FIGHTING FOR A CULTURE OF LIFE — PART 2

Painting of a turn-of-century trading fair, Hessisches Volksfest (Hessian Folk Festival), 1887, Louis Toussaint (1826-1887), Öl auf Leinwand. (from here)

In the last post of this series, Part 1, we began to define the “problem”. We also looked at what it means to have a culture of life.  Here we will finish defining the “problem”, and we will propose a solution. We will begin to look at what it takes to achieve a culture of life.

WHAT IS THE OVERACHING PROBLEM?

In the last post, we observed that in his post,  Alexander Hellene pointed to “systems” that are not working, but he didn’t actually propose an overarching explanation. He talked about “systems” that are not working. Should he have spoken of a common thread? Do the failures of all those “systems” have something in common? I can only guess what believes, but I do think the failures of all those “systems” have something in common.

What people believe makes a difference. Because we are now more Pagan than Christian, Americans no longer support a culture of life. Instead of loving and serving each other, more of us demand to be loved and served. Instead of the love God, we extol the “virtue” of self-esteem. Therefore, we tend to be more selfish, and in our selfishness we have corrupted the “systems” that make up our society. Instead, of serving the people those systems were intended to serve, they serve special interests.

HOW DO WE ACHIEVE A CULTURE OF LIFE?

Some people seem to think that if we overturn Rowe v. Wade, the Supreme Court decision that legalized abortion, we will have solved the problem of abortion. Not true. Until the Second Coming, human beings will still sin, and some states will promote abortion because enough people support killing “fetuses”, that is, getting rid of awkward little “problems”.

Consider what happened a couple of thousand years ago. After Jesus died Christians began to spread the Gospel, and those early Christians received a lethally hostile reception. Why? Prideful pagans did not like being told they were sinners. Those who were slave owners were horrified by the proposition that God loves slaves and masters equally. The prideful were repulsed and mystified by the idea that love is a virtue, that is, we should love our neighbor as much as we love our self. Consider some examples:

  • The Romans were the first broad-minded multiculturalists. They accepted the gods of the people they conquered. They thought it made them stronger to add more gods to the Roman pantheon. In fact, the Romans considered the Jews and the Christians atheists because those people only believed in one God.
  • Half of the people in the Roman Empire were slaves.
  • Instead of abortion, when someone wanted to get rid of an unwanted child, they practiced infanticide. The head of the household had eight days to decide whether a newborn should be abandoned to die.
  • Prostitution was a religious rite.
  • Rome built the Roman Empire through conquest. The Roman Empire existed upon the theory that might makes right. Thus, the vanquished paid tribute to the lords who ruled them.
  • Crucifixion was a common form of capital punishment. Rome found crucifixion particularly useful, especially intimidating, when anyone rebelled against their rule.

In spite of murderous opposition, Christians slowly spread the Gospel to those arrogant Pagans. In time, Paganism appeared to have disappeared. Yet Paganism never died. Each generation must learn to humble itself anew before God.

We must understand the magnitude of the failure when our parents failed teach us the Gospel. We must understand what is lost — who is lost — when we fail to teach the Gospel of Jesus Christ to our children. To overcome Paganism again, we must repent of our failure to teach the Gospel to our children.

Consider what Jesus Christ told us His disciples they must do.

Matthew 28:16-20 New King James Version (NKJV)

The Great Commission

16 Then the eleven disciples went away into Galilee, to the mountain which Jesus had appointed for them. 17 When they saw Him, they worshiped Him; but some doubted.

18 And Jesus came and spoke to them, saying, “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. 19 Go [a]therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” [b]Amen.

Unlike the first disciples of Jesus Christ’s church, instead of making disciples of all the nations, we have becomes the disciples of the world, devoted students of the global culture. Instead of loving our neighbors, we have adopted their gods and added them to our own. Hence, we have rediscovered what it means to be Pagans. Like the Pagans of old, we too have learned that life without God is vain. We have made our lives void, voids our pride is to empty to fill. Therefore, we now need to rediscover what it means to be disciples of Jesus Christ.

62 thoughts on “FIGHTING FOR A CULTURE OF LIFE — PART 2

  1. “Some do worship science. I expect most just use science as an excuse to not believe in God. Being a Pagan is not about reason.”

    You see CT, by this statement it is clear you have not a single clue about how atheists, pagans, heathens and the unclean think, or maybe you thought to annoy this group of people.

    If you are referring to worship as in a religious context you are miles out, just look up the words “worship” and “religion” and please use a reputable English dictionary not the Christian ones.

    The gods that Pagans might worship have just as much evidence and credibility as any other gods on this planet. That figure being zero. Do you see, atheists do not need any excuse to not believe in any gods because the reasons of non-existence are provided by the religions themselves.

    Living a good life on Earth is the ultimate goal or reason, if you need more motivation than that to get through life it is up to you to seek out the god of choice.

    Like

      1. Tom.

        Thanks for the kudos.

        Sometimes I manage, when inspired by far greater bloggers, to write something relevant in regards to the madness and folly King Solomon observed 3000 years ago.

        Regards and good will blogging

        Liked by 1 person

  2. I have a rule…I don’t engage in abortion debates.
    It never goes well, there’s just too much emotion and the frontal lobe activity seems to shut off at some point.
    I can say that if we want to promote a culture of life, it starts with family and community.
    But my mom is Italian, raised in a Catholic country where abortion and birth control were both illegal….
    her mother was from a family of 10 if memory serves…her father a family of 13.
    Yet my mother said she did not know a single woman in her 20s who had not had at least one abortion. This includes her.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Think I mentioned before when my husband’s mother got pregnant on their wedding night (they were not prepared for a child financially) his father said, “Why don’t you go to the pharmacist and take something to pass it?” In Cuba in the 1950s this was standard.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Yesterday and today everywhere on the internet I go the topic of abortion is up for some reason (Facebook, all the blogs I follow…)
        So one more comment, then I’m shutting off my internet for a couple of days.
        -I have numerous friends who have undergone in vitro and had children as a result. There’s a lot of joy with the new birth…and no one seems to wonder about the numerous aborted embryos as an inevitable result of the process. I too am happy for them…but the paradox is interesting to me. I suppose no one wants to think about it.

        Liked by 2 people

        1. @Liz

          I would imagine this issue causes some people lots of anguish.

          There are folks who are concerned about the aborted embryos, but once people have had an invitro fertilization there is no easy solution.

          Liked by 1 person

  3. sklyjd,

    What effect does any religion have to a person who does whatever pleases themselves.

    What word would u chose to describe this type of person which relates to their actions before and after having an abortion.

    Does the word u choose have any relation to the word religion?

    The MW is the best eclectic definition of what actions are present in the culture of life in the USA, in my opinion..

    Regards and goodwill blogging

    Liked by 1 person

  4. It’s a good post,Tom!

    I’m hesitant about the idea that we once supported a culture of life and so we just need to return to the good old days. So when you say, ” Because we are now more Pagan than Christian, Americans no longer support a culture of life,” I don’t see this big shift, I don’t recognize this time when we were not pagan. If you want to go way back to the garden of Eden,then I’m with you. And certainly a huge part of the solution is that we need to return to Christ. Life either has worth and value because we are all made in the image of Christ, or else the value of life becomes completely subjective and circumstantial.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. @IB

      Thank you.

      Was America ever a pure and perfect place? In this world? We would have to go back to the Garden of Eden before Adam and Eve ate the forbidden fruit.

      Still, all things are relative. We live in the world. All we can do is pray and try to spread the “contagion” of the Holy Spirit through the message of the Gospel. Only God can change hearts. Sometimes He does.

      So Jesus prayed for His disciples.

      John 17:14-19 New King James Version (NKJV)
      14 I have given them Your word; and the world has hated them because they are not of the world, just as I am not of the world. 15 I do not pray that You should take them out of the world, but that You should keep them from the evil one. 16 They are not of the world, just as I am not of the world. 17 Sanctify[a] them by Your truth. Your word is truth. 18 As You sent Me into the world, I also have sent them into the world. 19 And for their sakes I sanctify Myself, that they also may be sanctified by the truth.

      How much better was America in the past? I cannot measure such a thing. I just too many people doing what is right in their own eyes, indifferent to the Word of God. Some even misrepresent God’s Word, and the misrepresentation is so blatant it has to be deliberate.

      How much better is America than ancient Rome? That I think is more obvious. The differences are also quickly disappearing.

      Liked by 2 people

  5. A few questions:

    1. When and where in history, in what specific years and location, did this “culture of life” exist as a homogeneous “cultural” milieu rather than a counter revolution within the broader culture (the Roman Empire or America during the Great Awakening in your own examples)?

    2. When and from where did the actual concept of a “culture of life” appear in recent times, and how did it spread (it seems not uniformly) from denomination to denomination? (When I was growing a Catholic teenager, I don’t seem to remember many other evangelical denominations taking up this as thr cause celeb that they do now).

    3. Aside from the sanctity of unborn human life, what are the other broader national and global implications (refugees, prisons, homelessness, war, famine, ecolology, etc.) to creating this “culture of life”, many of which are clearly numerically more damaging to human life than late first term or second term abortion, which is actually in decline in this country?

    4. Changing “culture” assumes that humans somewhere either had a more perfect “culture of life” in the past that we need to progress toward recapturing and/or that we can progress (and perhaps are) toward a more perfect “culture of life” now, whether it has ever existed before or not. Either way, doesn’t this assume a progressive viewpoint in every dynamic aspect of “culture” including the personal psychological, the sociological and the political?

    5. Your blog here is about politics and religion, but other than saying that Rowe vs Wade should be overturned, you have not provided any alternative political solution. As you say, once Rowe is gone, individual states are likely to go to both extremes, either imposing harsh criminal penalties against early stage abortions to establish what is essentially a religious belief (that human life as early as the moment of conception is somehow “sacred”) or they may allow even later stage abortions that most Americans are morally appalled by. What is your legal solution that you support? If “voluntarily” changing peoples hearts (the “voluntary” nature of choice being an essential aspect of Christian redemption) toward a more Christian “culture of life” is necessary, then dors a criminal penalty designed to socially engineer a governmentally coerced cultural change run philosophically counter to the “culture of life” Christian awakening in the heart that you would envision?

    Like

    1. @tsalmon

      Lots of questions. Before I reply would you mind supplying us with your solution? Then you can explain either why it is perfect or list and excuse it’s imperfections.

      Like

      1. That would just be my question 5 the foundation of which must predicated upon the answers to the other 4 questions. It’s your blog Tom, You have the ability to lay down an ideological treatise in several parts and then defend it, not me. Why would it be appropriate for me, without fully exploring and understanding your positions, or even if we disagree, to give my own opinions all the time, even if I could fully fairly explore them in this venue? Why do I even have to have a fully formed opinion to want to understand yours better? Aren’t you trying to convince us of something?

        Furthermore, most often when I have endeavored to give an opinion, you tend to unfairly deflect, dismiss and demonize my sincerely held opinion by assigning me to some imaginary evil enemy camp (a culture of death?) rather than actually dealing with it’s rational introspectively. I think one of the reasons for our polarization is the inability to see that those who sincerely disagree, even when they are wrong, without assuming that they are also evil.

        If it helps, I can tell you that I accept on faith and reason the broad religious philosophy of a culture of life, but the practical implementation and consequences of practicimg that faith and philosophy are what is difficult, even perhaps well beyond my wisdom and knowledge in each issue, including abortion. It’s one thing to say that one is against abortion (seriously, I think most people are) – it’s quite another thing to say what one is going to do about it sociologically and politically without being somewhat inconsistent with the voluntary requirements to the Christian aspects of a philosophy of a “culture of life”.

        Like

        1. @tsalmon

          So you cannot provide a straightforward answer to my question, but you can write long, critical comments? And your reason is that I am a meany?😈😝

          Here my answers to your questions.
          1. Question 1 presupposes I said something I did not say or even suggest. As Christians we are obligated to represent the Kingdom of God to the world. The more we succeed, the more the society we live in attains to a culture of life. Wait for Part 3.
          2. You are a Catholic, and you are complaining about the expression “culture of life”.😕😦😞
          3. You will have to wait for Part 3.
          4. The Book of Judges has this theme.

          Judges 21:25 New King James Version (NKJV)
          25 In those days there was no king in Israel; everyone did what was right in his own eyes.

          When people start doing what is right in their own eyes instead of God’s eyes, the culture degenerates. When people strive to love and obey God, the culture improves.
          5. What is right? What is wrong? Why is murder wrong? We think God disapproves, don’t we? You think it has something to do with logic? No, it doesn’t.

          Godless governments exist to maintain order for the benefit of those who rule. When the Hatfield’s and the McCoy’s are feuding with each other, that feuding, the disorder it creates, threatens the interests of those who rule. That is why murder is a crime.

          In a Godly society, the law is just. Instead of promoting the interests of the mighty, justice requires the law to protect the rights of all men. Then the force of government is used to maintain order by promoting justice for all, but such societies are very unusual.

          Like

          1. Thanks for the answers, in so far as they actually are answers. I’ll mull them over. Didn’t mean to call you a “meany” birthday boy.

            Liked by 1 person

          2. This is what I wrote:

            “1. When and where in history, in what specific years and location, did this ‘culture of life’ exist as a homogeneous ‘cultural’milieu rather than a counter revolution within the broader culture (the Roman Empire or America during the Great Awakening in your own examples)?”

            This was your response:

            “1. Question 1 presupposes I said something I did not say or even suggest. As Christians we are obligated to represent the Kingdom of God to the world. The more we succeed, the more the society we live in attains to a culture of life. Wait for Part 3.“

            I would have sworn that you said that this “culture of life” was something we had and lost as a culture (and apparently, I’m not the only one here who misinterpreted you this way). Your answer is clarifying, but I hope in part 3 that you will elucidate this more fully in both practical and spiritual terms. This is not a criticism but a curiosity, as I am very interested in this as a question that I have been researching and pondering for some time.

            This is what I wrote:

            “2. When and from where did the actual concept of a “culture of life” appear in recent times, and how did it spread (it seems not uniformly) from denomination to denomination? (When I was growing a Catholic teenager, I don’t seem to remember many other evangelical denominations taking up this as the cause celeb that they do now).“

            This is what you wrote in response”

            “2. You are a Catholic, and you are complaining about the expression ‘culture of life’.😕😦😞”

            I think you may misunderstand. I wasn’t “complaining” about the expression. As you say, I’m a Catholic. As best as I can tell, Catholics invented it. What I am requesting for you to unpack more fully is where you think the expression comes from and how you think it evolved into almost a single cross denominational issue (abortion) from what I know to be a much broader Catholic social theology that continues to this day.

            This is what I wrote:

            “4. Changing ‘culture’ assumes that humans somewhere either had a more perfect ‘culture of life’ in the past that we need to progress toward recapturing and/or that we can progress (and perhaps are) toward a more perfect ‘culture of life’ now, whether it has ever existed before or not. Either way, doesn’t this assume a progressive viewpoint in every dynamic aspect of ‘culture’ including the personal psychological, the sociological and the political?

            This was your response:

            “4. The Book of Judges has this theme.

            Judges 21:25 New King James Version (NKJV)
            25 In those days there was no king in Israel; everyone did what was right in his own eyes.

            When people start doing what is right in their own eyes instead of God’s eyes, the culture degenerates. When people strive to love and obey God, the culture improves.“

            Fair enough, as long as people can correctly agree on the truth of what God wants, then you seem to be saying that we can either regress or progress as a culture depending upon how close the people that make up that culture are to “acting” upon God’s Will. But don’t you think God’s Will is expressed, not just in our own personal relationship with God through His grace but also as a matter of grace through our dynamic action in every aspect (including the interpersonal, the sociological and the political expressions) of our personal relationship to ALL men, including strangers and even our enemies? That’s what I was hoping you might explain further.

            This is what I wrote:

            “5. Your blog here is about politics and religion, but other than saying that Rowe vs Wade should be overturned, you have not provided any alternative political solution. As you say, once Rowe is gone, individual states are likely to go to both extremes, either imposing harsh criminal penalties against early stage abortions to establish what is essentially a religious belief (that human life as early as the moment of conception is somehow ‘sacred’) or they may allow even later stage abortions that most Americans are morally appalled by. What is your legal solution that you support? If ‘voluntarily’
            changing peoples hearts (the ‘voluntary’ nature of choice being an essential aspect of Christian redemption) toward a more Christian ‘culture of life’ is necessary, then dors a criminal penalty designed to socially engineer a governmentally coerced cultural change run philosophically counter to the ‘culture of life’ Christian awakening in the heart that you would envision?“

            This was your response:

            “5. What is right? What is wrong? Why is murder wrong? We think God disapproves, don’t we? You think it has something to do with logic? No, it doesn’t.
            Godless governments exist to maintain order for the benefit of those who rule. When the Hatfield’s and the McCoy’s are feuding with each other, that feuding, the disorder it creates, threatens the interests of those who rule. That is why murder is a crime.
            In a Godly society, the law is just. Instead of promoting the interests of the mighty, justice requires the law to protect the rights of all men. Then the force of government is used to maintain order by promoting justice for all, but such societies are very unusual.“

            Your Utopian “Godly society” begs many more questions that I would like to ask about it as a governmental hypothesis (kind of like our government of angels hypothesis from earlier), but it is not really an answer to the practical questions about what to do with Rowe vs Wade that I actually asked now does it? The practical legal answer to that question is really what this whole thing is about don’t you think? If you don’t know, why can’t you just say so? But if you really don’t know what you want as a matter of law after Rowe vs Wade, how can you know whether it will be better or worse in protecting all men’s rights (and women’s and babies too) than what we have now?

            Like

          3. @tsalmon

            Response to 4.

            You want your cake, and you want to eat it too? We have a proabortion crowd that is pushing what amounts to infanticide. They want taxpayer funds to pay for the murder of babies, and any objection is intolerant? Seriously?

            We are finite. We have to set priorities. We don’t have any choice. Family, friends and countrymen come before foreigners.

            Response to 5. Utopia is imposed. In A Godly each person seeks the will of God in a personal relationship.

            Abortion is murder, but some people don’t think it is murder. So we are not suppose to do anything? My approach is one step a time. You want complete solution? Then propose one.

            Like

    2. 2. If we’re speaking in modern terms, we arrive at the idea of “the culture of life” from modern inward philosophy of Descartes, Kant, Hegel etc. to phenomenology; the idea of taking modern philosophy and applying it anthropologically to the practical everyday person. It’s largely from the work of Max Scheler and applied on a more grand scheme by Karol Wojtyla. It focuses on the act and its relation to the person. And, of course, personhood would be vital to the philosophical discourse. Naturally, if you were a Catholic teenager, this should all be very evident.

      3. The seamless garment argument is a bad argument. First off, yes, we should attempt to help all of those other people. Nonetheless, if folks don’t have an alienable right to life those other factors simply mean nothing. Imagine a dam holding back water and it has holes throughout the entire dam. Naturally, you’re going to afford all of your efforts to plug the largest of the holes, which is why the seamless garment argument is an absurdity.

      4. It simply can assume a linear viewpoint. Naturally, if one is of the Catholic faith, it’s possible that through the sanctity of grace one can live a more holy life and foster a world of discipleship. However, as explained by Augustine, those are operating within the frameworks of the City of Man for the coming of the Kingdom. Anyone who thinks they can build the perfect community here on earth with the finitude of humanity, I say good luck.

      5. Your whole point is based on relativist ideology. I don’t know if you are a relativist or not. Any type of law that would scale back the wholesale slaughter of the innocents would be a step in the right direction. Every one is for freedom of choice until those chooses infringe on their perceived rights–wherever those ‘rights’ come from… The irony is those who claim truth is relative in what hand and in the other is morally outraged…

      Liked by 1 person

      1. “Naturally, if you were a Catholic teenager, this should all be very evident.”

        Thanks PA. You are quite right.

        When I was a sophomore in High School, I went to a Catholic Youth Organization convention. This was before Rowe v. Wade, but abortion was already legal in many states. At that time, I attended a very thoughtful talk by two lay Catholic presenters (one was an IBGYN). They dealt with the known science at that time and parsed many of the moral, philosiphical and Catholic theological implications, and concluded that any form of abortion after conception was “probably” immoral.

        However, for Catholics then and now, abortion itself is part of a larger more complete pro-life theology that is more a return of the Church to its Thomist and Natural Law foundations than the Mordernist Rationalists you mention. Most Catholic philosophers and apologists that I have read consider those Rationalists a well meant distraction from our more sound Thomist traditions.

        It would, however, be years after my High School trip before a confluence of political and theological crises in the fractionalized Protestant Evangelical movements, created an uncomfortable political alliance with the Catholic traditions under the anti-abortion banner.

        If you understand the Catholic Prolife theology, then you also know that it is much broader than just abortion, and puts them more in line with liberals on issues like immigration, refugee aid, capital punishment, medical care for all, etc. One does not have to read or listen much to Pope Francis to recognize that a “culture of life” is fundamentally an interpersonal culture of mercy and love that applies missionarily to all the dynamic aspects of life from charity to politics. To actually be pro-life in a Catholic sense as I understand it is much broader and more inclusive than the divisive warring political camps of conservative and liberal or Democrat and Republican that pundits, ideologues and demagogues would like to segregate us into out of their own misguided ideological tribalisms, a tribalism that runs counter to the all inclusive soteriology that is unified in the Body of Christ and that makes all other tribal allegiances other than in love to God and ALL men and women vestigial of the barbarism of pride that fell men from the grace of God.

        Like

        1. As for moral relatitivism, that is a distraction. God is eternal universal truth and God is love. Everything else in a finite and fallen world is fraught with relative confusion in its application of that truth. It is ridiculous pride to think otherwise. The world is infinitely complex and full of endless, seemingly random, ambiguity to all but God. To say that moral choices are simple is to not be taken seriously.

          Like

        2. And? Wojtyla frames Scheler into a scholastic foundation. In fact, if you read both Bergoglio and Wojtyla together, you’ll find quiet a bit of commonality.

          At any rate, it’s quite functional within Thomism to recognize a hierarchy of order, which render seamless garment arguments as unintelligible.

          Liked by 1 person

          1. To say that all immoral acts are not equivalent is to accept a degree of relative moral application to the difficult situations at hand. What I am talking about isn’t moral equivalency – it’s extremist moral inconsistency. It’s making a bigger deal about some immoral actions than others, not so much because of the relative harm, but to create faux outrage in order to rally supporters to a political banner that superlativizes the moral unambiguity of complex situations and difficult moral conflicts simply, cynically to enrage partisanship.

            For example, to recognize the barbarity of late term abortions is to accept to some extent the legal philosophy behind Rowe v Wade, but to ingnore the actual rarity and extreme moral difficulty of the actual cases of late term abortion is to endorse an extreme form of moral equivalency that is unrealistic in just the ways that you point out.

            Like

          2. It’s strange to argue moral inconsistency and yet fail to realize that moral equivalency doesn’t have any role within that point.

            “It’s making a bigger deal about some immoral actions than others, not so much because of the relative harm, but to create faux outrage in order to rally supporters to a political banner that superlativizes the moral unambiguity of complex situations and difficult moral conflicts simply, cynically to enrage partisanship.”

            I don’t necessarily disagree with this statement. Nonetheless, when it comes to political tribalism, from my experience, whatever tribe one thinks they belong to they often turn a blind eye toward their own respective tribe’s ‘faux outrage’.

            I don’t agree with your assessment to the degree that all abortion is barbaric. It doesn’t matter in what term. The fundamental moral question when it comes to that particular issue is personhood. Now, if a zygote with its own DNA, which makes it human, is considered ethically as a person and under the law. The legal philosophy constitutionally under amendments 13-15th completely melts any sort of equivalency of that particular issue into oblivion. In this respects, the inconsistency lies with those who fall into identity politics and refuses to acknowledge the origins of identity itself.

            Like

          3. “I don’t necessarily disagree with this statement. Nonetheless, when it comes to political tribalism, from my experience, whatever tribe one thinks they belong to they often turn a blind eye toward their own respective tribe’s ‘faux outrage’.”

            Agreed, and that’s why I think a Christian should avoid tribal allegiances as much as possible. I’m not saying that that is always possible. As a former naval officer of the line, terms like honor and loyalty are not mere abstractions to me, but my allegiance was to an institution that, like Christianity, is fundamentally antithetical in nature to parochial tribalism.

            As to what you said about “personhood”, I also agree that that is the fundamental moral issue. However, if you are also objective, then you realize that how one comes down on whether a newly formed zygote is a “person” deserving of constitutional protections or not is fundamentally a religious “opinion” which less than half the country would have to legally impose upon the other half in violation of the 1st Amendment’s “establishment” and “free exercise” clauses.

            Like

          4. I do not agree that it’s fundamentally a religious question at all. Furthermore, I would claim that such an assertion is antithetical to reason and philosophy as a whole.

            I would agree with the sentiment that it’s a philosophical question but I would surely imagine that you make a distinction between theology and philosophy.

            Naturally, within Catholicism, Leo XIII explained in Aeterni Patris, that philosophy, science, and theology are handmaidens of each other and there are distinctions

            And in accord with science, if we can answer what constitutes as a human, we can certainly come to the conclusion of their personhood of any member of the human species by using reason without any sort of divine revelation.

            At any rate, I’ve never heard of Mother conceiving of a zygote with the potential of having a nature of anything but a human person. And if we stress the vitality of the zygote and its development, naturally, that allows the foot in the door for any sort of eugenics argument.

            For instance, imagine a 3 month-year-old child snowed in with their mother. The mother planned poorly and has no formula, as she is not breastfeeding. Can we with reason articulate what rights does that child at 3 months has? Or should we qualify what obligations does that Mother have toward the child? Now, currently in NY and VA, that child could be in minutes away from being born and can be killed. If the murder fails in the womb, the state has given authority to murder a breathing human.

            Where is the line to be drawn? Again, anecdotally, it may be fallacious to bring up the slippery-slope but whatever slope I’ve encountered, sooner or later, we’re sliding down it.

            Like

          5. Facinating argument PA. Or really it’s two conflicting facinating arguments: (1) a supposedly exclusively philosophical argument that one can somehow using the god of pure reason alone to prove “personhood” at the moment of conception; and conversely, (2) one that says that birth is an arbitrary dividing line because the horror of killing a fully formed human baby before birth is the same horror as killing the same baby only moments later after exiting the birth canal. Can you see how the first argument makes the second one fallacious, or at least unnecessary?

            First of all, I believe in presuppositionalism at least to the extent that all moral philosophic arguments that don’t start from a foundational premise in the divine assumption are logically flawed, except perhaps the toothe and claw philosophy of Nietzsche, which is imminently rational, but which simply, proudly even, lacks any moral basis. To say the morality of theology and philosophy arr distinct realms of knowledge that have no overlap is to lose any moral foundation for philosophy and to lose any rational illumination of theology. To be even more clear, I don’t even think there is a such thing as a religionless rational for a moral philosophy because such a thing isneither founded in morality nor can it be actually rational. Therefore, it is either a rational moral theology or it is a (sometimes well meaning) moral philosophy which, because it lacks a moral presupposition, fails in both categories of morality and of reason. To paraphrase what Tom likes to say constantly, we can’t have our religious morality cake and still rationally eat it too.

            If religious theology is therefore the only rational moral basis for your hypothesis that a zygote is a person, then we can have a religious disagreement. We have after all been having religious disagreements since God invented us. Because the Constitution’s religious clauses require religious neutrality, the Court must walk a fine line between establishing one religious viewpoint that protected human personhood status (a soul) should begin at conception at the expense of infringing on a religious viewpoint that simply believes otherwise.

            One thing also to keep in mind here, if you truly believe that the constitutional protection of personhood rights should begin at conception, then citizenship should be automatically afforded to “naturally conceieved” citizens rather than what the Constitution actually says about citizens being persons actually “born” here. We should have “conception right” instead of “birth right” citizenship.

            Second of all, for you to say that the governmental moral regulation of the personhood (or humanity) of the fetus developes temporally and is horrifyingly more so contingent upon that fetus’s proximity to entering birth canal is essentially the logic of Rowe v. Wade. We are indeed naturally horrified by the killing of a fetus that resembles a fully developed born baby in all things but birth itself. To use the legal lingo of the Court, it “shocks the conscience” of the public and the broad consensus of our moral traditions to kill a fully baby that could survive outside the womb. The Court in Rowe, however, did not establish rights in the unborn at any point during gestation, but bowed to the traditional role of the states to regulate the rights of the fetus more and more as the fetus approached viability and birth.

            The great flaw of Rowe is the arbitrary nature of the trimester system in allowing greater state regulation at those strange dividing lines. But the genius of our juris prudential system is its adaptability as the medical scientific knowledge and technology changes. Although the expanding science about fetal development and viability may be the moving target that is limiting Rowe to the frustration of rabid pro-choice advocates, the medical science and convenience of abortifacients (morning after pills, disposal of left over in vetro fertilization embryos, IUDs, etc.) equally may be the bane of advocates of criminalizing abortion in early fetal development stages.

            Anachronistically, polls consistently show that most Americans are morally against abortion, but most Americans are also against criminalizing a difficult choice. Wr are anti-abortion and pro-choice at the same time. We are strangely together in this moral conundrum, despite the partisan hyperbole that uses abortion opportunistically as a perennial wedge issue.

            Like

          6. @tsalmon

            You won’t accept a moral philosophy without religion. Do you think we can have a legal system without one?

            For nearly a couple of hundred years our government has secularized our society. For centuries advertisers have tempted us by appealing to our pride, our greed, our laziness…. For who knows how long entertainers have pushed the envelope, seeking to arouse the devil within for the sake of an audience. So here you defending religion as the basis for morality and complaining we might base our laws upon moral precepts. Confused!

            Like

          7. I think you need to re-read my comment. Because you either trying to strawman me or didn’t understand it. After all, Aristotle was able to use pure reason alone to know the existence of God without revelation. Not to mention both he and Plato used reason to create in their notions on what is the good. It’s true that the Stoics and Epicureans after not having divine revelation did use philosophy for purely selfish reasons but it’s absurd to then pin it on Plato and Aristotle. Therefore, if we can rationally prove the the existence of God, it’s no longer a religious opinion but a proof based on philosophy. At which point we can look at what is or who is God? Is God eternal Goodness etc. what do we mean by goodness? Is God Justice? Is God Truth? I look at the concept in a platonic way. All of which I can come to know through reason without revelation. Revelation reveals Dogmas like the Trinity and the Incarnation, to assume it has some bearing on personhood is a misunderstanding of revelation. And if God are these forms can we apply them into anthropological morality?

            But remember it’s “complicated,” but apparently you generalized when it suited your needs…

            Like

          8. The Founders declared our independence from England in a polemic of grievances that justify the break from the legal sovereignty of England with God’s blessing as their reason, but then they make no mention of God or Jesus once in the founding document that sets out the basic ideology and process of our government. Were these, perhaps some of the smartest men on the planet at that time, just stupid or careless in leaving God out as the moral foundation of our laws? Did it really just go without saying? it’s no wonder that you are confused.

            The answer is difficult to explain. The simple short answer is this. There was already enough warring religious disagreement in the Western World within Christianity. The Founders had no consensus on religion. (Jefferson was a Deist for God’s sake). The Founders knew that without religious pluralism their new republic would soon shatter into a thousand religious tribes and factions. But is it really a problem to think that our law has no set denominational religious moral foundation to it? Well, only if one believes that God’s law is not essentially universal and eternal to all men in all places at all times in history and even before history. Because all men have God’s law written in their hearts, all men know what it is to be virtuous and all men know what it is to be vice filled. There is a universal God given moral philosophy that is at the heart of every good law that makes us naturally know when a law is good and when a law is bad.

            Every virtuous act, large or small, is essentially an heroic act of selflessness, an act of sacrificial love. large or small. Every act of vice is essentially an act of selfishness and hate. All our heroes in all our religions, myths, parables and fables are virtuous and all our villains are vice filled. At a practical working level, no matter what religion we have or even if we pretend to have no religion at all, we in our hearts understand the morality of virtue and vice.

            It is only at the intellectual philosophical and theological level that a morality without an underlying presupposition of a loving God, a God that put this universal understanding of morality through virtue and vice in our hearts, that any moral philosophy without God is logically and morally built without a foundation. A moral philosophy or “ism” (such as communism, socialism or even capitalism) without the premise of God’s law of love is built on sand and eventually sinks under its own weight because it cannot morally or logically self prove itself.

            Philosophy alone without God’s law of love logically tends toward self interest, and that taken to its obvious logical conclusion is the the law of the jungle, the law of fang and claw, the law of the flawed and finite world that we fell into, and not the law of the Garden of God or the Kingdom of God that we fell out of and hope to find again.

            The Law of Love has its own logic once the underlying divine presupposition is made, but the logic is not self serving. We love not to get something. We even sacrifice for virtuousness. Why? Because it is a good that brings joy and happiness for its own sake. We don’t try to act lovingly and virtuously just to get to Heaven. In as sense, when we act sacrificially in virtue in abeyance of God’s law of love, we are already there because we feel divine joy in the Holy Spirit, at least for that moment.

            So to answer your question, we don’t need a particular religion or theology or philosophy to base our laws on in furtherance of eternal virtue rather than for the living death of vice. Dogmatic pharisaic religious legalism actually even gets in the way of love, especially when we mistakenly worship the closed loop of our religious rules and dogmas at the expense of each other and of God. Even atheists know in their hearts when something is selfish, immoral, vice filled and wrong. Even Christians who exclusively claim to know God can do the most awful, hateful things in His name. Because salvation through love must be voluntary, it must be voluntarily accepted, and we promote the law of love by tolerantly practicing love, compassion and sacrifice and by honestly demonstrating for all to see the joy that love brings. The law of unselfish love therefore defies the whole moral concept of carrots and sticks. It’s ultimate achievement is its own good that transcends our jungle world incentives.

            But that does not mean that God’s universal, eternal law of love is easy to put into practical action in a complex, ambiguous finite and fallen world. There are unintended consequences, known unknowns and unknown unknowns, there are intractable dilemmas with no perfectly good or bad answers. There is randomness entropy, disease, suffering and death. We must be practical on a finite and fallen Earth at the same time that we strive toward Heaven.

            Social progress is measured in inches and one step forward sometimes is followed by two steps back. However, I sense progress even as we pretend to attribute it to ourselves rather than God. I also believe that love is a dynamic thing that is expressed in interpersonal expressions one to one, sociologically and politically. Church, charity, family, community, work, government are all part and no one form of the interpersonal dynamic expression is somehow to be excluded. if anything each expression of community should grow or ebb in love as practical results are achieved until in pluralism and tolerance we try to include every aspect of the whole world in God’s love. That’s what I think. Now, do you wish that you hadn’t asked?

            Like

          9. Quite a bit of words. Equivocation and obfuscation are tools for sophistry my friend.

            Tell me, in what way is personhood in any manner argued through a religious dogmatic lens in the legal code?

            Like

          10. PA

            No, I’m not trying to mischaracterize your statements, but perhaps I did not understand them. I’m just a student and no expert on such things, but I disagree that Aristotle or Plato, or anyone else, ever actually logically “proved” the existence of God. That would be quite the news, and I don’t think that I would have missed it in my readings all these years.

            Thomas Aquinas, interpreting Aristotle, “assumed” the existence of God, and then proved that for the universe to make sense, God had to have at least certain qualities: an unmoved mover, an uncaused cause, the teleological quality of the universe that could not be random, etc. Abstract systems of logic themselves, start with underlying unproved assumptions and the “proof” determines from a lack of contradiction when one works outward deductively from those assumptions.

            If anybody had actually logically “proved” God then so many of our greatest logical and scientific minds in the world would be the ones being called superstitious for their unbelief. Instead, just the opposite has happened. The inability of reason and epistemologies that flow from reason, like logic and science, to “prove” God is what has made those who have made a God of reason able to dismiss God.

            Now don’t get me wrong. Science and reason can make an hypothesis about anything. Karl Popper thought, however, that any hypothesis was not rationally provable, if by its very nature, that hypothesis was not falsifiable, if indeed that hypothesis were false. “God exists” is just such an statement. Personhood or a soul in a zygote may be another. It’s not that the position is unreasonable – it’s just that the tool of reason has little purchase in this area of knowledge. That’s were revelation comes in.

            As for your last comment, I can’t help what you think of my intentions. I can only assure you that they are not to obfuscate. Perhaps, I am wrong or perhaps I’m not as good a writer as I would like to be. I’m afraid I’m just not smart enough to engage in much intentional sophistry. One of the reasons that I never cheated on my wife is that she would know it. I’m just not that good a liar. Perhaps thats one reason that I quit practicing law so long ago too.

            Like

          11. I’ll clarify that Plato, Aristotle, and Aquinas camd up with philosophical proofs for the existence of God. However, Plato and Aristotle used reason and logic to make these assertions which different dramatically from the religion of their day and the pre-Socratics who only viewed the world as one substance. At any rate that’s what i meant and I certainly do not believe by those methods one can coherently make the assertion of folks being superstitious.

            In the end in the Aristotelian model and Thomistic we can only come to knowledge through two methods: our senses and revelation. Through the platonic/Aristotelian I’m saying I judge personhood through my senses rather than revelation. If we employ a Aquinas syllogism, one could articulate that what makes a human is there genetic code—DNA. Science observed as much. Now, are there any humans who are not persons outside of the zygot argument? Is there any humans in any stage of development from infant, toddler, adolescent, to adult that are not persons? Therefore, if we then articulate that all humans are persons, the conclusion ends with all those with human DNA are persons.

            Now, as I suggest, you could come with up disagreements. Nonetheless, what I did indicate here is that I’ve come to the conclusion of personhood separate from religion. Now what personhood entails? That question could have more religious implications…

            Like

        3. PA,

          What you think you have come up with is a classification, “human”, based upon one common trait, a common DNA. This is a similar classification argument as “all swans are white”, which was absolutely and logically true until Europeans discovered black swans in Australia. Some primates have almost the same DNA as humans. Are they persons? Some fiend may be able to breed humans with these primates. Would the result be a person? What about children with downs syndrome, a different DNA pattern? Are they persons? Is an acorn the same as an oak tree? They have the same DNA, but they are not at all the same thing. (If you’ve ever raised teenagers, one wonders if they are even fully human yet, much less persons). What you have is a hypothesis, subject to falsification, not proof of personhood, but I do get your point.

          They better argument that “personhood” is something more than just a classification is just what you eluded to – that there is something more to a person than the sum of his parts, something spiritual and metaphysical, a soul. I’ve read Aquinas’ arguments about man as the rational animal. They are reasonable and I believe them. In theory, as a matter of metaphysical substance, virtually everything has a soul, but as you know, we believe rational man is different. Is a zygote a rational man? Does a zygote have a soul? Maybe, but logically provable? I’m not sold.

          What I about the Cartesian cogito ergo sum, I think therefore I am? Can a zygote think? Without thought, can it even be a person? I could go on, but I know that you have heard all these arguments before. And I’m a believer PA. If I accept the presupposition, and I can find holes all over these arguments, how do you convince the non-believer, or the person who has another religious belief that a zygote does not have a soul, and is a not person worthy of protection? Pure logic alone would say the strong should do whatever is expedient with the weak preborn. Its not where I would choose to hang my hat.

          Like

          1. @tsalmon

            Any system of classification, when the objects we wish to classify are extremely complex and varied, poses problems. We end up scratching our heads over things that don’t fit perfectly.

            Is an unborn baby a human being? Should assume the obvious or risk committing murder?

            In practice, most women who abort their children do so for the sake of convenience. If we suspect abortion is murder, is mere convenience sufficient reason to kill a baby?

            So what do we do?

            1. Rowe v. Wade was unconstitutional. We get rid of it. We let the states try different options. We see what works.
            2. We prohibit the Federal government from spending our money on abortion. If it violates the “rights” of women to stop them from murdering their babies, then it most assuredly violates the consciences of taxpayers to make them pay for other people’s abortions.

            Note that I have brought up point 2 repeatedly. Do you think taxpayers should be required to pay for other people’s abortions? Because you believe in Socialism, I think you must. Socialism, if it is ever to work, must determine what is moral. That, however, is why it won’t work. Pragmatism sets morality aside for the sake of what is expedient.

            Like

          2. Wow brother, that is a lot of mischaracterizations of my position.

            No, I definitely don’t believe in Socialism (or any “ism” ideology). I don’t believe morality works with such closed, deterministic frameworks.

            As for pragmatism, I believe you read Posner’s book on “every day pragmatism” which, if you remember is just being practical within a common moral consensus – it is the opposite of being either amoral or dogmatically ideological.

            I don’t think taxpayers should pay for abortions. I don’t believe it is even legal under current law so you’ll have to give me an example. I do know, however, that we can make taxpayers pay for wars they may not believe on religious or moral grounds. It’s not always an easy question when one is asked to render unto Caesar.

            I don’t know the actual reason why most women terminate their pregnancy. In the case of an IUD, they don’t even know they did it in the moment. However, the legal issue mostly isn’t motivation, but their right to do it. You have a right to free speech protection from the state, even if your motivation is immoral hate.

            Does that cover it?

            There is one thing:

            “Is an unborn baby a human being? Should assume the obvious or risk committing murder?”

            This is your most persuasive “moral” argument. I say persuasive, not conclusive. I don’t know with certainty whether an unborn child is a full human with a soul in God’s eyes. I think so. But would “I” want to risk it? Knowing what I know now, no. Should I be able to use the force of law to impose my dreaded uncertainty on someone else? That’s another question.

            As for you’re wanting to just overturn Rowe and see what happens, that seems irresponsible to me. If you really have an opinion on Rowe, you should have an opinion on what replaces Rowe. It’s like saying that your roof leaks so you think you’ll burn your house down even though you now must live on the street.

            Like

          3. One other thing on Rowe. I don’t actually think that the Court will completely overturn Rowe v. Wade. Too disruptive. But I do think that the Court will continue to limit Rowe in later stage pregnancies and protect or even expand Rowe on things like IUDs and morning after pills. That’s just my opinion, but who knows what will happen in Trumpworld?

            Like

          4. @tsalmon

            Our government gives money to Planned Parenthood. Then the Liberal Democrats pretend Planned Parenthood does something besides abortions.

            I don’t mischaracterize your mushy positions. I characterize what you vote for.

            We have a million abortions a year. New York Democrats are cheering (not saddened by) the passage of a bill for the protection of abortion “rights.” My governor, trying to support a bill that remove “impediments” to abortion in Virginia ends up advocating infanticide. …..The house is already on fire.

            I don’t know if or when Rowe v. Wade will be overturned. I just look at the changes since I was a boy and wonder why people still fall for Socialist claptrap. Perhaps P.T. Barnum would know.

            Like

          5. “Mushy”? Pretty soon you’re gonna hurt my sensitive feelings. i used to practice law and run a naval aircrew. I’ve been called worse before breakfast, usually as an excuse for no better argument? 😂

            “We have a million abortions a year. New York Democrats are cheering (not saddened by) the passage of a bill for the protection of abortion ‘rights’.”

            Yes, a victory lap on something like abortion is inappropriate and sad. That’s why I’m not a Democrat. But if you think the Republicans are empathetic angels, then that swampland is still for sale.

            “I don’t know if or when Rowe v. Wade will be overturned. I just look at the changes since I was a boy and wonder why people still fall for Socialist claptrap. Perhaps P.T. Barnum would know.“

            You forget I’ve known you since you were a boy. What nonsense. And PT Barnum? When you got a conman running the Republican Party? Ha!

            Like

          6. First off, I think Descartes is wrong, so would Aquinas…Descartes skepticism is one that totally disregards the material, so he would reject any form of the scientific method.

            In regard to the classification of DNA, our genetic code is a material observation from scientific research and one solid indicator that we have that is scientific evidence of what constitutes humanness in the material world. It’s true that chimpanzees have like DNA but they do not have the same DNA. In fact, if you look at any biology text the indicator what things are is pointed toward their DNA genetic code. It would be considered on scientific grounds as anti-science to claim otherwise. So, I hope you never claim anyone to be anti-science for any other reason.

            The acorn to oak comparison is a common retort to the potentiality of a zygote in the development of humanity. And it is absurd. And perhaps moronic. In fact, my I’m sitting here in disbelief of you using the statement after having somewhat of a grasp of philosophy. How is it absurd? It’s a fallacy of false of equivocation. You’ve claimed that the dignity of the oak tree is the same as a human being. It is not. However, since you’ve asserted such, I like to see your argument to make such a claim.

            As you mentioned the whole swan argument, I’m a little shocked that you fail to see its fallaciousness after bringing up Thomism… traits such as color have no bearing substance/nature they’re what they are called “accidents/species”

            Liked by 1 person

          7. I’ve read over your last comment several times in an effort to understand it before I responded. I’m really still not there so I will just try to clarify a few things and maybe we can at least figure out what we actually agree on.

            “First off, I think Descartes is wrong, so would Aquinas…Descartes skepticism is one that totally disregards the material, so he would reject any form of the scientific method.”

            This is one of those things that you wrote that I don’t get. Descartes was a philosopher, a scientist and a mathematician. You point to “materialism” and maybe I’m just not getting your point because I’ve come to believe that it was Descartes’ materialism that was the problem.

            Logic, science, math are abstract epistemologies. As epistemologies, they work through establishing premises, making abstract statements and hypothesis, and then looking for inconsistencies and contradictions in order to determine the falsity of the statement or hypothesis. There are many ways a statement or hypothesis can be contradicted and therefore not survive falsification. The statement may not even survive contradiction within its own abstract epistemology, for example through logical or mathematical contradiction. The statement may also not survive empirical observation because it is contradicted by application to the material world, for example through scientific experimentation.

            As he is often recognized as perhaps the greatest scientific philosopher of the 20th Century, I assume that you have read Karl Popper, and in particular his monumental three volume work, “The Open Society and Its Enemies”. One of Popper’s many brilliant contributions to clarifying what is within the scientific epistemology and what is not was the whether a statement is even subject to falsification. For example, the statement “God exists” has many inherent problems that leave its truth or falsity outside of any rational epistemology, much less scientific methodology.

            One problem is in just attempting to define an infinite and undefinable Being to begin with. Second, what is “existence”? It’s hard enough to rationally prove any “x” exists because of the secondary nature of how our mind “constructs” our reality secondarily rather than directly through our senses. (Plato’s “cave” analogy points out this problem). Descartes used cognition just to try to prove his rational sentience of himself as “existence”. As you seem to imply, however, most of us in most things are just willing to use the “self evidence” of our own empirical observation to accept that we exist. (Perhaps this is what you mean when you refer to “materialism”). On the other hand, how do we find contradiction (falsification), either through reason or empirically, for a spiritual Being that is purported to be infinite and spiritual, and is only observable through His (often mysterious) actions upon our reality? (This is how Aquinas and Aristotle did it, but they assumed God first and then said, God must have these observable qualities – I think Aquinas would have thought the whole concept of proving an infinite God the height of human conceit, if he even thought about it). It can’t be done and therefore, because it is not subject to rational or empirical falsification (or even rational confirmation), then according to Popper such a statement as “God exists” is just not subject to scientific epistemology.

            That does not mean that the statement, “God exists” is not true, or that it is an illogical or scientifically “false” statement – it just means that it is a statement for which the scientific epistemology has no purchase and therefore other forms of epistemology (revelation for example) must be used to form some limited knowledge. One other point on this. Truth is truth. Even though a certain type of statement is not “provable” through the scientific method because it is simply not subject to scientific contradiction or confirmation, a statement, even a religious statement, that is scientific can be falsified scientifically. For example, the statement “God created the world in seven days” has been shown to be empirically false by scientific evidence that the universe is billions or years old. Does that mean the Bible is false? No, it just means that the statement is not and was never meant to be taken as a literal scientific hypothesis, but is instead packed with metaphorical and symbolic truth. But I think you already know all that.

            This same line of reasoning applies to making supposed statements about the “sanctity” of life. And this is where I think that you misunderstand what I am saying. You can make scientific statements about what it means to be “human”. I’m not arguing that this is not possible. I’m saying that it is more complex that you think. For example, during the evolution of our species, homo sapiens, there were numerous “human” species, many of which existed at the same time as humans (Homo Erectus and Homo Neanderthal were two). All those other humans are gone and it is only since 2010 after the mapping of the DNA in those other humans that we now know that there was some interbreeding and that, depending upon where you come from, you may have some small percentage of those other species in you. DNA species development is not completely linear, and we are finding out only recently that species evolution may even be horizontal between species more than we ever imagined (for example through viruses). As a scientific statement of classification, “humanity” (specifically DNA) therefore is a moving and very ambiguous target to use for what is essentially a moral and spiritual statement about who has a “soul” anyway.

            And that may explain why you seem so affronted about my acorn verse oak analogy. I’m not saying that an oak is the same as a person. I’m simply making the statement that an acorn is to an oak as a zygote is to a grown human. The acorn may have exactly the same DNA as the oak it becomes, but it is not an oak yet. To say otherwise is to ignore the empirical difference between a “potential” and an actual thing. Don’t get me wrong, scientific teleology is great evidence for the truth of the spiritual argument. If they did not have the same DNA and were completely different things (zygote and grown human), then it would falsify the sanctity of the human life in the zygote argument to some extent, but it still does not prove syllogisms like “human life is sacred” therefore “human DNA is sacred” and therefore “a potential human is sacred”. Why is it sacred to begin with is the thing that cannot be a scientific statement.

            “As you mentioned the whole swan argument, I’m a little shocked that you fail to see its fallaciousness after bringing up Thomism… traits such as color have no bearing substance/nature they’re what they are called ‘accidents/species”’.

            Agreed. Nothing about Thomistic metaphysics has been proven false simply because his physics was wrong. And even if DNA is a squishy scientific concept to base the metaphysical substance of being a human upon and shown to be less than a perfect classification of that substance, it still won’t change the truth of Thomist metaphysics. Part of this is because Thomas Aquinas’ concept of the soul has much more to do with the metaphysically abstract and spiritual, than with the pure material physics.

            I hope this clarifies things. In any event, I don’t really think that we are in much actual disagreement here. I think we both believe that arbitrarily killing an unborn human is probably immoral, and should be discouraged. Show why that is and how to discourage it is the real issue, I think.

            Like

  6. Tom,
    I believe you have identified the problem is the USA is reverting back to being pagan. If you Google the word definition, it drafted a pagan is someone not a member of a major world religion. Merriam Webster defines it better in my opinion.

    Regards and goodwill blogging

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Interesting that the Merriam Webster defines pagan as a person who does not worship the God of the Bible.

      It also lists the “Near Antonyms of pagan” as Christian, Jew, Muslim.
      Does this mean the Christian God and Islamic Allah are the same god and the Quran is another word for Bible?

      Like

        1. Funny how that Merriam Webster dictionary can get nothing right. I suspect it is an American product butchering the English language.

          Oxford Dictionary: A person holding religious beliefs other than those of the main world religions.
          A member of a modern religious movement which seeks to incorporate beliefs or practices from outside the main world religions, especially nature worship.

          Collins Dictionary: Pagan beliefs and activities do not belong to any of the main religions of the world and take nature and a belief in many gods as a basis. They are older, or are believed to be older, than other religions.

          Cambridge Dictionary: belonging or relating to a religion that worships many gods, especially one that existed before the main world religions: The Easter egg has both pagan and Christian origins.

          Belonging or relating to a modern religion that includes beliefs and activities that are not from any of the main religions of the world, for example the worship of nature:

          Like

      1. @sklyjd

        Why don’t you just read the complete definition?

        Definition of pagan (Entry 1 of 2)
        1: heathen sense 1
        especially : a follower of a polytheistic religion (as in ancient Rome)
        2: one who has little or no religion and who delights in sensual pleasures and material goods : an irreligious or hedonistic person
        3: neo-pagan
        witches, druids, goddess worshippers, and other pagans in America today
        — Alice Dowd (from https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/pagan)

        Liked by 1 person

        1. “and who delights in sensual pleasures and material goods”

          And what does this have to do with the price of fish?
          Have they not heard of priests?

          Like

        2. I’m not sure what @sklyjd is after, but is “paganism” really a good word to describe where many of our non-religious brethren lose track of their souls today? Paganism in some of it’s forms at least invested man in a spiritual connection to the world and his fellow creatures in it. What we have now, including its materialism, seems hollowed out of religion altogether, leaving aching hearts stuffing that void with all sorts of saccharin idols. 😒

          Liked by 1 person

          1. @tsalmon

            The appearance of the idols has changed. To get what they wanted for themselves, Pagans use to worship imaginary gods represented by wood, stone, and metal figurines. Now Pagans worship sex, stuff, state, and self more directly. Instead of wood, stone, and metal idols, they use advertisements.

            Liked by 1 person

          2. Ha, ha! Maybe some of the Super Bowl adds. I guess it’s all semantics, and whether the intent of the term is meant to be analytical or just derogatory. At a philosophical intellectual level, the modernist worship seems to be more of reason and science as it’s own god (something that in my opinion itself defies the logic of rational and scientific epistemology). You can call this “paganism” if you want, but I think this reason worship is something that might baffle most ancient pagans and insult our more recent neopagan mystics. It also doesn’t really explain atheistic humanism.

            It would seem that the pull of reason worship is so strong that it has even endlessly dividing Christians along soteriological lines. When is a self proclaimed Christian actually being such a pagan by substituting his own rationalization of God for the actual God? Before we are too judgemental, however, we should perhaps remember that we are all fallen sinners eternally seeking to reconnect with a loving God. We are all just God shaped holes perennially searching, often in the wrong places, for God to refill us with the sanctity and grace of His holiness. In that sense at least maybe we are all just pagan pilgrims trying to find our way home to a place in God’s garden again.

            Liked by 1 person

          3. @tsalmon

            The Pagans worshipped their gods to get what they wanted from them. Modern Pagans do the same. The sin is the same, putting anything before God.

            Christians don’t worship God to get anything from Him. We love Him because He loved us first. We worship Him in gratitude because He is God, because He is holy, holy, holy.

            If you want to add science to sex, stuff, state, and self, that is okay with me. Some do worship science. I expect most just use science as an excuse to not believe in God. Being a Pagan is not about reason.

            Liked by 1 person

Comments are closed.

Blog at WordPress.com.

Up ↑

cookiecrumbstoliveby

Life through the eyes of "cookie"

Rudy u Martinka

What the world needs now in addition to love is wisdom. We are the masters of our own disasters.

Theo-Logis

Supplying the Light of Love

Level_Head

Welcome to Conservative commentary and Christian prayers from Gainesville, Virginia. That's OUTSIDE the Beltway.

The Recovering Legalist

Living a Life of Grace

Write Side of the Road

writing my way through motherhood

Freedom Through Empowerment

Taking ownership of your life brings power to make needed changes. True freedom begins with reliance on God to guide this process and provide what you need.

The Lions Den

"Blending the colorful issues of life with the unapologetic truth of scripture, while adding some gracious ferocity.”

In My Father's House

"...that where I am you may be also." Jn.14:3

Allallt in discussion

Debate and discussion: Reasonable, rational and fair

PUMABydesign001's Blog

“I hope we once again have reminded people that man is not free unless government is limited. There’s a clear cause and effect here that is as neat and predictable as a law of physics: as government expands, liberty contracts.” Ronald Reagan.

TLP

Finding Clear and Simple Faith

Amatopia

Author Alexander Hellene - Sci-Fi - Urban Fantasy - Fantasy - Culture - Art - Entertainment - Music - Fun

John Branyan

something funny is occurring

Because The Bible Wasn't Written In English

Welcome to Conservative commentary and Christian prayers from Gainesville, Virginia. That's OUTSIDE the Beltway.

Fr. Pietraszko's Corner

Discovering Truth and Love

Victory Girls Blog

Welcome to Conservative commentary and Christian prayers from Gainesville, Virginia. That's OUTSIDE the Beltway.

Through Ink & Image

...Pursuing a God Inspired Life

D. Patrick Collins

liberating christian thought

Healthy Mind Ministry

Sharing the Gospel message of hope, strength, love, and peace through Jesus Christ to those who are hurting in their soul or spirit. This is the mission of Healthy Mind Ministry

Conservative Government

Welcome to Conservative commentary and Christian prayers from Gainesville, Virginia. That's OUTSIDE the Beltway.

The Night Wind

Welcome to Conservative commentary and Christian prayers from Gainesville, Virginia. That's OUTSIDE the Beltway.

In Saner Thought

"It is the duty of every man, as far as his ability extends, to detect and expose delusion and error"..Thomas Paine

SGM

Faithful servants never retire. You can retire from your career, but you will never retire from serving God. – Rick Warren

Communio

"Fear Not, Only Believe." Mk. 5:36

All Along the Watchtower

A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you ... John 13:34

The Bull Elephant

Conservative and libertarian news, analysis, and entertainment

Always On Watch: Semper Vigilans

Welcome to Conservative commentary and Christian prayers from Gainesville, Virginia. That's OUTSIDE the Beltway.

The Family Foundation Blog - The Family Foundation

Welcome to Conservative commentary and Christian prayers from Gainesville, Virginia. That's OUTSIDE the Beltway.

Dr. Luis C. Almeida

Why Complicate If You Can Simplify?

praythroughhistory

Heal the past. Free the present. Bless the future.

Dr. Lloyd Stebbins

Deliberate Joy

Lillie-Put

The place where you can find out what Lillie thinks

He Hath Said

is the source of all wisdom, and the fountain of all comfort; let it dwell in you richly, as a well of living water, springing up unto everlasting life

quotes and notes and opinions

from a Biblical perspective

partneringwitheagles

WHENEVER ANY FORM OF GOVERNMENT BECOMES DESTRUCTIVE OF THESE ENDS (LIFE,LIBERTY,AND THE PURSUIT OF HAPPINESS) IT IS THE RIGHT OF THE PEOPLE TO ALTER OR ABOLISH IT, AND TO INSTITUTE A NEW GOVERNMENT...

nebraskaenergyobserver

The view from the Anglosphere

bluebird of bitterness

The opinions expressed are those of the author. You go get your own opinions.

Pacific Paratrooper

This WordPress.com site is Pacific War era information

Running The Race

Hebrews 12:1

THE RIVER WALK

Daily Thoughts and Meditations as we journey together with our Lord.

atimetoshare.me

My Walk, His Way - daily inspiration

Truth in Palmyra

By Wally Fry

Kingdom Pastor

Living Freely In God's Kingdom

%d bloggers like this: