I realized on Friday of last week that I was late to the dance, but I believed it was important to dance at least one number on the issue of the sanctity of life. The annual American time of observing Sanctity of Life Sunday among Christian churches was celebrated last Sunday, but as it is not a British thing, I missed out entirely until I saw a few news items halfway through the week.
At present it seems that most Christians are still, for now at least, largely in agreement that the murder of unborn children in the name of the so-called reproductive freedom of enlightened (mostly) Western women who want out of an “unplanned pregnancy” (because, let’s face it, that’s the bulk of what is going on and the core line of reasoning of the pro-abortionist faction; the difficult exception cases pertaining to the endangerment of the mother, incest, or rape are exactly that: difficult exception cases) is nothing less than moral insanity on all levels. Entirely cogent arguments against elective abortion have been offered time and time again from both the perspective of the Bible (Protestants being strong here) as well as from the perspective of natural law (Roman Catholics being strong here). For many many Christians, the whole logic behind the “pro-choice” movement in favor of murdering 50 million persons (1973-2008; add another 10 mil. or more since then) who happen to be in utero is completely and utterly incomprehensible.
Among the mob that is so strongly arguing for abortion there often arises a peculiar attempt at undermining the Christian case against it: namely, that the Bible does not contain a clear command against abortion. In a lot of ways, it’s an absurd claim: the Bible condemns murder (implied: of innocent persons) in the 6th commandment (Exod 20:13); numerous passages discuss the personhood of infants in the womb (Job 10:8ff; Ps 139:13ff; others); and Exod 21:22–25, the great lex talionis provision containing the “eye for an eye” passage, is focused specifically on what should happen when someone injures or kills the unborn baby of a pregnant woman.
Based on straightforward biblical reasoning, the case is completely closed. However, not everyone reasons biblically, and the question still remains – just Google “Does the Bible prohibit abortion” and you’ll get ~329,000 results (literally). The main reason, of course, is that the Bible doesn’t have the explicit language “Do not commit abortion.” Thus, bizarrely, some people conclude that the Bible has nothing to say about abortion.
The Christian reply often runs as follows:
“The Bible does not explicitly condemn abortion because the writers did not see the need to do so. NO ONE at that time who held to the ethics of the Israelite religion or, later, Christianity even entertained abortion as a legitimate possibility (though many people groups around them did regularly practice abortion), so there was no need for the prohibition.”
This line of argumentation, while in my opinion entirely correct, is apparently not entirely persuasive to everyone, since it seems to be making an argument from silence.
Or is it?
Continue reading Abortion in the Scrolls and the Didache