Deeper Than Abortion

These words by Nigel Cameron and Joni Eareckson Tada are timely and true.

“…The pro-life movement has focused almost exclusively on abortion and shown little interest either in the emerging biotech issues or even the growing threat of euthanasia.  Abortion, of course, is not a disease; it is a symptom.  The move to liberal abortion is not an isolated development; it emerges from a much broader collapse in our idea of what it means to be human, and from a compliant and weak medical profession that has gone along with changing social assumptions.”

“…As we set our eyes on the unfolding biotech agenda, the pro-life movement’s great strength – its focus on abortion – could also emerge as a weakness.  For while abortion is a vivid example of the principle we have been discussing in every chapter – treating people like things, using human beings as commodities, denying the image of God – back of abortion lies a new mindset in medicine and society.  We find ourselves in a much wider discussion in which medicine and technology are on trial.  Euthanasia and cloning are not ‘other’ issues; they form part of the same issue.  And as we have been arguing all through this book, manufacturing and manipulating human life is evil in the same way that killing is evil.  Abortion, for all its horror, is not the issue; it is merely the plainest example so far of the abuse of human dignity in our culture.  But there are others.  And they are getting worse.”

“So as we seek to educate the church, we need to begin with abortion, but not end there.  What lies behind taking human life (abortion, euthanasia), making human life (the copying and manipulation of the new biotech – cloning, genetic engineering), and the prospect of faking life (artificial intelligence, nanotechnology) is really one principle: the desire for power and control over human life, our own and the lives of others.  It is a desire for power and control to decide, not just issues of life and death, but what kind of life shall be lived.  It’s the Babel desire to declare independence from God and assert absolute control over us and our affairs.  It’s the sin of rebellion against God, let loose first in the Garden of Eden, sampled in Cain’s murder of his brother, and finally demonstrated by the builders of the tower.  Yet they were just preparing the way for us.  What they built with bricks and mortar we build with eggs and sperm and genes and nanotechnology” (p.194-195).

As I’ve mentioned here before, I really appreciate this book and recommend it for all Christians, specifically those who wrestle with ethics, biology, and biotechnology.  It is a detailed book, but not too tough for those of us who aren’t familiar with biology and biotechnology.  Here’s the full title:  How to Be A Christian in A Brave New World by Joni Earkeckson Tada and Nigel M. De S. Cameron.

shane lems

sunnyside, wa

2 thoughts on “Deeper Than Abortion”

  1. It is fascinating to me to see how real life issues are so often re-framed in imaginary religious terms. I’m tempted to add this book to my reading list if only to follow Alice down the rabbit hole where living a normal, secular life is reinterpreted as “rebellion” against a god that does not appear to exist outside human imagination.

    While there are certainly many serious concerns and long-term issues to be explored and carefully considered, I think there’s a very detrimental aspect of this unfortunate tendency to project one’s own demons onto others.

    How many Christians (since that is who this book is being recommended for, and also the religious worldview in which it was produced) really see people in such misleading terms? It makes me wonder how people can so easily accept, as a given, that those who do not believe in their god, or any other, are allegedly seeking “really one principle: the desire for power and control over human life, our own and the lives of others.” What an insulting caricature!

    The author goes on to explain his view: “It is a desire for power and control to decide, not just issues of life and death, but what kind of life shall be lived. It’s the Babel desire to declare independence from God and assert absolute control over us and our affairs.”

    Absolute control? Really? With this kind of message being promulgated in churches, it is unsurprising that so many Christians misunderstand, not to mention underestimate, the real values cherished by their atheist neighbors. After all, it is unrealistic to seek absolute control over life, even as we seek to improve living conditions as best we can. But then it’s kind of hard to turn the idea of “leaving the world a better place than we found it” into “the sin of rebellion against God,” without some creative distortion in the process.

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