Monday, September 10, 2012

The Paralympic Games must change the way we think about abortion


"Finally, there are some famous words you can find stamped on the bottom of a product," said Lord Coe, in his speech at the closing ceremony of the Paralympic Games. "Words, that when you read them, you know mean high quality, mean skill, mean creativity.

"We have stamped those words on the Olympic and Paralympic Games of London 2012.

"London 2012. Made in Britain."

These past weeks have been wonderful: a spirit of heroism has indeed inspired a generation, not least in shifting the perception of disabilty from one of insurmountable hurdles and endless inconvenience to rich possibility and the heights of achievement. The disabled have become the differently-abled: they can race in wheelchairs, run with no legs, swim with no arms, and play football with their ears. Closed minds have been opened; the impossible made possible; the inaccessible accessible.

All you need, as Roy Castle used to sing, is dedication.

And God-given talent, of course. For the reality is that these differently-abled athletes, with no eyes, no legs, dwarfism or multiple sclerosis, can still run faster, throw further, jump longer or swim faster than a good many 'able-bodied'.

And yet society deems it ethically permissible to abort them.

It is ironic that Parliament resists calls to legalise 'assisted suicide' on the grounds that those who are vulnerable through age or illness might be pressured into terminating their lives, while we send completely the opposite message to the disabled, whose lives may be freely and swiftly terminated in the womb.

In his speech, Lord Coe told us of a Games-Maker he met on the Underground a few weeks ago; a doctor who was on duty on that fateful day in London on 7th July 2005. "For me this is closure," he said. "I wasn't sure I should come or whether I could face it. I'm so glad I did. For I've seen the worst of mankind and now I've seen the best of mankind."

London has come a long way in seven years: this has been a summer like no other. But if 'the best of mankind' is to have any enduring legacy; if, as Lord Coe says, 'we will never think of disability the same way', surely we must lift 'the cloud of limitation' on the thousands of unborn babies in the womb, whom providence has seen fit to gift with one leg, no arms, no eyes, dwarfism or spina bifida. Who in God's name can justify snuffing out the giftedness and limitless potential of Ellie Simmonds:


Jonnie Peacock:


David Weir:


Sarah Storey:


Or the rest of our Paralympians?


As we watch these deeply impressive individuals parade in the Victory Celebration; as they receive in due course their knighthoods, damehoods and various appointments to the Order of the British Empire for services to sport, let us remember not only their spectacular personal achievements, but also the supreme pleasures they have given us all over these weeks and the immense contribution they make to society. And then ask why we are content to justify the routine abortion of the differently-abled.

148 Comments:

Blogger Woman on a Raft said...

Aged five, Peacock contracted meningitis resulting in the disease killing the tissues of his right leg. His leg was amputated below the knee.

What has that to do with abortion?

10 September 2012 09:18  
Blogger Archbishop Cranmer said...

Ms Woman on a Raft,

Because, quite obviously (or so His Grace thought), if Jonnie Peacock had been found to have one leg while residing in the womb, he would have been a prime candidate for termination.

10 September 2012 09:21  
Blogger Woman on a Raft said...

But he wasn't, was he? Neither was Storey.

10 September 2012 09:22  
Blogger IanCad said...

Right on the money YG.

"--And then ask why we are content to justify the routine abortion of the differently-abled.

There is no rational argument against this statement.

A great opportunity to recruit more good people to the Anti-Abortion ranks.

10 September 2012 09:34  
Blogger Archbishop Cranmer said...

Ms Woman on a Raft,

Okay, you're clearly being purposely obtuse. If your mind can't grasp the wider message and meaning of this post, stick to reflecting on Ellie Simmonds and others whose disabilities were congenital.

10 September 2012 09:36  
Blogger James said...

London has come a long way in seven years

Outside the Olympic Potemkin Village, I put it to you that London (and, more importantly, the other 90% of the British Isles) has not changed one jot for the better, and in many ways is routinely worse.

10 September 2012 10:05  
Blogger graham wood said...

MsWoman on a raft. Cranmer says:
"It is ironic that Parliament resists calls to legalise 'assisted suicide' on the grounds that those who are vulnerable through age or illness might be pressured into terminating their lives, while we send completely the opposite message to the disabled, whose lives may be freely and swiftly terminated in the womb"

His premise and argument is sound and logical, and has every bit to do with abortion. There is also a more serious ground of objection which Cranmer undoubtedly endorses - namely the biblical one.
Abortion = infanticide. Infanticide = murder of the unborn child which on every count is to be condemned and unfit for a civilised society.

10 September 2012 10:08  
Blogger AnonymousInBelfast said...

Graham:

Except that in neither Jewish Law nor pre-modern Christian law was personhood attributed to the moment of conception. Christianity has always had a harder anti-abortion stance (though, in fairness, Hellenic Jews were not far off being the same), but making abortion synonymous with infanticide isn't as clear cut even our own history as you imagine it to be.

Cranmer's own argument gets to the crux of the matter by pointing out the sheer hypocrisy of a culture that nominally celebrates diversity, wouldn't dream of being prejudiced against a (born) disabled person, but nevertheless sees it as a virtue to destroy such people in the womb. Anyone who has experience, either first-hand or through friends, of the way that doctors "advise" on disabled foetuses will know just how curiously hard-pressed they are to "do the right thing" and abort.

It is in part a consquence of the lamentable way in which moral issues get treated as separate phenomena, so that protest groups can campaign on a single issue (like diversity) and hold incoherent views on others whilst considering themselves to be basically compatable by virtue of being campaigners. And it's a flaw in our society that is the lifeblood for left-of-centre and leftwing politics. It makes Obama's statement "the only thing we have in common is the government" come true.

10 September 2012 10:24  
Blogger Peter Denshaw said...

Hope his Grace and all those able to offer a loving home (as, of course we know, all Christian homes are loving) are lining up to adopt or foster those disabled children that languish on the adoption register. It is the kind of 'real' action that suitably augments the need to lobby to have abortion strictly limited.

Otherwise, it is just a case of loading others with burdens that we might not be able or willing to carry ourselves.

10 September 2012 10:40  
Blogger Office of Inspector General said...

This man had no objection to that poor unfortunate trapped in his own body from being granted his wish, or anyone else like him, if each case is put before three judges. Any Christian who does, in his opinion, does not fully grasp the life-death cycle our creator has arranged in this imperfect world. Any Christian who does must also ask themselves if they understand the concept of ‘mercy’.

Importantly, the same should be in place for each and every abortion...

10 September 2012 10:46  
Blogger Preacher said...

Excellent post Dr Cranmer.
Life presents us all with pressures & problems that can at times seem insurmountable. But these people's grit & determination to win are an inspiration to us all.
Rebel Saint mentioned Nick Vujicic in his post recently, not an Olympian but a Giant in the Lord's Kingdom.
The differently abled prove that 'it's not the hand you're dealt that's important, it's the way that you play it'.

Blessings. Preacher.

10 September 2012 10:59  
Blogger Youthpasta said...

@ Peter Denshaw - Huh? Are you saying that everyone who is against the abortion of unborn children on the grounds of "disability" now HAVE TO go out and adopt?
I'm not even sure that "LOL" gives enough justice to the ridiculousness of such a thought!

OT - Completely agree, YG. Nothing spoke more to this than the swimmers with no arms (http://www.rtbot.net/physical_limitations check out the 3rd video down), particularly as whilst some had had arms amputated there are also some who were born that way. And, let's face it, if all we do is accept those that are born then we are simply on a par with China, that highly renowned centre for humane treatment of all people! China, where having a daughter is seen as a negative due to the 1 child policy, had female athletes who were disabled at birth and, rather than kill them (in or out of the womb) they have allowed them to live and they have flourished. If all we can say is we are "as good as China" then that is a huge black mark on our care for the differently-abled (whoever first created that phrase is a genius!).

All people have worth. To reject that potential to show that worth purely because they don't fit is nothing short of scandalous!

10 September 2012 11:04  
Blogger Youthpasta said...

@Inspector - So are you denying the possibility of a miraculous healing? Are you denying hope? Sorry, but on this you are as wrong as you possibly could be!

10 September 2012 11:06  
Blogger graham wood said...

Anon In Belfast. I disagree with you on both counts when you say:

"Except that in neither Jewish Law nor pre-modern Christian law was personhood attributed to the moment of conception.

Firstly, modern medical science, even over the last 30 years or so has confirmed beyond any reasonable doubt that 'personhood' is an attribute of the foetus in the womb.
But of course we are not dependent on such findings to orient our moral compass on the issue, critically important though these are, but rather on the infallible Word of God itself.
As you will know the Decalogue and Scripture everywhere outlaws murder, and killing on other grounds is hedged about with very precise constraints. Nonetheless the spirit of the OT law could not be clearer, and was endorsed and amplified by Jesus in the NT.

As for knowing 'personhood' I would have thought that the explicit language of God's foreknowledge of the Psalmist (Psalm 139) puts the matter beyond reasonable doubt.
My comment therefore was entirely supportive of Cranmer's point about the hypocrisy of governments, not least our own on the matter.

10 September 2012 11:06  
Blogger Office of Inspector General said...

Youthpasta. You’ve answered your own question. If you are unsure how you did it, look up the word ‘miraculous’.

In the case of the locked in man, nature eventually finished the job she attempted to do in 2005. To wit, give the man a fatal stroke. It happens...

Could you really have done it ? While he was still alive, to tell that man he was to be confined to his living hell for the rest of his natural, which could have been another twenty years. Could you have watched the tears roll down his cheeks, listen to his whining or whatever noise of utter despair he was able to make. That would be it – remember, that’s ALL he could do.

This is NOT a rhetorical question Youthpasta. Could YOU have done that, bring him the news. Someone had to....


10 September 2012 11:36  
Blogger AnonymousInBelfast said...

Graham:

You're welcome to disagree with the content, but not with historical fact. Jewish Law allows for, and has always allowed for abortion in cases where mothers' lives are at risk. In certain traditions there is even explicit permission to use foetal disection as a means of abortion. Hellenic Jews, on the other hand, tended to be a lot more wary of it - which I've come to think of as a response to the widespread use of abortion in Greek culture. In other words - the abortion permitted in Jewish Law is permitted within an ethos that affirms the sancitity of life. Taken in another culture where that affirmation of sanctity is lacking, opposition to abortion became more pronounced.

Christians have pretty much always been opposed to abortion - and we get examples of total bans on abortion from about the 3rd century onwards. But critically, what abortion meant was different. It was not considered abortion to put an end to a pregnancy early on (generally within a set period of days, or in principle "before quickening). There are plenty of examples of members of the Church not merely condoning, but aiding in early-term "abortions" right the way through to the early modern period. In the Catholic Church, the Aquinan view of personhood as not being synonymous with conception was and is Canon Law since the early 13th Century, and has only very recently been superceded by positions formulated in the 19th and 20th Centuries.

Which is why I said that attributing personhood to conception is not in fact a particularly historically Christian perspective, let alone a Jewish one. Both have historically tended to take personhood as developing in the womb, and both tend to see the point at which the child is moving on its own (i.e. quickening) as the moment of its personhood.

10 September 2012 11:42  
Blogger AnonymousInBelfast said...

(Sorry - should be early 14th Century; Council of Vienne, 1312. Need more sleep).

10 September 2012 11:44  
Blogger David B said...

The paralympics do not change my view on whether, before some sort of reasonable arbitrary time similar to the one we have now, a woman should have the right to chose whether to carry a pregnancy to term or not.

David B

10 September 2012 11:45  
Blogger Office of Inspector General said...

A thought gentlemen...

When Christ was hanging from the cross, one of Roman soldiers decided to ‘help him on his way’ by piercing his side with what one expects was a standard issue army spear.

Now, why doesn’t the creed say to the effect. “He was crucified, and if that wasn’t enough, speared through the side”

In our cosy petro-chemical world of easy comfort and over-sensitivity to the harsh realities of life, have we lost something that was present 2000 years ago. And that, my friends, I put to you is ‘acceptance of the situation’...

10 September 2012 11:57  
Blogger Office of Inspector General said...

David B, your dismissive attitude to innocent helpless human life fully encapsulates the Inspector’s loathing and repulsion for social liberals like yourself...

Do keep on posting...

10 September 2012 12:06  
Blogger William said...

David B

"The paralympics do not change my view on whether, before some sort of reasonable arbitrary time similar to the one we have now, a woman should have the right to chose whether to carry a pregnancy to term or not."

The only reasonable arbitrary time before which a woman should have the right to chose whether to carry a pregnancy to term or not is conception. After that you are talking about ending the life of another human.

10 September 2012 13:20  
Blogger graham wood said...

Anon in Belfast. You appear to be missing the point!
Firstly In the UK neither Christians or non Christians are under the jurisdiction of what you call 'Jewish Law, or Canon law.

Secondly, the matter of when a mother (or the child) is at risk of death and necessitating abortion is a separate matter, and of course an exception allowable in current legislation as all generally allow.
But we are addressing the central matter of indiscriminate abortion of the unborn child in the womb which totals ten of millions in western 'democracies', and which in the context of Cranmer's comment and the disabled is indeed rank hypocrisy.
Neither are we discussing primarily the views of Christians, the Catholic Church, the Aquinan view, or any other, but whether the Christian scriptures uphold the sanctity of life - including the life of the foetus in the womb.
Please, no more irrelevant red herrings!

10 September 2012 13:26  
Blogger AnonymousInBelfast said...

Graham:

My point was that the Christian Scriptures have only "obviously" revealed that foetuses possess personhood from conception in roughly the last 2 centuries. At the time of their writing, and in the majority of time since, that idea simply has not been the dominant one. That needn't mean we are bound to the same theology or legislation of the past, but if we proceed on the (false) basis that "this is what Christians have always believed Scripture to be saying" we delude ourselves.

I actually think the history, far from being an irrelevant red herring (or a even a relevant one), offers an important perspective. That it becomes important to tackle the absence of sanctity of life in modern culture. Like the Hellenic Jews and the early Christians, we do live in a society that does precisely that (as I said above). But the answer that both the Hellenic Jews and the early Christians gave to this particular question was one that was nuanced in order to reflect sanctity of life, and not simplistic in order to enforce it. I see no reason not to follow their example.

10 September 2012 13:58  
Blogger Peter Denshaw said...

@Youthpasta

I am not saying everybody should go out and adopt a disabled child, but it would be good to see people put their money where their mouths are when it comes to caring for disabled people and esp. disabled children. I know for a fact that the bulk of adoptions that take place in the UK are children with the requisite number of limbs, senses and IQ – disabled children are at the back of the queue. Lobbying has it place, but I wonder just how many lobbyists, keen to place burdens on others, would happily care for a profoundly disabled person? (By the way, I care for a disabled person.). How many would be happy to see taxes rise to pay for the care of disabled people? Moreover there is the wider ethic of whether it is morally acceptable to artificially keep people alive with profound disabilities. We are very good at saying it is immoral to take life; but when does it become immoral to extend life? These are necessary questions for anyone discussing these issues.

I have spent a good portion of my adult life campaigning for disabled rights and heartily agree with his Grace’s sentiments here. Yet a great weakness of modern life, and modern Christianity is infected with the same malady, is that there is a disproportionate emphasis on telling others what to do. I managed a faith-based (Christian) residential home for young adults for several years. A part from the local vicar, who used to come and visit one resident (a former parishioner) getting volunteers in the home from local churches was like pulling teeth. Sure, when there was some charity bash for the charity that ran the home, church after church would sign up to do a sponsored fun run or swim. Getting people to donate their time, was much harder – I think they thought by putting £1 in a collection envelope they were doing their bit (tho’ in truth, like many faith based social care charities – the taxpayer met 80% of the charity’s running costs). Oddly enough it was a local Sikh Temple that provided more volunteer support than the local churches.

So yes, lobby for a change in the law concerning abortion by all means, but there are some more costly (and I would suggest personally fulfilling) ways and means by which people can contribute to improving the lives of disabled people. And remember, para-Olympians, like regular Olympians are an elite, well supported by Lottery money and supportive friends and family. The reality of life for many disabled people does not echo this rather stage-managed view of disability.

10 September 2012 14:15  
Blogger graham wood said...

Anon in Belfast:
"My point was that the Christian Scriptures have only "obviously" revealed that foetuses possess personhood from conception in roughly the last 2 centuries... not a dominant one".

This seems to be a very odd argument indeed and leads to the obvious question as to whether before this very arbitrary divison of 2 centuries, our Christian Scriptures were somewhat ambivalent on the issue?
But the doctrine of the sanctity of life goes back much further than 2 centuries if we take Mosaic law seriously as the Word of God.

I take your point that it is only comparatively recently that Christian theologians and doctors have been compelled to re-examine the Biblical teaching in the light of modern abortionist policies, but the reason must be obvious for prior to the twentieth century mass medical abortions were not only not practiced - they were not even possible!
I suggest to you that Bible believing Christians have indeed always believed Scripture to teach the sanctity of life at every level - hence my allusions to the Old Testament, Mosaic law, and not least the words of Psalm 139.
God's foreknowledge of us and omnipresence is not some arcane modern theory or "theology" but a
stated reality in conformity with the whole biblical message - one I might add, of great comfort and assurance for believers over many centuries.
Of course, those who believe that Psalm is irrelevant or silent about God and human origins, only show their unbelief and rob themselves of knowledge and understanding.

10 September 2012 14:37  
Blogger Maturecheese said...

This is controversial I know but here goes. If a foetus is found to be deformed or severely disabled shouldn't the costs to society be weighed up as well as the wishes of the parents. Some are born so dependent on intensive care that will last a lifetime, however long that is, that it must be hard to justify the costs to the NHS taxpayer etc.

Those that become disabled after they are born, say for instance fighting for their country or contracting some illness must of course get all the help they need and those that go on to achieve success in whatever they do should be applauded.

I'm sorry in advance if my views offend anybody as this is not my intention.

10 September 2012 14:58  
Blogger Marie1797 said...

Differently-abled is so much more descriptive and positive I think it should become the right term to use rather than disabled, HG has a point they are not disabled as this conjures up pictures of someone like Tony Nicholson.

It's challenging enough when someone becomes differently-abled during their lifetime, I can't help but feel that not having the choice to abort a severely differently-abled foetus from the womb is preparing the way for more of them to be abandoned and languish on the adoption register as not everyone can cope with such a child. And, aren't we then propagating the weakest genes instead of the strongest? It's a fine line between being cruel to ensure survival of the fittest and being a caring compassionate Christian.

Is it fate that a couple have a differently-abled offspring as maybe they need to develop more care and compassion? Is God teaching them a lesson in some way?

10 September 2012 15:32  
Blogger Jim McLean said...

I wonder what life would be like if we all looked at it like Ms. Woman on a raft.....
Would we all live in sublime ignorance, only responding to things if they directly affected us with their obviousness and immediacy, or would we disappear as a species in about 24 months....?

10 September 2012 16:30  
Blogger non mouse said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

10 September 2012 16:44  
Blogger non mouse said...

Yes. Right. So many people, each one playing a triple role, acting out the inhuman trinity: Judge-Jury-Executioner.

In so doing you minimise both choice and responsibility among those who procreate. And you then prescribe external control of the existences of others. What a mess it all is.

So how many of these inhuman trinitarians never seduced another person? How many knew, or remembered, that seduction can be considered a soft form of rape; rather as spiritual murder is nonetheless murder?

How many of these secular trinitarians always followed the dictum: "If (s)he's good enough to sleep with, (s)he's good enough to marry? If not, having accomplished their short-term purpose, did they ever bother to find out what happened to the victims afterwards? Or did they just murder them spiritually?

So perhaps we should change our thinking by advocating abstention, virginity, or self-denial. After all, once a baby is conceived, it's a bit late to pontificate about how the parents, or their society, must ensure that the hapless infant will have a life rather then mere existence.

In short, of course we must apply sticking plaster, prosthetics and even physical re-hab once the "accident" has happened. But to lower the accident rate, how about advocating some accident prevention measures? How about teaching the children we already have about morals, moral fibre, and their pre-requisite, love ---including the difference between cupiditas and caritas?

10 September 2012 16:56  
Blogger Darter Noster said...

No, Marie 1797, it is not "a fine line between being cruel to ensure survival of the fittest and being a caring compassionate Christian". It is a f***ing massive gulf.

"Propagating the weakest genes..."?!!! Who do you go to for your information on science and ethics - Joseph Mengele?

My best mate is as severely disabled as Tony Nicklinson was, but is a very happy and active young man with everything to live for. The difference between my friend and Tony Nicklinson was the state of their minds, not their bodies. The problem is that whilst society leaps to listen to people like Tony Nicklinson, who view profound disability as a terrible curse and life with profound disability as meaningless, it does not want to know about profoundly disabled people who love and enjoy their lives, because their views do not fit nicely with existing prejudices.

Maturecheese - and how, exactly, do you weigh up a profit and loss account to society based on vague and often prejudiced (see rant above) projections about someone's future contribution? Believe me, you do not want to live in the sort of society where people believe that they can.

On the basis of your beliefs, my best buddy could have been terminated because a doctor with a calculator and a clipboard thought s/he could predict the future. All his friends and family would have been deprived of the love and companionship of someone we think the world of, and society would have lost someone who by his strength, cheeky personality and zest for life makes a deep impression on everyone he meets.

You cannot put a price on human life, and it is a dangerous mistake ever to try.

10 September 2012 17:08  
Blogger William said...

Maturecheese

"Some are born so dependent on intensive care that will last a lifetime, however long that is, that it must be hard to justify the costs to the NHS taxpayer etc."

Measuring the costs in your cost-benefit analysis is relatively easy, but how do you measure the benefits?

What is the benefit of a life (disabled or otherwise) to itself; to those around it; to God? How can we even measure this at the point of abortion?

10 September 2012 17:16  
Blogger graham wood said...

Maturecheese said...

"This is controversial I know but here goes. If a foetus is found to be deformed or severely disabled shouldn't the costs to society be weighed up as well as the wishes of the parents. Some are born so dependent on intensive care.... justify the costs to the NHS taxpayer etc."

Answer:
This would be a re-run of the ever precarious 'the end justifies the means argument'
In any event the percentage of those severely deformed or disabled is so tiny that the cost to the public purse would be minute, compared with the sheer scale of losses incurred by the NHS and private clinics, not to mention governments, perpetuating abortion 'services'.
Cut out one and the other is more than affordable.

10 September 2012 17:21  
Blogger carl jacobs said...

The case for abortion has never been about protecting the unborn from lives not worth living. It has always been about protecting adults from the imposed responsibility of parenthood. It is thus about the establishment of adult autonomy. It separates sexual desire from the resonsibilities that naturally attend sexual desire. The autonomous adult thus feels no necessary compunction to care for the needs of a disabled child. So he gives himself permission to abort the disabled child to spare himself the difficulty. Abortion reflects the narcissistic selfish and self-centerd nature of our modern culture. We evidently believe that our parents sacrificed for us so that we could spend our whole lives focused on ... ourselves.

The Modern battle Cry! "Please pass the lubricant. There is an oriface over there that I haven't yet penetrated."

carl

10 September 2012 18:02  
Blogger Newry Liam said...

Well said your Grace, life is life perfect or not physically,
the soul is perfect, if these people would only look at an embryology book or maybe an aborted baby then they would see the perfection of creation, even a 4 week old baby is beautiful.

10 September 2012 18:05  
Blogger AnonymousInBelfast said...

Graham:

Putting it bluntly, mass abortions were perfectly possible, and were practiced long before our mechanised versions came along. There were abortifacents, and direct invasive abortions were perfectly common. There were even specialist tools for doing so.

Christian understanding of what the "sanctity of life" means has, I'm afraid changed with regards to timelimits on abortion. As I have been at pains to stress - Christianity has consistently been opposed to abortion from its earliest origins. But what consitutes "abortion" has not been the same. It's also really important to stress that at virtually no time in Jewish tradition has a foetus been afforded unequivocal parity with a human being, either in terms of their rights or their spiritual status. That's not a red herring: the culture that Jesus lived in simply would not have recognised the (modern) notion that you describe where a foetus is unambiguously equivalent to a born person.

Part of the change has indeed been related to our increase in medical knowledge. A 1st Century woman could not have pinpointed pregnancy as early as we can now. Nor could they have known about congenital diseases until a child was born. I share completely your aversion to mass abortion of the disabled, and agree that the Biblical model of the sanctity of life cannot sit easily with the selective destruction of the disabled.

Except, of course, that it can. Quite easily in fact. There are numerous prohibitions about maintaining sanctity wherein disability, disease, and physical defects are in fact an offense against sanctity. You can't kill a leper for being a leper - he is nefesh (very crudely: a soul) - but there is no direct or even logical prohibition from destroying a foetus because it is disabled, precisely because it is not automatically ascribed nefesh. In fact, if Christianity drew more heavily on Jewish tradition (both written and oral), we would probably not be having this debate.

The most important thing is that we don't: the New Testament is largely drawn from the Greek Septuagint version of the Old Testament - which has key changes to the verses (particularly Exodus 21:22-25) that render opposition to abortion far more stridently. It's another reason why Hellenised Jews like Philo tended to be far closer to the Christians on anti-abortion. So in that sense, you're quite correct to say this is an issue that goes back to the Scriptures, but it's important to recognise that it goes back to a translation of the "Old Testament" Scriptures that spoke to, and within a culture entirely hostile to the ways of God.

But even that's deceptive: because the Septuagint still leaves room for abortion, and Hellenised Jews still permitted it under specific circumstances. The idea that the soul exists from conception does have a pedigree - but it is from Greek philosophy! Its presence in early Church teaching correlates exactly with the period in which Greek philosophy (chiefly Aristotle, but here the key chap is Pythagoras) was increasingly being used in theology. As it happened, the Pythagorean view that you outline didn't entirely win out in the Church - at least not until the 19th Century. Up till then, it was the Aristotelian, and the Septuagint view of general opposition to abortion as an immoral act, but not an act equivalent to murder, and not an act that could never be carried out at all (there are in fact saints and monks who carried out early-term abortions).

So there's the rub Graham: it's not Scripture where this is unambiguously clear. It's Pythagoras.

10 September 2012 18:10  
Blogger AnonymousInBelfast said...

Carl Jacobs hits the nail on the head as usual. The problem with modern attitudes to abortion is the culture that permits it, and it's a culture that entirely detracts from God-given morality.

It's like Biblical Greece, in fact.

10 September 2012 18:19  
Blogger William said...

Darter Noster @17:08 said it better than me.

10 September 2012 19:27  
Blogger Youthpasta said...

@Peter Denshaw - A friend of mine did just that. He and his wife, both Christians, adopted a blind, autistic girl and brought her into their home, alongside their 2 kids. I am sure that others do so too, and almost certain that you will find that it is more than 50% Christians that do so.
Personally, I would have no problem with doing so as long as I was able to do so. Being single and not well off enough to cover such costs kinda causes a few problems in this regard.

@Inspector - In direct answer to your question, yes I could. Not saying it would be easy, for either of us, but I would because I believe in the principles that the Bible shows us. The Bible is VERY clear that murder is wrong, as is suicide (but then, as a good Catholic chappy I am sure you already knew this, hence suggesting topping the poor soul). Life is God's to give and God's to take away. As soon as you say that there are exceptions that don't involve the saving of another person's life (the only reasonable excuse for abortion that I can see) then you are declaring man to be above God.
And how exactly did I answer my own question? I use the term miraculous. Does your highlighting of this mean that you don't believe in miracles? You should, after all the Vatican does! Surely you are not denying the omnipotence of our Creator, are you?

10 September 2012 20:21  
Blogger Office of Inspector General said...

Youthpasta, there is one big problem with miracles. You wait a long lifetime for one to happen, and just as you are about to think you’ll never experience one at close quarters, none come along all at once...

Your zeal is noted, as is your glibness. But alas, you just don’t see it do you. Life is not necessarily God’s to give and God’s to take away. However, the Inspector does not want you to ponder too much on this truism lest you take yourself away to the nearest heart unit and scold the by-pass patients for defying their appointed time of maker meeting...

10 September 2012 20:55  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

Article: "And yet society deems it ethically permissible to abort them."

It also deems it permissible to abort the potentially able-bodied too.

"It is ironic that Parliament resists calls to legalise 'assisted suicide' on the grounds that those who are vulnerable through age or illness might be pressured into terminating their lives, while we send completely the opposite message to the disabled, whose lives may be freely and swiftly terminated in the womb."

Whether or not some people choose to recognise the difference, the arguments for protection against pressure over assisted suicide are for subjects-of-a-life whereas foetuses, at least up to a certain age, are not subjects-of-a-life. In the latter case, the "whose lives" is in advance of the "whose" and its implications there. The article begs the question to some extent.

10 September 2012 21:03  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

But we've done all that before, a number of times.

10 September 2012 21:04  
Blogger Office of Inspector General said...

On the subject of death, when the Inspector shuffles off, he wishes to be waked, and for DanJ0 to keen over his simple coffin ;->

10 September 2012 21:21  
Blogger Youthpasta said...

@Inspector - You really are a cretin, aren't you! And yes, that WAS rhetorical!
Keeping people alive so that they ca recover is completely different from taking someone's life. It is not giving, it is merely prolonging.
And as for your shocking disbelief in the amazing things that God can (and does, I have seen it!) make happen, it is little wonder the world is a more depressing place when people who believe (or at least claim to) in an amazing, awesome, omnipotent God show such a lack of hope in this life!

10 September 2012 21:45  
Blogger Bred in the bone said...

These matters are always better left to freedom of conscience for the individual

As would be the matter of euthenasia

10 September 2012 21:54  
Blogger Office of Inspector General said...

Now look Youthpasta, posting like a blasted fourteen year old isn’t doing your take on matters Christian any favours.

This man does not need a God who can pull rabbits out of a hat. To appreciate the majesty of our creator, quiet contemplation of the awfulness of Him is quite enough.


10 September 2012 21:54  
Blogger Youthpasta said...

No, YOU look you ignorant, arrogant moron! Miracles DO happen. I have seen wheelchair-bound people get out of their chair and run around a room! The most incredible story I could tell you, which sadly I didn't see but a good and trusted friend of mine did, where a lad who had no muscles in his legs was prayed for. My friend saw skin "bubble" up and muscle grow underneath! This happened to both legs. How else can you describe this besides a miracle?

10 September 2012 22:06  
Blogger Darter Noster said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

10 September 2012 22:23  
Blogger Darter Noster said...

@ Bred in the bone:

Abortion, by definition, cannot be left to the conscience of the person most comcerned.

10 September 2012 22:26  
Blogger Office of Inspector General said...

Youthpasta, one hopes you are not considering a transfer to Rome. We just don’t need your ‘halleluiah, look what He has done today’ types in with us (...Thank you Lord, for Protestantism, to save your one true church from damn zealots...)

You can run around like some circus dog looking out for divine frisbees to catch in your teeth until you drop dead for all the Inspector cares. He is though rather annoyed that you party trick people have the bloody gall to criticise Roman Catholicism...

10 September 2012 23:23  
Blogger Office of Inspector General said...

By the way, if you want to see wheelchair victims run around on demand, slip them some amphetamine sulphate...

10 September 2012 23:27  
Blogger The Way of Dodo the Dude said...

Inspector

As a Catholic you will be familiar with Church teaching on the sanctity of life.

"Human life is sacred because from its beginning it involves the creative action of God and it remains for ever in a special relationship with the Creator, who is its sole end. God alone is the Lord of life from its beginning until its end: no one can under any circumstance claim for himself the right directly to destroy an innocent human being."
(Catechism of the Catholic Church: 2258)

Abortion
"Human life must be respected and protected absolutely from the moment of conception. From the first moment of his existence, a human being must be recognized as having the rights of a person - among which is the inviolable right of every innocent being to life."
(Cathecism of the Catholic Church - 2270)

Euthanasia
"Those whose lives are diminished or weakened deserve special respect. Sick or handicapped persons should be helped to lead lives as normal as possible.

Whatever its motives and means, direct euthanasia consists in putting an end to the lives of handicapped, sick, or dying persons. It is morally unacceptable.

Thus an act or omission which, of itself or by intention, causes death in order to eliminate suffering constitutes a murder gravely contrary to the dignity of the human person and to the respect due to the living God, his Creator. The error of judgment into which one can fall in good faith does not change the nature of this murderous act, which must always be forbidden and excluded.

Discontinuing medical procedures that are burdensome, dangerous, extraordinary, or disproportionate to the expected outcome can be legitimate; it is the refusal of "over-zealous" treatment. Here one does not will to cause death; one's inability to impede it is merely accepted. The decisions should be made by the patient if he is competent and able or, if not, by those legally entitled to act for the patient, whose reasonable will and legitimate interests must always be respected.

Even if death is thought imminent, the ordinary care owed to a sick person cannot be legitimately interrupted. The use of painkillers to alleviate the sufferings of the dying, even at the risk of shortening their days, can be morally in conformity with human dignity if death is not willed as either an end or a means, but only foreseen and tolerated as inevitable Palliative care is a special form of disinterested charity. As such it should be encouraged."

(Cathecism of the Catholic Church: 2276-2279)

Suicide
"Everyone is responsible for his life before God who has given it to him. It is God who remains the sovereign Master of life. We are obliged to accept life gratefully and preserve it for his honor and the salvation of our souls. We are stewards, not owners, of the life God has entrusted to us. It is not ours to dispose of.

Suicide contradicts the natural inclination of the human being to preserve and perpetuate his life. It is gravely contrary to the just love of self. It likewise offends love of neighbour because it unjustly breaks the ties of solidarity with family, nation, and other human societies to which we continue to have obligations. Suicide is contrary to love for the living God.

If suicide is committed with the intention of setting an example, especially to the young, it also takes on the gravity of scandal. Voluntary co-operation in suicide is contrary to the moral law.

Grave psychological disturbances, anguish, or grave fear of hardship, suffering, or torture can diminish the responsibility of the one committing suicide.

We should not despair of the eternal salvation of persons who have taken their own lives. By ways known to him alone, God can provide the opportunity for salutary repentance. The Church prays for persons who have taken their own lives."

(Cathecism of the Catholic Church: 2280-2283)



10 September 2012 23:46  
Blogger John Magee said...


As a fomer fetus I want to take a stand for unborn babies and their right to life!.

Abortion is murder. Or infanticide. Take your pick. They mean the same.

None of us will ever be a fetus again but we will be old with all the problems associated with age, or terminally ill, perhaps paralyzed because of an accident or in a coma, maybe incapicitated from a stoke. The people (radical feminists for example) who take "pride" in abortion and make that their central meaning in their political agendas have plans for euthanasia for all of us someday down the pike if they can ever get their way. All those conditions I just mentioned, will be medical grounds in the future in our societies which will no longer have any value for human life for giving us a pill, an injection, or maybe a pillow over the face of grandma for 5 minutes to get rid of future "useless eaters (a Nazi term for the metally ill they exterminated in 1940 in Germany).

Just look at the smiles on the faces of these wonderful athletes all loving life and full of joy and so proud of their accomplishments.

10 September 2012 23:47  
Blogger len said...

See the Inspector is in fine form spitting fire and brimstone....again.

I see Inspector why you don`t believe in miracles because it would take one for you to see the truth about your religion.

All things are possible with God and many wondrous miracles have taken place with physical healing`s and miraculous deliverances from spiritual bondages but if you believe you will get nothing from God then He possibly will give you what you believe.


11 September 2012 00:00  
Blogger Office of Inspector General said...


Dodo, we’ve been here before. We have the benefit of teaching. In certain circumstances, the teaching may not cover it...

11 September 2012 00:03  
Blogger Office of Inspector General said...


Len, the Inspector’s belief in God is far stronger than yours. You see, he doesn’t expect God to manifest his power by the medium of miracle. Not once. In other words he believes without reward...

11 September 2012 00:07  
Blogger The Way of Dodo the Dude said...

Inpector

We have been here before and I think you'll find the Cathecism on these issues sets out a clear teaching and set of moral principles. Read the section on euthenasia.

I note our little weasel is lurking waiting to snap his teeth at your religion whenever he thinks there is an an opening. Ignore him and his hate filled words.

11 September 2012 00:15  
Blogger Youthpasta said...

Inspector, you are a dullard. You are rejecting eye witness reports of miracles. It's just as well that you were not alive when Peter told the beggar to rise up and walk, you'd probably have told him to give the beggar a drug test!

11 September 2012 00:24  
Blogger David B said...

@William, who said

"The only reasonable arbitrary time before which a woman should have the right to chose whether to carry a pregnancy to term or not is conception. After that you are talking about ending the life of another human."

No it isn't.

Another would be when a foetus can live outside the womb, which is pretty much the status quo, after long debate in the country and in parliament.

Talking about ending pregnancies very early, though, it appears that estimates of the number of spontaneous abortions before a woman even becomes aware that she is pregnant range from the 50 to 80 percent range.

So I would ask those who believe in a god - is god responsible for those abortions by commission or omission, and/or, in either case, does it look as if a putative god cares about the fate of recently fertilised eggs?

David B

11 September 2012 00:24  
Blogger Office of Inspector General said...

Dodo, imagine you are a monk from the middle ages. Not such a great leap of the imagination as anyone with an intellect would probably prefer to join a religious order to extend their learning rather than push a plough around for the rest of their life.

You are the Abbey’s expert in medicine. You are called out by a peasant women. It’s not good. Her husband is at the advanced stage of cancer. The tumour has grown so big that every moment of existence for the man is agony. In the same room is Youthpasta praying for a miracle. Now, do you apply the deadly nightshade, or whatever it is in your bag for a speedy end, or do you join Mr Pastry for that run-of-the-mill miracle. Remember, the dying man is screaming his head off in agony...

And remember this old bird, when it came to child birth and to terminal disease, until fairly recently, the church didn’t want to know. "It’s God’s will” being the get out...

11 September 2012 00:26  
Blogger The Way of Dodo the Dude said...

Inspector

Such a situation is covered in Church teaching.

"The use of painkillers to alleviate the sufferings of the dying, even at the risk of shortening their days, can be morally in conformity with human dignity if death is not willed as either an end or a means, but only foreseen and tolerated as inevitable,"

Alleviate suffering as best one can and if administering a pain killer hastens death, provided this is not the intention, this is morally acceptable. Seeking to shorten or end life would be gravely sinful. It is a fine distinction but an important one.

11 September 2012 00:41  
Blogger The Way of Dodo the Dude said...

David B

You're missing the point. So now you want to hold God to account for His actions!

In case you missed my earlier post:

"Human life is sacred because from its beginning it involves the creative action of God and it remains for ever in a special relationship with the Creator, who is its sole end. God alone is the Lord of life from its beginning until its end."
(Catechism of the Catholic Church: 2258)

That's just the way it is.

11 September 2012 00:48  
Blogger John Magee said...

I believe in miracles: The Annunciation, The Resurrection, the essence of the bread and wine at Mass becoming the Body and Blood of Christ at the moment of Consecration.

Every conception is a miracle.

Every baby at the moment of birth is an enlargement of that conception miracle.

Isn't the moment of death a miracle when our soul leaves our body to be with God?

When I see a photo of this beautiful blue orb we live on hanging in the darkness of cosmic space I believe in miracles.

The mystery of why they don't happen to us on a daily basis when we need them is in the line from The Lords's Prayer "Thy will be done..."

11 September 2012 04:15  
Blogger carl jacobs said...

David B

Another would be when a foetus can live outside the womb, which is pretty much the status quo, after long debate in the country and in parliament.

It is also completely arbitrary. The arguments used to justify abortion could just as easily justify infanticide. They could be applied without modification to justify the killing of any child at any convenient age. That is because those arguments are not dependent upon the ontological nature of the child. They are solely dependent upon the desires of the adult to avoid the imposition of unchosen responsibility.

carl

11 September 2012 04:27  
Blogger John Magee said...

We already have had infanticide. It's called partial birth abortion. In medical literature this procedure is called intact dilation and extration. What happens during this procedure, which murders a new born baby at the moment of birth, is a cut is made at the base of the baby's brain and a tube inserted and its brains are literally sucked out of it's head. This form of infanticide is now against the law in the USA. Of course Feminists and others who are pro-choice (really pro-abortion) want it and late term abortions made legal once again.

The present President of the USA voted twice when he was a State Senator from the State in Illinois (not to be confused with his later being a Senator from that state to represent Illinois in the USA Senate in Washington) to allow babies born live in "botched" abortions to be "set in room to die". That is blatant infanticide. Voted in favor of twice by President Barack Obama.

Infanticide is desired by feminists, pro-choice advocates, and a President of the USA and most appalling of all by some pregnant mothers.

11 September 2012 05:33  
Blogger Peter Denshaw said...

@Youth Pastor

You've seen a person get out of a wheelchair and a friend (it's always a friend, isn't it?) has seen skin bubble?

I work in palliative care and I've seen hundreds of people die - aged 16 onwards of nasty deaths: cancer, motor neurone disease and AIDS (in fact my one time ‘patch’ covered the parish where you now work). Many of these have been devout Christians (esp. and ironically the AIDS deaths, as many were conservative Christians from Africa living in London) – some have told me that Jesus would heal them: they all died; nasty, painful deaths – often leaving small children motherless or fatherless. Prior to working for ten years in end of life care, I worked with people with disabilities and again have seen many go to healing services and come back as they went – in wheelchairs, many with incurable and degenerative diseases. Hence I grow rather tired and wary of miracle stories.

Something I noted while working in Palliative Care is that people with strong religious belief are more likely to request life extending treatment even when that treatment significantly impacts on quality of life – academic studies have also echoed this observation (see: http://www.rci.rutgers.edu/~carrds/sharp-carr-macdonald_SF2012.pdf - there are others, but you’ll need Athens or Shibboleth to access them). I find it curious that the very people you’d think would be just itching to shed this mortal coil are the very ones most determined to live as long as possible and use positivist science to do this, despite the promise of Mark 16:18, it would seem for your average devout Christian, the miracle of science is preferable to waiting on God for a miracle. Indeed I find it rather odd that many of our devout friends, so keen to tell us what the Bible says about this aspect of life (particularly when it concerns someone else’s life rather than their own) seem less keen on what the Bible says when it comes to trusting their ailments to prayer. The usual argument proffered for this dissonance is that God gave us medicine and science to heal us and so we should thank God for these – though this also means that for 1,900 years of the Christian religion God was happy for people to lead lives of suffering and die of nasty diseases (and is still content for this to happen in the developing world or places where you have to pay for your health care).

Tales of miraculous healings are found in many religions and follow a similar pattern – I have yet to see anything that convinces me of their credibility. Perhaps you’ve just been luckier than I have been (though I’ve been to lots of healing services!). Mind you, can you be considered a credible witness? Particularly since you are not beyond name calling and rudeness – odd isn’t it, how the zealot, so keen to uphold one bit of the Bible can discredit him or herself when unable to uphold another... cf. Matthew 5:22

11 September 2012 06:46  
Blogger Youthpasta said...

I'm only "rude" to the Inspector because I believe him to be all the words I use to describe him. It is not mere name calling, but use if descriptive language. Have you noticed that you and he do the same with the use of the term "zealot"?

And yes, he is a friend that saw it. He was the youth pastor for the Elim church in Hereford at the time, as I was youth worker for 2 Anglican churches in Hereford at the time. He is a good friend, somewhat of a mentor at the time, and a truly trustworthy person to speak of such things. He is not someone who declares to see such things regularly, indeed I cannot recall him saying he has seen anything else on this scale before or since.

11 September 2012 07:40  
Blogger David B said...

@Carl

It is sometimes hard to avoid the arbitrary.

The voting age, the age at which someone can drive on the public roads, the age of sexual consent etc are all arbitrary, but also all reasonably sensible.

Would you take all these back to the moment of conception, which would also be arbitrary?

David

11 September 2012 08:48  
Blogger David B said...

@ Peter Denshaw.

I, an atheist, have an operation coming up, which has prompted me to make an advance directive concerning my care should at some point I become incapacitated.

In that directive I state that I reject treatment to extend my life when the prognosis is poor, but accept treatment to prevent pain or distress even if that will shorten my life.

This is only a single case, but for all that it does seem to confirm your observation.

David B

11 September 2012 08:53  
Blogger Youthpasta said...

Another comment regarding miracles, which seems to be needed given the nature of some comments.
Miracles are not something that happen every day, so to speak (they may well ACTUALLY happen every day, I dont know for sure, but I hope you get my use language), they are part of the "now and not yet" nature of the Kingdom of God. Because the Kingdom is among us, and yet it is not fully here. As such there are moments when bodies are made whole, hearts are healed and lives made new in Christ. However they are but moments, because God's Kingdom is coming, thus not yet fully here.
So do not dismiss miracles by claiming that they should happen at certain times and in certain places, as though God provides them at our demand. God heals those He heals, we do not understand why but it is the way it is. Miracles are not "run-of-the-mill", their existence does not stop the suffering of all. But this does not mean that they don't happen.
And in all this, one of the biggest failings of the Church to the world is to stop believing in them. When people stop believing in miracles they stop hoping that little bit more and when the Church reduces hope and makes God smaller they do both God and Man a huge disservice.

11 September 2012 09:16  
Blogger William said...

David B

"Another would be when a foetus can live outside the womb, which is pretty much the status quo, after long debate in the country and in parliament."

What is your justification for ending a human life on the basis that it cannot survive outside the womb?

or to put it another way.

Why does a human's right to live only become paramount to a woman's right to abort at the point at which the human can survive outside the womb?

11 September 2012 09:22  
Blogger Youthpasta said...

"Another would be when a foetus can live outside the womb, which is pretty much the status quo, after long debate in the country and in parliament."

I think that this could be read in another way:

"Another would be when a foetus can live independently"

The problem is that this would also mean that we should never use life support machines or medicines as we are dependent on them to survive!

11 September 2012 10:31  
Blogger Peter Denshaw said...

@DavidB

I wholeheartedly concur! Likewise, I have made an advance decision (by the way, I’m also a qualified ‘best Interest Assessor’ so know the Mental Capacity Act 2005 fairly well!). Oddly enough at present I am working with a young man (35) with metastatic colon cancer who asked me the other day ‘What happens to you after you die?’. It was one of them moments when I am so please I work within a non-religious framework. It is not my job to point people this way or that way (what I wanted to say is that it is most likely you rot in the ground – unless you’re barbecued first – but impartiality means you throw the question back to a person and let them deal with it). Oddly enough, you rarely find people with a profound and deep religious faith venturing into palliative care – there are the odd one or two, but they are usually in the minority, such harsh realities of the cancer ward do little to support the glib sound-bites of popular religion!

I’ve often found people of no faith or nominal faith are much better at accepting death – it is the overtly religious that cling on, even when quality is sacrificed for quantity. The problem with so much of the discussions around Pro-Life (abortion and euthanasia) is that there are too few Christians in position of power or most vocal (not to mention politicians for that matter) who have wiped another adult’s bottom (I was a care assistant with the Leonard Cheshire Foundation for three years and have wiped more arses than I care to remember!). Too much is made of ‘pro-life’ and too little of the morality of extending life via medicine and technology beyond its natural boundaries (and that includes babies born before full term, with profound disabilities). We hear a good deal about abortionists playing God, but little about technology also playing God in extending life way beyond its natural bounds. My parents (both in their mid-80s and active and mentally alert) have both said that should they lose capacity then no more flu jabs, antibiotics or heart medication. A sensible move, I think.

In much Christian thinking at present, partly because there has been such a shift to the reactionary Right, there is, ironically (given the cries for the rescinding of government) far too much emphasis on what the government should and shouldn’t do. It is up to us as individuals to plan our future care – as you have done David – but, as seems the vogue at present for many of our Christian brethren, ‘it’ is always someone else’s fault and someone else’s responsibility.... Indeed all our devout fellow parishioners are really admitting, is that they have lost their voice – they blame the state, the media, the BBC etc., but perhaps the real truth lies a little closer to home – it is just more palatable (and salves the ego) to blame anyone and everyone accept the churches and their members themselves. A good look at some of the self-congratulatory, self-righteous drivel written above explains why the churches are no longer full and why Christianity is a minority sport in Britain!

P.D.

11 September 2012 11:38  
Blogger Peter Denshaw said...

@ Youthpasta
‘there’s a guy works down the chip shop swears he’s Elvis...’ So what if your friend saw this or that miracle. We’re not going to see the NHS replaced by the Church of England – or Elim Pentecostal Church for that matter. Come and spend a week with me visiting the terminally ill of North London (some as young as 16 – many in the late 20s and 30s with young children and everything to live for) and pray over them – remembering Mark 16:18. I think you might be a little disappointed by the results!

Whatever, if you miss the basics (i.e. lacking the ability to turn the other cheek and refraining from being damn right rude) you can witter on all you like about miracles, but your integrity departed with the use of the word ‘moron’... Luke 16:10 and all that... (and parents trust you with their children, to show them the ways of the Gospel..?).

11 September 2012 11:55  
Blogger Youthpasta said...

If someone is a moron and I choose to tell them such, how is that lacking integrity? Or would you suggest that Jesus should have refrained from using the terms "white washed walls" and "brood of vipers" when speaking to people who's behaviour could have been described as such?

11 September 2012 12:02  
Blogger David B said...

@William

I would not regard it as ending a human life.

I don't see a human life as an on/off switch, any more than I see being an adult as opposed to being a child as an on/off switch.

The sort of time scale currently used for abortion decisions seems to me to - quite rightly - give a benefit of doubt to the foetus.

David B

11 September 2012 12:12  
Blogger David B said...

@Peter Denshaw

Oddly enough I have wiped a few arses in my time as a care worker, too.

I've also worked with very unfortunate people who have had extremely challenging behaviour, and have the bite scars to prove it.

It has never stopped me both professionally and out of genuine care doing my best to give them the best quality of life possible, and I have found watching self injurious behaviour more distressing than getting hit, kicked, scratched and bitten myself.

A lot of the pontificators seem to have little to no understanding of the realities of life for some unfortunates.

I don't for a minute consider the idea that they should be killed off, though, as some seem to think acceptance that sometimes abortion can be the lesser of evils implies.

I do, though, entertain the idea that the only person who, within what I see as sensible guidelnes, can make a really informed decision about what is the lesser of two evils is the woman concerned.

David B

11 September 2012 12:32  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

Of course miracles can happen, just look at the Buddha Boy. Proof that Buddhism contains the truth about our reality.

11 September 2012 13:05  
Blogger Office of Inspector General said...

Peter Denshaw. Having contemplated one’s own impending end, when it comes, the attitude this man will take is “When I am no longer a viable human being, it will happen.”. Doubt there will be tears at this stage, assuming one’s final days are in a hospice, and not lying in the gutter having been brought down in his early fifties by a double decker.

Youthpasta. You have the ‘spirit’, and all can see. Praise be !

11 September 2012 13:11  
Blogger Office of Inspector General said...

Nearly forgot. Father in heaven, forgive Youthpasta. He knows not what he does...



11 September 2012 13:18  
Blogger Hannah Kavanagh said...

Poor old Inspector- you do seem to be very Melancholy at the moment, I hope that you are OK?

11 September 2012 13:20  
Blogger carl jacobs said...

David B

Determining when a man is capable of exercising prudential judgment is not arbitrary. Reasonable minds draw reasonable conclusions from observations. People may disagree, but they aren't simply establishing arbitrary boundaries. A child of four is observable different from a man of 20. But what differentiates an unborn child two minutes before the boundary of personhood from an unborn child two minutes after the boundary of personhood such that he suddenly moves from non-person to person? Nothing at all. There is no ontological change. There is no observable that defines personhood except existence, and unborn children manifestly do exist. That's why they have to be killed.

The boundary is arbitrary because it must be arbitrary to accomplish the task. The unborn child must be declared a non-person. Otherwise it could not legally be killed. And the ability to legally kill that child is necessary to avoid the obligation of parenthood. It severs sexual intercourse from reproduction and thus makes parenthood optional. It is the great guarantor of the sexual revolution that established personal gratification as the penultimate purpose of sex.

This is why "more advanced" thinkers have suggested moving the arbitrary boundary of legal personhood after birth. Sometimes things get missed, and autonomous adults shouldn't be forced to take up an unwanted burden simply because of an admittedly arbitrary boundary. But people resist that conclusion because drowning a baby in a bathtub reveals the true nature of the act. Abortion hides the crime in darkness. It allows people to pretend that they aren't doing what they know they are doing. But you can't change the nature of an act by changing the legal structure around the act.

carl

11 September 2012 14:31  
Blogger John Magee said...

Peter

Being in the medical field you must have read about are heard stories about amazing examples of terminal cancer cases going into sudden remission, people who come out of a coma with their memory and body functions intact when their diagnosis was they would remain in a vegetative state if they lived, and other examples like these that "just happened". They are rare but they are also on record.

Sorry to digressfrom the topic of the day here. may I ask if you have you ever heard of an American named Dr. Raymond Moody? He is a Psycologist and Medical Doctor and he has studied since the 1970's near death experiences (NDEs) phenomenom. These cases are about people who have been declared clinically dead and come back from an accident or a heart attack with amazing stories which they tell the doctors, nurses, amd their families of meeting a being of total light and total love and understanding. He has written many books about this subject. Here is one his quote about the subject:

"I don't mind saying that after talking with thousands of people who have had these experiences, and having experienced many times some of the really baffling and unusual features of these experiences, it has given me great confidence that there is a life after death. As a matter of fact, I must confess to you in all honesty, I have absolutely no doubt, on the basis of what my patients have told me, that they did get a glimpse of the beyond"

Dr. Moody concluded that there are nine experiences common to most people who have had a near death experience. These are:

1.hearing sounds such as buzzing
2.a feeling of peace and painlessness
3.having an out-of-body experience
4.a feeling of traveling through a tunnel
5.a feeling of rising into the heavens
6.seeing people, often dead relatives
7.meeting a an all loving and all forgiving spiritual being of amazing light such as God
8.seeing a review of one's life
9.feeling a reluctance to return to life

Another person who has studied this phenomenon was the late Swiss American Medical Doctor Elizabeth Kubler-Ross. Her extensive work with the dying led to the book, On Death and Dying, in 1969. In this work she proposed the now famous Five Stages of Grief as a pattern of adjustment. These five stages of grief are denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance. In general, individuals experience most of these stages, though in no defined sequence, after being faced with the reality of their impending death. The five stages have since been adopted by many as applying to the survivors of a loved one's death, as well.

I am curious if you are familiar with this subject. Thank you.

11 September 2012 14:53  
Blogger John Magee said...

Inspector

You're a fighter. I picture you in my minds eye in the year 2052, 40 years from now, giving the cyber world and people not yet born hell and telling them what they don't want to hear.

DOMINUS VOBISCUM!

11 September 2012 15:00  
Blogger Bred in the bone said...

The law on these matters is always changing because the law can never get it right

The more that is left to the individual will, the better

11 September 2012 17:04  
Blogger Office of Inspector General said...

John Magee. You are very kind, Sir. Hmmm 2053. Better make it up with Blofeld in the hope he might leave me his sedan chair...

Hannah. Melancholy ? – you silly thing. The well balanced Inspector merely sees his place in the grand scheme of things, today AND tomorrow. He’s not exactly arranging his own funeral yet, but if you do know where he can get hold of a gun carriage...

11 September 2012 19:00  
Blogger Hannah Kavanagh said...

Hi Inspector,

Oh that's alright then,glad you are OK. Don't talk about getting bullets, I am sure that life will turn a positive corner soon.

11 September 2012 20:36  
Blogger G. Tingey said...

BEGIN_QUOTE]
There's biology, and there's society.

Biologically, a fertilized zygote isn't equivalent to an adult human. Among other things, the two genomes haven't combined yet, so it isn't even diploid, let alone capable of cognition. Nor is it capable of surviving on its own, if left in a room with food and water available. HeLa cells are much tougher, and in fact act like independent organisms, albeit unicellular ones that have more in common with amoebas than with multicellular human beings.

Then we get into all the bits of what socially makes a human being: laws, customs, philosophy, and whatnot. Any boneheaded legislator can arbitrarily declare that "legally, life begins at conception," and this can become law. It doesn't change biology. Similarly, a society can decide that no child is human until they are 100 days old (old Korea), four years old (old Japan), or unless they were born male and/or within a certain ethnic group. In rare instances, societies can even allow corpses to keep many of their legal and property rights. This was the basis for some of the odder customs amongst the Inka and their predecessor cultures, where mummies owned property and had servants, and where capturing a mummy was the same thing as capturing the property that mummy owned.

Incidentally, this is where I object to the idea that a machine can't learn to become human. Biologically, that currently is true. Socially, it isn't. We currently grant corporations many of the rights of humans, even though a corporation is nothing more than some paper with words on it and is less human biologically than an Inkan mummy. Depending on how good machines become at copying us, we may decide that it is a good idea to declare them to be human, socially. Conversely, we may become so enamoured of having intelligent machines as slaves that we refurse to grant them rights, even though they fill human roles in our society.

ENDQUOTE]

12 September 2012 08:30  
Blogger Youthpasta said...

Not entirely sure where you were going with that, Tingey, but I felt it worth pointing out that a day old baby, if left in a room with food and water, would be unable to survive. As such it seems that if that is the test for personhood then babies fail just as much in the early days/months as at the point of conception.

12 September 2012 09:30  
Blogger John Chater said...

I prefer 'potential' rather than 'viability'. Gametes have no independent potential for life, but at the moment of joining, forming the zygote, there is potential for the development of a foetus. The foetus, if unmolested by nature or human intervention, has the potential to be born. The baby has the potential to become a child. The child has the potential to become an adult and the adult has all of the potential that His Grace has described so passionately and eloquently.

As has been pointed out already, the idea of 'viability' is as moveable a feast as a hostess trolley, and about as useful. But potential, well, we all have that…


12 September 2012 13:37  
Blogger IanCad said...

David B @ 08:53 wrote:

"I, an atheist, have an operation coming up, which has prompted me to make an advance directive concerning my care should at some point I become incapacitated."

Please allow me, as a weak Christian, to wish you all the best for your future surgery.

12 September 2012 14:07  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

John Chater: "I prefer 'potential' rather than 'viability'. Gametes have no independent potential for life, but at the moment of joining, forming the zygote, there is potential for the development of a foetus."

The potential for constructing human life starts before then. Why rule out decisions about putting gametes together or not? Contraception, for example, tries to stop potential people.

12 September 2012 18:40  
Blogger The Way of Dodo the Dude said...

DanJ0 said ...
"Why rule out decisions about putting gametes together or not? Contraception, for example, tries to stop potential people."

Quite so.

The Catholic Church has always been opposed to contraception. As Jerome said: "Some go so far as to take potions, that they may insure barrenness, and thus murder human beings almost before their conception."

Catholic Church teaching specifies that all sex acts must be both unitive and procreative with artificial birth control condemned as as intrinsically evil and non-procreative sex acts (such as mutual masturbation and anal sex) ruled out as ways to avoid pregnancy.

12 September 2012 20:47  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

Why stop there? Isn't there an obligation to shag whomever you can in order not to deny a potential human being a life? Obviously that won't apply to you or me, you're past it and I'm not naturally a breeder.

12 September 2012 21:48  
Blogger Office of Inspector General said...

Dodo. Somewhat irreverent, but you missed out, “Darling, here we are tonight my love, on our own. Just you me and God present”

Before you drive anymore Catholics away from the church with your family planning advice, have you ever considered appearing on ‘Britain's got Talent’

12 September 2012 21:52  
Blogger Office of Inspector General said...

Dodo. Catholic Church teaching specifies that all sex acts must be both unitive and procreative with artificial birth control condemned as as intrinsically evil and non-procreative sex acts (such as mutual masturbation and anal sex) ruled out as ways to avoid pregnancy.

To be perfectly frank with you. The above looks like part of the house rules found in the Vatican’s guest accommodation block !

12 September 2012 21:58  
Blogger David B said...

An interesting general knowledge question is 'What European country has the lowest age of sexual consent?'

I'll give you a couple of clues. It is a very small state, which is not a democracy.

David B

12 September 2012 23:11  
Blogger AnonymousInBelfast said...

"I'll give you a couple of clues. It is a very small state, which is not a democracy."

Northern Ireland - surely not David B??! Say it is not so!

12 September 2012 23:32  
Blogger Office of Inspector General said...

David B. It’s one of the channel islands. Remember this years ago ago from a ‘would you bloody believe it’ broadcast....

Belfast. Like your lack of democracy suggestion but we're past 1967...

12 September 2012 23:42  
Blogger The Way of Dodo the Dude said...

Inspector
How can you talk of "love" between a man and a woman without acknowledging the presence of God? And if sexual conduct is not ruled by morality what's the Christian objection to homosexual acts? There is a connection between the acceptance of contraception, homosexuality and abortion.

And if presenting 2000 years of consistent Catholic teaching drives some away from the Church then I do not accept responsibility for that. Perhaps more Priests should present Catholic teaching. Would you prefer a shift in teaching to accomodate modern ways?

13 September 2012 02:08  
Blogger The Way of Dodo the Dude said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

13 September 2012 02:19  
Blogger The Way of Dodo the Dude said...

DanJ0

Yet again a preoccupation with my sexual prowess. Very telling.

Unitive and creative sexual acts within a lifelong monogamous marriage is the Catholic teaching.

Homosexual acts would be unproductive and, as such, no more than mutual masterbation. The same applies to heterosexual shagging around, as you so poetically phrase it. Like homosexual acts, this would have no meaning and really just be self-indulgent mutual masterbation.

13 September 2012 02:27  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

I'm sure that's very interesting, Dodo. For left-footers anyway. Sadly, it's nothing much to do with the subject at hand: potential human beings and our obligations. If you need to reverse up then John Chater is your reference point. Don't worry, you've just had a 'senior moment' I expect.

13 September 2012 07:35  
Blogger The Way of Dodo the Dude said...

DanJ0

My reference were these two *beautifully* constructed contributions of yours:

"The potential for constructing human life starts before then. Why rule out decisions about putting gametes together or not? Contraception, for example, tries to stop potential people."

"Isn't there an obligation to shag whomever you can in order not to deny a potential human being a life? Obviously that won't apply to you or me, you're past it and I'm not naturally a breeder."

They reveal such a pure mind and mature outlook on human sexuality, don't you think?

13 September 2012 15:54  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

Dodo, I suggest you back away from the shovel. ;)

13 September 2012 17:48  
Blogger David B said...

My understanding is that the country with the lowest age of consent is the Vatican.

Back, briefly, to the question of when the development of a foetus becomes morally significant, I tend to the view that when the nervous system becomes sufficiently developed to experience significant suffering must have a lot to do with it, though any such suffering must needs must be weighed against any suffering of the potential mother.

Sometimes people boil fertilised hens eggs, with no great moral qualms.

Someone boiling a live hen would, I think, attract a good deal of moral opprobium, to say nothing of attention from the law.

David B

13 September 2012 19:52  
Blogger The Way of Dodo the Dude said...

DanJ0

A serious discussion about abortion and human potential once conception has occurred was reduced by you into sexual crudity.

David B

You're not being serious, are you? You compare a human embryo to a hen's egg!

13 September 2012 21:16  
Blogger Office of Inspector General said...

Dodo. When you first revealed the Magisterium's view on sex, must be last year now, it so startled the Inspector that you set him on long term pondering. Here’s the result (to date), in brief...

There is nothing holy about the human body, and certainly not the genitals. The soul is the nearest that can get to this state, and only then if we fulfil our mission while alive in accordance with the divine plan and thus be rewarded with salvation. Damn good word that - from salvage. The saving of that which has not been corrupted or will corrupt. The body in the latter, the failed soul in the former.

Thus DanJ0 can live his life out as the 100% homosexual he says he is and not be damned. The Inspectors brother and his wife likewise, having knocked out 3 boys and with no room for a 4th child...

So no, no ‘modernistic approach’ (...you have no idea how much that phrase is despised by this man...), but the CORRECT approach...

13 September 2012 21:26  
Blogger AnonymousInBelfast said...

David B:

You are aware that the vast majority of (chicken) eggs consumed are in fact unfertilised?

13 September 2012 21:57  
Blogger David B said...

@ Belfast

Yes, particular the battery farmed ones would not be fertilised.

That is why I said 'some'.

@IanCad

Thank you

@ Dodo.

A human egg is not a human egg, but the at the same time I do think that I am right to suggest that no-one would compare boiling a fertilised chicken egg to boiling a live chicken, and I further think this is illustrative of why it is quite wrong to to claim that a fertilised human egg is a human being, just as it would be wrong to claim that a fertilised chicken egg is a chicken.

David

13 September 2012 23:15  
Blogger The Way of Dodo the Dude said...

Inspector said ...

"There is nothing holy about the human body, and certainly not the genitals."

My dear man, this is an ancient heresy and one you need to seriously reconsider. Whether DanJ0 homosexuals is damned or not is not for us to pass comment upon. That will be between him and God.

However, as Catholics we believe the body is sacred as God's creation - all of it - and that there is an "ordered" sexuality based on God's will. The gift of sexuality and the act of procreation is fundamental to our being.

You might want to research this further and reflect on Blessed John Paul's theology of the body.

Catholic objections to contraception, abortion and homosexuality rest on a proper understanding of these matters.

13 September 2012 23:25  
Blogger Office of Inspector General said...


Dodo. Although we don’t see eye to eye on certain matters, you have the Inspector’s sincere respect and admiration for presenting the ‘official’ position. He also thanks you for your advice and referrals...

13 September 2012 23:51  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

In the past, I was subject to post-discussion outrage, albeit probably faux, for daring to talk about eggs and chickens as an analogy of the developmental relationship between blastocysts/foetuses and babies. Not the done thing, apparently! :O

14 September 2012 07:00  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

Inspector, whether I am damned or not for my sexual orientation depends first on whether a god exists with the attributes you Catholics like to imagine. That seems pretty unlikely to me. Perhaps Allah will weigh your good and bad actions and be merciful to you even though you're a vague sort of Catholic and haven't said the shahada, assuming of course that Allah exists instead as 1.2 billion people seem to believe. That seems quite unlikely to me too, as it goes.

14 September 2012 07:08  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

On the positive side, I don't suppose either of us is worrying too much about the off-piste religious paradigms other people imagine for us. All we have to do is make sure those people don't get enough political power to force the rules and regulations of their personal religion onto us.

14 September 2012 07:32  
Blogger William said...

"Back, briefly, to the question of when the development of a foetus becomes morally significant, I tend to the view that when the nervous system becomes sufficiently developed to experience significant suffering must have a lot to do with it, though any such suffering must needs must be weighed against any suffering of the potential mother."

Soul n. archaic. See Materialism.

14 September 2012 08:54  
Blogger The Way of Dodo the Dude said...

Inspector

Ummmm ....

Many Catholics have doubts and question the Church's teachings on sexual morality. I have done so myself. They are difficult to accept without understanding their foundation.

However, if you do nothing else, reconsider your views on the mortal body being corrupt.

As Christians we all believe God made us - body and soul - in His image. We believe in the bodily resurrection. We also believe Christ was fully human as well as fully God. Catholics believe Mary was assumned into heaven at the end of her natural life on earth. We are not souls trapped in unholy bodies as your postion implies.

DanJ0

So what qualities do you imagine Catholic attribute to God?

This argument that because different religions have different faiths all religions are false, doesn't stand up.

If you had a bag containing a priceless diamond amongst fake stones would you throw them all away or take the time to try to find the genuine one?

Work it out. Are you agnostic or atheist?

14 September 2012 13:33  
Blogger Office of Inspector General said...

Dodo. Point about the human body is that it will corrupt to dust at the end of it’s purpose, not that it itself is corrupt. It is far from perfect in itself as in life, it can be the victim of incapacity, illness and disease, but it’s the best carriage for the soul going. One believes we are made in the image of God, in as much as we possess non corporeal attributes. but when it comes to our sexuality, it is NOT a gift, so we don’t have to get down on our knees for that one.

The bottom line is this – the truth is such that a schoolboy should be able to understand it. Instead, we have the collective thought of doctors of the church who have so embellished the actuality you need to be a graduate theologian yourself to fathom it out. But not so as to realise that much of what we are fed by them is presumptive bull.

What we have here is another Sun going round the Earth situation...

14 September 2012 14:10  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

Dodo: "This argument that because different religions have different faiths all religions are false, doesn't stand up."

Luckily, that's not what I said as I'm sure you well know.

"If you had a bag containing a priceless diamond amongst fake stones would you throw them all away or take the time to try to find the genuine one?"

Of course, just about everyone would recognise that you've begged the question there by asserting that the bag actually contains a priceless diamond. You're not very good at this sort of stuff, are you?

What if you were handed a sealed bag which you can't ever open and it contained some lumps. If you were told that it contains a priceless diamond but you had to sacrifice an awful lot to keep the bag then would you accept it?

That's what the offer seems to be to me, and it doesn't help that the person offering the bag looks pretty damned shady in the scheme of things.

"Work it out. Are you agnostic or atheist?"

I'm an atheist. I'm without a belief in a god or gods and that's after much careful consideration.

14 September 2012 19:00  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

Inspector, I reckon you're a reincarnated Cathar.

14 September 2012 19:01  
Blogger Office of Inspector General said...

DanJ0. Imagine Jesus, as a trained carpenter, made a chair. Now, imagine if that chair was put into the care of the RCC. After 2000 years, there would have been so many coats of varnish applied to it, you wouldn’t even see the wood. Who knows, you might not even recognise it as a chair. The Inspector wants to see the man applied varnish taken off to see the wood again. Not much to ask ?


14 September 2012 19:14  
Blogger AnonymousInBelfast said...

Inspector:

That sounds eerily... Protestant.

14 September 2012 20:13  
Blogger Office of Inspector General said...


Belfast. The Inspector does his protesting INSIDE mother church. Saves an awful lot of grief that way, you see...

14 September 2012 20:46  
Blogger The Way of Dodo the Dude said...

DanI0 said ...

"You're not very good at this sort of stuff, are you?"

I don't claim to be. That's where we differ. I'm not here to appear clever or to win debates - to play "forum chess".

And, yes, I accept I begged the question. I have always believed in a God. I cannot fathom how any rational person could not and seek to learn about Him.

You ask:

"What if you were handed a sealed bag which you can't ever open and it contained some lumps. If you were told that it contains a priceless diamond but you had to sacrifice an awful lot to keep the bag then would you accept it?"

I quess I have. It's the "you were told" bit you've got so wrong. I believe a thirst for knowledge of God and an understanding of His ordinances is embedded in all our consciences.

Now, ... the person offering the bag is actually God and you should not confuse Him and His Grace when He sends it, with the person delivering His message. That's just an avoidance of personal responsibility.

You are an atheist? After much consideration? You've never appeared terribly convincing to me. A little while ago I thought you declared yourself to be agnostic but perhaps I misunderstood. To my mind, you are resisting God's Grace for whatever reasons. I'd say, sort the reasons out and move on.

"What if you were handed a sealed bag which you can't ever open and it contained some lumps. If you were told that it contains a priceless diamond but you had to sacrifice an awful lot to keep the bag then would you accept it?"

The bag may be sealed but you can look into it once moved by Grace.

15 September 2012 01:49  
Blogger The Way of Dodo the Dude said...

Inspector
Not so much Protestantism, as suggested by AIB, more a search for a fuller understanding of the Church's teachings, I'd say.

Just bear in mind that Christ entrusted the ongoing construction of the chair to His Apostles and their successors. It was never about just applying top coats of varnish.

Christ appointed a leader for His Church, promised them the protection of the Holy Spirit and informed them the Truth, in its fulness, would be revealed after He had left.

And DanJ0 has a point. Some of your speculation does have a gnostic and Cathar quality to them. Tread carefully.

15 September 2012 02:10  
Blogger AnonymousInBelfast said...

Inspector:

I was just stirring. You're ok. I rather wish that reformers in the old Catholic Church had done just that and maintained some semblance of Christian unity rather than kickstarting some of the nastiest sectarian conflict that Europe has ever experienced.

One of the great joys about the Catholic Church is that if you don't much like what the present lot say, there's usually some voices you can agree with somewhere in the past. A veritable treasure-trove of wisdom just waiting to be uncovered and polished up for the modern age, qualms about pearls before swine notwithstanding.

15 September 2012 02:49  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

"You are an atheist? After much consideration? You've never appeared terribly convincing to me. A little while ago I thought you declared yourself to be agnostic but perhaps I misunderstood."

I don't assert that no god or gods exist. Some people think that atheists must assert that but very few of us do. Some people think that if one doesn't assert it then someone like me is an agnostic byt that word doesn't do the position justice. It's theism that bothers me, not some sort of deism. Theism is way, way too specific and just looks like wishful thinking to me.

15 September 2012 06:35  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

"I believe a thirst for knowledge of God and an understanding of His ordinances is embedded in all our consciences."

I think all that is just ethology and comes from our species attributes.

15 September 2012 06:38  
Blogger len said...

IF we are not very careful our religion can become like a version of 'Chinese whispers'everyone adding their 'bit' quite genuinely believing what they have heard is the 'truth''.
In the end when questioned what the original sentence was the end result is totally different.
This is not to doubt the integrity of those who took part but the result was totally not what the original sentence or meaning was!.
So we go back to the person who made the initial statement and ask what he said to learn the truth.

This is exactly what the person desiring truth should do go back to the original(The Written Word of God.... the unchangeable Word of God ) and get the original statement.
This may mean going against what has become accepted practice and may mean 'blowing away' some things revered and treasured but the truth is a prize well worth seeking' a pearl of great value' one might say!.




15 September 2012 08:54  
Blogger The Way of Dodo the Dude said...

DanJ0

Is deism really an atheist position? As I understand it, it holds that reason and observation of the world can determine that the universe is the product of a creator. This creator has set the Universe in motion and lets it run on its own.

Now why would a God create a Universe in the first place? For amusement? And wouldn't He want to reveal Himself and His intention?

Theism, on the other hand, sees God as personal, present and active in the governance and organisation of the world and the universe. God is transcendent and supreme, has a plan for mankind and has and does intervene in the natural world. He can be known rationally and via revelation. He also reveals Himself to us in nature and through personal communication.

Doesn't deism suggest there is a diamond in the bag you see as permantently sealed? Theism holds it can be opened and the stones examined.

Human conscience, morality and the thirst for knowledge about our world and if it has purpose and meaning, you assign to "ethology", coming from "our species attributes.".
They were designed into us or arose by chance or intention through evolution. Surely a committed atheist would dismiss intention and design?

15 September 2012 11:58  
Blogger AnonymousInBelfast said...

Dodo:

Theism holds the Diamond opens the bag ;)

15 September 2012 12:59  
Blogger Office of Inspector General said...

Dodo, Belfast

Rome has always been suspicious of the northern church. We know this as St Augustine was called a ‘missionary’ by the pope. As if Christianity was a concept new to the British Isles. And yet, we can understand where Rome was coming from - to ‘reign in’ what was going on.

One hopes you both appreciate that Catholicism in the north differs from Catholicism in the South. Think for a moment the influence the north lost in matters of doctrine when it broke from Rome. It led to centuries of a continuous line of popes from Italy. To reinforce southern thinking.

And please no default position of ‘guidance from the Holy Spirit’. Not after the Sun going round the Earth mistake...

15 September 2012 14:01  
Blogger Lord Lavendon said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

15 September 2012 15:50  
Blogger Lord Lavendon said...

I have to admit I am quite confused here- I always though Deism acknowledged a God or supreme creator who created and then just sat/sits back and does bugger all with the rest of his existence and doesn't interfere in time or creation.

But I thought an atheist simply rejected the belief in a God or Gods or any kind of creator being?

15 September 2012 16:18  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

Dodo: "Is deism really an atheist position?"

No. You really ought to learn to read for comprehension, you know. I'm an atheist. That is, I am without a belief in a god or gods. I've said it enough fecking times. Christ on a bike.

I've no idea whether a god or gods actually exists. I doubt I'm capable of knowing. I doubt you are either, as it goes. If a god along the lines of deism exists then it hardly matters at all.

You assert a god along theism lines exists, despite the lack of anything compelling to say it does. We atheists are rather more circumspect, not wanting to look like gullible people etc.

15 September 2012 16:40  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

"They were designed into us or arose by chance or intention through evolution. Surely a committed atheist would dismiss intention and design?"

We can see the evidence of evolution. We can see the process in micro form. We can see the mechanism by which attributes are inherited. We can see how evolution by natural selection works. And so on.

We can see vestigial structure and attributes. Moreover, evolution by natural selection looks rather vicious if it has been designed. That we have evolved works rather well as an explanation. For sure, there are plenty of questions to be answered, but hey.

The universe looks much older than us, and so enormous that we appear to be completely insignificant. It's surely way beyond arrogant to assume that we're the reason for it. We're into delusion.

15 September 2012 16:48  
Blogger The Way of Dodo the Dude said...

DanJ0

I still think your hedging your bets.

"I'm an atheist. I'm without a belief in a god or gods and that's after much careful consideration."

So, you're not saying there is no God, just that you don't have a belief in God. Right.

"I don't assert that no god or gods exist. Some people think that atheists must assert that but very few of us do."

So now we're into positive versus negative atheism and splitting hairs. If you allow for the possibility of a God I'd say that was agnosticism and atheism.

"I've no idea whether a god or gods actually exists. I doubt I'm capable of knowing. I doubt you are either, as it goes. If a god along the lines of deism exists then it hardly matters at all."

Allowing for the possibility of a creator means exploring why He would create a Universe and self aware creatures with a desire to know Him.

"You assert a god along theism lines exists, despite the lack of anything compelling to say it does."

That depends on what you mean by "compelling". Certainly faith is required - a gift offered by God to us all.

"We atheists are rather more circumspect, not wanting to look like gullible people etc."

You may well end up looking pretty gullible in the end!

15 September 2012 20:13  
Blogger The Way of Dodo the Dude said...

AIB said ...

"Dodo:
Theism holds the Diamond opens the bag ;)"


True!

The Diamond reveals He's in the bag too and moves us to discover Him.

15 September 2012 20:21  
Blogger The Way of Dodo the Dude said...

Inspector

And now you are stating Protestant opinions. Do get a grip man!

15 September 2012 23:12  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

Dodo: "I still think your hedging your bets."

If it makes to more comfortable to think so then so be it. Of course, there's actually no hedging of bets possible in the theology you claim, at least at this point in history. I'm either destinated for hell, or perhaps 'soul sleep', by not buying into Christianity.

"So now we're into positive versus negative atheism and splitting hairs. If you allow for the possibility of a God I'd say that was agnosticism and [not] atheism."

Well, you've clearly been to Google now so you've seen there's more to it. It's a pity you feel you need to label it as "splitting hairs" rather than acknowledge your misunderstanding though. The distinction is significant, you know.

"Allowing for the possibility of a creator means exploring why He would create a Universe and self aware creatures with a desire to know Him."

We don't know the nature of the universe so you've jumped over some significant stuff there. What if the universe isn't maintained moment by moment, particle by particle, wave by wave by the will and creative power of a god? What if (say) our universe is just the byproduct of another process kicked off by something with intention elsewhere?

Some Catholics are quite keen on the argument put forward by Aquinas, building on Aristotle's 'unmoved mover' idea, about first causes. But that doesn't really explain very much. All they have done is shifted the core problem about regressions elsewhere. They have simply opted for the idea that our universe is directly created and maintained by an uncreated, intelligent thing and that's that.

"You may well end up looking pretty gullible in the end!"

Well, it's possible. I don't take the notion of a faery world very serious either and I expect my disbelief would look pretty silly if I stumbled into a faery ring on a midsummer night and got spirited off into Oberon's palace. But hey, it's a chance I take by just getting on with my life as best I can.

16 September 2012 08:31  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

16 September 2012 09:02  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

Dodo: "The Diamond reveals He's in the bag too and moves us to discover Him."

Well, I've asked many Christians online and offline what their experience of that is and I get all sorts of different answers about revelations, experiences and the like.

One seminary-educated Catholic claimed it was like someone being in the room all the time, and being able to have conversations just like with another person. Sadly, he wouldn't pass on questions and answers for me. He claimed the pearls before swine thing, you see. :)

Other Christians have reported a Road to Damascas type revelation, almost always after having suffered some sort of challenging situation like a bereavement or breakdown or off-piste trajectory.

Yet others report 'gifts' along the lines of the Toronto Vineyard thing, speaking in tongues and the like though that particular 'gift' in particular is surely a bit dubious.

People like you feel they ought to have had something and so imagine they've kind of grown into it over time and claim a sort of background 'knowledge' of their god's presence. And then get a bit uppity when evangelicals wave their Road to Damascas thing about.

Hey, it's all subjective, being in the private sphere of consciousness, so who really knows. Perhaps god tailors its message to suit the person, so that (say) the Buddha Boy over in Nepal experienced something relevant to growing up in a Buddhist country?

Of course, I have lots of suspicions about such stuff, knowing the capacity of the mind to play all sorts of 'tricks' on people, and recognising that there are manuals, sometimes written as fiction by people like CS Lewis, essentially telling people what they ought to expect if they are proper Christians.

I've already told you this but One book I read, which I recommend, is "Hello Mr God, This is Anna" by Fynn. It's a charming book as it stands, but it's rather aspirational too. It describes what I take to be the Body of Christ as being a single spiritual ring passed through the holes of the smaller rings of people's spirits. That was one reason I asked AIB recently if he recognised the Holy Spirit in you and your behaviour. It seemed to me that he probably ought to if your spiritual ring was linked in that way to his.

I've mentioned this before but I went to see my local evangelical church vicar about the time of the Toronto Vineyard thing. He told me that he accepts all the falling down in church and stuff but doesn't encourage it in any way because he felt it put pressure on others in his congregation. Not having the phenomena, you see, suggested they weren't good enough Christians. He was quite circumspect but I got the impression he thought it was just a form hysteria driven by expectation. He wasn't denying that the Holy Spirit was present, of course.

16 September 2012 09:07  
Blogger The Way of Dodo the Dude said...

DanJ0

I posted this for AIB, on the wrong thread I think:

As a child there was a picture hanging in our halway of Christ, lantern in hand, knocking on a door with these words underneath:

"Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with him, and he with me.

It was not until I was an adult I actually noticed there was no handle on the outside of the door.

The process by which we accept a Theistic God and come to know Him, is undoubtedly varied and I'm not sure there is one path. I don't accept the extreme, once and for all, "born again" experience whereby irrestible Grace leaves one with no choice in the matter. And, like you, I am extremely sceptical about Pentecostal and Evangelical gatherings and all that accompanies them.

As for your fate, I don't believe you are "predestined" for Hell. That still rests in your own hands and how you respond to the call of God.

I do not believe, nor does the Catholic Church teaach that everybody necessarily has to profess Christ or be a Catholic to enter Heaven.

Those, who through no fault of their own, have not accepted Jesus yet seek God with a sincere heart, moved by His Grace, and try in their actions to do His will by following their consciences, may also enter Heaven - regardless of religious affiliation.

On the other hand if you wilfully resist through pride or because acceptance requires a reevaluation of your life, then the response from God may well be different.

When I read some of you posts I pick up a cynicism and anger about Christianity in particular and a desire to marshal arguments against it to challenge/undermine the faith of others and reinforce your own opposition to it. I have often wondered why. You will not persuade yourself or others through philosophical debate. It really doesn't work like that as, in the final analysis, a choice about whether the open the door is required.

16 September 2012 12:30  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

"When I read some of you posts I pick up a cynicism and anger about Christianity in particular and a desire to marshal arguments against it to challenge/undermine the faith of others and reinforce your own opposition to it."

I'm below a religio-political blog which comes from a Christian perspective and where comments tend to come from Christians. It's hardly surprising.

I see no point in trying to undermine the faith of others. I do however see an advantage in presenting an alternative point of view and an alternative experience for silent readers.

When I first came here, not long after the B&B case, I thought it might be useful to give some people the opportunity to find out what being gay is actually like. However, I soon realised we're Other and need to be seen to be so by the religious in general.

"I have often wondered why. You will not persuade yourself or others through philosophical debate. It really doesn't work like that as, in the final analysis, a choice about whether the open the door is required."

Oh I think I'll persuade some readers that there are lots of counter points against religious arguments, and arguments for a secular State in the UK given our multi-cultural nature these days, and good arguments about divorce, abortion, and other ethical issues.

16 September 2012 15:09  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

"When I read some of you posts I pick up a cynicism and anger about Christianity in particular and a desire to marshal arguments against it to challenge/undermine the faith of others and reinforce your own opposition to it. I have often wondered why."

One might also question your own reason for being here on what is essentially a Church of England blog which you yourself cast as being anti-Roman-Catholic. You spent a large amount of your time here, before you found the psychological paybacks from gay-baiting, picking fights with evangelicals and protestants, including the blog owner, and promoting Roman Catholicism over the range of alternative Christian positions. Having been on the Internet from the very beginning, and on its forerunner before that, I don't really need to wonder why, myself.

16 September 2012 15:16  
Blogger The Way of Dodo the Dude said...

Why am I not surprised you fall back on a personal attack rather than actually consider the points I made? Then, that is your way - provoke a negative, aggressive response and then use it as "evidence" against any opponent who professes a faith.

Have you read the Book of Job? If not, you should.

I, like Carl and others, will not engage with you again.

16 September 2012 18:10  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

*snort*

Aside from a bit of pseudo-preaching, what points have you actually made that I haven't already covered? Moreover, if I thought you were serious about not engaging again then I'd crack open a bottle of champagne. You're like a moth to a flame, you can't help yourself. You'll be bracketting my posts with pointed comments about gays, liberals, or atheists within a day or two, like you have on every other occcasion you've declared that. Finally, the Book of Job is my favourite book in the Bible. Please don't present yourself as Job and me as one of his friends, I'll probably blow chunks if you do.

16 September 2012 21:03  
Blogger The Way of Dodo the Dude said...

Actually, just to be clear, I was thinking of the role played by "the Adversary".

Bye, bye.

16 September 2012 23:24  

Post a Comment

<< Home

Newer›  ‹Older