Always Good, Never Safe

If anyone should have known the fear of God, it was the Israelites.

They had front row seats as he plagued Egypt with all kinds of insects, amphibians, and diseases. He turned the Nile River to blood, covered Egypt in darkness, and even took away all the Egyptian’s firstborn sons. The God of Israel led his people out of Egypt with a pillar of cloud by day and a pillar of fire by night. He parted the Red Sea, letting his people pass through unharmed. And as Pharaoh’s armies pursued, he joined the seas back together so the waters swallowed them.

But Israel didn’t learn their lesson.

Seven weeks after this great deliverance, these newly freed slaves were preparing to be in God’s presence at the foot of Mount Sinai (Exodus 19:9–11). God instructed Moses to set limits around the mountain so that the people would not go up on it lest they die (Exodus 19:12–13). He showed himself to his people, descending upon the mountain in fire and enveloping it in smoke (Exodus 19:18). There was also a thick cloud on the mountain with shots of lightning, peals of thunder, and a loud trumpet blast (Exodus 19:16).

The people initially trembled. But their fear did not last.

Read the rest at Desiring God >>

Seeking Revelation in Anthony Bourdain’s Parts Unknown

I recently had my second post over at Think Christian up a few days ago. Here is a short excerpt and a link to the original post:

Anthony Bourdain is more than just a crass, foodie traveler known for eating rotten shark meat and a still-beating cobra heart. In his CNN show Parts Unknown, Bourdain reveals the many layers of faraway cultures. Fast Company’s Rob Brunner writes that “Bourdain is on a mission to illuminate underappreciated and misunderstood cultures, whether it’s Myanmar or Detroit. He regularly takes viewers to the sorts of places—Libya, Gaza, Congo—that most Americans know only from grim headlines about political strife and body counts.”

Season 7 of Parts Unknown concluded in the streets of Buenos Aires this past June. The episode hinged on extended therapy sessions, as Bourdain invited us into the “dark crannies of my skull” in honor of the psychology-obsessed Argentinians. He can also be found engaging in the local pastime of lawn chair-lounging and beer sipping while watching airplanes land.

Read the rest >>

 

 

Stranger Things and Our Quest for the Extraordinary in the Ordinary

My husband and I enjoyed the first season of this new show on Netflix. Here is a review of the show with a theological angle. 


***This article contains spoilers for the first season of the Netflix series Stranger Things.***

The Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines “strange” as “different from what is usual, normal, or expected.” The relatively new filmmakers the Duffer Brothers pulled off the unexpected by casting four middle-school-age boys as the central characters in an adult-targeted TV show. Television networks told the brothers it wouldn’t work unless they targeted the show at kids or made the two leading adult actors the main characters. They were rejected fifteen to twenty times, with one TV exec telling them, “You either gotta make it into a kids show or make it about this Hopper [detective] character investigating paranormal activity around town.” But the brothers were loyal to their own creative instincts. Matt Duffer responded by saying that if they were to follow this advice, “[t]hen we lose everything interesting about the show,” and they sought out instant streaming networks instead. The loyalty to the script for their horror/science fiction series, Stranger Things, paid off. According to Parrot Analytics, the Duffer Brothers’ Netflix summer hit was the most popular digital original series in the U.S. for the week of July 17 to 23. What TV execs perceived as strange in the Duffer Brothers choice of main characters became normal as the new Netflix series spread through Facebook and Twitter feeds.

Read the rest at Christ and Pop Culture >>

Made for More: An Invitation to Live in God’s Image — Book Review

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Living in the broad brushstroke of a reformed and complementarian background, this book Made for More: An Invitation to Live in God’s Image, comes as a refreshing take on some controversial topics. As a young girl I grew up in a church with some rigid outlines for gender roles inside and outside of marriage (some even promoted extra-biblically in my local church culture.)

Much of the women’s ministry I grew up in was comprised of pink passage topics aimed specifically at women: Titus 2, Proverbs 31, being keepers of the home, the submissive wife, a quiet and gentle spirit, domesticity, and nurturing. All of these topics are still valuable and I strive to adopt them in my life, but it’s dangerous to isolate these “women passages” from the rest of scripture. And of course the rest of scripture still applies to women, because like men we are equally made in God’s image. Hannah Anderson refers to this as being made imago dei, which when literally translated means “in the image of God.”

Anderson uses Romans 11:36, “For from Him and through Him and to Him are all things“, as her general reference point in the larger purpose of the book. What is her larger purpose? I believe it is to unmask the greater purpose of being women made in the image of God — who strive to live in communion with God, communion with others, and be good stewards of creation. A woman’s prime identity is to share in the divine nature of her God. One day we will be complete in this union with our maker as he glorifies us in heaven, but until then our purpose is to become more like Christ here on earth.

According to Anderson we can’t just define and understand ourself by different categories — gender, race, calling — we must come back to the central focus of identity, which is God himself. Instead of making gender roles the starting place for discussion, Anderson believes we must make the starting place of discovery at imago dei. She says:

“When you understand this, when his identity becomes the foundation for your identity, the details will finally make sense.”

This book also makes an appeal to treat identity as a complex issue, not something that can be completely reduced to one or two things: namely, being a wife and mother. We can’t just be satisfied with haggling over roles, but we must come back to the foundation of the basic questions of identity: “Who am I and why am I here?” When we get this straight Anderson says,

You will finally be free to live beyond the roles and labels and expectations because you will finally be free to live in the fullness of God himself.”

I don’t think Anderson has deserted the traditional biblical womanhood that we see in scripture, she is just giving it a fuller and deeper treatment. She says,

“We make womanhood the central focus of our pursuit of knowledge instead of Christ.”

She does a tremendous job of bringing our focus to the perfect image bearer who lived, died, and rose for us, so our identities could heal from the brokenness around us and in us. It is through Christ alone that we can fulfill imago dei once again like in the Garden of Eden. Through Christ we can better image God through how we love, give, and learn.

This book deeply impacted me in how I view myself — as a person first and foremost — before God and others. It also showed me how great and glorious our God is in his goodness, wisdom, sovereignty, power, and love, and how he is all of his attributes unified at all times — God is a living paradox. We can’t dissect him into categories; he is much bigger than our human categories. I was also challenged to more fully “partake of the divine nature” (2 Peter 1:4) in Christ; I was challenged to embrace his loving providence for my life. Like on page 139 when Anderson says:

“Providence is the intricate combination of God’s power and His love working together to bring about the best for his children — working together to make them exactly who they are meant to be.”

Honestly, it’s been a long time since I’ve read a book and walked away wanting to worship God. I think Anderson has done that in this book, and that is why I highly recommend it to you. She does a powerful job of showing how we as humans are truly made for more.

“We have all forgotten what we really are.” — G.K. Chesterton

There are no ordinary people. You have never talked to a mere mortal.” — C.S. Lewis

3 Societal Reactions to the Planned Parenthood Videos

The recent Planned Parenthood exposure is resulting in outrage and placidity. Pro-life Christians are riled up to voice and action, while mainstream media and cultural majority are eerily silent. We are lulled to sleep by the chirping of crickets just like with the Gosnell trial. Abortion has never been a yawning matter for the torture of the unborn or their tormented mothers.

The Gosnell trail awakened our society to what goes on behind closed doors of abortions: the corruption, the brutality, the money mongering, and the reality of the bloody procedures breeding death. We finally saw some dust, but then it was quickly swept under the rug. Well, here we are again. More dust and more sweeping. 

Here are 3 “sweeping” reactions to the Planned Parenthood video from media sources and society at large:

1.) Apathy

I once wrote a persuasive essay about philosophy and abortion in a Journalistic Essay course in college. Not only did my Professor have to read it, but the entire class had to read it and give feedback. When copies of my essay were passed around the room students reacted differently than when other essays were passed around. The air was thick with guilty silence. No one rushed to share their feedback first, and everyone was delicately avoiding sharing opinions and judgements. There were obvious looks of pain etched on some of their faces.

I think they knew.

They knew truth was being proclaimed in a classroom, and it was an affront to their apathy in voice and action.

We are a culture that idolizes tolerance, which in our culture today, means you can’t disagree with someone’s beliefs or decisions. You have to accept everything and everyone or else you are committing the ultimate sin of intolerance and bigotry. What I felt in that college classroom were students afraid to voice anything about the content of my essay, only the form. These cultural idols have silenced us into apathy.

John Piper speaks to this lack of concern and care:

I took an abortionist out to lunch once, prepared to give him ten reasons why the unborn are human beings. He stopped me, and said, “I know that. We are killing children.” I was stunned. He said, “It’s simply a matter of justice for women. It would be a greater evil to deny women the equal right of reproductive freedom.”

Some in our society know, but they just don’t care. They would rather worship the cultural gods of tolerance, women’s rights, and sexual freedom.

2.) Ignorance

There are some in our society who don’t want to know — who don’t want to think. When I was a counselor at a crisis pregnancy center I asked one woman considering an abortion if she had done any research. Her response was that she saw scary images online, but ultimately tried not to think about it.

Many people want to be ignorant about this issue. The recent video exposure is just one of the dust bunnies we don’t clean up, but hide under the rug. The real issues are not brought into the light, but shrouded in darkness. The abortion issue is avoided, because ultimately it mirrors us; it reveals the darkness of hidden sins we all feel at home with.

Albert Mohler unveils the desire for ignorance from a reporter at Cosmopolitan magazine:

“Writing at Cosmopolitan magazine, abortion supporter Robin Marty said that she had seen the video. Then she said, “Now, frankly, I’m just going to yawn.”

Later in her own essay she stated: “I shuddered when listening to the discussion of how the fetus can be removed, and the idea of a ‘menu’ of fetal tissue and organs that could be procured depending on the gestational age of the pregnancies being terminated and the number of patients who consent to donating is one I hope I never have to encounter again.”

3.)Denial

Many people in our society try to suppress the truth. If we can’t be ignorant and apathetic, then we can lie to ourselves. We lie to ourselves by saying right and wrong are relative, but the internet and social media makes it clear we have strong personal views of right and wrong.

The famous Oxford professor and writer, C.S. Lewis, wrote a book titled Mere Christianity. This atheist turned Christian philosophizes in his writing about right and wrong as a clue to the meaning of the universe. Lewis appeals in chapter one to the law of human nature. He talks about quarrels.

Everyone says things like, “How’d you like it if anyone did the same to you?  “That’s my seat, I was there first”-  “Leave him alone, he isn’t doing you any harm” —  “Why should you shove in first?”  “Give me a bit of your orange, I gave you a bit of mine” — “Come on, you promised.”

Lewis says in all of these statements we are appealing to some kind of standard of behavior, which we expect others to follow.  The old philosophers would call this the Law of Nature, meaning the law of human nature, and how we are all governed by an internal law that shows us right and wrong. This is the human idea of decent behavior, which was thought to be obvious to everyone, but we have rejected this type of thought in today’s culture.

Lewis would say we believe in this law whether we admit it or not: “If we do not believe in decent behavior, why should we be so anxious to make excuses for not having behaved decently? The truth is, we believe in decency so much — we feel the Rule of Law pressing on us so — that we cannot bear to face the fact that we are breaking it, and consequently we try to shift the responsibility.”

As we can see in Planned Parenthood’s PR defense, truth is relative, but it’s going to be hard to sweep this one away. The one standard they have weighing on them is the law. Man’s law, but most importantly God’s law. Our society can be apathetic, ignorant, and in denial, but as Christians we know this truth:

“For the Lord is our judge; the Lord is our lawgiver; the Lord is our king; he will save us.” — Isaiah 33:22

Unfulfilled Longings in the Check Out Line

Part 3 of the Christian Thinking series. 


Have you looked at the women’s magazines at the store check out lane recently?

  • 99 Ways to Look Better, Feel Better, Enjoy Life More!
  • Snack off Weight
  • Look Gorgeous When It’s 100 Degrees
  • 25 Secrets to Looking Young
  • Indulge Yourself: Instant Long Hair; Goof-proof Self-tanning
  • The Little Health Habit That Keeps You Thin, Improves Your Skin, and Ups Your Energy!
  • The Easy Life: Fun Jobs, Cool Dresses, Wild Fantasies, and Smart Solutions

All of these article titles promise to satisfy our desires to be thin, beautiful, young, and have everything we want quickly and easily. Yet, if we don’t get the results we want, when we want them, we launch into feelings of resentment, depression or anxiety. Then when we feel this way we look for other
ways to fulfill our longings: a new hairstyle, wardrobe, job, a man, children, vacations, and food. It’s a frenzied cycle of bondage.

We live in a culture of convenience. The only worthy pursuits are ones which come with little effort. Once life gets hard and we don’t feel fulfilled we pitch a fit. We live in a time where results are demanded instantly; a fast-food mentality permeates all areas of our lives.

This is false teaching alive in the message of our culture, and it is not a biblical message. Women embrace this message, because of insecurity, unhappiness, and a desire to feel fulfilled. Here are 3 ways we can put on our Christian Thinking caps and impart truth into our lives in this area:

1. Unfulfilled longings are not always sinful.

Longings and desires, in and of themselves, are not sinful, and fulfilling these desires are not always sinful either.  When our quest for fulfillment becomes a demanding right that must be fulfilled instantly or we insist on fulfilling our longings in illegitimate ways then we have entered the territory of sin. The problem enters when our desire for other things or people take the place of our desire for God.

2. Our unfulfilled longings cannot be filled by people and things.

C.S. Lewis says this perfectly:

It would seem that Our Lord finds our desires not too strong, but too weak. We are half-hearted creatures, fooling about with drink and sex and ambition when infinite joy is offered us, like an ignorant child who wants to go on making mud pies in a slum because he cannot imagine what is meant by the offer of a holiday at the sea. We are far too easily pleased.”

We will always have unfulfilled longings this side of heaven. The problem is we are too easily satisfied with lesser things offered on this earth, and these lesser things will always fail and disappoint us.

God gave us these desires as a way to point us to heaven and to himself as the ultimate satisfying source of life. He wants us to feel restless on this earth; we are sojourners and aliens here. We should not try to make our home in the wilderness, while the promised land is waiting for us.

3. Unfulfilled longings are a normal part of life. Contentment is key.

We will always live with unfulfilled longings. Once we get what we want, we’ll just want something else. The grass always looks greener on the other side, until we get there and see all the weeds we have to fight, and then we desire a new patch of grass. Our consumer minded society is constantly feeding its ferocious appetite for more. This is not a Christian mindset. We are called to think like Paul and learn contentment in every season of life.

“Not that I am speaking of being in need, for I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content. I know how to be brought low, and I know how to abound. In any and every circumstance, I have learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and need. I can do all things through him who strengthens me.” – Philippians 4:11-13

As Christian women, we need to ask God for strength to be content with whatever lot we find ourselves in. We need to ask for joy in whatever God has set before us. We need to trust God with our unfulfilled longings, and see Christ as our source of ultimate fulfillment to life.

Part 4 >>

Getting to the Root of True Beauty

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Facebook has now become a news stand. Every new and noteworthy article or video you should read (or not read) has probably made its way into your news feed. Some are newsworthy and some are just cute or inspiring. Here is a cute and inspiring one that has been circulating around: http://www.quickmeme.com/p/3vug8k

It is important to not be deceived by this cute little letter. There are statements in here that we as Christians can agree with, but there is nothing distinctly Christian in it; any religious or non-religious person can agree with this letter.

I wouldn’t uphold this letter to my future daughter, because though it does put down a negative cultural attitude, it also promotes a secular philosophy. The world solves the true beauty crisis by looking inward. They put their hope and promise in the truth of themselves. It’s about me. My strength, my heart, my center, my dreams. Look within yourself and believe in yourself.

The Philosophy Behind the Culture

This way of thinking is rampant in our culture. It’s a humanistic philosophy that should be rejected as much as the cultural beauty pressures women face. Humanism is basically a man-centered way of  thinking. Man is basically God and basically good, and we can find value in our human nature. This father isn’t solving the root issue, he’s just feeding the flame of self to his daughter. He doesn’t know the truth of the Gospel and the true beauty in Christ of dying to self. Self. That is the root issue. Self-obsession. Self-love. Self-hatred.

In every culture and generation there has always been varying ideas of what is and isn’t beautiful. The pressure women feel to be outwardly beautiful isn’t a new concept. (We just have it more in our face now with such an image driven culture.) The pressure has been on our external self, but the way to find freedom is not to look to our internal self. We need to get completely outside of ourselves to be free. Anything inside of us is just as ugly and flawed as anything we perceive about ourselves externally.  C.S. Lewis says this,

“Look for yourself, and you will find in the long run only hatred, loneliness, despair, rage, ruin, and decay. But look for Christ and you will find Him, and with Him everything else thrown in.”

Our Biggest Enemy and our Role-Model

Our biggest enemy as women is not the makeup and fashion industry, but it is ourselves. We love ourselves too much, we think about ourselves too much, and when we do this we enslave ourselves. The letter I would write to my future
daughter would solve the true beauty crisis by encouraging her to look to Christ. He is the picture of true beauty.

Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.”  -Philippians 2:5-11

Christ made himself ugly by entering our world. He sacrificed his heavenly radiance and clothed himself in sinful flesh. The one person who actually deserved to think well of himself and who was completely worthy, forgot himself completely. He lived this way and died this way. He became ugly to make us beautiful in Him. Once we believe this, with faith, then our worthiness and our beauty is found in Him.  We are perfectly flawless before God by the blood of Christ.

This is what I want my future daughter to believe in — not herself. The woman who dies to self daily increases in beauty daily. She is a lovely scented perfume to God and to those around her. Christ makes us beautiful inside, and that is our hope.

“C.S. Lewis in Mere Christianity makes a brilliant observation about gospel-humility at the very end of his chapter on pride. If we were to meet a truly humble person, Lewis says, we would never come away from meeting them thinking they were humble. They would not be always telling us they were a nobody (because a person who keeps saying they are a nobody is actually a self-obsessed person). The thing we would remember from meeting a truly gospel-humble person is how much they seemed to be totally interested in us. Because the essence of gospel-humility is not thinking more of myself or thinking less of myself, it is thinking of myself less.

Excerpt from Tim Keller’s book, The Freedom of Self Forgetfulness: The Path to True Christian Joy

Housewife Theologian Book Review

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Today housewife has become a dirty word. In Christian circles it has sometimes become a shameful thing. We can be embarrassed to admit our occupation to others. Our culture doesn’t see much value and meaning in being a housewife in comparison with working outside the home. A housewife is second rate; uneducated and imprisoned.

In her book, Housewife Theologian: How the Gospel Interrupts the Ordinary, Aimee Byrd attempts to redeem the word housewife and transform it into something glorious; and something deeper than we make it. Byrd encourages us to think. Our days are not just about laundry and dishes, but should be rich in theology. What we know about God should be apart of the ordinary in our lives; what we know and believe should affect how we live. Byrd describes it this way:

“Truly Christian thinking involves an eternal perspective on our daily matters and contemplation of how they fit into the dogma of the drama in which God has cast us.”

Byrd explains how our femininity, beauty, identity, sexuality, self-image, sin, and attitudes are all out workings of our theological thoughts. This is so important in this day and age as we are surrounded by false teaching that impedes the calling the Lord has given us as women. Byrd teaches us how to not be ‘gullible housewives,’ who believe anything that sounds nice, but to be sharpened in our pursuit of Christian thinking.

Self-Image and Identity

Some of my favorite portions in the book cover self-image and identity. These two issues are typically areas of deception for women. A lot of the lies our culture promotes about these two topics sound pretty truthful. Today you can hear people talking about finding themselves. Feeling lost, like they have no purpose; trying to figure out who they are. It’s not just non-Christians that feel this way, but many Christians.
My only question about these feelings are: Where are you right now?

One of my heroes, Jim Elliot, says this,

“Wherever you are, be all there. Live to the hilt every situation you believe to be the will of God.”

Wherever God has you right now, whatever place, position, or season, is exactly God’s will for you. If we examine our doctrine and truly believe God is sovereign, then we know where we are and what we are doing now is God’s will for us. We don’t have to travel the world or take a pottery class to find ourselves. If we are in the Word of God, we know who we are and who we belong to.

I love the quote from C.S. Lewis in Byrd’s book. It truly summarizes this issue in our culture of finding self:

“The principle runs through all life from top to bottom. Give up yourself, and you will find your real self. Lose your life, and you will save it. Submit to death, death of your ambitions and favorite wishes every day and death of your whole body in the end . . . and you will find eternal life. Keep back nothing. Nothing that you have not given away will really be yours. Nothing in you that has not died will ever be raised from the dead. Look for yourself, and you will find in the long run only hatred, loneliness, despair, rage, ruin, and decay. But look for Christ and you will find Him, and with Him everything else thrown in.”

Identity and Idolatry

When it comes to our identity as women, idolatry is not far behind. It’s easy for us to make ultimate things out of good things, as Byrd describes it. It’s also easy for us to find something to attach ourselves to; something that identifies us. Then we end up looking to that thing as our source of happiness. When it’s taken away we respond in sin.

If we are studying and thinking through God’s Word and taking part in Church fellowship we will be setting ourselves up for idol exposing and killing. What are those things that are not Christ that we are looking to fulfill us? To make us happy? To give us purpose? Maybe it’s having a successful career? Getting rich? Maybe being a good housewife? Maybe it’s having a job outside of the home or not having a job outside the home? Maybe it’s looks?

Maybe we need to look for Christ to identify us. We do that when we are faithful housewife theologians who study the Word of God with rigorous discipline and humble prayers for grace. We are true to ourselves (as our culture calls it) when we immerse ourselves in Christ. We follow our dreams (again a modern cultural saying) when we discover the ultimate dream that is Christ himself.

He is our treasure and pearl of great price. Christ defines us as women and shows us that true value, worth, and meaning is found in losing ourselves and finding Him.

Where Have We Gone in our Thinking? Philosophy and Abortion Have a lot in Common

Her eyes stayed fixed on the pregnancy test. Two lines or one? The 4 minute timer seemed to be dragging the time with a ball and chain. As the time ticked on Tina and I talked about her possible pregnancy.

“If the test is positive, what do you plan to do?” I asked.

“Oh I would have to get an abortion,” she replied.

“A lot of women come through our crisis pregnancy center without being informed or knowledgeable about the abortion procedure.  It’s a good idea to do your research and not be in the dark. Have you looked anything up online?”

“Yeah.”

“What’d you think?”

“It was kinda scary…but I try not to think about it.”

Tina did her homework and the fear blinded her. She made a decision right then; a decision to look away. Tina’s last statement is a reflection of our society — we try not to think.

To Think or Not to Think?

Not thinking is the easy road but thinking long and deliberately about important matters can be dangerous. In his Philosophy book, The Consequences of Ideas, R.C. Sproul harkens back to his college years, while working a summer job in 1959, when he met an interesting street sweeper. The summer job was in a hospital maintenance department where the street sweeper began to engage Sproul in philosophical ideas. Sproul was intrigued by a man whose occupation was sweeping driveways, but who was also knowledgeable in Sproul’s concentration in college.

This street sweeper was a philosophy Professor in Berlin during World War II. His ideas were at odds with Hitler’s Third Reich so he was removed from his position. When he spoke out against the Nazi’s his wife and children were arrested and executed; he escaped from Germany with one daughter. The philosophy Professor no longer taught philosophy, because it had destroyed his life.

Sproul said, “I was pushing a broom because I lived in a culture that sees little value in philosophy and gives scant esteem to those who pursue it. My friend was pushing a broom, on the other hand, because he came from a culture that gave great weight to philosophy. His family was destroyed because Hitler understood that ideas are dangerous. Hitler so feared the consequences of my friend’s ideas that he did everything possible to eliminate him — and his ideas.”

Do we as a nation give the same weight to Philosophy that Hitler did?  Where have we gone in our thinking as a culture? Are we so afraid of thinking? Is darkness a comfort to us?

Philosophy Then and Now

Philosophers of the past were concerned with finding truth; now post-modern thought tells us truth cannot be found (let alone if it even exists.) The tidal wave of post-modernism fueled by the idea of relativism has drowned our society in mud. In post-modernism, words no longer have any intrinsic value or meaning attached to them, and anything goes. To each his own. Live and let live is the mantra of our time.

Today everything is absurd and lacks meaning, such as in Samuel Beckett’s play, Waiting for Godot, where two men banter in nonsensical ways and where their physical actions do not match what they are saying. These two men are waiting for Godot (some literary scholars would say Beckett means God here) but he never comes. In a society where anything goes, where there is no right or wrong, where do we end up? Where do these ideas take us? If we accept post-modern relativist philosophies we have rejected any standard; we have no center, no reference point. Where there is only absurdity, and no meaning and truth, then death sprouts in many forms.

The Rule of Law

One man contends against the view of no truth and meaning. He contends with a world of no absolutes. The famous Oxford professor and writer, C.S. Lewis, wrote a book titled Mere Christianity. This atheist turned Christian philosophizes in his writing about right and wrong as a clue to the meaning of the universe. Lewis appeals in chapter one to the law of human nature. He talks about quarrels.

Everyone says things like, “How’d you like it if anyone did the same to you?  “That’s my seat, I was there first”-  “Leave him alone, he isn’t doing you any harm” —  “Why should you shove in first?”  “Give me a bit of your orange, I gave you a bit of mine” — “Come on, you promised.”

Lewis says in all of these statements we are appealing to some kind of standard of behavior, which we expect others to follow.  The old philosophers would call this the Law of Nature, meaning the law of human nature, and how we are all governed by an internal law that shows us right and wrong. This is the human idea of decent behavior, which was thought to be obvious to everyone, but we have rejected this type of thought in today’s culture.

Lewis would say we believe in this law whether we admit it or not: “If we do not believe in decent behavior, why should we be so anxious to make excuses for not having behaved decently? The truth is, we believe in decency so much — we feel the Rule of Law pressing on us so — that we cannot bear to face the fact that we are breaking it, and consequently we try to shift the responsibility.”

Tina’s Choice

Could Tina’s choice to look away be a suffocation of the Law of Nature? Why would she feel the need to not think about it? Why did she choose to ignore the information she found, even though her emotional response was fear? I went on to explain to Tina the importance of her choice and the possible consequences.

I told her many women come into our crisis pregnancy center in a hurry to terminate the pregnancy with thoughts and emotions traveling at full speed. Many of these women come back to the center for post abortion counseling, because of the guilt and regret they feel for making their choice. I encouraged her to slow down in her thoughts and emotions and make sure she weighed her options. I encouraged her to research and think clearly and deliberately. We never fully realize how our choices today will affect us down the road.

What about Miscarriage?

I then shared a true story with Tina about my sister’s two miscarriages. My sister’s first miscarriage occurred 3 months into her pregnancy and the grief she felt was the same grief a mother would feel if her 3 year old child had died. Why is that? Because the maternal instinct falls into place once the woman knows she is pregnant. My sister had another miscarriage at 4 weeks and the grief was still present. Those in our society would mourn with my sister in both cases, because she wanted those babies.

What if my sister didn’t want either baby?  What if she went to an abortion clinic? Aside from the pro-life followers, most of society would not grieve the loss of the child once the woman chose the abortion route.  Is this a double standard? Are our beliefs concerning this issue based solely on a woman’s choice?

Liz Welch from Glamour magazine states a statistic in her article, Eight Women Share their Abortion Stories, that one out of three women will have an abortion by the time she’s 45. There are 1.37 million abortions per year and 3,700 a day in the United States and 1% of all abortions occur because of rape or incest; 6% of abortions occur because of potential health problems regarding either the mother or child, and 93% of all abortions occur for social reasons (i.e. the child is unwanted or inconvenient.)

If my sister was part of the 93% , then would we deem her choice right? If a woman wants her baby then abortion is wrong, but if the woman doesn’t want her baby then abortion is right? This train of thought can only be the by product of a world given over to relativism. A world where right and wrong is based upon each woman’s choice and desires. This is where we have gone in our thinking.

Injustice in the Abortion Clinic

What if an armed robber invaded my sister’s house and when confronted he beat her to the point where her unborn child died? We would stand in horror at the injustice.

If we think this is injustice, what happens in the abortion clinic? What happens in our philosophical ideas as a culture when we demand justice with an armed robber and mourn through a miscarriage, but we turn our heads and try not to think about what happens in the abortion clinics? We want to save the rainforest, we want to save trees, we want to protect animals lives, but what about developing human life?

We protect the life found in a turtle’s egg, what about a woman’s egg?  Again, where is the standard? Why is it being applied to animal and plant life but not human life?

Pro-Choice Thinking

Some attempt to make a defense for the subjective stance that has led to pro-choice thinking. Judith Jarvis Thompson is one such philosopher. In fact, Thompson gives an interesting analogy:

“But now let me ask you to imagine this. You wake up in the morning and find yourself back to back in bed with an unconscious violinist. A famous unconscious violinist. He has been found to have a fatal kidney ailment, and the Society of Music Lovers has canvassed all the available medical records and found that you alone have the right blood type to help. They have therefore kidnapped you, and last night the violinist’s circulatory system was plugged into yours, so that your kidneys can be used to extract poisons from his blood as well as your own.

The director of the hospital now tells you, “Look, we’re sorry the Society of Music Lovers did this to you–we would never have permitted it if we had known. But still, they did it, and the violinist is now plugged into you. To unplug you would be to kill him. But never mind, it’s only for nine months. By then he will have recovered from his ailment, and can safely be unplugged from you.”

Is it morally incumbent on you to accede to this situation? No doubt it would be very nice of you if you did, a great kindness. But do you have to accede to it? What if it were not nine months, but nine years? Or longer still? What if the director of the hospital says. “Tough luck. I agree. but now you’ve got to stay in bed, with the violinist plugged into you, for the rest of your life. Because remember this. All persons have a right to life, and violinists are persons. Granted you have a right to decide what happens in and to your body, but a person’s right to life outweighs your right to decide what happens in and to your body. So you cannot ever be unplugged from him.” I imagine you would regard this as outrageous, which suggests that something really is wrong with that plausible-sounding argument I mentioned a moment ago.”

Thompson’s analogy breaks down too easily. The first problem lies in the idea of the violinist as being unconscious. Being unconscious has nothing to do with life being present or not. I could faint and be temporarily unconscious, but I would still be alive and I would hope no one would take my life just because I was unconscious.

The second breakdown in the analogy is the assumption that the mother is helpless, because the Society of Music Lovers attached this person to her without her consent. This analogy might apply to the mentioned 1% of women who have abortions upon being raped, but what about the 93% who have an abortion due to inconvenience?

Most women are not helpless; they know unprotected sex will result in pregnancy and even protection is not always safe. Having sex, especially unprotected, will result in pregnancy. The point is some men and women are careless and then think they can wipe it all away with an abortion. Before the choice for an abortion the woman makes a choice to have sex (protected or unprotected.) The issue as human beings is that we don’t like to take the responsibility for our choices. Remember what Lewis said?

“The truth is, we believe in decency so much — we feel the Rule of Law pressing on us so — that we cannot bear to face the fact that we are breaking it, and consequently we try to shift the responsibility.”

Instead of saying the Society of Music’s Lovers tied this person to you, we should say: you tied this person to you! Now concerning the man with the fatal kidney disease — his blood is on your hands.

Behind the Mask of Abortion

Does this make sense to you? Maybe you are like Tina and decided to not think about it a long time ago. Why aren’t you thinking about it? The ancient philosopher Socrates said, “The unexamined life is not worth living.”


Where are the great thinkers of our time? Are they too busy engaging in absurdity, and like Beckett’s characters they are waiting for something they already believe will never come?

You see there is a larger issue at stake in the abortion debate, something that is fundamental, and it’s philosophy. The issue is more than just saving unborn babies; it is a battle of ideas. The way we think directly correlates to how we live, whether we are aware of it or not. Behind every action and decision, from Hitler to today, is a way of thinking. Behind the mask of abortion is the face of relativistic philosophies.