A religious arguement in support of abortion

Discussion in 'Religion' started by c jay, Aug 12, 2013.

  1. c jay

    c jay Well-Known Member

    In searching the bible for references to a forced miscarriage, I have found the following from various text quoting Exodus 21:22..........

    If men strive, and hurt a woman with child, so that her fruit depart [from her], and yet no mischief follow: he shall be surely punished, according as the woman's husband will lay upon him; and he shall pay as the judges [determine].
    - King James Version (Pure Cambridge 'Authorized Version')
    And if men strive together, and hurt a woman with child, so that her fruit depart, and yet no harm follow; he shall be surely fined, according as the woman's husband shall lay upon him; and he shall pay as the judges determine.
    - American Standard Version (1901)
    If men, while fighting, do damage to a woman with child, causing the loss of the child, but no other evil comes to her, the man will have to make payment up to the amount fixed by her husband, in agreement with the decision of the judges.
    - Basic English Bible
    If men, while fighting, do damage to a woman with child, causing the loss of the child, but no other evil comes to her, the man will have to make payment up to the amount fixed by her husband, in agreement with the decision of the judges.
    - Darby Bible
    If men shall contend, and hurt a woman with child, so that her fruit shall depart from her, and yet no mischief follow: he shall be surely punished, according as the woman's husband will lay upon him; and he shall pay as the judges determine.
    - Webster's Bible
    If men fight and hurt a pregnant woman so that she gives birth prematurely, and yet no harm follows, he shall be surely fined as much as the woman's husband demands and the judges allow.
    - World English Bible
    `And when men strive, and have smitten a pregnant woman, and her children have come out, and there is no mischief, he is certainly fined, as the husband of the woman doth lay upon him, and he hath given through the judges;
    - Youngs Literal Bible
    And if men strive together, and hurt a woman with child, so that her fruit depart, and yet no harm follow, he shall be surely fined, according as the woman's husband shall lay upon him; and he shall pay as the judges determine.
    - Jewish Publication Society Bible

    Apparently, we are talking property damage, fender bender, with a cash settlement to hubby. In order to stay in context, what follows in Exodus 21:23 is the penalty should the woman be harmed and is the most widely thumped verses in the Old Testament which starts out "An eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth" and so on. That is a specific penalty for a specific crime and is not all encompassing.
  2. IQless1

    IQless1 trump supporters are scum

    Back when these words were first created, women were property. In some societies today, they still are. Even today in America, women are treated as less than equals in most areas, and some are essentially property.

    What I find interesting about your OP is the subtle changes in phrasing over the centuries, as reinterpretations are printed as if it were the original. It's not. While the wordings attempt to maintain the gist of the original, it's really a "best guess" as to what the original meant to say, written in somewhat more modern terms.

    I'll attempt to clarify your argument that the wordings allow for abortion.

    My interpretation indicates that men attempt to force an abortion, and the husband, presumably the father of the miscarried child, has the right to enforce a penalty or fine upon the men who caused the miscarriage, upon a judge's permission to exact that punishment.

    It has no wordings for if women themselves intentionally or accidentally cause a miscarriage, instead it addresses "men" who cause it, either intentionally or by accident.

    As such, the wording allows the husband, presumably the father of the miscarried child, to exact a punishment upon the men who caused the miscarriage, if a judge deems it rightful and just, which would typically be a fine in today's World.

    Today though, a husband typically agrees to the procedure. That isn't always true, but a husband, or the father of the unborn child, does have the right to argue his case in front of a judge as to whether or not to allow the abortion to take place. It typically is granted, even over the husband/father's objections.

    Again though, my interest in this is in how the words are reinterpreted over time. Generally, the wordings are agreed upon by a very small amount of people. In the King James version, King James himself made the final decisions.

    The point? It helps to know your history, to know how those words written in your bible came into existance.
  3. c jay

    c jay Well-Known Member

    That is a very good observation. The intent of quoting multiple verses was meant to circumvent semantic arguments but I find your observations very enlightening. Yes, women, as were children are considered to be property in the Old Testament. Proceeding these verses are laws on the ethical treatment of slaves and who you can and cannot own and for how long. Also, talking back to daddy was a death sentence, and you can put down an unruly child. Many arguments I heard against abortions are Biblically based on passages far out of context. I tend to more or less agree personally with my other post concerning the matter. One concept I have is that people are perceived as individuals based on the life experience of the society. In the agricultural age, people dealt with and treated each other like animals (bought, sold, and beaten if needed). In the industrial age people dealt with and treated each other as interchangeable parts or cogs in a machine (hired and fire as demand dictates). Now that we're creeping into the informational age, people deal with knowledge and ideas and will be treated as sources of information (hired for specialized knowledge and put back on the shelf when done). Getting back to the Bible, I don't fault it as cruel or stupid but see it as a product of it's time. There is much wisdom there, but most is written between the lines.
  4. Guy Medley

    Guy Medley Well-Known Member

    Regardless of scripture interpretation, religion should have no bearing on law in any way shape or form. People claim religion lays the foundation of morals. I suppose that's true if lies And fearmongering are moral.
  5. IQless1

    IQless1 trump supporters are scum

    Impossible, as everyone has belief of one kind or another.

    The key is to not rely on scripture as the guide for law. The problem is that a lot of people can't because of their religion.

    They rely on dogma and refuse to accept other religions, causing harm against people of other religions by instituting laws based on their own religion.

    Doing so is against the principles of the Establishment Clause of the Constitution: "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion...", but the religious don't see it that way. It's very clearly stated, but they ignore it entirely.

    So much for their claims to be upholding the principles of the Constitution.
  6. c jay

    c jay Well-Known Member

    Lies and fear mongering, Are we talking "War on Drugs", "War on Terror", how about "War on Poverty" and what will happen if we don't. Seems that religion isn't the only one pounding the gavel. Why, because it works, and yes, and on the whole we're that gullible and stupid. If you take religion, doesn't matter which one, strip away the dogma, the superstitions, and use enough bleach to eradicate a nasty outbreak of Ebola Zaire, you will be left with a basic framework to run a successful society. However my inner sociopath is telling me, that if I kill Joe across the street, what business is it of yours. It doesn't affect you. Doesn't "Thou shall not kill" show up in a religious text somewhere and should be deemed unconstitutional.

    Getting to the original post, where are all the religious rants against my blasphemous posting. You know, the ones with the "Jesus so loved the children" quotes. You folks are way too intelligent and thoughtful for an internet forum. I kind of like it here.
  7. MJuingong

    MJuingong New Member

    Bible passages serve as a foundation for much of the moral teaching of developed religions. But careful analysis, and considering things that were not apparent at the time the passage originated, is applied.

    So, on what we now know of the fetal development, we can reasonably conclude that after implantation, the baby has a soul, and is entitled to at least the basic right to life, that is, to not be killed by human action.
    c jay and JLogan like this.
  8. JLogan

    JLogan Trump is my President!

    Regardless of what the Bible has to say about it, abortion is murder. A fetus has it's own DNA, It's own heartbeat, It can feel pain after the 20th week, yet these pro-choice baby murdering assholes still try to claim that it is not a person. Quite honestly, anyone who kills an innocent baby deserves to be thrown in Gitmo and tortured right along side the terrorists. The ONLY situation in which abortion should be acceptable is if either the mother or child has a high likelihood of dying in childbirth.

    Religion doesn't have any place in government, but common decency and morals do.
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  9. c jay

    c jay Well-Known Member

    That is the point I made in my other abortion post "A human secularist argument against abortion" and is the view point I personally agree. I just like arguing both sides of issue, since the common point taken by the proponents are contradictory to their core philosophies.
    Last edited: Feb 22, 2015
    JLogan likes this.
  10. JoeNation

    JoeNation Patron Saint of Idiots

    Is that definition of murder legal, medical, or religious?
  11. JLogan

    JLogan Trump is my President!

    common sense. if it has a heartbeat, and you stop that heartbeat, that is murder.
  12. JoeNation

    JoeNation Patron Saint of Idiots

    A heartbeat isn't life. We unplug people with no brain function and heartbeats all the time. Next! Murder is a legal definition and not one applied to abortions. Your "common sense" is pure ideology
  13. JoeNation

    JoeNation Patron Saint of Idiots

    Here, learn beyond the phony talking points.....

    Why Abortion isn't Murder Why Abortion is not Murder
    by Don Smith

    Anti-abortion activists like to call embryos "unborn children", "innocent babies" or "developing human beings". Their obvious aim is to shame people into believing that abortion is murder. But just repeating these phrases doesn't change any facts and shouldn't change any opinions. There are clear differences between early term embryos and late term fetuses. Specifically, a fertilized egg has no nervous system and hence no consciousness. The nervous system develops gradually, over many months, and along with it consciousness develops gradually too. Until there is significant brain development, there is "nobody home": no consciousness is being destroyed.
    Inherent preciousness, consciousness and gradual development
    Why do pro-lifers think that embryos become precious immediately after conception? Does a switch get turned on that instantly makes the fertilized egg precious? I mean: not just precious in onlookers' eyes, but inherently precious.

    What makes a person inherently precious, I think, is (dormant or active) consciousness: thoughts, feelings, memories, hopes, and awareness. Since consciousness depends on the development of the nervous system, and since it takes many months for the nervous system to mature, we can conclude that consciousness emerges gradually. Consequently, the inherent preciousness emerges gradually too.

    Granted, a sleeping or comatose person has no consciousness either. But a sleeping or comatose person's consciousness is dormant: if they wake up, they have memories, etc.

    For a fertilized egg, there is no consciousness and also no history of consciousness (unless you believe in reincarnation). Even though all the DNA is there, the fact that there's no higher brain activity strongly suggests that there's no consciousness.

    Nor does the later presence of a heartbeat and of primitive neural activity imply consciousness or preciousness. What's needed is higher brain activity and the consequent self-awareness.

    Now, I grant that nobody knows for sure what consciousness is -- philosophers have been speculating about the nature of consciousness for years, and scientists haven't yet tackled the issue. But it is quite clear that consciousness does not emerge full-grown immediately after conception. And since I believe in science, I have to presume that consciousness emerges with the gradual development of the nervous system.

    So sure, an embryo is a growing human being. Sure, it's a potential person (as are an unfertilized egg and sperm). But it's not yet a conscious person and hence not yet inherently precious. That's the distinction.

    We generally reserve the word "human" or "child" to refer to a thinking, feeling being. So calling an embryo an "unborn child" is odd, since it masks clear distinctions between an (unconscious) embryo and a (thinking, feeling) child.

    Now, if you believed that a "soul" enters the embryo at conception, then I could understand that you'd likely think abortion is murder. But I doubt that pro-lifers want to depend on an essentially religious argument.

    In short, pro-choicers can say: abortion isn't murder because until there's a mature nervous system, there's no conscious person, just a potential consciousness (a clump of cells). Nor is there any pre-existing (dormant) consciousness, as there'd be in the case of a sleeping or comatose person.

    So, I'm suggesting the following equation: person = existing or pre-existing consciousness = mature nervous system.

    Given that the development of the nervous system and consciousness is gradual, when does the embryo become conscious enough to be considered a person (a precious human being)?

    Arbitrary cutoffs
    Some anti-abortion activists concede that the maturation of the nervous system is gradual. They acknowledge that there's no clear line (cutoff) between non-consciousness and consciousness. Therefore, they argue, it's arbitrary to say that life begins at, say, three months; far better, they argue, to play it safe and say that life begins at conception, which is non-arbitrary. In other words, anti-abortion activists say that setting a cutoff later than conception is arbitrary.

    I agree that there's no precise place to draw a line, because development is gradual. However, this doesn't imply that we have to draw the line at conception or that it's completely arbitrary to draw a line later in development.

    By analogy, there's no clear line between pornography and art, but some books are clearly pornographic, and some books are clearly art. Saying there's no clear line does not mean that we should say that all books are art or that all books are pornography. But for practical purposes (e.g., the law) we may need to set a somewhat arbitrary cutoff, somewhere in the middle.

    The word "arbitrary" is ambiguous. It can mean "completely arbitrary" (meaningless, or random), or it can mean "partially arbitrary" (smudgy, fuzzy, or imprecise). It's the latter sense that's operative here when we're talking about embryonic development and consciousness.

    For many things in life we need to decide on thresholds to separate two classes. For example, in some schools a grade of 90 or above counts as an 'A'. That's somewhat arbitrary, but not completely arbitrary. Other schools decree that 92 or above is an 'A'.

    Similarly, in the law, there are semi-arbitrary cutoffs. If you steal less than, say, $100, you may get one punishment. If you steal more than the threshold, you might get a worse punishment. There's nothing magical about $100.

    Likewise, if you drive faster than 60 miles per hour on some particular road, the police may give you a speeding ticket. Why not 62 mph or 58 mph? Well, the decision is somewhat arbitrary, but it's based on a variety of considerations (including the fact that 60 is a nice round number).

    The fact that there's no clear difference between an 'A' and a 'B' doesn't imply that all grades are 'A's or all grades are 'B's. Likewise, for different grades of crimes and different sorts of traffic violations.

    Likewise, it's somewhat arbitrary to say that life begins at three months, as opposed to two months, or four months. But it's always like this for things that are gradual -- for things that have a continuous gradation ("a smudgy line").

    Right after conception the embryo is not viable, not conscious, and hence not inherently precious. The fact that there's no clear line certainly does not imply that we have to draw the line at conception; it just means that if we need to set a precise line, its position will be somewhat arbitrary.

    Even the presence of a heartbeat and the presence of primitive neural activity don't imply that the embryo is significantly conscious. What's needed is a developed nervous system with higher brain activity.

    In summary, the criterion of being conscious is fuzzy (gradual, smudgy or imprecise) but not totally arbitrary. Some things are definitely unconscious, some things are clearly conscious. There's a continuum from complete unconsciousness (rock or fertilized egg) to full consciousness (laughing child). To decide when (precious) human life begins, we need to decide on a cutoff. For someone like me who thinks that preciousness involves consciousness, abortion is quite reasonable: close to conception, consciousness is absent or extremely primitive.
  14. JoeNation

    JoeNation Patron Saint of Idiots


    Decreeing the meaning of life and death
    Now, given the chance, voters or the courts could decide on any legal definition of "human life" that they want. We're discussing what they should decide. Some people want the legal definition to imply that life begins at conception. Others might want the definition to specify that life begins when there's a heartbeat. Others want a definition that specifies that life begins much later.

    I don't think there is a definite correct answer, just as there's no definite correct answer about what is and isn't pornography. Consciousness and personhood are not all-or-nothing, although for legal purposes we may need to decide on a somewhat arbitrary threshold.

    The case is similar with end of life questions. There is disagreement about what precisely constitutes brain death, but the general idea is that when there's no brain activity, and when the nerve cells have become irreparably damaged, it's OK to withdraw life support. Opinions differ as to whether it's sufficient for the higher brain centers to be dead or whether the lower brain centers too must be dead. Indeed, people who believe that abortion is murder tend to hold stricter views about how completely brain activity must be absent before the person is declared dead.

    The case of embryos is in many ways opposite to that of the dying person. A dying person has a history of consciousness -- with memories, friendships, hopes, and dreams. So, it's reasonable to err on the side of safety and set a strict criterion about brain death, since a revived person would be able to recover consciousness. In contrast, a fertilized egg (like an unfertilized egg and sperm) has no history of consciousness at all, but it has a large potential for new, future consciousness.

    What's in a word? Changing the usage of words
    I can hear an anti-abortion activist saying, "Come on! Human life begins at conception. You're murdering an unborn person, an innocent child." My response is: you're trying to change the common usage of our words. People generally reserve the words "child" and "person" to refer to humans who've already been born and who are conscious (or have a history of consciousness). Nobody ever bothered calling an embryo an "unborn child" until pro-life, religious activists thought to do so. The reason is clear: there are significant differences between an embryo and a child.

    Of course, sometimes we do change how we use words.

    At some point in history, scientists realized that the evening star and the morning star were the same thing (Venus). Scientists could give a reasonable explanation about why the change was appropriate and about why the word usage should change.

    Thanks to Einstein, people came to believe that energy and matter are really the same thing.

    Another example, closer in spirit to the abortion debate, is the change in the status of African Americans during abolitionism. Slave owners apparently thought that the slaves weren't fully human. But later on almost everybody saw that that position was unreasonable. People came to accept that the differences between Negroid and Caucasian humans were insignificant.

    But in the case of abortion, there's clearly a huge difference between an early stage embryo and a full term fetus. Why or why isn't that difference significant? Just shouting "But it's an innocent child!" doesn't address the question.

    If someone thinks that a word is incorrectly used, they need to give substantive arguments about why the old way is inaccurate. Anti-abortion activists haven't added any new knowledge or insight into what it means to be a person (a "precious human"). All they have done is to appeal to our emotions, by holding magnified photos of aborted embryos and by repeating things like "abortion is the murder of an unborn child," when the precise point on which we disagree is whether a brainless embryo has enough inherent preciousness (consciousness, in my view) to warrant being called an "unborn child."

    A fertilized egg has no consciousness and no history of consciousness. If it's precious, the preciousness lies entirely in the eyes of the beholder -- or in what it what it has the potential of becoming. But an unfertilized egg and sperm also have a potential for consciousness, and are they precious too? Only a religious zealot would think so.

    Alas, I'm sure that for the vast majority of anti-abortion activists, their opposition to abortion is based on religious grounds. They should just come out and say so.
  15. JLogan

    JLogan Trump is my President!

    Well, liberals and atheists don't seem to have much brain function, or consciences, or souls, so perhaps we should cut their spinal cords and chop their limbs off, then dispose of their bodies? or maybe we should vacuum their brains out first?

    A fetus can start to feel pain around 18 - 20 weeks, yet these dumbasses think there should be no cutoff, and most of the Democrats in congress voted against a bill to outlaw abortions after the 20th week.

    as a side note, unplugging people is immoral too, unless that person has explicitly said that they do not want to be kept on life support. There was that one guy who woke up after 12 years, and he remembers all of it.
  16. JoeNation

    JoeNation Patron Saint of Idiots

    18-20 weeks eh?
    abortions weeks.png
  17. rlm's cents

    rlm's cents Well-Known Member

    Brilliant argument there Mr. RBGUPI. Murder is alright so long as you just murder a few. You will go far with that logic.
  18. JLogan

    JLogan Trump is my President!

    1.2% of 55 million babies is still over 660,000 babies. over the course of 10 years that's more babies killed by democrats than Jews killed by Nazis.
  19. IQless1

    IQless1 trump supporters are scum

    Not all life has a heart.
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  20. c jay

    c jay Well-Known Member

    Thank you for admitting that it is no longer part of the mother and her body, her choice. Your post deserves a longer response but I'm late for work. See you when I get home.

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