Thursday, May 26, 2005

A question...

Okay, do you think it would be fair to assume (in the philosophical sense) that the fact of existance ought to guarantee the right of existance. That is, if a person exists, the fact of their existance gives them the right to exist.


Andrew said...

What are you on?

Iain said...

What is anyone on, really?

But in answer to your post, I'd have to say yes it does. The fact of existence determines the right to exist.

Let me explain briefly and biblically. I can do that kind of thing, I'm a Bible College Student, you know (biblically, i mean, I'm never brief).

All humans (and animals) are, as it writes that God created us in the Genesis story, 'living creatures' or 'nephesh hayyah' (that is, beings that possess a nephesh).

Basically, as living creatures we have a blessing associated with that - the right to prosper and multiply.

So all living people, no matter how disable or unprivaleged, have the right to prosper, grow and continue living just as much as anyone else.

I would also add, since the debate would only occur on YOUR Blog, that this also includes our younger, pre-birth citizens ;)

Sharyn said...

Aha, I have been found out. This is all part of the 'abortion is intrinsically wrong' agrument that I am working on. Don't get me started on 'if a person seed flies through your window' argument of the opposition.

(I have to think about your post before I can comment)

Keri said...


Danielle said...

Hmm... very interesting! At first I thought yay, you've done it (downed the pro-abortion argument). But if the fact that something exists gave it the right to exist it could be problematic. What about the apple you ate for lunch or even a cancer tumour. The fact of existence giving the right to continued existence would mean that we could no longer consume anything or operate to remove harmful tumours. If you were to assume this premise is true specifically for "people", the pro-abortion argument often suggests that we define what exactly makes a person a "person"(eg when does a foetus become a "person") and what makes them more valuable than other beings (without commiting "speciesism"!?! :) ). It still comes down to these fundamental questions.
But keep up the philosophizing and we'll beat them yet.

Are you doing an essay shaz or you just in one of those "tree falls in the woods" states of mind? :)

Karen said...

I am personally very opposed to babies being killed but since there is no known way of stopping it happening I have come up with some ideas. I believe it becomes a person at the gestation age that they would give you drugs or intervene to keep the pregnancy going. In other words basically straight away. I have settled for being pleased if they would just tighten up the rules about the gestational age for abortion eg. a cut-off at 8-12 weeks and absolutely no abortions are to be performed after that date. Or am I just softening down that fact that I am not pro-choice and am I just making excuses for baby killing. I know there are always special circumstances that crop up from time to time but I definitely think NZ needs to find ways of cutting down on the amount of terminations we perform and these children have the right to live and breathe.

Shawn said...

It would also be a logical argument to say that if everyone has a right to live, which I believe, then they also have the right to have said right defended by others if they can't defend it themselves.

The real question is really "When does a life start?" If we could prove, once and for all, that life starts at birth I think that would go a long way to winning this debate.

A. J. Chesswas said...

Sorry i have to disagree, which I seem to be doing a lot of lately!

You can't argue against abortion on the basis of rights. At least not from a Christian perspective. You can't argue for or against anything on the basis of rights from a Christian perspective. Rights are simply not a part of Christian theology. God didn't give us the right to prosper and multiply - he COMMANDED us to. The meaning of life (Ecclesiastes) - obey God. Not fight for your rights.

Abortion is wrong because murder is wrong, and because it shows contempt for The Lord's design and purpose for sex (ie reproduction). The Catholics know what they're talking about when it comes to this sort of thing:

A. J. Chesswas said...

p.s. I just thought my last post might have sounded a bit harsh. I know it was just a random theory, I just like to get fired up whenever I can :)

"Every man should periodically be compelled to listen to opinions which are
infuriating to him. To hear nothing but what is pleasing to one is to make a
pillow of the mind."
- St. John Ervine

Sharyn said...

Well, for one I'm not trying to argue a christian perspective. There's not much point in that I don't think. As for there are no rights according to Christianity, I don't see how that works exactly. I don't think God commanded us to multiply exactly, that was blessing. Thats just my take.

Danielle: Yes, I have thought about that being problematic. I'm not sure how to argue around that, although I think there must be some way. Perhaps. No essay, just tree falling in the woods! Lol. The other thing I am thinking is that the 'its a woman's body, therefore it's her right to choose' argument cannot hold, since it is actually NOT HER body, it belongs to someone else.

And when does a baby become a person? Well, at conception is the only logical point. Any time frame other than this is simply a matter of degree and therefore arbitrary. Anything arbitrary is invalid according to philosophy.

Keep them coming! I am interested in hearing opinion and thoughts on this. Argh Danielle, it's so hard! I don't know how you got your essay on this together. I mean, its so easy from the Christian view point, but that's no use out in the real world.

Karen said...

Allen I like that quote. I read alot on the blogs I frequent that I don't agree with but even though I don't agree I am glad to read the opinions because I feel they broaden me as a person. Likewise I like people being brave enough to disagree with me. I have noticed that sometimes when I make a comment nobody makes one after that - I hope I am not shutting down conversation with my musings. Sharyn I am really enjoying your blogs!

Iain said...


I case you were referring to my post, allow me to reply. If you weren't, this might be relevant anyway.

Plants: In Genesis, plants do not possess a nephesh. By my prior argument it would still be okay to eat an apple. Also note that God gives plants for the 'nephesh hayyah' to eat.

Animals: Animals are part of the 'nephesh hayyah,' as Genesis explains. Animals possess a nephesh (soul/spirit/insert-debate-here). Initially, (as you point out) humans weren't intended to eat animals. As above, all 'nephesh hayyah' were given plants to eat. But, as we know, after the fall God gave animals for human consumption. So it's okay to eat a cow (note that this doesn't allow for needless killing outside killing for nutritional purposes).

Cancer: Cancer doesn't possess a 'nephesh' and neither is it an actual organism in itself. It is the faulty growth of an actual living being. I would imagine that cancer didn't exist in pre-fall times, nor does God plan for us to suffer from cancer after the Resurrection. I wouldn't worry about cancer therapy, you probably aren't hurting anybody's feelings.

Humans: Humans possess a nephesh AND are created in God's image. This means that they come under God's mandate to multiply as well as having certain rights associated with being children of God (Rights in a certain sense, Chez; hopefully you have no argument with this). How we treat each other as equal servants of God comes more under the giving of the Commandments a bit later, but there are still certain things that go with being Humans that animals can't claim.


Iain said...


And as for the, 'when does a foetus become a human,' issue... lets think about that for a moment.

In fifth form biology, which animals had two life cycles?


If they aren't part of the same lifecycle then they aren't the same animal.

Take a frog. Egg -> tadpole -> frog -> egg etc... and so on it goes.

But why do we split humans into the pre-birth and post-birth category? Why do we act like a foetus is not a human? If somebody didn't stick a medical tool into its head and suck out the contents, would it not grow up to be a regular human like anyone else?

Just because somebody can intervene and prevent an unwanted human from developing to the age that it can vote and kill other babies for itself doesn't mean that it isn't a human anyway.

As an analogy, if a rose bulb is crushed before it ever flowers, is it not still a rose?

If an extinction-level asteroid is intercepted by nukes before it ever strikes earth, does that mean it wasn't ever able to extinguish life on earth?

And so, if I kill a child before I can ever kiss its head or put on its first party-hat, does that make it not a child?

Jo said...

I think it's very easy to say abortion is wrong until you have something to do with it. I agree that in theory abortion is wrong but in practise I personally think in some cases it is the better option.

Shoot me now if you wish but that's what I think.

Andrew said...

Like if the pregnancy was a result of rape or incest right?

In theory it's an easy call.
In practise in these situations, it's a lot tougher...

Karen said...

Jo, you make a valid point. I am someone who always took the moral high ground but as I have seen firsthand it is easy to have the morals in theory but harder when you are confronted with the realities of these situations. I gave this one huge thought years ago when I was asked to go with a friend to procure an abortion. I would have to say even in the case of rape/incest etc the baby is still half yours and secondly it had no say over how it came to be either and should he/she be punished in a very painful way for this situation occuring. The other thing is the child can always be adopted out to one of the many many couples who cannot conceive their own offspring so although it is a hard decision and it would be hard to carry the baby to full-term abortion is certainly not the only option and also not the best either for baby or mother (the pyschological damage is huge).

Shawn said...

I don't see the point in arguing the whole abortion issue from a Christian point of view. It doesn't work for the majority who don't believe.

Iain said...


I don't find that line of reasoning very satisfying. Does that mean I shouldn't evangelise? After all, that would be presuming that certain people require salvation from a Christian point of view... which of course "doesn't work" for the majority that don't believe.

The argument 'against abortion from a Christian point of view' might fall down among unbelievers because they don't believe that God loves them, they don't believe that God has declared all humans valuable or that they don't believe in God anyway. But I don't see how that changes anything.

Lots of doctrine is silly to somebody who doesn't believe it - but it doesn't make it wrong or not worthwhile.

Issues of Christian conviction should not require a democratic vote that includes those people who don't believe it in the first place.

Many might not believe it, but Christ died for the majority that don't believe.

Various others,

There is no point holding a conviction that you don't believe is practical or that doesn't work in "reality."

Personally, I don't believe that the value that God places on us is impractical or unrealistic. Certain elements of life might be difficult or painful but we, as Christians, can still choose to respond to such things in the most loving and constructive way possible. Responding unlovingly, continuing a destructive cycle or contributing to the mechanisms of an imperfect world are ways of behaving that Christ has provided the way past.

Thanks to all, no offense intended. Good conversation so far :)

Iain said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Danielle said...

Hey Iain, Just in quick reply to your earlier comments. I was actually just referring to Sharyns blog at the time but the biblical "nephesh" was an interesting factor.
Also, When I said that the foetuses personhood is challenged by the pro-abortion argument I was not talking about the foetus's belonging to the human species. In philosophical abortion debate the term "person" is usually not used interchangeably with "human". As the term human just implies belonging to the homosapien species. The term person is regarded as representing a being with a superior right to life.

Shawn said...


Have you ever been talking to someone and they instantly "switch-off" as soon as the conversation turns towards Christianity, the church or something like that? Because I certainly have.

And that's what I mean when I say it's useless to argue from the Christian point of view. It's not that the view is wrong, the opposite in fact, but if someone doesn't believe in God there's no point telling them that abortion is wrong because we are all made in the likeness of God.

Paul said something like "When in Rome, do as the Romans do." Argue the issue, it's important, but argue it in a way that the receiver is going to listen.

Iain said...

>if someone doesn't believe in God there's no point telling them that abortion is wrong because we are all made in the likeness of God


All things to all men that I might save some.

Being contextual means not being a headbanging, bible basher when you can help it.

If I'm talking to my athiest friend, Mike, then I'll talk to him in terms that he understands and associates with.

When I'm posting on a blog by a Christian, as a Christian, for Christians, then I'll use the knowledge God has taught me in the Scriptures.

Shawn said...

Fair enough.