his law and therefore they deserved death.

This is really the crux of your argument. And think very carefully about what you are saying (which I think is pretty spot on to what the Bible is saying). Because this ethnic group didn't conform to Gods standard, they were to be slaughtered... men, women and children.

There is no possible way to square this with modern views of morality. God is saying that a country can be so messed up that it gives his people the right to slaughter them all, men women and children.

We would never say that any country is so messed up that we have the right to slaughter them. When we defeated Nazi Germany (a pretty messed up country) we held trials before we executed the worst of them and we sent food over to make sure the children of the defeated Nazi's wouldn't starve. We have quite a different view about our enemies then the God of Joshua did.

By God's standard, the events of the book of Joshua were justified. By my standard God acted immorally. If anyone, directed by God or not, tried to wipe out an ethnic group today (no matter how hated they were) it would be genocide and would be condemned as immoral.
Reply Fri 28 Aug, 2015 09:34 pm
We covered Joshua. Consider this part of the law of Moses. Killing a girl for not being able to prove she is a virgin is barbaric in my opinion. I would be horrified if this ever happened. And yet it was a command of God.

Deuteronomy 22 wrote:
If a man takes a wife and, after sleeping with her, dislikes her 14 and slanders her and gives her a bad name, saying, “I married this woman, but when I approached her, I did not find proof of her virginity,” then the young woman’s father and mother shall bring to the town elders at the gate proof that she was a virgin. Her father will say to the elders, “I gave my daughter in marriage to this man, but he dislikes her. Now he has slandered her and said, ‘I did not find your daughter to be a virgin.’ But here is the proof of my daughter’s virginity.” Then her parents shall display the cloth before the elders of the town, and the elders shall take the man and punish him. They shall fine him a hundred shekels of silver and give them to the young woman’s father, because this man has given an Israelite virgin a bad name. She shall continue to be his wife; he must not divorce her as long as he lives.

If, however, the charge is true and no proof of the young woman’s virginity can be found, she shall be brought to the door of her father’s house and there the men of her town shall stone her to death. She has done an outrageous thing in Israel by being promiscuous while still in her father’s house. You must purge the evil from among you


Imagine the terror of a teenage girl (or pre-teen) being brought before adult men accusing her of not being a virgin because she didn't bleed the right way (which medically doesn't always happen). This young girl could be killed in the most brutal way for a medically invalid test. It must have been horrific.

Modern morality says killing young girls for failing to pass a virginity test is wrong. God's law says it is manditory.

Who is right?

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Reply Fri 28 Aug, 2015 10:37 pm
maxdancona wrote:
This is really the crux of your argument. And think very carefully about what you are saying (which I think is pretty spot on to what the Bible is saying). Because this ethnic group didn't conform to Gods standard, they were to be slaughtered... men, women and children.
The Canaanites had a distinctive characteristic in their worship, that of placing their live children in the outstretched arms of Molech and allowing them to fall, screaming for mercy, into the sacrificial fire. This was accompanied by loud music, chanting, and the beating of tambourines so that parents might remain unaffected. It is a wonder that God endured such barbarity as long as he did.

But the truth of the matter is these people were by and large ignorant and. deluded. Most likely they will return in the resurrection promised at John 5:28-29. God does not abandon anyone completely.

Your problem is believing what people say about the bible rather than what the bible says of itself
Reply Sat 29 Aug, 2015 07:22 am
Hmmmm Neologist,

Imagine the Caananites were around today in 2015 doing the same horrible things for Molech. And what if some world leader came on TV and said...

"We will slaughter them all; men, woman and children. We will even slaughter their animals. After we are done with this military campaign not even a single child will be left living."

This is basically what Joshua said...

Do you really think that this is moral (given our modern sense of morality)?

We have faced some horrible enemies (for example Nazi Germany). For the past century we haven't ever suggested that we would slaughter their children. In fact, when we defeated them we took steps to help the children of our foes, sending them food aid to save as many as possible from starving.

Neologist, you are justifying genocide. Joshua intentionally killed children, making sure he didn't leave a single child living, at God's instruction. We would never tolerate this today.

Do you really think genocide is moral under any circumstances (under any modern sense of morality)?
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Reply Sat 29 Aug, 2015 07:48 am
Neologist, I would also like to hear your justification for virginity tests.

Virginity tests are another example of something that God in the Bible instituted that most modern people consider barbaric under any circumstances.

Is forcing a girl to take a virginity test, and killing her if she fails, moral under any circumstances?
Reply Sat 29 Aug, 2015 09:13 am
That the hymen breakage is always followed by bleeding has been debunked, as max knows, whether used as a virginity test or not. I don't have a link for that, but in the first place, hymens vary.
Reply Sat 29 Aug, 2015 09:17 am
You have been agreeing with me an awful lot lately, Osso. Is everything OK?
Reply Sat 29 Aug, 2015 09:19 am
Yes, you brat.
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Reply Sat 29 Aug, 2015 11:27 am
Rickoshay75 wrote:
On this day, Jan 22, 1973, In a historic decision, the U.S. Supreme Court rules in Roe v. Wade that women, as part of their constitutional right to privacy, can terminate a pregnancy during its first two trimesters. Only during the last trimester, when the fetus can survive outside the womb, would states be permitted to regulate abortion of a healthy pregnancy."

As far as I know, the ruling still applies to all states today,

It was actually replaced by a subsequent ruling. I don't care enough about the issue to bother to remember the case name though.

The new rules are that the pregnancy period is divided in half. Pre-viability, all abortions have to be allowed. Post-viability, states can prohibit abortions except when the life or health of the woman is endangered.

This regime is not likely to stand for much longer. Now that the 2013 gun control debacle has guaranteed a Republican victory in 2016, we will be seeing a hard shift to the right on the Supreme Court.

Rickoshay75 wrote:
so why are Republican Governors aloud to go against the Supreme Court, make up their own oppressive rules?

If the courts feel that a law violates the Constitution, they will strike it down as unconstitutional.

If the courts refuse to strike a law down as unconstitutional, they must feel that it does not conflict with the Constitution.
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Reply Mon 31 Aug, 2015 02:53 pm
kellirosej wrote:

InfraBlue wrote:

These reasons are based on assumption that abortion is murder.

Right. That was my point. There is still controversy over abortion because one camp believes a fetus is a human being/person (i.e. able to be murdered) and one camp believes a fetus is merely a clump of cells or not a person (meaning abortion cannot be labeled as murder).

In order to justify abortion while holding a consistent position that all human beings deserve equal rights, one must assert that a fetus is not a human being or human person.

As far as I can tell, the reason it is so controversial is because there is enough reasonable scientific evidence to support the human-ness or personhood of a fetus in the eyes of a large group of people.

Now obviously you can hold that the fetus is a human being and/or person and just say so what? It's a human but it doesn't have the same rights as other humans. In that case, however, you are implying that not all humans are of equal value which leads to loads of other ethical questions in other areas.

Sure, there are arguments that hold that all human beings deserve equal rights that include not being killed, and certainly, many of those arguments extend those rights to include fetuses, but there are other arguments that hold that not all human beings deserve equal rights including the right not to be killed, e.g. the populations of enemy countries, certain criminals, unwanted fetuses, etc.
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