With the ongoing debates surrounding many social issues at a fever pitch, it has caused me to ponder the absurd ethics of our day. Namely, how inconsistently we apply ethical positions… and how, when the inconsistency is pointed out, instead of acknowledging the contradiction and seeking a more logical position, the immediate retreat is to toss out unrelated conflicting positions of the opponent. It’s a subtle version of ad hominem, but it is viewed as legitimate in our time… because we don’t enjoy truth… not even a whiff of the possibility that our views could be mistaken. Especially not when we’ve emotionally clothed and molded our identities in political/ethical positions. And out the window goes civil discourse, along with any meaningful search for truth inherent in the process. We’re left with the garbage and table scraps we see daily on social media and in the news; which make for great click bait or shock value, but are dreadful in communicating truth of any compelling significance.
“Person X said this about this group! Said group is calling for his/her immediate resignation!”
“Person Y cares about ‘this’ issue, but didn’t say whether or not he/she cares about ‘that’ (somewhat indirectly related) issue. Clearly, Person Y does not care about ‘that’ issue! Person Y is a horrible human!”
“Person Z made an objective statement about something. Person Z must apologize for excluding anyone who disagrees!”
Some might be thinking, “Hey Josh… everything you wrote up there… applies to you as well.” And they would be right. But let’s end this nonsense that everyone can have any opinion about any thing, and that everyone is correct. Truth, by its very nature, is exclusive. And truth, by its very nature, exists. Maybe it’s from this understanding that we can tackle why some of our ethical positions are complete rubbish. And maybe it’s from this understanding that what I write below can be evaluated on the merit of its logical coherence, common sense, and sincere compassion.
That very long dissertation was necessary for what follows. I fear that having any sort of logical stance may usher in trouble or invite heaps of scorn about my character or compassion for fellow humans; but I assure you… it is from this very compassion that I urge every single person who reads this to use their reasoning and understand that I could not be anymore FOR my fellow humans. So much so, that even writing a post in support of the most vulnerable of these humans is (shamefully and absurdly) a dangerous proposition in our culture. I pray that our hearts are absolutely crushed by the reality of what is happening… more so, I pray that we not only come to agreement intellectually, but are so stirred that our apathetic hearts and hands (mine included) are compelled to do the work necessary to alter the future.
Below is a deconstructed comparison of two distinctly unique positions held in our society. It is broken down to a few basic elements to hopefully avoid the nauseating back and forth of “situational ethics” that can cloud an issue as basic as is presented.
ILLOGICAL (but prevalent)
QUALITY of Life = A Human Right
Life Itself = Only a Human Right in specific circumstances (one being, if the physical body is geographically located outside the womb)
In other words… Quality of Life > Life Itself (sometimes)
Because in some circumstances, the quality of one’s life trumps the actual existence of another’s.
This is completely illogical if applied to other situations… which is why many choose not to… Some do, actually, and stand by the original situation regardless of any presented information.
Life itself = A Human Right
Quality of Life = NOT a Human Right, but is beneficial in many circumstances, provided first that Life Itself is upheld.
In other words… Life itself > Quality of Life (ALL THE TIME)
Run that logical sequence out in just about every ethical circumstance you can think of and it is the most compelling reason we should end the travesty of abortion. List off every statistically miniscule circumstance you’d like, and we can logically uphold that the mere existence and protection of life should trump quality of life EVERY SINGLE TIME.
As we are seeing in our society, the first instance dies the death of 1,000 qualifications. It leads to completely illogical consequences, and at best, can only be applied when it is advantageous for convenience, power, or financial/economical gain.
Some want gun regulation… in an effort to reduce to number of fatalities to gun violence. Some want subsidized healthcare for all individual citizens… in an effort to extend and/or provide life for the collective society. Outside of politics, we operate under the assumption that life has value. The value of life itself is paramount for any argument to work. If we devalue life itself, the arguments fall apart in their own premises. WHY IS THE LIFE OF THE UNBORN ANY DIFFERENT?
This is where my heart breaks for the illogical situations presented in the name of QUALITY of life.
Some abortion supporters claim that those who are pro-life care nothing for the born, so long as they are born. This is rhetoric and untrue, but certainly distracts from the core issue. Those who argue with that logic would’ve ended the baby’s life anyway. Essentially, certain death before birth is somehow better than the statistical chance of a poor quality of life. The logic of that stance breaks down under its own basic assumptions. If life is devalued in the womb, it does not suddenly become valuable upon relocation.
This is NOT a case where I should relent to every person’s free choice. People advocate for causes that do not personally affect their circumstances every day. We limit “free choice” in dozens of situations, for the INHERENT VALUED LIFE of others. Drugs, prostitution, property, natural habitats… the list goes on. We protect unborn animal life, yet ignore our own unborn. My sense is that even if we banded together to provide adequate care for the flourishing of every single baby that would be lost to abortion, our culture would STILL desire the choice to end a baby’s life.
Knowing all of this, I can firmly plant my feet in the affirmation of life itself and still logically be open to ponder and debate how certain factors affect the quality of ALL life… because that is the LOGICAL position to hold. To be in the other camp, however, means that I believe that some life is not a human right, but somehow humans who actually make it out of the womb have the innate human rights to all sorts of things. Even things that may hinder life itself.
I digress… quality of life is NOT the issue here. And that is the point. It makes for good rhetoric when it comes to abortion, but is terrible in application. Unfortunately, in order to argue for abortion, proponents must either use logically incoherent arguments, implement popular rhetoric, or highlight fringe circumstances…
And it has come at the cost of MILLIONS of human lives.
Why do I care? Because Christ gave His life that ALL may have access to eternal life in His presence. May God open our eyes, and more importantly, move our feet to carry the burden others cannot.
I pray for us to be a voice for those without a voice.
I pray for us to be life affirming in ALL circumstances, even unpopular ones.
I pray for us to be avid and consistent supporters for women and families who are faced with these decisions or who have made these decisions.
I pray that our support is positive and equally as life affirming, without condemnation.
I pray that our churches will reflect Christ through their interactions, counsel, and support of those who need it.
Might we be known for how we LOVE PEOPLE through this… because (as with everything in life) a HEART SHIFT is necessary more than any legislation when it comes to abortion. Jesus is the most compelling decision. I pray for recognition of Him most of all.
“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”