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By In Culture, Pro-Life

Killing The Inconvenient

Readers of Kuyperian Commentary may have noticed an abortion theme in my articles over the last few weeks. With the celebration of Christ’s incarnation upon us, there is no better time to talk about pregnancy, birth, life and abortion. My original motivation for this trend, however, was from conversations I’ve recently had with pro-choice acquaintances (some being Christians). Here is a summary of how these conversations usually go:

Acquaintance: I believe in a woman’s right to choose.

Me: Oh, really? Why’s that?

Acquaintance: Because a woman should have the right to do whatever she wants with her body.

Me: What about the unborn fetus? Is it not a person with rights itself?

Acquaintance: Nope, it’s not a person until it can survive outside its mother’s womb.

Me: Ok, but premature babies born at only 21 weeks have survived outside of their mother’s womb. Should a woman be limited after 21 weeks from doing whatever she wants with her body?

Acquaintance: No, I still think she has the right to choose until birth. If she doesn’t want something growing inside of her, she shouldn’t be forced to keep it.

Me: But if the fetus is a human person, then abortion would be murder, right? There’s only four scientific differences between the born and unborn: size, level of development, environment and degree of dependency. None of these differences are relevant to determining personhood because they also exist between infants, teenagers, adults and the elderly. To avoid the charge of murder you have to prove that the fetus isn’t a person.

Acquaintance: So, what if a teenage girl is raped and gets pregnant? What if the mother’s health or life is at risk? What if the baby has birth defects from incest? What if she can’t afford to raise the child? You’re saying she should be forced to have it?!

At that point the topic turns to morality and whether or not killing innocent life is ever justified. From my experience, the abortion advocate always returns to the emotional and circumstantial arguments mentioned above. They may use scientific rhetoric to justify abortion (e.g. denying personhood) but their fundamental reason for being pro-choice is a matter of inconvenience – not science or morality.

Don’t get me wrong, I completely agree that rape, health risks, birth defects and poverty are horrible circumstances. My heart goes out to any family that has to carry the weight of such tragedy. I believe churches should take a more prominent role in providing counsel, healthcare and safety for women in those situations. But to use the inconvenience of an unwanted pregnancy as reason for abortion only begs the question.

Children are always inconvenient, even when parents love them dearly. Children change your entire life, interrupting and altering your normal routines. They constantly depend on you for food, shelter, clothing, education and entertainment (which can be emotionally and financially stressful). They get sick or injured at the worst possible times and you take extra precautions to protect them from harm. The inconveniences of having a child obviously do not stop after birth.

So, is killing a person for the sake of convenience permissible? In the case of the born child, pro-choicers say “absolutely not!” In the case of the unborn child, they say “absolutely,” without providing any significant distinction between the two. This position is as arbitrary as it is immoral; a classic case of being illogical and inconsistent. Perhaps doing otherwise is just too inconvenient.<>go-linkбиржа копирайтинга

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By In Culture, Theology

Culture-Changing Christians

By Kuyperian Commentary Special Contributing Scholar, Dr. Thomas Kidd

Many disappointed Romney supporters have suggested that his defeat spoke to an American culture in decline. For politics to change, they say, culture must change. Glenn Beck, for example, tweeted that “the time for politics is over. I’m doubling down on my efforts to shift the culture.”

Evangelical Christians are especially attuned to talk of changing culture. But what culture is, and just how it changes, is often less clear. Books such as Andy Crouch’s Culture Making and James Davison Hunter’s To Change the World should be required reading for any Christian making plans to change culture. Both books show that culture, or “what human beings make of the world,” in Crouch’s words, is extraordinarily complex, and not susceptible to quick change, especially through politics.

We can certainly point to Christian politicians who have helped change culture in explicitly Christian ways. The great abolitionist William Wilberforce is an excellent example. But think over the past century: many of the culture-changing Christians that jump immediately to mind have not been directly engaged with politics. For example:

C.S. Lewis, the Oxford professor whose greatest influence came through writing children’s books.

Dietrich Bonhoeffer, the German pastor and theologian martyred for his resistance against Nazi tyranny.

Mother Teresa, the Albanian-born nun who devoted her life to caring for lepers and AIDS patients, who testified to the dignity of all human life, including the outcast and unborn.

Each of these heroes had things to say of political consequence, but they did not see politics as their method of Christian witness or culture change.

So before we plunge headlong into changing the culture before the 2016 election, let’s think about a few principles for how evangelicals can influence culture.

1) James Davison Hunter argues that culture is shaped most by institutions that have great “symbolic capital,” including universities such as Harvard and Yale, and newspapers such as the New York Times. Popular Christian books may sell millions of copies, but they do not have the symbolic capital or cultural influence of a Pulitzer Prize winner. Christians not only need to engage with institutions of high symbolic capital, but we need Christian voices to be present in those institutions, as professors, journalists, and artists. Christian parents and teachers need to cast a winsome vision of Christian cultural engagement for children and students.

2) Christians should worry as much about preserving orthodox Christian culture as they do about changing secular culture. Indeed, preserving traditional Christian culture is an essential precondition to any wholesome changes in the broader culture. If American Christian culture is infected by theological vacuousness and historical ignorance, by shallow consumerism, or by ethical corruption, then on what basis can we hope to transform the broader culture? As Christopher Dawson’s classic Religion and the Rise of Western Culture demonstrates, Christians have often found themselves having to preserve the heritage of biblical Christianity from a hostile surrounding culture. There’s nothing especially new in our situation today.

3) While some Christians may be called vocationally to institutions of high symbolic capital, all of us can take responsibility for the mini-cultures of our family, church, and neighborhood. I’m afraid that I can’t do much about the voting patterns of Ohio, but I can sure do something about the culture of my dinner table. When Mother Teresa received the Nobel Peace Prize, she was reportedly asked what we can do to promote world peace. She answered “Go home and love your family.”

Evangelicals can certainly participate in politics, but we should remember that politics tends simply to reflect culture. And culture is not easy to change, especially at the broadest levels. Christians can (and must) do more to bring a witness into institutions of high symbolic capital, but we should never underestimate the sanguine influence we can have, by God’s grace and prayer, on the little cultural spheres we inhabit on a daily basis.

(Article first published at Patheos)<>контентаподбор слов яндекс

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By In Culture, Politics, Pro-Life

Champion of the Unborn

I confess: I supported Congressman Ron Paul during the presidential primaries. I thought he was the only candidate anywhere near to a biblical view of government on the major issues. What are the major issues, you ask? Well, there’s that annoying idea about actually keeping your oaths (e.g. following the Constitution). There’s economic and monetary policy, war and foreign policy, and civil liberties. These are broad categories that include numerous issues. Overlapping each of them is the issue of abortion. I highly respected Paul for his firm stance against abortion. He seemed to truly care about the unborn in a way other pro-life candidates didn’t. Not only did he spend a career delivering babies, he published two full books against abortion and introduced legislation each session of Congress that would have outlawed abortion nationwide. There is no politician in recent history that can match Paul’s zeal when it comes to protecting the unborn.

All pro-life candidates say they want to appoint conservative justices to the Supreme Court who would overturn Roe v. Wade. They say they are for a constitutional amendment defining the unborn as persons under the law. These two positions alone will give any candidate an automatic stamp of approval from pro-lifers, even if all evidence points to the candidate being insincere. I think it’s time to raise our standards.

Paul certainly wants Roe v. Wade overturned and the unborn defined as legal persons, but both methods mentioned above are unrealistic. The majority of Supreme Court justices in the last forty years have been Republican-appointed. Five of the seven justices who passed Roe v. Wade were Republican-appointed. Have we seen any attempts to overturn Roe since then? Of course not. And don’t forget, a Republican-appointed justice was the deciding factor in passing Obamacare. Gambling the lives of innocent children to the Supreme Court has been a losing game from the start. Only delusional gamblers keep playing.

Likewise, a constitutional amendment must be ratified by three-fourths of the states before it becomes law. Do we really think there are thirty-eight states willing to do so? Declaring the personhood of the unborn would take years to pass (if ever) with millions of abortions continuing in the meantime. This strategy is simply a distraction from the true solution.

Paul’s Sanctity of Life Act would have removed jurisdiction from the Supreme Court and defined the unborn as persons with full protection under the law. You don’t need new justices or amendments – the Constitution gives Congress the power to remove jurisdiction from the Supreme Court. Republicans could have passed this bill when they controlled all three branches of government under George W. Bush. Did they? Nope. Paul never received more than five cosponsors, but that didn’t stop him from introducing his bill every congressional session. In his current and final year in Congress, Paul’s bill has zero cosponsors.

Unfortunately, conservative evangelicals were largely critical of Paul during his political career. He was mistaken by many as “not pro-life enough” all because he didn’t use the typical rhetoric. In reality, Paul was perhaps the most pro-life congressman of this generation. The pro-life movement will not see many victories until we reassess our strategies and start following Paul’s example. May his efforts not be in vain, and may future leaders carry on his legacy.race game onlineразработка корпоративного а

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