This 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.
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.