I'm going to repost an exchange I had over at Joe Carter and Justin Taylor's respective blogs.
October 26, 2012 at 5:36 PM
[JR] "My assertion is that this decision is a matter of Christian conscience and is not governed by a specific commandment in the scriptures."
That's a false dichotomy. Something doesn't have to be specifically forbidden in Scripture to be Scripturally forbidden. On various ethical and theological issues, one can make a cumulative case. The position is a construct, based on various lines of evidence from Scripture. Take a biblical case against abortion:
October 26, 2012 at 7:12 PM
If we are going to bind consciences and hold people legally accountable, we have to make sure that we are not simply applying a principle, as we choose to practice it.
October 26, 2012 at 7:18 PM
You presented a set of false alternatives, as if it came down to a choice between a specific biblical prohibition and freedom of conscience. That's not the choice. That's a grossly simplistic view of Biblical teaching. It disregards the nature of systematic theology.
Moreover, the line of about "Pharisees" is rich coming from someone who's hiding behind Judith Jarvis Thomson, as if there's anything remotely Christian in that appeal.
You need to come clean about your true commitments.
October 26, 2012 at 9:38 PM
We don't require a specific Scriptural prohibition against abortion in case of rape. That's a red herring. The real issue is how Scripture views the status of the unborn, period.
For instance, we don't have a specific Scriptural prohibition against shoving your wife off the ledge of a skyscraper. Does that make it a "case of conscience"?
October 26, 2012 at 6:23 PM
It's hard to believe a Christian would be appealing to the infamous thought-experiment of Judith Jarvis Thomson, which is what you did on Justin Taylor's blog.
October 26, 2012 at 8:27 PM
October 26, 2012 at 8:27 PM
Steve, now you're veering into unChristian discourse and personal attacks.Would you please understand that not everyone is seeing the issues exactly as you have seen it?
Why don't you go back and read my comment and then apologize so I can forgive you and we can try to talk to each other like grown-ups.Otherwise, we're done here.
October 26, 2012 at 9:32 PM
Of course everyone doesn't see the issues the same way. Jack Kevorkian doesn't see the issues the same way. Peter Singer doesn't see the issues the same way.
I don't seek your forgiveness. You haven't earned the right to make that claim on me. Both on this thread and Justin's, you've demonstrated your lack of commitment to basic Christian ethics.
October 26, 2012 at 9:51 PM
I have a better idea. Why don't we reserve our charity and civility for babies in the womb. Treating the unborn charitably. That's a wee bit more important than the niceties of public discourse.
October 26, 2012 at 8:06 PM
[JR] "It's only hard to believe if you live in an insolated bubble. Read Russ Douthat's article. This position that doesn't even allow exceptions is the extreme minority. There are moral objections that resonate with most pro-lifers who do believe that government needs to leave room for conscience."
The fact that you call it "extreme" tips your hand. It also reveals your personal sympathy with her argument.
"Plus, the thought-experiment of Judith Jarvis Thomson is exactly what is brought up in philosophy and ethics courses in ivy league colleges. So, if you can't deal with the argument, you haven't thought thru the issue credibly."
Oh, I had dealt with it, along with other proabotion arguments. You're the one with the credibility problem at this juncture.
October 26, 2012 at 9:41 PM
[JR] "personal sympathy with 'her agrument'?I'm talking about Russ Douthat's article (via Denny Burk) I think you misread what I wrote! Let's try to be more charitable, okay?"
On this thread (“Please see my post on JT's blog also where I go into further detail, if you're interested”) you referred readers to what you wrote on Justin Taylor's thread. That's where you plug her argument for abortion. And you continue to defend that on Justin's thread. So spare me the dissembling.
October 26, 2012 at 10:21 PM
I'm always struck by people who value etiquette more highly than ethics. They think what's ultimately important is not whether we kill babies, but whether we have a gentlemanly discussion about killing babies. They aren't indignant about the moral harshness of killing babies. Rather, they're offended by the rhetorical harshness of uncharitable discourse. They're offended by words rather than evils.
October 26, 2012 at 11:00 PM
October 26, 2012 at 9:55 PM
"Steve Hays, Why are you so hateful toward JR?"
Why are you and he so hateful towards babies in the womb?
"You think he has demonstrated a "lack of committment to Christian ethics", but you have demonstrated a total lack of commitment to Christ."
To the contrary, Christ cared about babies and little children. That's something you and JR ought to emulate.
"JR has stated that he is open to being convinced and having a debate, but you have ruined your opportunity to be helpful in any way."
To the contrary, he has an ax to grind. He's made that abundantly clear.
And, no, we shouldn't have the same tolerance for professing Christians like him. His attitude regarding motherhood and the unborn is inexcusable. Where's your outrage for abortion?
October 26, 2012 at 11:12 pm
October 26, 2012 at 10:48 pm
“Steve, JR stated that he is pro-life.”
And he’s also branded consistent prolifers as extremists. That tells you where he really stands.
“And he stated that he wanted to have a discussion with other Evangelicals that went deeper than what is typical, and in the process he said he was open to being convinced otherwise.”
No, he wants to talk us out of our position.
“Calling him Jack Kevorkian…”
How people react to comparisons is always a good test of their intellectual seriousness, or lack thereof. You flunk.
JR said “Would you please understand that not everyone is seeing the issues exactly as you have seen it?”
I cited a couple of obvious counterexamples. That’s the level at which the comparison operates.
“I don’t think he’ll waste his time with you anymore. I don’t think I will either.”
You’re blind to (and blinded by) your own bias. You’re hardly an even-handed broker in this debate. You defend him because you sympathize with his position.
October 26, 2012 at 11:48 PM
October 26, 2012 at 11:20 PM
"You have been both unreasonable and unChristlike in the way you have conducted yourself in these comments. Disgraceful."
Your moral priorities are skewed. You need to save your outrage for at-risk babies.
October 26, 2012 at 7:52 pm
Angela, that’s an excellent point! I sure hope that our culture warriors will consider Dr. Mohler’s wisdom to consider compromise for the sake the unborn, rather than insisting on an all or nothing strategy. Thanks for your example
October 26, 2012 at 10:36 pm
No, that muddies the waters. There’s a basic moral difference between not attempting to outlaw abortion in case of rape because you couldn’t succeed even if you tried, and not attempting to outlaw abortion in case of rape even if you could succeed because you don’t think abortion in case of rape is wrong. JR is dissembling.
October 26, 2012 at 3:57 pm
Of course, you’re pirating the infamous thought-experiment by Judith Jarvis Thomson. Two quick observations:
i) The comparison is fatally equivocal. The relationship of a child to her mother is not analogous to the relationship of a woman to a complete stranger. Parents have an obligation to protect and provide for their own children, even if that means the parent is putting himself/herself at risk. Likewise, grown children have an obligation to protect and provide for elderly parents. Big brothers have an obligation to protect kid brothers.
ii) There’s also such a thing as secondary moral obligations (as Jeremy Pierce puts it). Take the case of a founding. A poor mother who can’t provide for her newborn places the baby on the doorstep of a neighbor.
The neighbor didn’t ask for the child. But the neighbor has been put in a position where he now has a duty to care for the child, even though he didn’t volunteer for that job.
October 26, 2012 at 9:22 pm
“Fatally equivocal?? Haha.”
Haha? You think aborting babies is amusing?
“Or we being just a tab bit melodramatic, eh?”
No, I’m being accurate. A virtue it would behoove you to emulate.
“What relationship does the ‘mother’ of the unborn child have with the baby in the womb?”
Why do you put “mother” in scare quotes? A pregnant woman is a mother. Don’t you know that? It’s pretty elementary.
“Especially in the early days of pregancy? None.”
To the contrary, she has a maternal relationship. She’s the mother of the child. That’s a pretty fundamental relationship.
“And why would you assume that she couldn’t develop a caring and nurturing relationship with man also?”
Irrelevant. Duties don’t presuppose a caring, nurturing relationship. If a father abandons his kids, he’s still related to his kids. They are his kids. He is their father. Even if he’s indifferent to their welfare, he retains paternal duties to them.
It’s not a caring relationship that creates the duty; rather, it’s the duty that obligates a caring relationship.
And this isn’t a question of “developing” a relationship. The mother/child relationship is inbuilt, just like the father/child relationship.
“The illustration doesn’t have to be perfectly analogous to make the point.”
The analogy breaks down at the essential point of comparison. We don’t have the same obligation to strangers that we do to our children.
To take another comparison, a husband has a duty to protect his wife, even if he must risk his own life to protect hers. He doesn’t have the same duty with respect to a perfect stranger.
“An honest person would at least admit the point that has been made, which is that the legal requirement to force the woman to carry the baby is not firmly supportable.”
You’re lapsing back into the euphemism of a “woman.” But we’re not talking about women in general. Rather, we’re talking about a “mother,” and her maternal responsibilities to her baby.
Every mother is a woman, but every woman is not a mother. You keep disregarding fundamental human distinctions and moral distinctions.
And, yes, the law can properly require parents to care for their children. That’s hardly extreme. If a father abandons his kids, the law can “force” him to pay child support.
“As far as Jeremy Pierce’s argument regarding secondary moral obligations, certain those issue come into play here, but again, at the end of the day, what we’re dealing with is what is the neighbor’s LEGAL requirement in dealing with the baby left to their care?”
Are you now admitting there’s a moral obligation, but drawing the line at a legal obligation?
And why not make that a legal requirement? If the neighbor knows there’s a newborn on his doorstep, but leaves it there to die of exposure, then he ought to be criminally liable.
“The thing that we cannot get away from is the fact that the extreme position that doesn’t allow for exceptions requires us to make matters of conscience a legally binding requirement.”
Calling it “extreme” doesn’t make it extreme. And even if it were “extreme,” that doesn’t make it wrong. Even atheists like the philosopher Keith Burgess-Jackson think the rape exception is illogical. What you call “extreme” is simply a consistent position.
“When liberals do it on social issues, we’re the ones who are outraged. But for some reason when we do it with our own convictions (as wonderful as they may be), we’re blind to our own self-righteousness.”
That’s not because liberals are “extreme” on social issues, but because they are simply wrong.
Moreover, you keep appealing to “conscience.” Well, that’s a just euphemism for your moral blindness, which you then baptize with a nice-sounding label like “conscience.”
“Here’s a key point: At the end of the day, only the Christian worldview would compell someone to act in the way we are trying to mandate for all people.”
Parents can rightly be mandated to care for their children, just as grown children can rightly be mandated to care for their elderly parents.
“Very different from natural law issues, which are obvious to all regardless of whether they have a Christian basis or not.”
Universal recognition isn’t a presupposition of natural law. That disregards the degree to which people like you can be morally warped.
October 26, 2012 at 9:37 pm
“the degree to which people like you can be morally warped”?Wow.Really?Good bye, Steve Hays. Have a good life.
October 26, 2012 at 10:39 pm
Pity you deny the unborn the right to a good life.
October 26, 2012 at 5:05 pm
To take another comparison, suppose I move into a dumpy apartment complex. The neighborhood is a slum, but that’s all I can afford for now.
After a few weeks there I discover that the tenant in the apartment next door to mine is an elderly woman who’s grown children abandoned her after she become too much of a chore for them to deal with. She’s too infirm to walk any distance, her car was stolen, and she really can’t afford to go shopping.
So I begin having her over to my apartment for lunch or dinner. And I drive her to medical appointments. Mind you, it was hard for me to make ends meet even before I met her. Feeding her further complicates my financial struggles. And driving her to medical appointments is terribly inconvenient. Besides, she’s not even related to me.
So what do you think I should do in that situation? Let her waste away in her apartment?
October 26, 2012 at 9:26 pm
And I’m arguing from the lesser to the greater. If that’s what I should do for a neighbor, then there are things I must do for my child.
October 26, 2012 at 10:42 pm
There’s nothing inherently fallacious about a lesser-to-greater argument. And, yes, sometimes higher stakes do convert should into must.
For instance, you don’t think the state should require a father who abandons his kids to support them financially?
October 26, 2012 at 3:18 pm
Honest question. Why would a Calvinist find anything to disgree with in Mourdock’s statement? If God controls every particle of dust in the universe (as Piper has stated he believes), then why isn’t the rape of a woman what God intended to happen? It seems like a perfectly reasonable description of the Calvinist stance to me. It’s not just that God intended for good to come from an evil act, but that God ordainded that the evil act should take place. That’s what the media is reacting to. It seems that Calvinists are shying away or distancing themselves from the logical conclusions of their theology.
October 26, 2012 at 3:44 pm
October 26, 2012 at 4:45 pm
In other words, you weren’t asking a honest question. You’re just an Arminian troll. You were actually posing a dishonest question as a pretext to launch into a simplistic attack on John Piper.
Jeremy Pierce is a Reformed philosopher. Instead of dealing with his response, you change the subject.
BTW, double predestination isn’t hyper-Calvinism. Limited atonement isn’t hyper-Calvinism. You’re inventing an idiosyncratic definition to trade on the negative connotations of “hyper-Calvinism.
October 26, 2012 at 4:52 pm
You’re derailing a defense of the unborn so that you can attack Calvinism. Why do you hate Calvinism more than you love the unborn? If Justin Taylor does a post dismantling the rape exception, shouldn’t you defend his post rather than using his post as an excuse to attack Calvinism? At that point this becomes just another debate over Calvinism rather than a defense of the unborn. Where are your priorities? Are you even a Christian? Why can’t you take time out from the Calvinist/Arminian debate to support Justin’s post?
October 26, 2012 at 6:15 pm
You were already given an answer. You’re ignoring the distinctions drawn by Jeremy Pierce. You pretended to be asking an “honest question,” but when you’re given a honest answer, you steadfastly refuse to make a good faith effort to interact with the details of the answer.
You’re conducting yourself in a morally reprehensible fashion.
October 26, 2012 at 6:36 pm
“BTW, I don’t feel the need to attack Calvinism.”
That’s further dissimulation on your part. You’re blatantly using your disingenuous question as a pretext to attack Calvinism.
Why can’t you take a little break from your myopic obsession with Calvinism just long enough to stick up for the right of unborn babies not to be murdered in the womb? Is that really asking too much? Why are you morally impervious to that elementary concern?
October 26, 2012 at 4:56 pm
Great question AJG. I hope my response is helpful. As I read the Scripture I have yet to find God ordaining (decreeing) a heinous evil, or any evil for that matter. That would pervert his goodness and justice … and he would no longer be God.Rather, I see God permitting evil to occur (if he didn’t none of us would be here) to work toward good for his purposes. Outside of the Passion, the story of Joseph may be the clearest story that illustrates this point. This is his story of redemption.
October 26, 2012 at 5:09 pm
People have habit of not finding what they’re avoiding. It’s easy to overlook something you weren’t looking for. Funny how that works. Like a burglar who can’t find a policeman.
October 26, 2012 at 6:20 pm
You are feigning honesty, but your modus operandi is dishonest. If your question was actually sincere, you’d acknowledge and address the distinctions given by Jeremy Pierce. He’s a Calvinist. He’s dealing with the very issue at hand.
This post is not about Calvinism. This post is about protecting the life of babies conceived in rape. But you can’t bring yourself to defend the right of the unborn. That’s not important to you. The only thing you care about is changing the subject so that you can turn this into yet another debate over Calvinism. What does that say about your moral priorities?