Last month I began a chapter-by-chapter summary review of Scott Klusendorf’s book “The Case For Life: Equipping Christians to Engage the Culture” (paperback, Kindle, GoodReads, Video Trailer, Interview, Life Training Institute). Today I will continue the summary with Part 2 of the book.
Part 2- Pro-Life Christians Establish A Foundation For The Debate
Chapter 5- The Ground Rules, Part 1: Can You Name My Claim?
Probably the most important distinction in the debate regarding abortion is in what the pro-life advocate is arguing. In an effort to try to appease the pro-lifer, it is often claimed by pro-choice advocates that they are personally against abortion, but they would not impose their morality on others, thus they support choice. However, the debate is not about whether or not one personally likes the idea of abortion or not. It is about whether or not abortion is objectively wrong, regardless of our personal preferences. If it is objectively wrong, the only purpose personal preference serves in the discussion is to distract from the real issue and make one feel better about holding the wrong position.
Klusendorf defines cultural and individual relativism but is quick to point to the fact that both of them result in cognitive dissonance when we compare Adolf Hitler to Mother Teresa. He provides a short history lesson tracing how relativistic thinking has influenced society and how each progressive theory self-destructs in its own attempt to undermine the existence of objective morality, the recognition of the existence of objective morality, and the identification of the specific morals. This demonstrates that the cognitive dissonance, generated by the necessary concession that Hitler and Teresa were both morally equal based on either form of relativism, does in fact reflect reality (moral realism).
Chapter 6- The Ground Rules, Part 2: Is Moral Neutrality Possible?
In light of the solid scientific evidence that establishes that the unborn are human, alive, and distinct from their parents, many people claim to be remain morally neutral in order to maintain a pro-choice position. Klusendorf explains that moral neutrality is not possible. Humans either have an intrinsic right to life or they do not. Legal neutrality is also attempted, but that is also impossible. The unborn are either protected or they are not. Legal protection implies a moral right to life, while a lack of protection betrays the opposite. If fully-developed humans deserve the right to life, based on the fact that they are human or according to the law, then so do the unborn. Likewise, if the unborn do not deserve the right to life regardless of the fact that they are human or because the law refuses to protect them, then neither does any fully-developed human deserve the right to life, on the same grounds.
Chapter 7- Foundations: Does God Matter (Or Am I Just Matter)?
Because of the fact that we live in a pluralistic society that is highly sensitive to religious claims, many pro-choice/abortion advocates like to dismiss the pro-life position because of its metaphysical foundations to establish the intrinsic value of human life. Klusendorf addresses this challenge by highlighting the double standard in such thinking. The limit of scientific inquiry is at the point of establishing the identity of the unborn. It cannot speak to the metaphysical topic of whether or not humans have intrinsic value or not (thus should be protected o not). Both pro-life and pro-choice/abortion positions must appeal to the metaphysical to establish its conclusion. Thus neither side may dismiss the other based on the fact that it makes metaphysical claims. Both positions involve the metaphysical, thus their proponents must be prepared to defend their position and not merely complain about the other. Taking his own challenge seriously, Klusendorf briefly presents many scientific and philosophical evidences that demonstrate that is is more logical to conclude that God exists than to conclude that God does not exist. With God’s existence in place, as creations of God, in His Image, humans possess intrinsic value and a right to life.
Chapter 8- Dead Silence: Does the Bible Justify Abortion?
The Bible does not explicitly mention the word “abortion,” so neither side in the debate may make the claim that the Bible explicitly condemns or condones the practice. Rather, cases for both sides are made via inference. All the arguments that conclude that abortion is Biblically acceptable also necessitate the simultaneous condoning of indubitably morally reprehensible behaviors such as racial discrimination and lynchings. Since these implications are not Biblically acceptable, then by their necessary connection to the desired conclusion, neither is abortion Biblically acceptable.
The argument for the Bible’s condemnation of abortion is quite simple. The Bible explicitly condemns the murder of human beings, and a more reasonable case may be made from scripture for the unborn’s humanity than inhumanity; therefore, the Bible condemns abortion. Notice, though, that the second premise in that argument is not as certain, thus the pro-choice/abortion advocate may attempt to seize on this apparent weakness. However, such an attempt can easily be overcome by substituting for the second premise that science has established that the unborn are human (as discussed in Chapter 2).
Next Month I will examine Part 3 which will cover several objections including intolerance, rape, and bodily autonomy.