slyjinks: (Akroma)
Abortion has always been a hotly debated topic, and it would appear to have taken on new life in the last year and a half, with a sudden surge in anti-abortion legislation being proposed and implemented across the country. Among the most extreme of these measures have been the various “Personhood” laws and amendments, and three of the four remaining Republican Presidential candidates have signed Personhood USA's pledge stating, “If elected President, I will work to advance state and federal laws and amendments that recognize the unalienable right to life of all human beings as persons at every stage of development.” All of this begs the question of, “What is the basis for declaring a fertilized egg a Person?”

Brain death is frequently used as the legal indicator of death, but the zygote does not yet have brain life. While fertilization is a very early stage in the development of the human life cycle, at this point the cell does not yet have even the basic requirements for what we normally associate with humanity. That it “will be some day,” is a weak argument, because there are a lot of things that “will be some day,” and are not now. Beyond this, let's face it: the primary justifications for claiming Personhood at conception are based on religious faith. The short form is, the soul enters the egg at the moment it is fertilized, and that's why it's a person. But why make this claim?

While many claim that this argument is based in scripture, the only times the Bible makes mention of when the soul enters a body comes in reference to the “breath of life.” “Then the Lord God Formed the man of dust from the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living creature.” (Genesis 2:7) Here, the Bible is quite specific that Adam is not a living creature until he breathes, and variations of the phrasing “breath of life” as a euphemism for the soul are a recurring theme.

Many point to the first chapter of Jeremiah as evidence instead, where Jeremiah, quoting God, says, “Before I formed you in the womb, I knew you, and before you were born, I consecrated you.” (Jeremiah 1:5) However, it can also be argued that this is merely a confirmation of God's all-seeing nature, the idea that he sees all, future and past, and has known each of us from the beginning of time. Further, an examination of the context shows that God is asserting Jeremiah's authority as a prophet despite his youth rather than having a discussion of fetal life. Never mind that the “before” in “before I formed you,” is problematic because it suggests we need to start looking out for the Constitutional rights not only of zygotes but of humans not yet even conceived, a proposal that starts sounding more and more like a Monty Python song.

So that verse is certainly up for interpretation, but is there any reason it can't also mean that a zygote has a soul? That is, is there any Biblical basis for treating an unborn fetus by different rules than an infant or living human? As it turns out, there is. In Genesis 38:24, Leviticus 21:9, and Deuteronomy 22:20-21, the Bible prescribes the penalty of death for a woman who has committed adultery. No exceptions are made if the woman is pregnant at the time, nor recommendations made that the sentence be delayed until the fetus has been carried to term. Thus, these verses do not treat the fetus as a separate being, independent of the mother and with a right to life of its own. The laws given by God to Moses in Exodus 21 state the penalty for murder is death, but they demand only a fine for causing a miscarriage. While causing a miscarriage is still treated a crime, the considerably lesser punishment suggests that the fetus itself is less than a person. It is not yet human.

Even if scriptural support can be found to justify assuming a zygote has a soul, the fact that there is contradicting evidence from the scriptures makes such support uncertain at best. Thus, the religious support for assuming Personhood at conception falls to Tradition and personal conscience. Tradition is unreliable, because it is not uncommon for something that is viewed as acceptable in one generation to be considered a moral wrong in later generations, and vice versa, but more than that, even Church thought on the matter has changed over time. Early Catholic thinkers generally condemned abortion because it interfered with the “purpose” of sex (to such thinkers, any sex for any reason but procreation was a sin, including for pleasure with one's wedded partner), but stated clearly and repeatedly that abortion was not homicide. It was not until 1869 that Pope Pius IX declared that abortion is homicide, implying, for the first time, a Church stance that life begins at conception. Thus, the modern Christian belief in ensoulment at fertilization essentially goes back to, “Because Pope Pius IX said so,” and this despite previous Popes' statements to the contrary.

Without Tradition and scripture, we are left with personal conscience. Unfortunately, each person's conscience is different, and makes a poor basis for legislation (if, in fact, Tradition and scripture are even a good basis themselves). While some people have critically examined their consciences and the information available and decided they still believe that a zygote is a person, others who have done similar examination have come to a different conclusion. For myself, I cannot accept the idea that an egg has a soul from the moment of fertilization because I find the implications of this far too horrific.

To accept Personhood at conception is to accept that God is a monster.

It's been estimated that at least 22% of conceptions fail to implant. Out of those that do implant, 31% miscarry on their own, about half of them before the woman even realizes she's pregnant. 31% of the 78% that implant amounts to about 40% of the original whole. Adding that to the 22% that aren't implanting results in 62% of all conceptions never carrying to term. This is before abortion is even added into the equation. This is just a biological fact of our nature. If you are Christian, you believe that God designed us, whether directly, or indirectly through such means as evolution, so 62% of all conceptions fail by design. Now, Christian faiths that subscribe to the idea of original sin believe that a person is damned until they've been saved, either through baptism, accepting Christ, or both. This line of thought suggests that God sends souls to Earth intending that more than half of them should be damned before they've even drawn breath.

Others try to get around this for infants (and, presumably, earlier) by creating Limbo (or something like it) as an alternative for innocent souls, but these souls are still denied Heaven, by design. Finally, there are those who believe that such innocents get an automatic pass into Heaven, but this is hardly an argument against abortion. After all, this puts one's options at a guarantee of Heaven if aborted or miscarried versus a risk of damnation. If a mother wants to damn herself to guarantee her child salvation, why should we stop her? And, of course, both of these “work arounds” rely on the idea of assuming there is a fundamental difference between an unborn fetus and a living human being. We must allow religion to treat them differently, and yet are demanding they receive the same treatment by law.

Workaround or not, assuming ensoulment at conception means assuming that God fully intends that well over half his children shall never live. It bespeaks a cruelty and callousness that is at odds with Jesus' teachings, and to accept that is to accept the idea that “salvation” means spending an eternity in the presence of indifferent, unloving, yet all-powerful being.

If such is Heaven, then let me be damned.

Sources:
http://www.personhoodusa.com/blog/personhood-republican-presidential-candidate-pledge

http://www.catholicsforchoice.org/pubs/cfc_archive/articles/TheHistoryofAbortion.asp

http://miscarriage.about.com/od/riskfactors/a/miscarriage-statistics.htm

The Elements of Moral Philosphy by James Rachels

The Holy Bible, English Standard Version
slyjinks: (Default)
Nothing in particular set this off, but this is a pattern of behavior I have observed in the past and find confusing.

But basically, why does, "Some Christians are intolerant, rude, dicks. Therefore, it is all right for me to be insulting, rude, and intolerant towards all Christians and all of Christianity" an acceptable mindset in this enlightened age? "I'll do this because it'll piss off the Christians" is, apparently, an acceptable reaction to "some Christians pissed me off." I, erm, just don't quite get why.

The funny thing is, I'm not really sure I even consider myself Christian these days, but people who want to make blanket statements about Christianity are making blanket statements about the vast majority of my family, so my hackles tend to rise on their behalf.

Ah, well. Hypocrisy is essential to the human condition, I guess.
slyjinks: (DigiSaph: Hmmm)
The USS Hawkbill was nicknamed the Devilfish or the Devil Ship. It was a submarine, hull number SSN-666.

I once heard that it was the only ship in the Navy that you could turn down assignment to for religous reasons, but I haven't been able to confirm that with an online search, so that part may be bullshit.

Kinda neat, though.
slyjinks: (DigiSaph: Laughing)
Excuse me while I do something that is both pretty uncharacteristic of me and politically incorrect, and laugh at another's religion.

BWAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!

The gist is, a Muslim woman in India mentioned to friends that her husband muttered the word for 'divorce' three times in his sleep one night, and now the couple, who have been married 11 years and have kids, are being told they have to split up. Oh, they can get remarried if they want to... but they have to wait at least 100 days, and she has to first marry and get divorced by another man.

Heh.

Brought to you by someone who doesn't even want to think about the other wacked out case of Islamic law that's making the headlines right now.
slyjinks: (Scared Fleetwind)
I've always had a fondness for concept albums, musicals, and rock operas. While I certainly have no objection to good music for the sake of good music, I also like music with a good story behind it. I've been sharing that music with a friend, and to that end have been sending Jesus Christ, Superstar along.

So I'm listening to it, and I think, "Boy! It's a good thing the Bible's not the 'in-thing,' or some of these mad-slashers we have around would start slashing Jesus and Judas!"

And then I think, "Naw. Thank goodness, that would be such a level of sacrilege; I doubt anyone would do it."

And then I remember that I've actually /read/ porny Jesus fanfic. I'm not kidding! AAARGH! Serious bit of train wreck syndrome there. It involved the inappropriate use of spear wounds. :(

And then I just wish I could burn the memory of that fic from my mind. AARGH! AARGH! AARGH!
slyjinks: (Default)
So... as is normal due to the fact that I don't actually know anyone on imvu, I got contacted out of the blue by a random stranger. This was particularly odd, as I had thought I had set myself invisible because I'm playing with settings and objects and such. But what they hey, I decided to give it a try.

My avatar is slowly being altered to look more and more like Sapphirebreeze. Currently, she has long purple hair, blue skin, and yellow eyes. A fairly normal looking (well, if you discount the fact that all avatars here have supermodel figures, etc etc) black haired female. My avatar currently has blue skin and yellow eyes.

I said, "Hello."

She said, "ur scary"

I said, "Ah. Uhm... thank you, I suppose."

She said, "im jewish"

I thought, "Well, that's an odd way to start a conversation," but before I could type anything, she added, "do u hate jews?"

I answered, "No. Is there any particular reason I should?"

She replied, "YOU RACIST!!!" in all caps, in a pointed word bubble that indicates shouting, and left.

I am highly amused. Between that and the individual I seem to have scared off due to my persistence in using complete sentences, I appear to be off to a smashing start!
slyjinks: (Scared Fleetwind)
Now, I'm assuming some of you folks have heard of this guy, Jack Chick, or at least seen his little pamphlets around. They're a hoot. But for those who haven't, I present Dark Dungeons, which explains using idiot-friendly pictures why RPGs are TEH EVIL and the gateway to worshipping Satan!

This dude also makes comics that mention the Catholic Church as a Satanic religion. He makes me giggle.

I do have to say that it amuses me that all the gamers in his gaming group are females. And extreamly attractive females at that. Seems to me that finding that group of Satanic D&Ders would be many a gamer-nerd's dream.

Edit: And now my work internet access has started blocking the religious tracks! Guess that website counts as a 'hate site'! *LOL!*
slyjinks: (DigiSaph: Air Guitar)
First the questions from Ironbite )

Now the questions from Demonqueen666. )

And now, the story of my watch last night while on duty, which I shall call 'Roving Through Hell and High-water' )

Besides all that, I got to watch the dolphins playing in the basin today. One kept picking something (probably a piece of trash thrown in the water by some Sailor :p ) up with his nose and tossing it behind him. They were very cute.
slyjinks: (Default)
Humanity: Contrary By Nature. )

February 2012

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