Theology Corner

Addressing commonly asked questions about Christianity from the perspective of a non-theologian

51. IS ABORTION MURDER?

Every year in the world, an estimated 40-50 million abortions are conducted. This corresponds to approximately 125,000 abortions per day. In the USA, where nearly half of all pregnancies are unintended and four in 10 of these are terminated by abortion, over 3,000 abortions per day take place.  Murder is defined as: the killing of one person by another person for personal gain and with premeditation.  Does this make the USA one of the most murderous nations, per capita, in the history of the world?

Without question most abortions are conducted for personal gain (i.e. convenience); few abortions are performed because of rape, incest or the life of the mother.  Furthermore, nearly all abortions are premeditated.  But the abortion advocate says, “Not so fast, when abortion takes place, a person is not being killed!  The fetus has no soul and is, therefore, not a person and cannot be murdered.”  Many pro-abortion Christians take the position that an infant receives a soul at birth; if that infant is destroyed at any time prior to birth, no homicide has occurred. 

However, Scripture takes a different view.  John the Baptist leapt for joy in his mother’s womb (Luke 1:44) where he was filled with the Holy Spirit (Luke 1:15).  These indicate the humanity of the unborn John the Baptist.  The psalmist assumes the humanity of the unborn child at conception: Behold, I was brought forth in iniquity, and in sin my mother conceived me (Psalms 51:5). This indicates the unborn child possesses a sinful, fallen nature at the time of conception.  A sinful nature indicates a spiritual nature and thus a soul, making the child a complete human from conception.  The Old Testament refers to individuals existing in the womb:  I knew you in the womb (Jer. 1:5; Job 10:8-12; Ps. 139:13-16; Isa 44:2).  The Didache (70 AD) states: You shall not procure an abortion, nor destroy a newborn child (2:1).  The Letter of Barnabas (74 AD) states: You shall not murder a child by procuring abortion; nor, again, shall you destroy it after it is born (19). 

The preponderance of Christian teaching supports the position that abortion is murder.  Yet, in the United States of America, abortion on demand, for any reason, is the law.  How is this possible?  The answer is sad but simple.  The United States of America is no longer a Christian nation!  It is, instead, a collection of loosely knit, humanistic groups, or often, mobs.  A humanistic culture is one embracing the concept that men and women can begin from themselves and derive the standards by which to judge all matters.  There are, for such people, no fixed standards of behavior, no standards that cannot be eroded or replaced by what seems necessary, expedient or fashionable.  The humanistic culture of the country is reflected by our leaders and particularly by our judges who hide their humanism behind black robes.  But we, in America, have gone a step further than merely humanistic leadership.  We have segregated ourselves into groups, or mobs, many of which hate our country, hate our constitution, hate our history, hate our institutions, hate God and yearn for anarchy followed by totalitarianism.  These mobs spit on equality of opportunity and demand equality of outcomes.  They want to cancel our culture and revise our history.  We are lurching toward socialism soon to be followed by communism.

Christian consensus gave great freedoms without leading to chaos because society functioned within the values given in the Bible.  Now that humanism has taken over, these great freedoms run amuck and individuals practice cruelty with few restraints.  And why not.  If man is only the product of random chance in a universe without values, why not be cruel to another person if that person seems to be standing in your way?

The Supreme Court of the United States, on January 22, 1973, in Roe v. Wade, declared that a new personal right or liberty existed in the Constitution – the right of a woman to procure an abortion at any time.  The Supreme Court went far beyond its own judicial function and invalidated the regulation of abortion in every state of the union.  By this fact alone, Roe v. Wade may stand as the most radical decision ever issued by the Supreme Court.  In 1976, the Court confirmed its position and declared that a physician need not provide the same care for a living product of an abortion that would be required for a living baby delivered in a situation when the intent was to have a baby.  These Supreme Court decisions were not just a few more bricks in the fortress of humanism, not just a few more links in the Jacob Marley chain of evil deeds wrapped around the waist of America, these decisions marked watershed events sending America into a death spiral of humanism.  Every American now wears a badge of dishonor marking the barely enumerable deaths of aborted children; unrestrained abortion green lights our descent into the abyss of anarchy and increases the likelihood of ultimate extinction.

A Judeo-Christian world view dominated the West for centuries.  Biblical doctrine was preached not as a truth but as the truth.  This teaching formed not only the religious base of society but the cultural, legal and governmental bases as well.  People viewed human life as unique, to be protected and loved, because each individual is created in the image of God.  We talked about the sanctity of human life.  But now the consensus of our society no longer rests on a Judeo-Christian base, but rather on a humanistic one.  Humanism makes man the measure of all things.  It puts man rather than God at the center.  The Christian Church has become part of this transition.  Much of the church no longer holds that the Bible is the word of God.  Here is an excerpt from Beliefs of a United Methodist Christian, published by the UMC in 1987.

 

This is an age, however, that raises questions, not only about the authority of the Bible but about the value of all authority.  What is the point of teaching or studying the classical disciplines, including the Bible when the bases for our action are given with sufficient clarity by contemporary ethics and the adjunct studies of sociology and psychology?  I suspect many of us, if our back were against the wall, would honestly have to answer, “Very little indeed.”  There is probably a widespread intuitive acceptance of two affirmations: (1) The New Testament and the creeds are no longer in any way authoritative or canonical for us; (2) Christians today can find sufficient guidelines for their faith and action in contemporary statements and solutions.

 

The answer to the question posed in the title of this section is, “Yes, abortion is murder.”  The more we deny this conclusion, the further we drift from God.