This will be the first of two articles regarding pro-life activist group Abolish Human Abortion.
I wish I didn't have to write this article, but the reality is I believe that AHA does more harm to the pro-life movement than good. I do want to start off by saying that I appreciate their passion to see abortion done away with and unborn children saved. I believe that many of their views come out of a frustration with abortion having become legalized and remaining so for 40-plus years in the first place, which was due in large part to Christians not taking a stand against this horrible practice, a frustration which I share. However, they are far too divisive (and many of their views are simply skewed and not well-reasoned). What the pro-life movement needs now, more than ever, is unity among its supporters and proponents., even ones who disagree with us on spiritual issues. You can find another such article here. I have decided to add my voice to the fray. I would just like to ask that you hear my heart on this, and not just my words. I am not saying that pro-life Christians should leave the Gospel out of all their conversations, I am merely arguing that it is not necessary to make the pro-life case.
Specifically, I'll be addressing their article "The Difference Between Pro-Lifers and Abolitionists," which you can find here.
Their first section has the heading "'Abolitionist' is not a synonym for 'pro-lifer.'" That's a pretty obvious statement. There is nothing in the term "abolitionist" that specifically indicates the abortion issue. William Wilberforce was a slavery abolitionist. Martin Luther King, Jr. was a racial discrimination abolitionist. So my response here is "of course not." The problem is that they are making here a distinction without a difference. There is no difference between "abortion abolitionist" and "pro-life advocate," as will be made clear in the rest of this article.
AHA makes the claim that pro-life is the expression of a moral opinion, abolitionist is the expression of a moral action. This statement is very problematic, especially coming from a group that considers themselves Christian. Christians believe in objective morality. Thoughtful Christians don't deny that Atheists can live moral lives and recognize moral truths. Pro-life is not a moral opinion, but an expression of the moral reality that one ought not intentionally kill an innocent human being without strong moral justification. Of course, one can be pro-life and not seek to do anything about it, but then their stance becomes meaningless. You can make the case that one becomes an abolitionist when one seeks to put your pro-life views into action (but that's also the definition of "pro-life advocate"). Even if this is your stance, then nothing about this stance indicates that the non-religious or members of another religion can't also be abolitionists.
Their next heading states: "Pro-lifers prefer gradual, over immediate, abolition." This is simply a strawman argument of what many pro-life people believe (a strawman argument is when you attack a similar argument to the one presented that is weaker and easier to defeat). Pro-life advocates actually do prefer immediate abolition. We would love it if our government would stop sanctioning the killing of unborn children, and if Planned Parenthood would stop doing it. What pro-life people realize, and which is supported by history, is that it simply doesn't work out that way. Gradually is the way to enact a change like this. It took William Wilberforce twenty years to abolish the slave trade in England. He made it his life's mission to see this done. He worked incrementally, voting for legislation that kept slavery legal yet made conditions safer for slaves. He knew that the way his culture was, he couldn't pass all or nothing laws. He worked to change the culture's perception of slavery while working to pass incrementally better legislation until he was finally able to abolish it altogether. It sucks, but that's the way it's going to have to get done. Pro-life advocates don't prefer this, but we're also willing to work strategically to save as many lives as we possibly can in the meantime. So by AHA's own definition, William Wilberforce was not an abolitionist.
They make the claim that abolitionism has historically been wed to the doctrine of immediatism, but they offer no supporting evidence for this claim. I'd be interested to know at what point in history a societal evil was recognized, decided that it needed to be done away with, and then made illegal immediately without having to resort to incremental steps.
Their next heading states, "You can be a secular pro-lifer. You can't be a secular abolitionist." Really? Says who? Why should we accept your definition of abolitionist? Are you saying there were no secular people who helped abolish slavery or racial discrimination? They are making an ad hoc argument, using their own made-up definition of abolitionist. There is nothing inherent in the word "abolitionist" that one must believe in a higher law or deity. And again, their statements are distressing because one does not need to be a Christian to recognize an objective moral law (just look at the numerous secular ethicists who, almost across the board, reject moral relativism). In fact, the dictionary definition of "abolitionist" is: "a person who advocated or supported the abolition of slavery in the U.S.," "a person who advocates the abolition of any law or practice deemed harmful to society."
Their final heading states, "Pro-lifers prefer common ground. Abolitionists prefer to proclaim the gospel." Another strawman argument. I wonder what AHA would say of someone like me, a conservative Protestant Christian who seeks to abolish abortion in the United States, but also believes these things (like finding common ground and that incrementalism is the wisest maneuver) that apparently true abolitionists don't look for (and by the way, some of the greatest opponents of abortion has always been the Catholic church, whom AHA would probably write off as not being true abolitionists since they're "not true Christians"). Anyway, it's a strawman because a Christian like me seeks to find common ground as a springboard to a good discussion, whereas I am also not afraid of sharing the Gospel with people I talk to. Many of my conversations naturally lead in to where morality comes from and whether or not God exists. But in my conversations on abortion, this is not my main focus. Christianity has a long, proud history of using natural, non-theological arguments to make their case. That's because if the Christian worldview is true, it is true for all of reality. Abortion would be immoral whether or not you could support that argument Biblically.
I would like AHA to come to one of our Justice For All seminars. We use methods that Greg Koukl talks about in his book Tactics in order to help make our case, to help people see that our views are rational and can be supported through reason and evidence. I am a mentor and speaker for JFA, and we teach good conversation techniques, like listening to understand the person's viewpoint (rather than simply assuming it), asking questions for clarification and to see why they believe what they believe, and, yes, to find common ground as a way of keeping the conversation going (because believe it or not, we can find common ground with pro-choice people.
This attitude that Atheists can't be true abolitionists is even more bizarre, considering that on a post in their blog called Atheist Ethics Are Impossible, they state the following to pro-life Atheists: "I admire your desire to abolish the practice of human abortion. I believe your fight against this abominable practice is praiseworthy. I think you are right in believing this practice is a great atrocity and violation of civil rights..." So...what? An Atheist can want and actively work to abolish abortion but can't be an abolitionist? You believe their fight is praiseworthy and you repay them by saying "you're not one of us"?
I'm not saying that we can't disagree with Atheists, or that we should act like we agree with them on everything. I have these discussions with my colleagues in SPL (as long as they're willing -- I don't force it on them). We can work with people we disagree with on other issues against a common enemy, namely legalized abortion.
AHA has this grand idea that they're "engaging the culture" by refusing to use secular arguments alone, refusing to make arguments apart from the gospel of Jesus Christ. While I commend their passion to see souls saved, this actually presents a complete ignorance of their culture. People are not going to be convinced by Biblical arguments (in fact, arguing that God exists because the Bible says so is a logical fallacy, circular reasoning -- you need to have secular arguments as to how you know God exists in the first place). You can have a spiritual discussion, all the while leaving the arguments against abortion behind. If you make the argument that abortion is wrong because God has made us in his image and he says that murder is wrong, that's true, of course. But it's not going to be convincing to atheists. And by the sheer number of religious pro-choice people, converting them to Christianity doesn't guarantee a convert to the pro-life position. If you're going to use religious arguments, you're going to have to prove that your religion is the true one. While that's certainly do-able, it's an unnecessary step in changing peoples' minds on abortion. I appreciate you if that's how you feel it is best done, I do it myself. But claiming that Atheistic pro-life advocates (or other pro-life advocates) can't make pro-life converts apart from the gospel is just plain incorrect. I've convinced people to become pro-life by simply presenting them with the scientific evidence of human development.
So again, my purpose here is not to belittle a group of pro-life advocates, and I hope that they prayerfully consider my words. I welcome further discussion, and if someone from AHA would like to respond I would be more than happy to continue the dialogue. One need not constantly bring up the gospel in order to convince someone to be pro-life, especially if that person is hostile to the gospel but open to hearing arguments for the pro-life position. You have to tailor your arguments to your audience.
Just want to add; AHA is NOT the ones Murdering babies!!ReplyDelete
Who cares what they belief!! They are in it to abolish abortion!! But your probably the same people in the PLM who said vote for conscience while backing Mitt Romney who was one of the biggest pro-death republicans ever!! And you losers back him up opening the door for More republicans caving in on the abortion issue and making exceptions!!!
Enough of your mind-control tactics and using your religion to hide your agenda!! Its not AHA's fault they refuse to endorse Mitt because they Efficiently did a background check; while a good number of PLM catholic leaders were giving out dis-info on Mitt saying he was a prolife campaign!!
Many people can disagree with AHA all they want. But when we are trying to shut down Gosnell and other late term abortion clinics then you come along with this blog trying to dis-credit a prolife group which PP hates because they show graphic pictures and is Unwilling to submit!! One can come to the conclusion on who's side your really on!!??
I'm sorry you're not interested in reasonable discourse. I wrote this because I believe that the pro-life side needs to be united, not divided, and AHA, as I indicated in my article, are doing more harm than good. Is there anything specific in the article you take issue with? If not, perhaps you should honestly consider whether what I have written has merit or not.Delete
Uh where did he mention Mitt Romney? Way to make one assumption after another without actually responding to *anything* he wrote.Delete
AHA needs to stay out of our way. Stop accusing us of condoning murder by passing laws that make it harder for abortion clinics to operate. We'll hold them down while you go for the jugular and rejoice when the monster is slain, so stop acting like our enemies.Delete
This comment has been removed by the author.ReplyDelete
Your comment isn't showing up here for some reason, but I received it in my e-mail inbox. You are correct that his entire comment is a strawman. I wrote this article trying to open the door to discussion, but it seems that some people aren't really interested.Delete
Abolitionists and Prolifers are quite different as your blog post indicates and actually argues.ReplyDelete
AHA has never said that an atheist can't be pro life. We have just said that atheism and abolitionism (believing in a higher law which trumps a lower law) are inconsistent.
As for the Gospel. We don't say that the gospel alone is capable of making someone convert to a pro life position in regard to killing babies. We are saying that the key to Abolishing abortion lies in bringing it into conflict with the Gospel. This doesn't mean that we don't use other arguments and tactics as well, but we do think that calling women, men, so-called doctors, the nation, and an apathetic church to repentance for the sin of abortion is key and should not be left out.
The abolitionists of slavery did not leave this out and they thought about the evil of their age in the same way that we think about ours.
For example, listen to the Declaration of Sentiments from Abolitionists William Lloyd Garrison :http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VTDnIdeTN7Q
You will hear that the message of abolitionism has not changed from then until now. And you will even be able to hear of the differences between prolifers and abolitionists as he lays them out in that speech (in 1833).
I can discuss the differences further if you would like, but I want to say that AHA is not saying prolifeism is bad, we are just saying that we are not pro lifers.
Prolifers are doing good things and saving babies all over the place. We do not have a problem with any of this. We engaged in prolife work as well. But we understand the call for abolition and the work that we have been given to do to try and transform this nation and create a culture of dissent against abortion grounded in the Gospel.
Abide in Christ,
Russell Hunter A//A
Hi, Russell, and thank you for taking the time to respond.Delete
I'm curious as to how my blog post actually argues your position rather than mine. I thought I made my case pretty clear that there is no difference between a pro-life advocate and an abortion abolitionist. Could you expound on that, please?
I did listen to the speech, and I wasn't clear about how he made a distinction between pro-lifers and abolitionists. Could you point to the time stamp on that? Or if you could point me to a written manuscript of that, that would make it easier for me.
"atheism and abolitionism (believing in a higher law which trumps a lower law) are inconsistent."Delete
Russell, I honestly can't say whether atheism and 'abolitionism' (as the word is being used in this context) are compatible, because you seem to have your own definition of 'abolitionism.' It seems that you've decided to create your own micro-movement within the larger pro-life movement, and you're calling the view advocated by that group 'abolitionism.' If religious belief is a necessary component of that view, then obviously we atheists won't qualify. To that extent you're right.
On the other hand, if we're using the normal definition of the word, such that a abolitionist is a person who favors the abolition of a law or practice which he deems to be harmful to society, then with respect to abortion, I am an abolitionist. If we're using the word to argue that there's an analogy between antebellum slavery and post RvW abortion, then I'm still an abolitionist. In the past, the law denied the humanity of a class of human beings so that they could be considered property and used in whatever manner their owner saw fit. Today the law denies the humanity of a class of human beings so that they can be considered as property and disposed of in whatever manner the owner sees fit. While there are significant differences, in that regard I do see the two as analogous.
When you claim that because I'm an atheist, I cannot believe in a higher law which trumps a lower law, I'm not sure how best to respond. Obviously, you're wrong, but you're wrong in such a jaw droppingly profound way, that I'm not sure where we share a frame of reference. Do you accept that a moral principle always counts as a higher law, or do you think that a higher law needs to be a law passed down 'from on high'? If you're making up your own definitions again so that secular morality somehow "doesn't count," then there's nothing to talk about. I suppose I could make up my own arbitrary definition such that 'higher law' is not genuine if it's espoused by someone from Oklahoma... named Randall :P
If you're not going to do something that silly, however, it seems that you're saying the only kind of morality that exists is the sort that's based on religion.
What is the Categorical Imperative, if not a secular 'higher law' of morality?
There is so much scholarship about secular moral philosophy that for you to pretend it's not there is just... bizarre. There are Stoics and Epicureans. There's Plato and Aristotle (who were appropriated by Augustine and Aquinas).. There's Bentham and Mills. There's Rousseau and Hobbes and Locke. There's Rawls and Nozick and Scanlon, and let's not forget the author of the aforementioned secular higher law, the father of the Enlightenment: Immanuel Kant.
Those are just the folks who come immediately to mind. I imagine that if Mr. Wilcox is reading this he probably has a list that he feels I've unjustly omitted - and he'd be right.
The truth is, however, that we don't need to point to anything so grand.as Kant's Categorical Imperative or Rawls' Theory of Justice because they're both based on the same non-religious ethical principle which exists in some form in every culture through history and which can be recited by any schoolchild: The Golden Rule.
You can say that I don't have /your/ version of morality because I'm an atheist, and since I assume you believe that your morality is the only true morality, I can understand why you'd be inclined to say that I don't have the /right/ morality.
Just don't be a schmuck and say that as an atheist I don't have /a/ morality.
Hi, Ockraz, and thanks for sharing your thoughts. Have you heard of Secular Pro-Life, by chance?Delete
Yessir. I've been in it for quite awhile :)Delete
Most often I go to the atheist prolife FB groups,
but I comment at SPL & sometimes on Kelsey's wall.
I saw your J.J. Thomson articles.
I've been thinking about doing
the same sort of thing for the Boonin book.
I was also thinking about a blog with
lots of attention on abortion in academic philosophy,
but maybe you've got that covered :)
BTW- I think we may have similar Amazon problems.
I try to use journals (because they're free) but sometimes
that's not possible..
PS:Something I'd forgotten to say in the long article above is that if AHA is hoping to adhere to the model of the American abolitionists, they accepted ought to do a bit more homework. The abolitionists were the radicals of their time and non christians into their movement. I can't remember the names off of the top of my head, but I remember there being a pantheist, two 'spiritualists' (seances to speak to the dead) , and two atheists. Unitarians were common. They didn't believe in the trinity and weren't always christian. Universalists were christian but rejected the idea of hell. If AHA really wants to use the experiences of the Abolitionists as their template, then they should become more diverse & less insular.
Okay, cool. Then obviously I don't have to advertise them to you. :D Yeah, I've posted many articles to their blog (and will have another one up soon).Delete
Well, I do try to cover the academic stuff (and I'm planning on reviewing and responding to Boonin's book sometime in the future, but if you'd like to do that for SPL's blog, then I'll just relegate those articles to this blog). There's plenty of bad philosophy going around on both sides. I believe that the issue is important enough to respond to what the academics are saying. After all, it does no good to respond to the weakest arguments. If our side is the correct one, we need to be engaging with the best arguments from the other side.
Although, I do know of a couple other blogs like mine. I don't know if I'd say we have it covered, as I think that more blogs with good arguments is always welcome.
I think this article makes AHA's point about exactly what is wrong with the modern "Pro-life" movement. While the writer likes to use the phrase "straw man argument" it is ironic because almost all of what is in here is a strawman argument.ReplyDelete
To confirm my assertion of the straw man just look at how this writer uses one of the only quotes from the AHA article about atheists. The author cherry picks the quote by chopping off the best part "a meaningful theory of ethics cannot be established apart from the Christian God." The author cherry picked the first half of the quote then put his own words in the mouths of AHA to finish it off. This is such a quintessential strawman that it probably could have been cast as the scarecrow in the Wizard of Oz.
None of the representations of why abolishonists take their hardline theological stances are detailed enough to have any relevance. The writer should have been picking apart the theological underpinnings using scripture and correct interpretation. This whole article does not have a single Bible quote. If a "Christian" is addressing the error of another Christian he should be quoting the Bible.
Since the Bible commands Christians not to be "unequally yoked" (yoke relationships are equal, voluntary and not limited to marriage) with unbelievers, and AHA is treating the fight against abortion as a Christian mission, I personally see no problem with AHA drawing ideological lines that exclude non-believers.
The munderlying flaw that I see in this article is the author's failure to acknowledge the sovereignity of God, which amounts to an implication that the battle against evil (abortion in this case) is won by building a coalition of humans, rather than entirely in God's hands. My Bible says "not by might nor by power but by my spirit" indicating that it is in fact God who fights the battle. It also says 'if the people who are called by my name will humble themselves and pray and seek my face I will hear from heaven and heal their land,' further indicating that God responds to obedience from his own people, rather than coalitions of his people and assorted others.
Christians who oppose abortion can choose to look at it two ways: 1)They can view it as a battle that they can win without God, and do what is right in their own eyes; or 2) they can view it as a fight that God has the power to win on His terms and in His time, and try to do what He wants them to do. I will leave it to the Christian readers to decide which of these paths is correct, and which anti-abortion organization is more in line with the correct option. However, I doubt the content of this article will change anyone's opinion about anything.
Hi, and thanks for your comment (though if you're going to make accusations, I wish you'd have the courage to stand behind your words rather than posting anonymously).Delete
I was not cherry picking comments, or quote-mining. In fact, that comment that you quoted actually negates the title of the article: Atheist Ethics Are *Impossible.* That's a much stronger claim than simply asserting that a meaningful theory of ethics cannot be established apart from the Christian God. I was going by what the title of their article is. Besides, they don't even attempt to unpack the word "meaningful." Meaningful to whom? Obviously an Atheist ethical code won't line up with God's, but that doesn't mean that their ethics can't be meaningful. Their ethical code won't be the right one, but again, that doesn't mean it's not meaningful.
Also, that's just a red herring, as this article was about another article, The Difference Between Pro-Lifers and Abolitionists. The quote from the article on atheist ethics was making a separate point.
I believe wholeheartedly that the Scriptures are God's inspired Word, but they are not the be-all and end-all of human knowledge. There are certain things we can't know apart from Scripture, but there are also things that we *can* know apart from Scripture. Quoting Scripture wasn't relevant in this article, because the article was mainly critiquing their methodology about a superficial difference between an "abolitionist" and a "pro-life advocate."
Your argument about not being unequally yoked is flawed. We are not to be *UNEQUALLY* yoked. That doesn't say that we have to avoid non-believers altogether, it means we need at least as many believers in our lives as non-believers, but more if we can. We can work with our non-believing colleagues to end abortion. This does not mean we have to endorse their other views.
I also wholeheartedly endorse the sovereignty of God. But I remind you that the article I was responding to wasn't making Biblical arguments, so I did not need to respond in kind. Praying for God to end abortion does not mean we just sit around and do nothing. That's lazy. We have to go out and act, and God will work through us. God once spoke to Balaam through the mouth of an ass. God can work through anyone or anything, even someone who doesn't proclaim him as the one, true God.
You're also missing a fundamental point that I made -- making Christian converts won't guarantee making pro-life converts, as there are many Christians who consider themselves pro-choice. I agree that confirmation bias plays a big part of the reasoning process, and someone with a closed mind definitely will not be changed. But I hope that there are those who will take my words seriously and at least reconsider their position on this.
Abortion is the premier symptom of a condition. The condition is spiritual death. You cannot have a spiritually dead culture that truly values life. The only remedy for spiritual death is the redemption and transformation we find in Jesus Christ. If someone is truly following Christ and not their favorite version of him, then they will know that life is not a mistake, it is not a choice, and it is not to be discarded. The Christian should understand that reason is baseless without meaning, and there is no meaning apart from Christ. I love y'allReplyDelete
Life ultimately has no meaning apart from Christ, but even atheists can ascribe meaning to their own lives. One does not have to be a Christian to understand that life is valuable. I'm not afraid to talk about God when I talk to pro-choice people, but if someone is hostile to the Christian message then I can still convince them through natural arguments that life is valuable and that the unborn should not be unjustly killed. After all, if God truly exists, then he is the God of all creation, not just the God of the Bible. So there should be evidence apart from Scripture that one can use to point out true things, such as the fact that abortion is immoral or even that God exists.Delete
But apart from the Biblical God why would abortion be immoral and life be meaningful? Yes it it true one does not need to be a Christian and can even be an Atheist to recognize moral truths. However, their recognition is arbitrary. Being a Pro-Life Atheist is an oxymoron. Why should I value human life, and not do whatever I want with what's inside of me, when I am just a product of a random chance process? If the Biblical God is does not exist why SHOULDN'T I kill the fetus, especially when I think it will benefit me?Delete
It's ridiculous statements like this that cause me not to want to support AHA. This is clearly false. God has written the Moral Law on all of our hearts, which means that even though atheists can't properly ground objective morality, they *can* recognize it. So their opposition to abortion is not arbitrary. If they can believe that it's wrong to kill someone outside the womb, then they can believe that it's wrong to kill someone inside the womb. They can also want to put an end to it. There is no reason to exclude them from the club of "abortion abolitionists." So no, being a pro-life atheist is not an oxymoron. I actually know pro-life atheists, and they're just as passionate to see abortion abolished as I am, or as anyone in AHA is.Delete
AHA re-energized me regarding the fight to end abortion. I too appreciate their zeal and relentless pounding away at abortion. I often share their eye-opening, thought provoking information on Facebook. I also agree that abortion has gone on for 40 years and should not have been. I think it is due to many reasons including us Christians and others putting other things before this issue, taking our eyes off of this, letting our fire go out, losing focus, unsure of what else to do, becoming weary, being too passive, giving up, giving in, etc. etc. On the other hand, I know we Christians and others have worked very hard to end abortion all of these years. It could also be that evil happens to be ‘winning’ for now in spite of our many efforts. Just because the battle isn’t yet won, doesn’t mean people have not been fighting valiantly in the battle all of this time. I disagree that abortion is 40 years strong BECAUSE of pro-life work such as incrementation and other efforts. I know over the years that we have done many things with the hope to change the tide to end abortion. I remember as a teenager in the 1970's, seeing tables filled with pamphlets of graphic images of abortions-such as we see now-yet this didn't stop abortion (but we do need to keep showing these and doing the many other tasks). I agree that slavery and all problems have had to be worked out over time-it's just a fact of having to live in this fallen world. We aren't to give up though. We need to hold each other up and pick each other up in this battle. I agree that abortion is not going to be stopped with one blow of the hammer. If this were so, AHA would be disbanded by now. I agree that AHA often says things that are confusing to me and contradictory (and I'm of average intelligence). But no one is perfect. I hope all of us who wish to end abortion can keep united and focused to produce the end result. +I hope we have every year instead of "March for Life", a gigantic national baby shower to welcome all 'unplanned' babies.ReplyDelete
I think AHA has some good points, and I appreciate their passion. But I feel that they're grossly misguided in their attitude and their philosophy. For example, they recently called out incrementalists (like myself) as being responsible for the continuation of abortionists killing babies, as if all we want to do is make it "safe" and stop there. Personhood legislation has done absolutely nothing to save unborn human beings, but incrementalism has saved unborn babies, though not as many as we'd like. Like slavery abolitionist William Wilberforce, incrementalists recognize that society won't be changed overnight, and you need to work incrementally until the abominable practice is done away with. That's why I can't support AHA, despite the fact that I appreciate their passion. I feel that they're doing more harm than good to the pro-life movement.Delete
#TRussellHunter doesn't speak for me. I am still an abolitionist, but no, I no longer endorse or support AHA. I believe in the ideology, but there are methodologies being promoted and considered that preclude me from being associated with them anymore. Do you understand how Abolish Human Abortion "feels" about ALL Catholics? (Remember I'm not Catholic, I just know when people cause dissension. Along with many other pro-lifers, I noticed the emergence of “Abolish Human Abortion” (#AHA) around 2012. Their graphic design was fantastic, their slogans catchy, and their focus on churches warranted. However, this group has increasingly attempted to make a number of outlandish historical claims, including that they are “abolitionists” while those of us in the pro-life movement are not. T. Russell Hunter, is the arbiter of who is and who is not an abolitionist, as evidenced by constant postings describing who is, and who is not, an abolitionist. This is nothing short of absurd, and seems to be based on a rather infantile understanding of the complexities of the long history of abolition across the globe. AHA does more harm to the pro-life movement than good. I appreciate AHA’s zeal and compassion to be a voice for the voiceless, I'm just not a fan of segregating pro-lifers. What the pro-life movement needs now, more than ever, is unity among its supporters and proponents., even ones who disagree with us on spiritual issues. I have participated in enough discussions and observed enough practices to determine I will no longer be continuing the conversation with AHA and those most deeply entrenched in the movement… #AbolishHumanAbortionDelete
Thanks Clinton, good to see you taking this stand. I too have been very concerned over the extreme divisiveness the AHA'rs bring to the pro life movement.http://crossed-the-tiber.blogspot.com/2013/10/abolish-human-abortion-group-starting.htmlReplyDelete
Dr. Rentler, thank you for reading. I'm just starting to get fed up by certain pro-life groups, including AHA, which I feel are doing more harm than good to the movement. Aside from their anti-Catholic stance, they've started railing against Protestant pro-life advocates, like me, who believe that incrementalism is the best strategy as far as outlawing abortion in the U.S. I've been thinking about responding again, but I don't want to be divisive over this. I'm not sure if it's best to just ignore them, or to respond whenever they attack.Delete
"They make the claim that abolitionism has historically been wed to the doctrine of immediatism, but they offer no supporting evidence for this claim. I'd be interested to know at what point in history a societal evil was recognized, decided that it needed to be done away with, and then made illegal immediately without having to resort to incremental steps."ReplyDelete
Even the History Channel supports what AHA is saying, "The goal of the abolitionist movement was the immediate emancipation of all slaves and the end of racial discrimination and segregation. Advocating for immediate emancipation distinguished abolitionists from more moderate anti-slavery advocates who argued for gradual emancipation, and from free-soil activists who sought to restrict slavery to existing areas and prevent its spread further west. Radical abolitionism was partly fueled by the religious fervor of the Second Great Awakening, which prompted many people to advocate for emancipation on religious grounds. Abolitionist ideas became increasingly prominent in Northern churches and politics beginning in the 1830s, which contributed to the regional animosity between North and South leading up to the Civil War." Here is the link: http://www.history.com/topics/abolitionist-movement.
The History Channel's scholarship is shoddy at best, downright dishonest at worst. Watch some of their shows on the Bible and I'm sure you'd be forced to agree. Not all slavery abolitionists advocated the immediate abolition of slavery. Many of them were like the pro-life advocates of today, who *wanted* total abolition but were willing to work incrementally if that was the way it needed to be done.Delete
You've actually inspired me to write an article regarding this (after doing my own research). You're welcome to come back and read it (and I'll source the claims, as well). I'm going to try to have it done Monday, or possibly later in the week.
// I am not saying that pro-life Christians should leave the Gospel out of all their conversations, I am merely arguing that it is not necessary to make the pro-life case.//ReplyDelete
There's a straw man.
Hi, J.B., and thanks for reading. Could you please explain, exactly, how my statement is a strawman argument, especially considering the fact that I am defending *my own* arguments rather than rebutting someone else's?Delete
No one is arguing that the pro-life case can't be made without alluding to the Gospel or God. This was inferred by coming after AHA methods. One of the tenets of abolitionism is that of being Gospel centered. I believe this is the God honoring approach.Delete
It's not a strawman. This is quoted from the article that I'm responding to here:Delete
"A majority of pro-life leaders and organizations argue that one need not convince a person that God exists or that abortion is sin, in order to convert them to the pro-life position. While this may be true, abolitionists never choose to remove God or the gospel from the conversation. "
I have had conversations in which God never came up. An abolitionist, apparently, would never do this. Yet I choose to do this because first of all, people who are hostile to the Gospel can still be convinced by a purely secular argument. Second, I don't want to give the impression that the *only* reason we're pro-life is because of our religious beliefs, as that's clearly not true but may be misinterpreted if I'm constantly trying to bring up God in every conversation that I have. That being said, many of my conversations do naturally lead into questions of morality or God's existence. But I let the person I'm talking to go wherever he/she wants to go in conversation. When I'm focused on the abortion issue, that's what I keep as my main focus. Conversely, when I'm out evangelizing, I don't bring up social issues.
Secondly, AHA doesn't believe that Catholics are true abolitionists, even though their pro-life position is Gospel-centered.
//People are not going to be convinced by Biblical arguments (in fact, arguing that God exists because the Bible says so is a logical fallacy, circular reasoning -- you need to have secular arguments as to how you know God exists in the first place)//ReplyDelete
Please provide a secular argument as to how you know God exists in the first place.
I think that there are many compelling non-religious arguments for God's existence. I'll just provide you with a couple of arguments for now.Delete
The Kalam Cosmological Argument:
P1: Everything that begins to exist has a cause.
P2: The universe began to exist.
C: Therefore, the universe had a cause.
As we know from experience (and simple observation), nothing comes from nothing uncaused. The only plausible explanation for the universe's existence at all is that a Supreme Being created the universe from nothing.
The Axiological (Moral) Argument:
P1: If God does not exist, objective values and duties do not exist.
P2: Objective values and duties *do* exist.
C: Therefore, God exists.
Atheism cannot ground the existence of objective morality, yet atheists can recognize morality (because the Moral Law is written on our hearts). So it's possible for atheists to live moral lives, even though they can't ground objective morality. The only way to ground objective morality is if there is a transcendent God, independent of the human mind, through which morality is given and is uniquely qualified to stand in judgement of humanity.
I agree with the conclusion of these arguments. When you ask the unbeliever to consider the conclusion to these arguments for God, who is in the judges seat to make the determination? They are. This is not a good or biblical approach.Delete
What God are you arguing to? This is a generic God.
How are you not arguing in a circle by assuming that your reasoning is valid when you attempt to use the Kalaam with an atheist (who assumes that their reasoning is valid too)?
Have you ever read any books by those who defend these arguments? I would urge you to read books by these philosophers before dismissing them out of hand.Delete
As a matter of fact, William Lane Craig uses these arguments (as well as others), and people get saved at his debates. The purpose of apologetics is not to be used as a "saving tool." Apologists understand that the Holy Spirit convicts of sin and knowledge of sin leads to repentance, apologetics is a tool to remove road blocks to belief.
So your objection that this is a "generic God" is nothing new. Apologists understand this; that's because arguments for God's existence are best used in a cumulative case (e.g. God's existence best explains why there is a universe rather than none, the apparent fine-tuning for the initial conditions of the universe; the design we see in the universe; the existenece of objective morals and duties; the fact that DNA is information and information denotes intellingence, etc.). The way that we prove that the God we're arguing for in all of these arguments is the Christian God is because of the resurrection. Once we've established that God's existence is probable, then we can show that the resurrection was an actual, historical event, that Christ rose from the dead, thereby establishing that the God of the Bible is the one, true God.
This is not arguing in a circle. Sure, there are certain assumptions that must be made (after all, we can't necessarily prove that the external world exists and that we're just not brains floating in a vat), but we are justified in believing that the world exists. It would, in fact, be irrational to believe that we're simply in the Matrix or disembodied brains floating in a vat. Once we accept certain basic things, like our reasoning faculties are reliable, then we can use logic to prove certain things about the universe. Presuppositionalism may be convincing to the person who holds the belief, but it is not convincing to anyone else.
Hi would you consider doing a live debate on youtube to defend your premise, " I am not saying that pro-life Christians should leave the Gospel out of all their conversations, I am merely arguing that it is not necessary to make the pro-life case."ReplyDelete
Our youtube channel is tituschapterthree http://www.youtube.com/channel/UCENjDg9rp3NENcS_GjeqX7w
Yes, I would consider that. Specifically, what would be the proposition that you'd want to debate? That one can make the pro-life case apart from Scripture?Delete
Yes the premise that the Gospel or the Bible as a whole is not necessary to take a prolife stance.ReplyDelete
My position is, without a Biblical foundation for the sanctity of life then you can have no justification to be prolife. You know what ought to be but not why it should be, without justification then your position is merely arbitrary.
Okay. If we're debating "without a Biblical foundation for the sanctity of life then you can have no justification to be pro-life," you would be debating pro and I would be con. Since you're arguing pro, would you like to go first?Delete
Also, we should probably establish some ground rules for the debate, for example length of videos, how many rounds, etc.
I sent a friend request to you on FB we can pm there to arrange.Delete
We missed you Clinton, we tried to answer some of you objections and statements. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z14ONu9G6v0&feature=shareReplyDelete
Abolitionist want to end the pro-life movement, keep people from funding it and call people to repent for funding a 10's of millions of dollar organizations who do nothing to help bring about abortion but just regulate it. #PAETTPLMReplyDelete
"Abolitionists" would also rather continue believing the ridiculous caricature of pro-life people they've invented in their minds rather than seeing the pro-life movement for what it really is.Delete
If I want to side track a group or organization I will start infighting to make them less effective.ReplyDelete