Scripture and Abortion

Christian philosopher Scott Rae suggests the following argument concerning abortion:

  1. God attributes the same characteristics to the unborn as to an adult person.
  2. Therefore God considers the unborn a person.
  3. Abortion is killing an innocent person.
  4. Killing innocent persons violates the fifth commandment (Exodus 20:13).

Some characteristics God attributes to the unborn:

  1. The unborn is referred to in similar terms as an infant or small child. (Luke 2:12, 16)
  2. When a person injures or kills an unborn child, the same punishments are administered as if the offense was against an adult. (Exodus 21:22-25; Leviticus 24:19-20)
  3. The unborn is considered sinful from the moment of conception. (Psalm 51:5; Romans 3:23)
  4. God has knowledge of the unborn in a personal way and uses personal pronouns to refer to him or her. (Psalm 139:15-16; Jeremiah 1:5)
  5. God calls the unborn to his or her vocation in the same way he calls other persons. (Isaiah 49:1; Amos 7:14-15)

Further Reading

  • Hindson, Ed and Caner, Ergun, editors. The Popular Encyclopedia of Apologetics. Eugene, Oregon: Harvest House Publishers, 2008.
  • Rae, Scott. Moral Choices: An Introduction to Ethics. Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1995.
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  1. Burnham

     /  October 30, 2012

    Scripture is the set of laws that Christians aspire to follow. The First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution “prohibits the making of any law respecting an establishment of religion”, thus establishing the separation of church and state.

    Thus, if you work to establish U.S. law purely based on the laws of a specific religion, you are attempting to violate the First Amendment and therefore being un-American. You are not respecting other people’s religions, and you are not respecting the Constitution.

    Consider the possibility that another religion became the majority of the population in the U.S., such as Islam. Would you be okay with Muslims proposing constitutional amendments based on Islam?

    • People create laws and statutes based on their own views of morality–which in most cases comes from religious belief. This has nothing to due with the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment. It has everything to do with whether the fetus is a living human being or not.

      • Burnham

         /  October 30, 2012

        “whether the fetus is a living human being or not” being the key point. You derived this determination through Scripture. Other religions/belief systems do not arrive at the same conclusion.

        It has everything to do with the First Amendment. If you can’t come to the same conclusion concerning the status of a fetus without the use of the teachings of a specific religion, then it’s 100% religiously motivated law. Enacting such a law would be “respecting an establishment of religion” (Christianity). Again, if a law based on the Islamic faith (such as wearing Hijab) were enacted, how is it any different?

        Why is it not good enough that you simply enforce your beliefs within the members of your religion? Why must you enforce it on others who believe differently?

        • I believe stealing is wrong because Scripture prohibits it. Perhaps there are some who believe that stealing is justifiable. Would I be in danger of violating their First Amendment right by proposing a ban on stealing simply because I arrived at such a belief on religious grounds?

          • Burnham

             /  October 30, 2012

            Stealing has been determined to be wrong in virtually every religion AND through purely philosophical reasons. A child understands that stealing is wrong. It’s not whether it was based on religious grounds, it’s whether it’s purely based on very specific religious grounds.

            If you feel that one sentence in the Bible is enough to justify the case of making it U.S. law, then do you not feel that the entirety of the Bible should be reflected in U.S. law? If not, where do you stop?

          • You keep thinking that the Establishment Clause prohibits bans on abortions. Who even thinks like this? The regulation of abortion is NOT the attempt at an establishment of a religion. There is a reason that type of argument was not presented to the Supreme Court in Roe v. Wade. Any attorney using that type of logic would have been laughed out of the courtroom.

          • And “virtually every religion” believes stealing is wrong? If you were consistent with your reasoning, it wouldn’t matter how many religions sign off on a law being good.

            Abortion is viewed as morally reprehensible by many religions. It is also rejected by people who are non-religious. So is there some magic number of support from the religious and non-religious community before a law does not fall into the realm of the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment?

            What is it? 75 percent of religious people and 75 percent of atheists/agnostics? 90/80? 99/95?

  2. So, how does one vote when one side is pro-life and yet pro-war, and the other is pro-choice and yet anti-war, and death penalty. Since there is no but behind thou shall not kill. (And don’t give me the whole it means murder thing). Who are we to vote for?

    • “Thou shall not kill” means not to take innocent human life. There are tons of verses that speak to this.

      • Because the children and civilians killed as collateral damage aren’t innocent?

        • Are you talking about a specific example or just “collateral damage” in general?

          • Does it matter? Innocent deaths as collateral damage are innocent deaths regardless.

          • Where are you going with this? And how does it relate to abortion?

          • So, how does one vote when one side is pro-life and yet pro-war, and the other is pro-choice and yet anti-war, and death penalty. Since there is no but behind thou shall not kill. Who are we to vote for?

            Sorry thought I made it clear. Just wanted your opinion.

          • I haven’t heard any candidate describe himself as “pro-war” or “anti-war.” You’re painting with too broad of a brush. Obama, by the way, continues military action in Afghanistan, Libya, and other places. So I guess he’s “pro-war.”

            The bottom line is that warfare is not comparable to abortion. If the unborn child is indeed a person, which Scripture teaches that it is, then killing the unborn child without just cause would violate God’s prohibition against murder.

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