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Religion, Darwinism, and abortion … a hot combination!

Secular Pro Life

Secular Pro-Life founder Kelsey Hazzard, left, carries a sign at the 2012 March for Life in Washington, DC. (photo from The Catholic World Report)

My new friend (I hope) W. Russell responded to an FAB post earlier this week.  He (or she) wrote:

I think you are making a big mistake by linking the pro-life cause with religion. There are people out there like me that are prolife but want nothing to do with religion. Not to mention the fact that “Darwinism” (btw, there is no such thing) has nothing to do with abortion. I am an atheist, believe in evolution, and am pro-life. Why do you want to write me off as an enemy to your cause. You say the biggest treat to children is the belief in evolution and abortion. No, the biggest treat to children is ignorance and the lack of respect for human rights, every human’s rights. One can believe that every human being, born and unborn is deserving of life without believing in a deity. The pro-life cause needs all the support possible. Don’t exclude people because they don’t have the same beliefs as you. If you do, you are just as ignorant as the people who support abortion.

This is my reply (with a few edits):

Thanks for your comment. I wholeheartedly agree with much of what you said. For example, you said, “One can believe that every human being, born and unborn, is deserving of life without believing in a deity.” You are of course correct. Many atheists agree with us on the right to life.

You said we should not link the pro-life cause with religion. There is some truth in that. For example, we should be able to argue against abortion without appealing to our religious beliefs. With our Pro Life Training Academy, we do exactly that. We train people to talk about spiritual matters only with people who are open to that discussion. When an atheist asks us why we oppose abortion, we don’t say he must adopt a new moral code before he can become pro-life; we simply ask him to apply his current moral code to everyone equally, including the unborn. We assume that he opposes killing born people, and usually he does.

You said, “The pro-life cause needs all the support possible. Don’t exclude people because they don’t have the same beliefs as you.” You are again correct, and I am happy to work beside you to end injustice, including the injustice of killing unborn children, no matter what else we may disagree about.

But I don’t agree with you that just because we disagree on something important, I have “[written you] off as an enemy to [our] cause.” It only means that we disagree on some things and agree on other things.  I have many friends in the pro-life movement, and I disagree with almost all of them about religious matters that we consider important.

It is unrealistic to expect that Christians will quit being Christians when they take up the cause of ending injustice. We Christians fight injustice for two reasons. First and foremost, we are commanded to do so by our Creator.

Second, Christians believe that all of us (including you and me) are created beings, and we are endowed by our Creator with certain unalienable rights, and that among these is the right to life. If there is no Creator, then we all evolved from the earth. We are simply a cosmic fluke, mere dust that happens to be animated for a short period of time before we return to dust. And if that is true, then what is the basis for any kind of morality? How can one clump of animated dust say what is moral and what is not moral for another clump of dust?

And are all clumps of animated dust to be treated equally? What is the basis for declaring that human lumps of dust have a greater status than non-human lumps of animated dust (e.g., animals)? Or even non-animated lumps of dust (e.g., rocks).

If we claim greater moral significance for ourselves than for dogs or rocks, because we are more evolved, then who is to say that some of us humans aren’t more evolved than others, and therefore entitled to greater rights?

That’s why I believe Darwinism to be a dangerous philosophy … because it ultimately leads to the conclusion that there is no objective morality, there is no basis for equality, and there is no imperative to treat anyone with human dignity. Any moral code is only a tool to promote self interest, and it can be discarded by those in power as soon as conditions make a different moral code more profitable.

I know that you have a different basis for your beliefs that there is a moral code we are all bound to follow, that we all have a right to live, etc. And I respect that. I just don’t agree with it. I welcome you to the table of respecting the unalienable rights of all people; I just got there through a different door. That doesn’t mean that I have written you off as an enemy, nor does it mean I don’t welcome your support.  It just means we disagree.

But before I close, it is my duty to say that I am concerned for your eternal soul. It is my hope that you will live abundantly, not only for a few years on this earth, but eternally in the world to come. I hope you won’t be angry to know this.

For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because they have not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son. (John 3:16-18)

On final note about Darwinism (the notion that all life forms evolved as a result of random, unguided, naturalistic processes). Speaking as somebody with a science background, I believe the claim that science has made a conclusive case for Darwinism, as opposed to the alternative theory that life is the result of intelligent design, is a classic example of begging the question (i.e., assuming the proposition you claim to be proving). Darwinism does not prove man evolved via naturalistic processes; it assumes man evolved via naturalistic processes. Big difference. But, that’s another topic for another day.

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One Response to “Religion, Darwinism, and abortion … a hot combination!”

  1. May 30th, 2014 at 7:38 pm

    Dennis McDonnell says:

    An intelligent question and answer as well. Sounds like this atheist has heard from the Holy Spirit without even knowing it(John 16:8).

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