The Journey series
"Why abortion?" is a preeminent social concern. This week's Mustard Seed explores the rationale for opposing abortion as a remedy for pregnancies resulting from consensual intercourse. I will not, at this time, broach the much larger discussions of abortion as a medical intervention to protect the life of the mother or abortion as a remedy for coerced sexual activity.
Pro-life advocates recognize every foetus as a human with their inherent right to live. The right to live is the most basic of all rights; before the right to live, all other rights are moot. Any act that threatens one's right to live undermines our entire social structure.
Another basic right in our society is free choice. Our actions often, however, impact others. We must balance our own rights against the rights of others. We usually agree in advance to how much of our time, talents, and treasure we will cede for the specified the time, talent, and treasure of others. If our actions have unintended results, we must still accept the consequences.
When driving, we know accidents are a common but unintended potential consequence of driving. If we cause an accident which renders another person dependant we have a moral and legal obligation to provide for their care. By driving we imply acceptance of unintended consequences.
Sexual intercourse also has a well-known potential consequence. The voluntary act initiated by the mother and father, similarly to driving, renders them liable to provide for any resulting children until they reach independence.
It is absurd to even consider that a driver's obligation to anyone they incapacitate in a traffic accident could be resolved by the driver unilaterally deciding to kill that person. Anti-abortionists see abortion as a direct parallel; the unilateral decision to kill the child in order to resolve the parents of their obligation. The situation is further exacerbated by the fact that, whereas the victim of a motor vehicle accident may or may not bare partial blame, the unborn child is completely and utterly innocent.
For the pro-life advocate, there is no greater injustice than intentionally extinguishing a perfectly innocent and totally vulnerable life purely for the convenience of those who act freely to create that life.
Next week: Why abortion is chosen by some people.
My 5/14/2020 Mustard Seed examined rights in the context of consequences, obligations, and limits. This week's Mustard Seed looks at the nature of a family in the same context.
We are responsible for our actions not only as they affect us, but also as they impact others. Pregnancy is known to be a potential consequence of sexual intercourse. Sexual intercourse is optional, being conceived isn't. Since children need several years of care and nurturing before they are able to fend for themselves, accepting the obligation to properly rear offspring is equally as necessary as mutual consent for sexual intimacy to be just. It is the right of any person to refuse the sexual invitation of another. If one is not prepared to subordinate many of their rights to the rights of resultant children, refusal is not only a right, it is an obligation.
Being raised in a stable environment is very important to a child's physical, emotional, and psychological health. The best way to ensure stability is to plan ahead and wait until the foundations are in place before having sex. God created humans with a body, mind, heart, and soul. Relationships develop through corresponding levels. They usually begin with physical attraction and progress through intellectual discourse of common interests and passions. An emotional bond develops as people progress through this journey. Compatible couples will be drawn together to the point where they are ready to commit themselves to the indelible bond of Holy matrimony. It is not until this union is achieved that the couple have the necessary expectation of enduring stability that makes sexual activity licit.
Sex is a participation with God in the very act of creation. When sex is removed from its proper context by attempting to eliminate the consequences and obligations through contraception or abortion, sex turns into entertainment, where the pleasure of orgasm is the goal. It degrades not only the act, but the participants. Instead of being a gateway to the joys and challenges of family life, sex becomes a brief interlude of physical gratification. Instead of being invited to share in a lifelong quest, the partner is reduced to an object of lustful desire. Abortion in this context is particularly heinous. In addition to stripping one of God's greatest gifts of its essence, it denies the humanity and intrinsic right to life of the unborn child.
Viewing any of God's creation through sin, in this case lust, removes it from the rich tapestry He has woven. Subjugating God's creation to our purpose always diminishes its value.
Next week: I'm still praying for a topic.
This week's Mustard Seed examines creation.
When birds or bees create nests they act by instinct. They gather naturally occurring objects and arrange them according to an innate ability. They don't draw plans, use tools, or fashion parts.
But man's capacity to create is far greater than any animal's. When humans build something, they desire an end. There is an abstract ideal against which the accomplishment of the artisan is measured. For a carpenter to build a chair, he must understand the chair as something comfortable to sit on. To be successful in building the chair, he must understand the ergonomics of a seated person, the structural qualities of the materials used, and the proper operation of the tools employed.
In both examples, there is an intended function for the product. Nests can been used as decoration. Chairs, while they can be used as makeshift tables or ladders, are most profitably used for their intended purpose. In both examples, the quality is limited by the understanding, experience and abilities of the builder and by the available resources.
In both examples, context also plays a role. Nests and chairs will not be built if sufficient quantity and quality already exist. They will not be built if there is a more pressing need. Nest will not be built in easy reach of predators or far off from food. A chair is not built for a bathtub. Context is, of course, dependant on awareness. Many items are found to be inappropriate after the fact.
God's ability to create is exponentially higher than man's. When God creates, His knowledge of the ideal is perfect. He is not limited in understanding, experience or ability. He has no scarcity of resources. He, being the creator of all things, is fully aware of all context. There is nothing to prevent Him from creating what is absolutely best. We must assume every element of God's creation is absolutely the best it can be when and where it is. If we do not recognize it as so, it is a fault with our understanding. We must also accept that there is a desired end, a purpose, for every element He creates. For God's creation to reach His intended perfection, we must each, as one such element, discern our purpose in context with our environment rather than decide our actions in the context of anticipated pleasure.
Our greatest fulfillment will be achieved by living in unison with God's plan for us, not in hopping from one physical, temporal reward to the next.
Next week: Family in context.
This week's Mustard Seed examines how we experience God's creation. Man has five physical senses; sight, hearing, touch, taste, and smell. For each of these there are stimuli which are either present or absent. When present, they range from pleasing to painful.
Our physical senses do not operate in isolation. I witnessed an example of interdependence when my wife developed a tumor in her spine. It dampened the sensation from her lower body causing her to shuffle a bit when she walked. When she closed her eyes, however, she would stagger as if well into her liquor. Her visual cues compensated almost completely for the diminished sense of touch from her feet. Without them, the simple task of walking was nearly impossible. After recovering from surgery to remove her tumor, my wife still stumbled a bit because she only regained part of her feeling — but her condition was stable. She soon adapted to her 'new normal' and now walks just fine even in the dark.
Her experience demonstrates that we use each cue in context both with cues sent by other senses and with our memories. We use all this data to place ourselves in context with our environment. Without both internal and external context, our sensations do not serve us well. The same is true of us. Without placing ourselves in context both as human and as a part of God's creation, we do not serve well.
In addition to five physical senses, man has a sense of existence. He identifies self and other. He knows past, present, and future. Man also senses and desires truth, beauty, and goodness, and therefore man pursues knowledge, arts, and morality. We find meaning and purpose. These are wonderful gifts but, at the same time, horrible. If we do not keep ourselves in proper context as servants of God, they tempt us to become god.
Next week: We begin specific examples of context.