Text Box: Publish Monthly by 
Pilgrimís Bible Church
Timothy Fellows Pastor
VOL. XII No. 8
DECEMBER, 1985

 

 

Featured Articles

Abortion, the Christian, and the State

*Theological Background

*Modern Religion

*The Importance of Language

*The Impact of Evolution

*Abortion and the Constitution

 

 

Abortion, the Christian, and the State*

By

John Robbins

Iím pleased to be able to speak to you tonight about an issue that concerns all of us, the murder of millions of children each year. Approximately 1.6 million American babies will be murdered by their mothers and doctors this year. Four times as many Americans will be killed by abortion as by cancer in 1984; 10 times as many will be killed by abortion as by strokes; and 14 times as many will be killed by abortion as by pneumonia and pulmonary diseases.

When we compare the number of abortion deaths to the number of deaths by non-medical causes in the United States, the abortion statistics become even more appalling. 44,000 Americans will die on highways this year. 36 times that number will die in hospitals and surgeon clinics. 25,000 adults will be murdered in 1984; 64 times as many unborn children will be murdered. The number of deaths from all causes except abortion in 1984 will be almost 2 million. When we include abortion deaths, the number almost doubles to 3.6 million.

Perhaps some historical perspective would also give us a better understanding of how popular this form of murder has become. In the 210 years of our national history, from 1775 to 1984, 1.2 million Americans have died in 9 wars. 1.2 million Americans will be killed by abortion than were killed during World War I.

Worldwide, experts tell us that from 30 million to 55 million little murders are committed each year. The people and government of the Soviet Union alone murder 12 million unborn children each year. Using the most conservative estimates of the number off abortions worldwide, 1 billion unborn children have been murdered since World War II.

Compared with these facts, the atrocities committed by the Nazis, and even those committed by the worldwide Communist movement, seem relatively minor. The victims of Nazism are estimated at 15 million, including 6 million Jews; the victims of Communism since 1917 are estimated at 125 million. But the number of abortions worldwide since 1945 exceeds those combined totals by a magnitude of 7.

But the number of abortions is only part of the problem. Experimentation on living babies is being widely practiced; some of our teaching hospitals have revealed the worst horrors of Nazism during World War II in 1971, doctors at the Yale New Haven Medical Center dissected a baby boy without anesthesia. On April 15, 1973, the Washington Post reported that Dr. Gerald Gaull, Chief of Pediatrics at the New York State Institute for Basic Research in Mental Retardation "injected radioactive chemicals into umbilical cords of fetuses.... While the heart is still beating he removes their brains, lungs, liver and kidney for study." Our scientific priesthood is offering human sacrifices to the great god Science on a scale so foul and bloody that the ancient practices of the pagans seem more humane.

The twentieth century is the bloodiest century in recorded human history. No period in history is more characterized by war, totalitarianism and mass murder. As Christians we must be concerned to find out how this occurred and how it can be stopped.

THE THEOLOGICAL BACKGROUND

To answer these questions correctly, we must become familiar with the recent history of philosophy and theology. The Supreme Courtís infamous abortion decisions of 1973 were not made in a vacuum; the thinking of modern theologians and philosophers made the decision almost predictable. If you listen to the slogans of the mothers and doctors who have murdered babies, and read the Court decisions on this issue, you can hear the echoes of philosophers who wrote their books a century or more ago.

In the 1970ís Linda Bird Francke conducted interviews with dozens of women who had aborted their babies. A telltale thread that runs throughout the interviews was the use of the words "feel," "felt," and "feelings."

One woman reported:

"I never fell we were doing anything inhumane."

Another said:

"I never felt anything about the fetus. "

Still others reported:

"I didnít have any guilt feelings. "

"I didnít really think of it as a baby."

"Itís no different from a plant you know."

"I only thought about myself."

"Itís much easier not to think about the fetus. after all...The world would be a lot better place if there were fewer babies in it."

"I really donít have any strong feelings that when a woman is first pregnant that thereís any kind of reality about a "human baby" inside of her. I think that she makes it real if she so chooses."

Listen closely, and you will hear the ideas of Charles Darwin Ė "itís no different form a plant you know" Ė Sigmund Freud- "I didnít have any guilt feelings," Ė The Rev. Thomas Malthus Ė "the world would be a lot better place if there were fewer babies in it" Ė and Jean Paul Sartre- "I think she makes it real if she chooses."

Many of these mothers were guided by their feelings not by thought. This is the result of their being taught that life is deeper than logic; that life is green, theory is gray; that the heart has its reasons that reason know nothing of; that experience, particularly emotional experience, is a better guide than thought. All these notions can be traced to various philosophers and schools of philosophy; to Jean Paul Sartre, the existentialist; to Friedrich Schleiermacher and Soren Kierkegaard, founder of modern religion; to Friedrich Nietzsche, and to John Dewey.

All these philosophers and philosophies have one thing in common; an unmitigated contempt for Christianity. A little bit of that contempt may be seen in these words from a woman who had murdered her baby: "It was not a question of morality. We had no question of this is immoral, or we were killing a fetus, or any of this mythology."

The notion of morality and murder are dismissed as mythology. After all, if the God of the Old Testament is a myth, then the Ten Commandments are no more than Jewish Tribal Taboos, which we, Thank God, have transcended. It is no accident, but an example that ought to frighten us to death, that the nation that first developed higher criticism of the Bible and then was influenced by neo-orthodox theologians and their hatred of logic is also the nation hat brought Hitler to power in the 1930ís. It is not only the 8 million American mothers who have had abortions who have rejected the Bible. Our whole culture has been suffused with errors that must be analyzed and refuted if we are to restore civilization to America.

MODERN RELIGION

For example, the Religious Coalition for Abortion Rights said in 1980: "Several religious denominations, such as American Baptist, Presbyterian, Episcopal, United Methodist, Disciples of Christ, United Church of Christ, Reform and Conservative Judaism, and the Unitarian Universalist Association support this right as a matter of individual conscience and privacy." The American Baptist Churches have officially adopted the statement: "We affirm freedom of conscience for all." The Disciples of Christ denomination has stated that "we affirm the principle of individual liberty, freedom of individual conscience, and sacredness of life for all persons." The clergy of the United States have rejected the Bible. Their moral authority justifying murder is individual conscience. Objective moral authority, such as the Bible, is dismissed as subjective, and the result is the moral anarchy we see around us. How many times have you heard someone say, "Let your conscience be your guide"? But conscience furnishes no information on which we might base our actions; Scripture alone furnish that information.

Another central tenet of modern religion is the notion that sincerity covers a multitude of sins: "It doesnít matter what you believe so long as youíre sincere." That idiotic idea came from an obscure Danish philosopher, Soren Kierkegaard. His disciple, the Right Reverend Paul Moore, Episcopal Bishop of New York, applies the notion to abortion: "Few if any women make the decision casually to terminate an unwanted pregnancy. When the decision is made in favor of abortion, it can be as thoughtful and as moral as the decision in favor of child-birth." So if you sincerely believe you are doing right by killing your baby, then you are doing right. Sincerity makes it so.

THE IMPORTANCE OF LANGUAGE

By the grace of God, peopleís thinking wasnít always as stupid as it is today. Between 1860 and 1880 the nationís regular physicians led a crusade against abortion and succeeded in getting legislation passed by most state governments making abortion a crime. In 1871, before the philosophical irrationalism of the 19th and 20th centuries could affect their thinking, members of the American Medical Association denounced physicians who performed abortions in the following words: "We shall discover an enemy in the camp...we shall witness as hideous as moral deformity as the evil spirit could present.... It is false brethren we have to fear; men who are false to their professions, false to principle, false to honor, false to humanity, false to God..." They went on to describe physician abortionists as "these modern Herods," "educated assassins," monsters of iniquity," and wolves in sheepís clothing." The physicians were clear on their moral authority and did not hesitate to impose their beliefs. They wrote: "Thou shalt not kill.í This commandment is given to all, and applies to all without exception." They warned of "the uplifted hand of an avenging God [that] will suddenly fall on [the] guilty head [of an abortionist]."

When was the last time you heard anyone described as an "educated assassin" or a "modern Herod"? Today we are too polite, of course, to engage in name-calling, even when the names are accurate. But I donít think what is involved here is courtesy at all; it is, rather, an attempt to evade recognizing the truth of the matter. The A.M.A. said this about the language it used in its 1871 report:

"If our language has appeared to some strong and severe, or even intemperate, let the gentleman pause for a moment and reflect on the importance and gravity of our subjects, and believe that to do justice to the undertaking, free from all improper feeling or selfish considerations, was the aim end and aim of our efforts. We had to deal with human life. In a matter of less importance we could entertain no compromise. An honest judge on the bench would call things by their proper names. We could do no less."

Neither could John the Baptist of the Apostle Paul or Jesus Christ, if you read the Bible. Yet how many preachers, let alone doctors, engage in calling things by their proper names? Virtually none. The Reverend J. Morgan Smith gave us one reason: the fear of men. In 1880, responding to criticisms by doctors that the nationís clergy were uninterested in abortion, he said: "There are obvious reasons why the pulpit should not always be used to denounce crimes of this nature. To do it continually would be to turn the pulpit and church into a place that many people would not like to visit." One must never offend the congregation. That violates the first rule of homiletics.

TWO MODERN RELIGIONISTS

Then there is the position taken by the Chaplain of the U.S. Senate, Dr. Richard Halverson. When asked his view of abortion this was his response:

"Itís just very difficult: I donít really know the answer. Perhaps part of the explanation is that all of us hear Godís truth a little differently. We hear it in terms of the way we were made, our backgrounds, our genes. The result is that the body of Christ is very diverse. And I suppose there is a sense in which we have to favor individualism within the church."

Dr. Halverson is the former senior minister of the Fourth Presbyterian Church near Washington D.C., a church that belongs to a presbytery that accepted a minister 4 years ago who denied the deity of Christ.

There is also John Taylor, Anglican Bishop of Winchester, who composed this prayer to be used after an abortion:

"Heavenly Father, You are the giver of life  And you share with us the care of the life that is given. Into your hands we commit in trust The developing life that we have cut short. Look kindly in judgment on the decision that we have made And assure us in all our uncertainty That your love for us can never change. Amen."

Quite frankly, I would trade any of these so-called ministers for the doctors of the 1870ís. At least they had some sense of what the Bible said.

I hope that your are beginning to see that theology has a direct effect on matters of morality and politics. The theology of the 19th century doctors was much closer to the truth than the theology of the 20th century clergymen. The Anglican Bishop obviously believes and teaches that God is a God of unconditional love. The Chaplain of the Senate, Richard Halverson, whose nomination to that position was applauded by so-called "evangelical" Christians, has made the relationship between his theology and his politics quite clear: "I would say right away that I oppose abortion, but I also believe very strongly that God endowed us with free will and the responsibility for free choice. [I] have no desire to influence legislation."

THE IMPACT OF EVOLUTION

Perhaps the idea having the greatest impact on todayís thinking is the dogma of evolution articulated during the 18th century. The practice of starving less than perfect babies and aborting infants that amniocentesis says are defective is simply putting into practice the Darwinian notion of survival of the fittest. One of the leading evolutionists of the 19th century, Ernst Haeckel, believed that "We are not bound under all circumstances to maintain and prolong life, especially when it becomes utterly useless." His disciples are found throughout America, from the Yale-New Haven Medical Center to Bloomington, Indiana. Haeckel declared that the "destruction of the abnormal new-born infants could not be rationally classified as murder... One should regard it rather, as a practice of advantage both to the infants destroyed and to the community," His thinking and his books, which were enormously popular in Germany at the turn of the century, created the public opinion that made Hitler possible. After all, Hitler began his killing by authorizing physicians to put defective human beings to death. Later the definition of defective was expanded to include Jews, Poles, Gypsies, and others.

We must thank the evolutionists for eliminating the ideas of ethics and the uniqueness of man. Haeckel wrote that the precepts of moral law, like everything else "rest on biological grounds and have been developed in a natural way." Therefore there can be no independent, intellectual objective rational or ethical moral order of the world which could serve as a guide to mankind. It is to biology, not revelation, that we owe moral precepts, and those moral precepts do not forbid abortion or euthanasia.

The rejection of revelation, of Christianity, has always had the same results wherever it has occurred: Mass murder in this world, eternal punishment in the next. Plato and Aristotle endorsed abortion and infanticide, and both forms of murder were common in ancient Greece. In Rome, the father had the power of life wad death over his children; today, the mother has that power. It was only the coming of Christianity that ended those practices, and it is only the disappearance of Christianity in the 20th century that has permitted their resurgence. Murder was permitted not only in Greece and Rome, however. The Chinese long before the Communists took over put their baby girls to death. In Madagascar babies born in March or April or during the last week of a month or on a Wednesday or a Friday were exposed, drowned, or buried alive. Paganism has always and everywhere had the same bloody results. It is only in nations that have been influenced by Christianity that infanticide and abortion were, until recently, treated as crimes.

The rise of science and evolution in the 19th century are the primary causes of the mass murder of the 20th century. The British philosopher Bertrand Russell understood this quite well in 1931. He wrote:

"Christian ethics is in certain fundamental respects opposed to the scientific ethic which is gradually growing Christianity emphasizes the importance of the individual soul and is not prepared to sanction the sacrifice of an innocent man for the sake of some ulterior good to the majority... The new ethic which is gradually growing in connexion with scientific technique will have its eye upon society rather than upon the individual. It will have little use for the superstition of guilt and punishment, but will be prepared to make individuals suffer for the public good without inventing reasons purporting to show that they deserve to suffer. In this sense it will be ruthless, and according to traditional ideas immoral, but the change will have come about naturally through the habit of viewing society as a whole rather than a collection of individuals... [M]en have hitherto shrunk from inflicting sacrifices which were to be unjust. I think it probable that the scientific idealists of the future will be free from this scruple, not only in time of war, but in time of peace also. In overcoming the difficulties of the opposition that they will encounter, they will find themselves organized into an oligarchy of opinion such as is found in the Communist Party in the USSR"

Evolution, taught in the public schools, has created a generation of young people, worldwide who believe that they are animals. Man is merely the most complex of mutants; he is not the image of God. If one believes this then a great deal follows. Professor Peter Singer of

Australia writes with glee of the passing of Christianity, which he calls the "sanctity-of-life" view. He says:

"Whatever the future holds, it is likely to prove impossible to restore in full the sanctity-of-life view, The philosophical foundations of this view have been knocked asunder. We can no longer base our ethics on the idea that human beings are a special form of creation, made in the image of God, singled out from all other animals and alone possessing an immortal soul. Our better understanding of our own nature has bridged the gulf that was once thought to lie between ourselves and other species, so why should we believe that the mere fact that a human being is a member of the species homo sapiens endows its life with some unique, almost infinite, value?

"Once the religious mumbo-jumbo surrounding the term Ďhumaní has been stripped away, we may continue to see normal members of our species as possessing greater capacities of rationality, self-consciousness, communication and so on, than members of any other species; but we will not regard as sacrosanct the life of each and every member of our species, no matter how limited its capacity for intelligent and even conscious life may be. If we compare a severely defective human infant with a nonhuman animal, a dog or a pig, for example, we will often find the nonhuman to have superior capacities, both actual and potential, for rationality, self-consciousness, communication, and anything else that can plausibly be considered morally significant. Only the fact that the defective infant is a member of the species homo sapiens leads it to be treated differently from the dog or pig. Species membership alone, however, is not morally relevant...

"Ironically the sanctity with which we endow all human life often works to the detriment of those unfortunate humans whose lives hold no prospect except suffering. A dog or a pig, dying slowly and painfully, will be mercifully released from its misery."

A CHRISTIAN COUNTER-ATTACK

How can we fight this evil? The first thing to realize is that we must fight as Christians, not as pagans. That means that we must use Christian language and Christian ideas in fighting the lies of secularists. The unborn child has been called, by both proponents and opponents of abortion, a fetus, a conceptus, potential life, gametic materials, protoplasmic rubbish, the product of conception, a piece of tissue, a part of the motherís body, and a chunk of tissue. There is no reason to use any of these terms. Even the least objectionable obscure the fact that we are talking about children. We ought to be aware that there is a principle of language similar to a law of economics: Bad terms drive out good. We must be careful to use the correct terms to refer to unborn children.

But the matter cannot rest there. As Christians we ought not to appeal to human rights, natural rights, inalienable rights, or the right to life. Not only are such notions not found in the Bible, they are logically incoherent. If a man possesses inalienable rights, then no punishment is possible. If a human being possesses an inalienable right to life, then it is wrong to execute a murderer - murderers have rights to life, too. If man possesses an inalienable right to liberty, then it is wrong to imprison him for his crime -- criminals have inalienable rights too. And if man possesses an inalienable right to property, then it is wrong to impose a fine on a criminal or make a thief pay restitution. This explains why some right to life groups also oppose capital punishment and advocate pacifism; they are simply being consistent with their incorrect assumptions about human rights. If they were fully consistent, they would have to oppose punishment of any sort, not just capital punishment, for the ideas of punishment and human rights are logically incompatible. The notion of human rights, logically developed, excludes justice, which is precisely why the Supreme Court made the murderous decisions it did in January 1973.

What is found in the Bible, what is logically sensible, and what these various phrases about human rights are designed to obscure, is the idea of divine law, specifically the Ten Commandments. It is not because a baby has an inalienable right to life that it is wrong to kill him; it is because God has said, You shall do no murder. Our moral authority is divine, not human. It consists of revealed commands, not invented rights. One of the dangers of using pagan terms -- and even Francis Schaeffer did it in his book Whatever Happened to the Human Race? -- is that of conceding the argument at the beginning. After all, it was on the basis of a theory of human rights- -specifically the right to privacy -- that the Supreme Court decided a mother has the right to kill her children.

Second, we must recognize that abortion is a religious issue, despite what some leading anti-abortionists would like us to believe. If one were to draw a map of the world showing those nations which Christianity has influenced the most, and draw another map showing those nations where abortion, infanticide, and euthanasia have been outlawed, and hospitals, orphanages, and charities most widely developed, the maps would be virtually identical. So when Francis Schaeffer, or the conservative columnist Jeffrey Hart, or a Roman Catholic Bishop tells you that abortion is not a religious issue, they are ignorant of the facts. Frequently, anti-abortionists appeal to a common morality that runs through all religions, but there is no such common morality. True, almost all religions, and perhaps even every person, including murderers, condemn murder, at least their own, but each religion, and each person, defines murder differently. Christianity defines murder as the willful taking of innocent human life. Other religions say unborn children and infants are not human.

Some societies not only permit murder, they practice it heartily. Ours is one of these. There is no moral consensus, no common morality, and the existence of an active pro-abortion lobby is unmistakable evidence of this, yet some anti-abortionists seem unable to get the point. There is only one moral authority, the Bible, and it is our job as Christians to impose its morality on the society in which we live.

This brings us to the third issue, that of imposing beliefs. Christians have been scared to death by the pagans who argue that one must never impose oneís religious beliefs on others. Tag that to the 16 million American babies who have had the religious beliefs of 7 old men on the Supreme Court imposed on them. In any civilized society, religious beliefs will be imposed; morality will be legislated. Civil law is nothing more than legislated morality. The physicians of the last century, if not the clergy, did not hesitate to impose the Sixth Commandment on everyone in society, Whether he professed to be a Christian or not. We must reject the notion, and I quote from David Little, Professor of Religion (what else?) and Sociology at the University Virginia, that "in a pluralistic society, it is simply not appropriate in the public forum to give as a reason for a law or policy the fact that it is derived from the ĎWord of Godí or is dictated by the Bible." On the contrary, the only good reason for a law or policy is that it is deduced by good and necessary consequence from the Bible.

As Christians we are commanded to do everything in the name and to the glory of God, and to bring every thought into captivity to Christ. The pagans want us to talk like Christians inside the church walls, and like pagans in the halls of government. If a Christian does that, he has betrayed Christ. The Bible claims to have a monopoly on truth, and it is about time that Christians began to talk and act as though they believed the Bible.

ABORTION AND THE CONSTITUTION

In addition to finding out what the Bible says, all Christians and especially Christian lawyers, ought to learn a little more about the Constitution as well. There are two doctrines of law that explain why the Supreme Court decisions of January 1973 have been regarded as the law of the land, but there is no basis for those doctrines in the Constitution. The first of these is the notion of judicial review that the courts, particularly the Supreme Court, have the exclusive power of finding a law unconstitutional. The second is the notion that the Constitution means what the Supreme Court says it means. To take the second first, Chief Justice Charles Evans Hughes stated in 1907 that "the Constitution is what the judges say it is." On the contrary, the Supreme Court is what the Constitution says it is. We have adopted a Roman Catholic view of the Constitution: The Supreme Court is to the Constitution as the Pope is to the Bible. They -- and he -- give us the infallible interpretation of the documents. We must return to the original Protestant view which is found in the Constitution itself.

As for judicial review, such different leaders as Jefferson, Jackson, and Lincoln agree that the power of judicial review is not granted to the Supreme Court. I quote from Jefferson:

"To consider the judges as the ultimate arbiters of all constitutional questions [is] a very dangerous doctrine indeed and one which would place us under despotism of an oligarchy... The Constitution has erected no such single tribunal, knowing that, to whatever hands confided, with the corruptions of time and party, its members would become despots. It has more wisely made all the departments coequal and co sovereign within themselves.

In Rome --

"Christians were not killed because they worshipped Jesus.... Nobody cared who worshipped whom so long as the worshipper did not disrupt the unity of the state.... The reason Christians were killed was because they were rebels."

-Francis Schaeffer in How Should We Then Live?

"Healing Balm for troubled homes"

-The Marriage Ring-

only $2.50

back to top