CADRE Comments

A Rational Look at Christianity; Basing Reason in Truth

Religion as a Basis for Thought
A follow up to Layman's post on "The Presidential Debate and Religious Faith"

A few days ago, Layman wrote a very good piece entitled "The Presidential Debate and Religious Faith" in which he discussed John Kerry's statements about abortion in last week's Presidential debate in St. Louis. While I agree with all of it, I wanted to take a moment to expand on his opening statement:

The first thing I noticed is that though Kerry treats this as if it is a religious question, Degenhart made no reference to religion. Kerry simply assumes that the only way a person can oppose abortion is as an "article of faith." This would be news to the Atheist and Agnostic Pro-Life League, and the Libertarians for Life, as well as here and here and here and here.”


Now, I readily admit that I oppose abortion based upon my religious convictions and my understanding of what abortion does. Christianity teaches that murder is wrong, and I understand “murder” to be the intentional, non-defensive taking of the life of an innocent human being outside of war. I think that science and philosophy, independent of religion, have shown indisputably that the “fetus”(the word substituted by abortion advocates in place of “unborn infant”) is an innocent human being (since the “fetus” cannot be anything else but a developing human being who has yet to engage in any activity for which it can be guilty). Since the abortion occurs outside of war and since it is 99% of the time not done defensively, i.e., to protect the life of the mother, it falls within the Biblical teaching of “murder.” NOTE: in saying that it falls within the Biblical teaching of murder which is not allowed, I do not believe that it ought to be treated with the same punishment as your typical “murder.” There are different degrees of murder which give different punishments, and this should be no different.

Having said that, I agree that one does not have to have a Biblical viewpoint to believe that abortion is wrong anymore than one needs to have a Biblical viewpoint to believe that other types of activities that the would fall within the Biblical definition of “murder” are wrong. I know many non-Christians who would agree that murder, theft, adultery, and any numbers of other Biblically proscribed activities are wrong. So, simply because many Christians (not all) believe that something is wrong on the basis of their Christianity does not mean that the government cannot proscribe the activity without violating the establishment clause.

In fact, it is clear that the Founding Fathers used their Christian faith and morality as the basis for much of what we believe. The Declaration of Independence, for example, is explicit in its statement that the War of Independence was inspired by their belief in a creator who made all men equal and endowed them with certain inalienable rights. The Constitution itself is divided into a separation of powers based upon a Biblically based belief that men are fallen, selfish and cannot be trusted with power.

In short, the Constitution permits people of faith to compete with people who have no faith for the laws to be enacted. The fact that the law arises from a Biblical foundation or Biblical worldview does not make it any less a candidate to become a law than any other law (unless the law is overtly religious in nature, e.g., everyone must receive communion at least four times per week). This is especially true in issues of ethics where the demarcation between secular based morality and sectarian based morality is often blurred. On what basis do we uphold laws that promise people equal protection? The founders apparently thought (in their limited way) that such laws were justified by the fact that God created us equal. Today’s secular moralists base their belief in equality on ideas that do not rely as overtly on God, but either accept some sort of higher, unnamed morality as the basis for equality or accept some “minimalistic ethic” as the basis for holding that some acts are immoral (even though there is no basis for holding such an ethic if there is not God). But in either case, one can arrive at exactly the same conclusion about abortion as I have without any reference to Christianity whatsoever.

It becomes a real problem when a court starts to determine whether a law is Constitutional or not based upon the mindset of some of the people who support it. Moreover, it is simply not appropriate to refuse to enact a law simply because the legal, philosophical and ethical basis has a religious element.

7 comments:

To hear some secular opinions on the matter, you'd think they want the Supreme Court to strike down the Declaration of Independence as unconstitutional because it contains such blatantly religious language and was obviously motivated by religious ideas. Heck, the congress even sent back the first draft and made them add even MORE religious language to the document.

As a result of this ruling, the United States is disolved and the colonies are returned to their proper role as subjects to the King of England.

God save the King and this Honorable Court.

' NOTE: in saying that it falls within the Biblical teaching of murder which is not allowed, I do not believe that it ought to be treated with the same punishment as your typical “murder.”'

Here is the Biblical teaching of murder which is not allowed :-

Numbers 35

6 If a man strikes someone with an iron object so that he dies, he is a murderer; the murderer shall be put to death.
17 Or if anyone has a stone in his hand that could kill, and he strikes someone so that he dies, he is a murderer; the murderer shall be put to death.
18 Or if anyone has a wooden object in his hand that could kill, and he hits someone so that he dies, he is a murderer; the murderer shall be put to death.
19 The avenger of blood shall put the murderer to death; when he meets him, he shall put him to death.
20 If anyone with malice aforethought shoves another or throws something at him intentionally so that he dies
21 or if in hostility he hits him with his fist so that he dies, that person shall be put to death; he is a murderer. The avenger of blood shall put the murderer to death when he meets him.
22 But if without hostility someone suddenly shoves another or throws something at him unintentionally
23 or, without seeing him, drops a stone on him that could kill him, and he dies, then since he was not his enemy and he did not intend to harm him,
24 the assembly must judge between him and the avenger of blood according to these regulations.
25 The assembly must protect the one accused of murder from the avenger of blood and send him back to the city of refuge to which he fled. He must stay there until the death of the high priest, who was anointed with the holy oil.
26 But if the accused ever goes outside the limits of the city of refuge to which he has fled
27 and the avenger of blood finds him outside the city, the avenger of blood may kill the accused without being guilty of murder.
28 The accused must stay in his city of refuge until the death of the high priest; only after the death of the high priest may he return to his own property.
29 These are to be legal requirements for you throughout the generations to come, wherever you live.

These regulations state clearly that murder is something committed with an iron object, a wooden object, fists, or something thrown etc.

Where else does the Bible teach which killings are , or are not , allowed?

The Biblical teaching is pulled out from a number of texts, but the understanding is based upon a reading of the entire text. For example, one must take into account that Jesus taught that if you angry at another without cause (Matt. 5:21-22), you have violated the heart of that commandment.

I suggest you pick up a copy of Martin Luther's Large Catechism which details what each of the Commandments mean. It isn't exhaustive, but it is a good start. You can find it on-line here.

In other words you cannot find a Biblical text which says what is murder and what is not.

I agree Jesus said what was murder in Matthew 5, but nobody agrees with Jesus that that really is murder.

Why should we listen to Biblical teaching that is not based on the Bible?

I cannot find a Biblical text that says that it is wrong to molest children either, but that doesn't mean that it isn't inferrable from the text.

Why do you think the word of God does not tell you what is murder and what is not (it actually does , in Numbers 35, but you would laugh if that was American law), or that slavery should be stopped outright, or that molesting children is wrong?

Anonymous, where are you coming from? I mean, what is the point of view about the Bible that you are starting with? I am having a difficult time understanding what your objection really is to what I have said.

Use of Content

The contents of this blog may be reproduced or forwarded via e-mail without change and in its entirety for non-commercial purposes without prior permission from the Christian CADRE provided that the copyright information is included. We would appreciate notification of the use of our content. Please e-mail us at christiancadre@yahoo.com.