Wednesday, October 31, 2018

Memorializing a FB discussion about whether abortion is prohibited in the Bible

I just want to memorialize a discussion that I’m having with a fundamentalist Christian about why the Bible does or does not prohibit abortion.  She cites to me Psalm 139 and Jeremiah 1:5

I say:

Abortion is not murder.  That’s your opinion.  The Bible does not say so.

King David, in writing Psalm 139, if he was the author, as you say, did not write verse 13 in a vacuum. It’s part of a longer missive, in which he requests the defeat of his enemies.  He says to God “you covered me in my mother’s womb,” as part of a longer request.  Taking that out of context to relate to US abortion laws runs entirely contrary to the passage.

In Jeremiah 1:5 — God apparently says that the addressee is to be made a prophet and that God knew Jeremiah even before he was conceived. This is not addressed to the general public.  It relates to a particular person and the context was his being appointed prophet.  Certainly the general public is not being appointed prophet.  That would defeat the whole idea of there being special prophets.  Again, expanding the scope of this verse to relate to US abortion laws takes this passage entirely out of context and is contrary to the plain meaning of the passage.

Again, if the Bible intended to prohibit abortion, it would have said so.  It made no bones about kosher dietary laws, for instance. 

She says life begins at conception.  I say

a sweater begins by casting on stitches. That doesn't mean a needle with cast on stitches is a sweater. 

Life may begin at conception, tho the Bible seems to imply before conception, but that doesn't mean an embryo is a human being any more than cast on stitches are a sweater

She says that I’m implying that Jeremiah was more special than any other human being ever born

I say

Yes, he was special.  He was a prophet. God apparently planned for him, according to this story. This doesn't mean that God didn't plan for others.  There were other prophets in the Bible.

It also doesn't mean that abortion is murder. Abortion isn’t mentioned or suggested.  If God planned for the arrival of this particular prophet, presumably He made sure that the guy was going to be born.  There are any number of reasons why a person might or might not be conceived at a particular time.  

At that time, half of all children died before one year of age from disease.  Presumably God planned for that not to happen as well, otherwise the prophet wouldn’t have been able to be a prophet.  

Not all people are fore-ordained to be prophets.  That’s the clear intent of the passage. So, yes, Jeremiah, was special

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