Does God Forgive Those Who’ve Had Abortions?

Screen Shot 2019-04-15 at 12.02.13 PMThis article was originally published by IntersectProject. ORIGINAL POST

Editor’s Note: Jonathan Darville recently published an article titled, “Set the Little Ones Free.” He argues the unborn should be extended what Martin Luther King Jr. called one’s “God-given and constitutional rights.” In a series of follow-up articles, Darville answers three frequently asked questions about abortion. (Read the first FAQ.) Here is the second in that series:

Q: Is forgiveness available for those who have had abortions?

A: It depends on which view of the world is accurate. If humans are cosmic accidents living in an a-moral world, then there is nothing any of us need forgiveness for and no one to whom we owe an apology (Atheism). In fact, if atheism is true, then all human action is determined (i.e. there is no free-will). Therefore, we wouldn’t be responsible for any of our actions. As Jean-Jacques Rousseau famously said, “to remove all liberty from his (humanity’s) will is to remove all morality from his acts.” On this view of the world, human death is as normal, natural, and morally insignificant as a lion eating an antelope. Death isn’t a punishment for which we need clemency, as there is no afterlife.

But, if humans are karmic illusions only existing within the karmic game, then no, there is no forgiveness (Pantheism). On this view, the way we escape the karmic cycle is to pay off our own karmic debt or attain our own enlightenment. In other words, we have to save ourselves from death and rebirth by playing and winning according to the rules of the karmic game (e.g. Buddhism’s eightfold path). In the event that we earn our escape, we would be re-absorbed into the All-Soul or Nirvana.

We must also never lose sight of Dr. King’s warning that, “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.” In other words, if we tolerate injustice in this once instance, we should not be surprised to see the impulse to injustice in our society multiply and the deterrents to injustice diminish. To use C.S. Lewis’ wording, “We [cannot] laugh at honor and [be] shocked to find traitors in our midst.” So, the point is at least twofold: 1. To protect innocent life, and; 2. Not to condition society to a mindset and pattern of behavior that leads to a broader range of unjust actions and less resistance to such actions.

I think in our society we often fail to recognize that there is a world of difference between principle and preference. Subjective truths (e.g. your favorite color, movie or band) have to do with preference. Objective truths (e.g. 2+2=4, murder is wrong, the law of gravity or the laws of logic) have to do with principle. While preferences can be “true for you and not for me,” principles are true for everybody. For instance, nobody can say that “gravity is true for you but not for me,” or that “2+2=4 is right for you but not for me” (at least not honestly).

Likewise, in matters of morality, there is no such thing as “your truth” or “our morality” as if ethics were a matter of personal or collective taste. Ethical principles are not personal preferences we compete to arbitrarily impose on one another. The moral law, like the laws of nature or the laws of logic, is universal—it naturally applies to everyone. It is a fixed feature of the world in which we live and move and have our being.

So, while we may dispute the proper application of moral law in civil law, we can no more rationally dispute that unnecessarily terminating an innocent human life is wrong, than we can rationally dispute the reality of gravity or the sum of two plus two. If at the most basic level, government is charged with protecting the innocent and upholding justice in society, then it is an appalling violation of that charge to fail to protect the unborn.

.Therefore, let us all make every just effort to see abortion laws squared with the moral law in our time. To increase the chances abortion laws are changed, here are a few things we can do: volunteer at local pregnancy centers; share good resources; give to organizations like the Human Coalition; write to our political representatives; vote wisely; support adoption; pray strategically; etc. Remember, God likes to grant “unlikely” victories.

Editor’s Note: Come back next week for the second installment in this series.


DarvilleJonathan Darville has had a varied and wide-ranging career. He worked in the fashion industry in New York, modeling for clients such as Louis Vuitton, Macy’s and Bloomingdale’s. He helped lead the New York branch of an international non-profit ministry. He has also served as a Master Trainer for The Center for Leadership Studies, training men and women in Fortune 500 companies in Leadership and Management theory and practice across America.

Will Abortion Laws Ever Change?

Screen Shot 2019-04-15 at 11.37.52 AM

This article was originally published by IntersectProject. ORIGINAL POST

Editor’s Note: Last week, Jonathan Darville published an article titled, “Set the Little Ones Free.” He argues the unborn should be extended what Martin Luther King Jr. called one’s “God-given and constitutional rights.” In a series of follow-up articles, Darville will answers three frequently asked questions about abortion. Here is the first in that series:

Q: What are the chances the abortion laws are ever actually going to change? And even if they were changed, the law doesn’t change people’s hearts. So, what’s the point?

A: Especially in democratic societies, it is always possible to change laws to align with the moral law. People didn’t think that slavery or Jim Crow laws would be overturned either, but they were—as the 13th Amendment and the Civil Rights Act of 1964 testify. While laws might not change human hearts, they can change unjust human actions. As Martin Luther King Jr. said: “It may be true that the law cannot make a man love me, but it can keep him from lynching me, and I think that’s pretty important.” Likewise, it may be true that the law cannot make people love unborn children, but it can keep people from aborting them, and that is pretty important.

We must also never lose sight of Dr. King’s warning that, “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.” In other words, if we tolerate injustice in this once instance, we should not be surprised to see the impulse to injustice in our society multiply and the deterrents to injustice diminish. To use C.S. Lewis’ wording, “We [cannot] laugh at honor and [be] shocked to find traitors in our midst.” So, the point is at least twofold: 1. To protect innocent life, and; 2. Not to condition society to a mindset and pattern of behavior that leads to a broader range of unjust actions and less resistance to such actions.

I think in our society we often fail to recognize that there is a world of difference between principle and preference. Subjective truths (e.g. your favorite color, movie or band) have to do with preference. Objective truths (e.g. 2+2=4, murder is wrong, the law of gravity or the laws of logic) have to do with principle. While preferences can be “true for you and not for me,” principles are true for everybody. For instance, nobody can say that “gravity is true for you but not for me,” or that “2+2=4 is right for you but not for me” (at least not honestly).

Likewise, in matters of morality, there is no such thing as “your truth” or “our morality” as if ethics were a matter of personal or collective taste. Ethical principles are not personal preferences we compete to arbitrarily impose on one another. The moral law, like the laws of nature or the laws of logic, is universal—it naturally applies to everyone. It is a fixed feature of the world in which we live and move and have our being.

So, while we may dispute the proper application of moral law in civil law, we can no more rationally dispute that unnecessarily terminating an innocent human life is wrong, than we can rationally dispute the reality of gravity or the sum of two plus two. If at the most basic level, government is charged with protecting the innocent and upholding justice in society, then it is an appalling violation of that charge to fail to protect the unborn.

Therefore, let us all make every just effort to see abortion laws squared with the moral law in our time. To increase the chances abortion laws are changed, here are a few things we can do: volunteer at local pregnancy centers; share good resources; give to organizations like the Human Coalition; write to our political representatives; vote wisely; support adoption; pray strategically; etc. Remember, God likes to grant “unlikely” victories.

Editor’s Note: Come back next week for the second installment in this series.


Darville

Jonathan Darville has had a varied and wide-ranging career. He worked in the fashion industry in New York, modeling for clients such as Louis Vuitton, Macy’s and Bloomingdale’s. He helped lead the New York branch of an international non-profit ministry. He has also served as a Master Trainer for The Center for Leadership Studies, training men and women in Fortune 500 companies in Leadership and Management theory and practice across America.

Set the Little Ones Free

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Set the Little Ones Free

By Jonathan Darville

What does it mean to be human? Are we accidents, illusions or masterpieces? This is the identity question many of us have asked at some point in life. And how we answer this one question, consciously or unconsciously, will determine how we value one another and treat each other. It’s hard to overestimate the importance of this question. Before we decide on an answer (accidents, illusions or masterpieces), let’s take a look at the appraisal and ethical implications of each position:

Appraisal and Ethical Implications

  • Option 1: If humans are cosmic accidents, then we, as random combinations of atoms, have no inherent value or lasting worth. We have no worth because we have been left on the doorstep of an indifferent universe by chance.

What ethical implications does this view have? Strictly speaking, we live in an a-moral world where the strong naturally devour the weak. That is, all ethical systems are simply byproducts of the evolutionary process and are “just” insofar as they conform to the “will” of those in power.

  • Option 2: Similarly, if humans are karmic illusions, then we, as projections of the ultimate unconscious Spirit, have no inherent value or lasting worth. We have no worth because “we” don’t really exist.

In this view, morality is nothing more than a useful fiction that structures the rules of the karmic game. In other words, ethical norms have no objective existence.

  • Option 3: But, if humans are handcrafted masterpieces, then we, as individually and intentionally crafted beings, have inherent value and lasting worth. We have worth because we are the treasured possessions of a divine creator and artisan. Morality, then, is a fundamental component of who we are and the way the world really is. That is, we are moral beings living in a moral universe.

With these implications in play, let’s plug an issue like slavery into this comparative framework and see if it can help provide us with some clarity on the question regarding what humans are—accidents, illusions or masterpieces.

Slavery

Is enslaving another human being wrong? It depends on which view of the world is accurate. If right and wrong are causally determined by those in power (be it a king, a few individuals or a majority), then slavery is only “wrong” if those in power say it is. Technically, on this view of the world, nothing is inherently right or wrong. So, for instance, in our country slavery was right in some states before 1865 and only wrong in every state after 1865 with the ratification of the 13th Amendment. However, if right and wrong are the illusory but ironclad rules to the karmic game, then slavery would be “wrong” relative to the game we are in, but also only happens to those who deserve it. In other words, in this view of the world, the only people who are enslaved are those with bad karma. Karmic justice ensures that people’s lot in life is exactly what they are due for the way in which they conducted themselves in past lives.

But, if right and wrong are grounded in and emerge from a transcendent and perfectly moral divine artisan, then slavery is objectively wrong at all times and in all places. In other words, on this view of the world, slavery is inherently unjust because it is an affront to the character of the divine craftsman and goes against the moral grain of the universe.

With that said, let’s rephrase the question and ask it this way: Is slavery the result of the strong eating the weak, bad karma or an egregious human injustice? I think most of us, based on what philosophers call a shared moral intuition, would say that slavery is an egregious human injustice. We tend to believe that slavery is wrong no matter who you are, where you are or when you lived. And why do we believe this? Because we tend to believe that all humans inherently possess equal dignity, value and worth, regardless of their race, ethnicity, IQ, gender or socioeconomic status. So, to the original question, it seems that most of us at least function under the assumption that humans are masterpieces—even if evidently broken masterpieces—and that there are in fact ethical standards to which all humans are accountable. How, then, did slave owners justify such evil behavior for so long? They did so by classifying certain 3

populations of people (black people) as less than fully human. For example, in 1857 in what has been called the worst ruling in Supreme Court history, Chief Justice Roger B. Taney wrote:

“We think…that [black people] are not included, and were not intended to be included, under the word “citizens” in the Constitution, and can therefore claim none of the rights and privileges which that instrument provides for and secures to citizens of the United States. On the contrary, they were at that time considered as a subordinate and inferior class of beings who had been subjugated by the dominant race, and, whether emancipated or not, yet remained subject to their authority, and had no rights or privileges but such as those who held the power and the Government might choose to grant them” (emphasis added).

A slave, named Dred Scott, had attempted to sue his “owner” for his freedom because he had been brought into the territories of Illinois and Wisconsin, which were both free states. However, as stated in Taney’s opinion, the court ruled that Scott was not a citizen and therefore did not have the legal right to sue. He was not recognized as a citizen because he was classified as part of an “inferior class of beings” and as the rightful property of his owner.

What do you think? Was this ruling just? If so, why? If not, why not? How can we tell if a particular human law is just or not? In the 20th century, Martin Luther King Jr. in his famous “Letter from Birmingham Jail”, responds this way:

“The answer is found in the fact that there are two types of laws: there are just laws, and there are unjust laws. I would agree with St. Augustine that “An unjust law is no law at all.” Now, what is the difference between the two? How does one determine when a law is just or unjust? A just law is a man-made code that squares with the moral law, or the law of God. An unjust law is a code that is out of harmony with the moral law. To put it in the terms of St. Thomas Aquinas, an unjust law is a human law that is not rooted in eternal and natural law. Any law that uplifts human personality is just. Any law that degrades human personality is unjust.”

By these standards, the Supreme Court ruling was unjust because it did not “square” with the moral law built into the fabric of reality by the divine artisan. That is, the Dred Scott ruling did not square with the principles of cosmic justice. Instead, it arbitrarily deemed an entire class of human beings as inferior because of their skin color.

I think we can confidently say that: 1. At least some things, like slavery, really are wrong: “Right is right, and wrong is wrong” as Tom Sawyer said, and; 2. All humans, by virtue of being human, possess equal value and therefore are deserving of equal rights.

With these basic parameters in place, let’s consider how all this relates to the issue, which as I am sure you are aware, has recently become a topic of renewed public interest and debate in our country— abortion. And like with slavery, let’s proceed by plugging abortion into the framework sketched above.

Abortion

Is abortion wrong? Again, it depends on which view of the world is accurate. As we did before, let’s rephrase the question as: Is abortion the strong naturally eating the weak, karmic justice, an egregious human injustice or somehow an enforcement of justice?

First, we must determine whether a fetus is human or not. Interestingly, this isn’t a disputed point in the debate. Embryologists from all sides of the aisle, tell us that from the point of conception, there exists within the womb a separate and unique being with its own genetic code. As the renowned geneticist, Dr. Jerome Lejeune once said, “To accept the fact that after fertilization has taken place a new human has come into being is no longer a matter of taste or opinion…it is plain experimental evidence. Each individual has a very neat beginning, at conception.” And within a matter of weeks, this new being has its own organs, heartbeat, dreams, eye color, nervous system and fingerprints. In other words, it has been scientifically verified that, biologically speaking, a fetus is a new and living human being.

What does the scientific data entail? It entails that if humans are works of art and that morality is a real feature of the world we inhabit, then abortion should be considered wrong for the same reason that slavery is considered wrong: because all fetuses, like all African Americans, are human beings. Therefore, all fetuses are deserving of the same human and constitutional rights as anyone else.

Consider what we would have to do to justify the practice of abortion in the face of the scientific data. We would have to follow the logic of the Dred Scott case and say that fetuses are not citizens, because they constitute an inferior class of being and are the rightful property of another. In other words, we would have to use the slave owner’s logic and arbitrarily say that size, level of development, geographic location, degree of dependency or desirability, deems an entire group of people as less than human.

However, the aforementioned considerations are as arbitrary as skin-color in determining someone’s worth. Similarly, these criteria could never be instituted as viable in the judicial policies of a society in determining someone’s right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. Otherwise, we would have to say that it is justified to end the life of anyone smaller than us, less developed than us, geographically located within our property lines, more dependent than us, or who we do not want to exist anymore. Obviously, this is an untenable and unlivable position.

Of course, we might ask about women’s rights. But note that biological sex is determined at conception. So, what about when the fetus is female? Should not the rights of the woman in the womb be the same as the rights of the mother? Unfortunately, the question assumes about fetuses what was assumed about Dred Scott: that fetuses are somehow less than fully human and the rightful property of another. But science has shown that fetuses are, by nature, fully human. And no one has the right to intentionally kill innocent human life—whether male or female. As Scout reminded us in To Kill a Mockingbird, “There’s just one kind of folks. Folks”—no matter their size or color. 5

Bringing all this together, let’s look at a slightly re-worded version of an argument made by Scott Klusendorf: Premise 1: It is wrong to intentionally kill innocent human beings. Premise 2: Intentionally aborted fetuses are innocent human beings. Conclusion: Therefore, abortion is morally wrong. The argument is valid. So, to deny the conclusion, we would have to deny one or both of the premises. To deny the first premise, we would have to affirm and argue that we live in an a-moral world where there is nothing wrong with things like murder, rape and slavery. And to deny the second premise, we would either have to show that science is wrong and fetuses are not genetically human, or we would have to demonstrate that an unborn child is guilty of a capital offense. None of these options appear plausible.

Since the Roe v. Wade decision the science of embryology and technologies like sonogram have made it harder and harder to defend abortion, which in the last 40 years has taken the life of an estimated 58.5 million children. Comparing that with the estimated 12 million humans who died from the transatlantic slave trade, we can see that with abortion, we are dealing with systematic killing of catastrophic proportions.

Tragically, the womb, the natural place of nurture for a fetus, has been transformed into nothing less than a noose. The cry of these little ones who are being extinguished by the millions, even if just in the non-verbal form of recoiling from pain, is and will remain to be set free—to be emancipated from the ironic bondage of a hostile womb and extended what Martin Luther King Jr. called one’s “God-given and constitutional rights.” And until that day, we all have a duty to speak up for and intercede on the behalf of these little ones, who certainly constitute the most vulnerable members of any human society.

This article originally published at IntersectProject.org.


Darville

About the Author: Jonathan Darville has had a varied and wide-ranging career. He worked in the fashion industry in New York, modeling for clients such as Louis Vuitton, Macy’s and Bloomingdale’s. He helped lead the New York branch of an international non-profit ministry. He has also served as a Master Trainer for The Center for Leadership Studies, training men and women in Fortune 500 companies in Leadership and Management theory and practice across America.