When briefly discussing the abortion issue with a friend today, a glaring inconsistency in Christian thought became apparent. After an atheist confronts a Christian with the Problem of Evil, specifically the gratuitous amount of evil and suffering there is in the world, a Christian usually turns to the so-called free will defense. God gave humans free will, so it’s not his fault when a serial killer chooses to murder x amount of people. Setting aside that that doesn’t address evil and suffering that isn’t human-driven, an inconsistency becomes apparent if one opens discussions on other topics.
Take, for instance, abortion and euthanasia. Those on the side of choice will defend a woman’s right to choose and a person’s choice to die, but Christians very often oppose choice in these cases. They are basically going against god’s supposed decision to give us free will. They’re also forgetting a hallmark of their theology, namely humanity’s fall from grace. They are suddenly forgetting that humans are supposedly sinners and that they’ll often make choices that god finds reprehensible. Christians are essentially giving themselves an authority greater than the authority they themselves assign to god! God can’t do anything to overturn our free will; sure, he wants all men to be saved, but he can’t make you accept Christ. Christians, however, can force a woman to keep an unwanted pregnancy. Or they can force a terminally ill individual to continue leading a life they would much rather surrender. Perhaps this is because god is simply an idealization, a projection, an admission of their own basest cruelty and thirst to manipulate and control. God is made in man’s image.
This makes for a glaring inconsistency in the thought of most Christians. Abortion and euthanasia shouldn’t be vehemently opposed given the notion that we have free will, a will that isn’t even subordinate to god’s own will. Aside from being a glaring inconsistency, this showcases what Christianity is truly about: control. Christianity is a religion that has been jury-rigged for centuries with the primary goal being control over a person’s life: a person’s thoughts, actions, manner of speaking, and so on. Christians may act as though we have free will, but ultimately, Christians adhere to a religion that tells them what they can and cannot think, say, or do. In some denominations, the music you listen to, the way you dress, whether or not you can wear jewelry or get tattoos, and even who you can associate with are all determined by what the denomination deems acceptable.
The so-called liberal Christian might at this point chime in, but liberal Christianity is itself a modern invention borne out of sheer necessity, an attempt to secure a reversal of the religion’s demonstrable decline. That said, there are liberal Christians who are still vehemently opposed to choice as it concerns abortion and euthanasia. Ultimately, a Christian can’t conveniently recall free will when it benefits their argument and discard it when they want to maintain control over another person’s decisions or the manner in which an individual leads his/her life. Free will explains evil, but a woman can’t abort, a terminally ill individual can’t choose to die, and a homosexual can’t choose to love a partner of the same sex. Which is it?
The free will defense is itself an attempt to control someone’s thinking. It is a way of pretending to solve a problem that simply is without a solution that is reconcilable to Christian theology. On naturalism, death, disease, and all manner of what we call evil are unfortunate occurrences explainable by a number of naturally occurring factors like natural disasters, genetic predispositions, neurophysical abnormalities or anomalies, and so on. On Christianity, part of the problem is explained by humanity’s god-given free will and in fact, because of the Fall, the very existence of evil is the fault of the first man. The pretense of a solution is merely a means to control the thinking of believers in doubt; that is essentially what apologetics is in a nutshell: the equivalent of alternative facts and fake news designed specifically to create a narrative capable of (perhaps) temporarily extinguishing doubt and retaining control over such believers. At bottom, Christianity is designed specifically to control people and Christians, who are themselves under this dogmatic control, try their darnedest to control the lives of others and even the decisions they make, and this is made apparent in their views on abortion and euthanasia.
If I am free to be an atheist because god can’t make me be a Christian, then women are free to choose and terminally ill individuals can make the choice to end their own lives. You have no say over that per your own beliefs. Will you admit that consistency is really your concern? Will you admit that your endgame is control over other people?
Right, because free will means morality doesn’t exist and I’m not bound to the consequences of my actions, so contradictory. I guess the serial killer you mentioned earlier is also morally permitted to do whatever he pleases, because, of course, he’s got free will.
That’s the point though: you’ve not proven that there’s anything immoral about aborting an embryo or earth fetus. Most abortions happen before week 16 with the greater number of them happening before week 9. There are no EEG waves in the brain during the first trimester. That happens at around week 22, so the death of an embryo or early fetus isn’t equivalent to the death of a person because a person can suffer brain death. An embryo or early fetus can’t. By brain death, I am not speaking of comatose sort of brain death, which is more a misnomer as that is merely the loss of conscious awareness. I’m speaking of the loss of all brain activity. Embryos and fetuses can’t suffer the loss of all brain activity as they don’t have sufficiently developed brains in the first place. So there’s no equivalence to be had with murder and hence no violation of morality or law to be had when a woman chooses to have an abortion. You’re welcome to try again, but I see already you’re too inadequate a thinker to understand the level of nuance that’s involved in discussing an issue like abortion. The debate doesn’t matter anyway; if you really want to reduce the number of induced abortions there are from country to country, get off your behind, stop trying rebuke pro-choicers on tumblr, and get out there and do your part in reducing poverty, domestic violence, and the other factors that lead women to choose to have an abortion.
If you want to talk abortion, fine, I’ve got finals this week but I’m free thereafter, but my point was that there’s not an inconsistency between free will and moral responsibility; in fact, moral responsibility is predicated on free will, because one can’t act morally or immorally if there’s only one way to act, and if we have moral responsibility, then there is no inconsistency between free will and expecting society to maintain some level of moral behavior. You aren’t addressing my contention with your post at all, and your ad hominem makes you look like a pathetic Redditor complaining that no one understands Rick and Morty like you do (and yes, I do understand that that was also an ad hominem, I don’t care to respect you if you don’t respect me.)
But then you prove that my ad hominem is, in fact, of the non-fallacious sort. You say there’s no inconsistency between free will and moral responsibility, which I would grant if I held to the belief that we have free will, but miss the demonstrable fact that there’s nothing immoral about choosing to have an abortion. Moral responsibility simply doesn’t factor here because no persons are being harmed. So yes, I most certainly did address your post so you can try the old William Lane Craig “you didn’t address any of my arguments” bit, but that makes you look every bit the idiot I thought you were at the outset. Apparently I’m smart enough to get nuance; you clearly aren’t.
I don’t respect supposed philanthropists who equate feeding the homeless with alleviating poverty. As stated by another blogger, you need to invest in education and economic equality to do more on that front. So volunteering isn’t doing much; that’s all to make you feel like you’re doing something. In fact, your sort of thinking halts or stifles progress. Equating abortion with murder is absolutely dangerous and leads to the loss of women’s lives in many countries. Look at Northern Ireland, Brazil and the Philippines. You can’t restrict access to safe abortions because you think a person is being murdered; that’s not what’s happening at all, so the fact here is that you didn’t address anything I said and can’t, and whether after or during finals week, you have no case to make. What you ought to do is sit down and learn. I’ve weighed this issue for far longer than you have and my judgment isn’t clouded by outmoded religious dogma and bias.
Moving the goalposts, bud. You said, in your original post, that there is a fundamental inconsistency between a belief in free will as part of the answer to the problem of evil and the belief that it’s reasonable to try to stop what one believes to be a grievous evil. Perhaps I misunderstood, but that seemed to be the main point of your post, as that’s what you spent the most time discussing. I’m pointing out a glaring lack of understanding of nuance on your part of Christian thought, not making a moral claim about abortion. You are making this about whether abortion, specifically, is moral or not. I have given my response, adequately answered your claim that Christians have some nonexistent tension between the free will defense and a desire to stop what they see as evil, real or not, and you have not rebutted that, you’ve simply deflected to the issue of abortion. I’m not pulling a William Lane Craig, I made one point, one point only, and you did not even touch it.
Let me make this clear, my point that your original post does not actually represent Christian philosophy. If you, you, want to make this an abortion debate, fine, but you still have not addressed my point, that there is no tension between the free will defense and a desire to stamp out WHAT ONE THINKS IS evil. You think poverty is evil, and I agree, and so you want to stamp it out, so do I, that’s great, we can debate the best ways in which to help the poor, but we both believe it to be evil, and want to stamp it out. Christians believe abortion to be a great evil, and likewise want to stamp it out. For the sake of my argument, it does not matter if they are right or wrong in this instance, what matters is that they are acting to fight a problem they see and to say that a belief in free will should prevent them from doing that is quite frankly nonsense.
No goalposts have been moved. Clearly, you straw manned what I said. For one, you don’t quote me directly. Secondly, it’s clear that you didn’t read my post in its entirety. It appears you read the first paragraph and thought you got the crux of my argument and made up your mind; you got offended and decided to add your two cents, which thus far amounts to nothing more than expired currency.
While I did mention the Problem of Evil, had you read the whole post, you would see that it’s not central to my point at all. My mention of it is merely to show how the free will defense is deployed, but also shows how important the belief in Libertarian free will is to a Christian. You then pretend as though abortion and euthanasia aren’t mentioned in the post; there’s no sense in which I deflected to abortion if the post you reblogged mentioned abortion prominently, specifically to show that your religion is about exerting control, and that (!) is actually the main thrust of my argument.
So yes, there’s a tension between your belief in free will and trying to control people’s decisions. If you can show that a decision is morally reprehensible, then your interference in someone’s choices is justifiable. The issue is that there’s nothing immoral about aborting an embryo or early fetus; this isn’t suddenly deflecting to abortion if the post in question mentioned it prominently. Perhaps you should learn to read material you disagree with rather than giving a knee-jerk, half-baked response because you saw a post you didn’t like on the Christianity tag.
And yes (!), I can certainly prevent Christians from trying to exert control over women’s bodies, especially men, which you more than likely are! You don’t get to say who stays pregnant and who doesn’t on the basis of what you “think” is evil or immoral. In fact, you don’t get to interfere in anyone’s decisions unless you can show that their decision would bring harm to the person him/herself or someone else. What you “think” is evil isn’t enough; you have to know the possible harm an act can cause before you decide to interfere in someone else’s affairs.
The fact remains: you cannot show that a fetus is a person, but if you actually want to persist in that belief, work to reduce induced abortions. The true and demonstrable evils are the cycle of poverty, lack of education and economic equality, domestic violence, restrictive abortion policies and extremist religion. The issue is that you’re employing outmoded thinking and targeting an “evil” of your own making, an evil that you’ve qualified from a biased religious perspective rather than on the basis of objective, tangible evidence. Your point has definitely been addressed because your retort is based on the illusion that there’s no tension to be had; it’s based on this patently nonsense conclusion that despite your belief in free will and the fact that even god himself doesn’t have the authority to prevent human-driven evil, you have the overriding authority to interfere in a woman’s decision over her own body because you “think” the act of abortion is evil. It’s not, plain and simple.
Ultimately, you are case in point! Your religion is about control. Look at you telling me that I can’t tell Christians not to exert control over women’s bodies. I will tell them the world over and sexists like you won’t silence me! You will receive no further reply because it’s clear you’re not listening. You’re trying to win a debate rather than have productive dialogue. Unfortunately, when you’re devoid of facts, you can’t formulate a good argument, let alone win a debate. Take the loss and move on because you’ve done nothing but prove my point: Christianity is most certainly about exerting control over people’s decisions and the way in which they lead their lives; it’s no wonder then that Christians try to influence legislation and have, in the past, imposed theocracies. This is commonplace in the US and I simply won’t stand for that.