Sunday, May 10, 2015

I'm stuck in "save the babies" mode

I'll comment on Alan's latest response–such as it is:

Steve Hays renews his ill-advised critique of immediatism by... branching off into all sorts of issues that are not all that pertinent to immediatism.

Actually, I've been responding to Alan point-by-point on his own terms.

It's an uncharitable and in fact incorrect interpretation of my words to think that I/we have some sort of bragging rights. 

Unfortunately, that's not an isolated case where abolitionists are concerned. In fact, in his latest response, Alan continues to publicly flaunt his good deeds (as he defines it).

Nobody has said it is. Yet we have made the case again and again why the murder of 60 million and counting humans over the course of 42 years and counting should take a very, very high priority…

i) There are currently a number of high-priority issues that demand Christian attention. And every individual Christian can't give the same attention to every pressing issue. Problem is, abolitionism treats anti-abortion activism as the litmus test of true piety. But there are other social issues of equal intrinsic importance. These should not be neglected.

ii) Moreover, abolitionists demand that you make their particular brand of anti-abortion activism the litmus test.

Euthanasia - get back to me when it's legal to shoot senior citizens in the head willy-nilly and the death rate surpasses a few thousand a year.

i) What a morally frivolous and nearsighted attitude. By all means, let's wait until euthanasia becomes as well-entrenched as abortion, then try to turn the tide. Let's dilly-dally until it becomes unstoppable, then attempt rearguard actions. Needless to say, it's better to oppose something early on before it snowballs. 

ii) Oh, and euthanasia isn't confined to senior citizens. It's applied to the developmentally disabled, patients with degenerative or terminal illnesses, even clinically depressed patients.

I'm not trying to sound callous here, but I actually think Steve is the one who is being callous and turning a blind eye toward child sacrifice. Nobody is saying that we should do nothing about those other things - those ought to be combated with immediatist calls to repentance and the Gospel of Jesus Christ the same as abortion ought to be. The Word of God is the weapon.

i) Abolitionists turn a blind eye towards child sacrifice by refusing to take countermeasures that save lives now.

ii) Evangelism is not a substitute for laws, any more than laws are a substitute for evangelism. Do abolitionists think we should repeal laws against murder and simply evangelize the populace? 

Steve also misses the fact that all of these are intertwined in many ways.

Did I miss that? In the very post that Alan is allegedly responding to, I said "These are interrelated. We need to resist secular totalitarianism in its various manifestations."

Nice to see Alan take belated credit for something I said. 

Ironic that Steve says this in defense of the pro life movement, which 'resists secular totalitarianism' while teaming up with atheists, papists, eastern conciliarists, and other pagans.

i) You mean, the way AHA teams up with Facebook? Why is AHA unequally yoked with a godless corporation like Facebook? Isn't that "morally compromising"? 

How can they accuse prolifers of (alleged) moral complicity with unbelievers when they rely on that devilish social network?   

ii) When prolifers can get atheists to do the right thing, what's wrong with that? There's such a thing as common grace. Sometimes, even unbelievers do the right thing. 

iii) Nowhere does the Bible promise that most Americans will become orthodox Christians. If that's a requirement for abolitionism, then abolitionism is self-defeating. 

"Calling" is not the same as "gifting". 

I never said it was.

variously gifted people can't address abortion with the Gospel.

Christians have a duty to evangelize the lost. That, however, doesn't mean every Christian has an obligation to be a foreign missionary. Alan fails to draw an elementary distinction between individual obligations and collective obligations. Each individual Christian isn't required to do everything that needs to be done. There's a division of labor. For instance, every Christian is not required to be a deacon, even though that's an important ministry. 

certain giftings mean you don't have an obligation to love your preborn neighbor who is being murdered down the street.

Loving our neighbor is not confined to preborn neighbors. What about volunteering at a shelter for battered women? 

Alan then posts a scurrilous cartoon illustrating the parable of the Good Samaritan. Did I suggest that babies are not our neighbors? No. 

Alan is incapable of honestly interacting with critics. The point I made was not to exclude unborn babies from the category of neighbors, but to point out that AHA is neglecting other categories of neighbors. I'm expanding the category of neighbors while AHA is effectively contracting the category of neighbors. 

Is Steve assuming these are mutually exclusive?

Actually, they are. Individual Christians don't have time to focus on every neighbor or every category of neighbor. Time devoted to one cause is time taken away from another cause. 

He then posts a pic with the caption "We just don't have the time or resources necessary to right against abortion at this time…" – the multi-million dollar megachurches of America.

But that's based on Alan's persistent confusion. I never said the church lacks the resources to combat abortion. The church is not a single individual. The church is a collective. The church can be involved in a range of activities that an individual Christian cannot. The bigger the church, the more it can take on. 

I make time to speak up for my preborn neighbors, and all around me I see armchair QBs like Steve who whine they don't have time.

i) I didn't say anything about whether I personally have the time. Unlike Alan, I'm not in the habit of boasting about how I spend my time. 

ii) Sure, Alan can make time to speak up for his preborn neighbors, but that means he has less time or no meaningful time to speak up for his elderly neighbors, or developmentally disabled neighbors, or street kids, or shut-ins, or nursing home residents, or battered women, &c. 

iii) And in addition to the hands-on aspect of neighbor-love, we do need "armchair" apologists and ethicists who can use their intellectual gifts to combat secularism. 

iv) BTW, Alan has been recycling lots of my material, on  a variety of topics, for years. Paraphrasing my arguments. He finds it very useful to borrow ready-made arguments and scholarly quotes from "an armchair QB." It would behoove free-riders like Alan not to be so critical of the transportation they hitchhike. 

Steve must've missed my challenge to prove it, not assume it.

Alan must have missed my comparison to the legal drinking age.

And also my challenge to prove, not assume, that calls for immediatism wouldn't've saved MORE than the incremental "gains" he can point to.

What an upside down claim. The onus is hardly on me to prove that immediatism would not have saved more lives. It's not as if there's a presumption that immediatism saves more lives, which I must labor to overcome. The abolitionist has his own burden of proof.

Alan offers no evidence that immediatism saves more lives. Indeed, he offers no evidence that abolitionist distinctives save any lives. Instead, he takes refuge in hypotheticals about the past and the future. But that's not evidence: that's imagination.  

If somebody says eating a dozen chocolate eclairs every day is a cure for liver cancer, it's hardly incumbent on me to disprove his claim. 

The mistake is that those restrictions are pretty easily gotten around, not least by simply lying or fudging the paperwork, building a new, cleaner facility, actually getting an office and operating room in a legitimate hospital (which makes the abortionist ten times as hard to expose and challenge), going to get the baby earlier, jabbing the baby with anesthetic before murdering him, using a suction tool instead of a bladed tool, etc. 

i) Even if we grant that contention, babies are saved during the time it takes for abortionists to adapt to the new restrictions. "Building a new, cleaner facilities," renting a "new office and operating room" inconveniences the abortionists, which saves babies in the meantime. 

ii) It'a also a law of economics that the more expensive you make a product, the fewer people will buy it. Making abortion more expensive deters abortion. 

iii) What makes Alan think hospital records are easier to tamper with? If anything, aren't hospital records subject to greater scrutiny than a fly-by-night abortion mill? 

He's still stuck in "save the babies" mode.

Yes, I'm stuck in "save the babies" mode. What a terrible indictment! 

Our upcoming response will demonstrate the poor reasoning behind that assertion. 

Well, I can't comment on a response before it's been made. Keep in mind, though, that after they respond, prolifers may well critique their attempted response. 

When we are speaking positively about our own position, we talk about being faithful to God, hoping in providence…

Prolifers play the hand that providence dealt us. But would be nice if God dealt us a royal flush, but if he doesn't, we will choose the best option he's providentially given us. 

Not at all.

Alan's the one, not me, who indicated that a "significant number of babies" was his threshold. And he now includes a pic that repudiates "rescuing a few." 

How much time has Steve spent out front of an abortuary, pleading? Preaching the Gospel to gatherings of people? Ministering and begging people not to murder their child? Steve can spare me his sanctimony.

i) That's not an abolitionist distinctive. Abolitionists don't get special credit for doing what prolifers have been doing for decades. 

ii) And notice, once again, how abolitionists are spiritual braggadocios. 

He posts a pic about not "voting for the lesser evil." That's a characteristic confusion on AHA's part.

The "lesser evil" does mean a moral evil. It doesn't mean doing wrong. Rather, it's a contrast between a bad outcome and a worse outcome.

Take amputating a gangrenous limb to save a patient. Amputation is a bad solution. Letting the patient die is worse. 

Indeed, letting the patient die when you could save his life through radical surgery is morally evil. In a fallen world, we're often confronted with situations where we don't have ideal options. The best we can do is to limit evil. 

Oh, so we DON'T actually just "leave babies to die". It appears that whatever is left of Steve's intellectual honesty at this point rose up to poke a hole through the darkness, and the admission is pretty damaging to his accusation.

Alan is so hardened into his position that he's incapable of honestly engaging the argument. Here's what I said:

AHA sees babies who could be saved, but refuses to do what's possible and necessary to save them. It merely says, "Best wishes!" then leaves them to die.  
AHA might object that they do turn away some mothers from abortion clinics. But, of course, that's not an AHA distinctive. Prolifers have done that for decades. 

AHA just lets the babies die who could otherwise be saved through incremental legislation. It lets those babies die.

It saves other babies by imitating some of the same methods that prolifers have been using all along. And even in that case, it's not entitled to extra credit for doing the same thing prolifers have been doing, while simultaneously castigating prolifers. 

I didn't make a "damaging admission." Rather, Alan resorted to a bait-n-switch. 


  1. "
    Euthanasia - get back to me when it's legal to shoot senior citizens in the head willy-nilly and the death rate surpasses a few thousand a year."

    Doesn't this cut against Alan's original alternative / counterfactual history claim that if only anti-abortion activists had done more in the early days, if only they'd been abolitionists we wouldn't have the abortion plague that exists in actuality today?

    By this logic shouldn't AHA be gearing up the euthanasia abolitionist movement right now with at least equal zeal and fervor as they approach abortion?

    Did historic early anti-abortion / pro-life folks EVER say anything as appalling and morally repugnant as
    Abortion - get back to me when it's legal to kill babies in the womb willy-nilly and the death rate surpasses a few thousand a year.

    Very telling and sad. Alan clearly has a deep-seated spiritual problem, yet he seems to be blind to it. This is one of the dangers of "in-group" thinking, which is plainly prevalent within the closed ranks of AHA.

    1. Sadly, CR, it seems that logic and AHA are headed in opposite directions...

    2. I think abolitionists may have their priorities mixed up and often are not seeing things clearly, but I wouldn't say that they have a "deep-seated spiritual problem(s)." If they do, I wouldn't know what it (or they) would be. I think some abolitionists may be called by God to oppose abortion, but like many people see the world through the lens of their calling or hobbyhorse. Apologists see apologetics as the most important thing. Evangelists, evangelism, missionaries missions, disciplers discipleship, Signs and Wonders workers miracles, etc.

    3. Hi AP, I didn't suggest that all abolitionists universally have "deep-seated spiritual problem(s), why in the world would I say something like that? Rather I pointed out one particular abolitionist, Alan, who does as evidenced by his being impervious to correction on multiple occasions, and his being unable to argue in good faith when the subject involves any form of criticism of immediatism, for example.

  2. John the Baptist (in some sense) seems to be analogous to abolitionists for his outspoken stand against Herod's incestuous relationship. Why wasn't Jesus arrested for His outspoken stand against it as well? I suspect that's because He didn't focus on denouncing it like John the Baptist did. Was Jesus being a compromiser by focusing on preaching the gospel of the kingdom? I don't think so. Steve seems to be right about how no Christian can focus on every moral issue with equal emphasis and effort. Otherwise, we'd all be spread too thin and not be as effective in using whatever gifts God has given us.

    Imagine William Lane Craig using an inordinate amount of time opposing gay marriages which he could have spent studying for his debate with Sean Carroll or Richard Carrier. Craig would have been slaughtered in those debates and so miss an opportunity to "Honor God at all costs." It seems to me that God's honor and glory takes precedence over any sin or even the abuse/murder of human beings.

    Besides, infants dying in infancy via abortion may still get to heaven due to their relative innocence (of course without denying original sin, the imputation of Adam's guilt etc.). Many Calvinists affirm such a possibility. However, children sold in Human Trafficking (for the purpose of sexual slavery, forced labor or commercial sexual exploitation etc.) seems to be a worse crime since these children grow up in a situation where they have a greater opportunity to become hardened and sinful. Many of them growing up to deny the existence of God because of being placed in such a situation. Along with picking up many of the same sinful attitudes (and worldview) as their captors. Shouldn't abolitionists oppose that with greater priority? Especially since, potentially more people may end up in heaven due to abortions, whereas human trafficking undoubtedly leads to more people going to hell (i.e. both abusers and abusees). I wouldn't be surprised if there were more instances of sexual exploitation due to human trafficking than abortions at any given time. Moreover, if sexual exploitation were stopped, fewer abortions would also result since female abusees often get abortions (willingly or by force).

    It seems to me that given the abolitionist approach Daniel was a compromiser for being so involved in pagan governments rather than opposing them. He should never have gotten to such high positions. He wasn't thrust into them. He moved up the ranks by his cooperation and the proven usefulness of his wise counsel. While in such a position, instead of "pietistically" praying in private when the degree to only petition king Darius was given, shouldn't Daniel have been shouting on the housetops about such an evil decree, given abolitionist principles? Was Elisha a compromiser for not telling Naaman to refuse enter (much less bow down in) the temple of Rimmon?

    The 1st century Christian phrase "Jesus is Lord" was in opposition to "Caesar is Lord." Given abolitionist principles, wasn't Paul a compromiser for not resisting (even rebelling against) the ungodly Roman government? How could Jesus and Paul condone paying taxes to such an evil government?

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    2. I have to say that I may be misinterpreting and/or misapplying abolitionist principles/practice in other areas or situations. Admittedly, I'm limited in my understanding of abolitionism. I like much of what they're doing, but don't understand how they could be opposed to the things Steve is saying (which seem to make a lot of sense).