Tuesday, October 20, 2009

The logic behind the pro-choice position, or why you should abstain.

Let me begin this post with something. This post is about a very controversial position and I am attempting to posit a theory to help me to understand a position I disagree with. If you disagree with me, please hold your temper and understand that I am not approaching the topic in this case with judgment in my heart. I am simply trying to understand the opposing side. Please before you form any judgment, read the entire post.

Now to the article: abortion.

I, like many Christians, am pro-life. Yet I am not pro-life because my religious leaders told me to be pro-life. I am pro-life because it's obvious to me that the fetus is alive. We should protect our young. I can't imagine a woman wanting to pay a "doctor" to rip her own child to pieces. It just doesn't make sense to me. I honestly believe that in 1,000 years people will look back at our time in horror at the practice.

Like most pro-lifers I have been completely baffled at the logic of the pro-choice position and have dismissed the pro-choice position that the fetus isn't a child as nothing but a heartless excuse to engage in casual sex (usually outside of marriage.)

I have been pondering the confusion for a few years now and I think I have finally begun to start to understand why pro-choice advocates support someone's "right" to have an abortion, even when they sometimes think the life being aborted is a sentient, feeling, little human baby. And some do, yet they are still pro-choice.

It begins with a lesson in the statistics of birth control. The most absolute form of birth control is sterilization, but even that is not 100% effective. Statistically speaking 3 out of every 1000 sterilized couples will become pregnant within one year. While this seems very close to absolute, it is absolutely NOT absolute, especially considering the sexual appetite of man. It is actually quite high. After all, if 1,000,000 sterilized couples engage in sex, 3,000 of them will become pregnant after one year!!!! WOAH! That number is far from absolute. And that number is reapeated the next year.

Now you must realize that this is the most extreme example, and most of the people who get sterilized are married. The most common examples, especially for single people, are birth control and the condom. They are far less effective. In real world use the condom can be as low as 70% effective. The pill only slightly moreso. But let's be optimistic and say that each are 99% effective. Well, that means that 1% of all people who engage in regular sex will become pregnant within one year. Holey Moley! That means that out of (a ridiculously low number of) 1,000,000 couples engaging in regular sex, 10,000 will become pregnant. Again that is EACH year! And again, this is OPTIMISTIC! And again that is out of a sample of 1,000,000 couples!!! Need I remind you that there are over 6 billion people on the planet. If only 1% of them are having regular sex then they will create 300,000 pregnancies IF all of them use condoms or birth control perfectly!!! And we all know that most people do not use their birth control properly, if they use it at all. So that 300,000 pregnancies is actually much much much higher.

And you thought that the sexual revolution was a good thing.

Of course many of these 60 million people engaging in regular sex do want their babies, but I think these statistics are very telling for people who do NOT want to get pregnant. I hope you see how my point demonstrates the severity and huge responsibility that you must accept when you have sex.

This responsibility is precisely the point. I think this might just be a dividing line between the pro-life position and the pro-choice position. And it also helps to explain why the dividing line so often becomes a debate between Christians and non-Christians. After all, the Christian faith is against casual sex, especially outside of marriage. And most women who have abortions are not married, although I know that there are some. Christians believe that you do not have a natural right to have sex whenever you want. The people who do think that you have a natural right to have sex whenever you want are typically not Christian, although there are some of course. Christians do sin and can be deceived by what they see in the world around them.

So, the Christian just does not understand how important sex is to the part of mankind that appreciates the value of a healthy sexual life. And in our opinion this part of mankind does not fully comprehend and appreciate the responsibility that comes with a sexual lifestyle. If you consider the statistics, you can see why.

Now, I do not think that the sexually active people are fully ignorant of the responsibility that comes with a sexually active lifestyle. They do after all support the use of contraceptives. A short while ago I had an epiphany. I came to the conclusion that most people in the western world believe that sex, especially within the confines of a committed relationship, is very important, before and after marriage. This realization was so ______-changing that I felt the need to create polls in several forums. The results completely confirmed my suspicion. Sex is very important to people today, before and after marriage.

They know that there is a very real chance that they will become pregnant when they have sex. They don't feel that this is right because sex is just so important. So their answer is of course, abortion.

Oh blastitall. I forgot to finish my thoughts. I'm too tired right now, but I'll include some, but remember, they are unfinished.

A parasite is not related to its host.

Also, I, unlike many people, do not support abortion, ever. Not when the life of the baby is at stake. Not when the life of the mother is at stake. Not in the case of incest or if the baby will be deformed or impaired. And absolutely definitely most positively not in the case of rape. I know these difficult situations are controversial. I can at least understand situations that put the mother's life in danger. But not rape. I know it's horrible to say but women have been giving birth after rapes for thousands of years. I realize that the growing baby inside your belly is a reminder of the horrible incident you want to put behind you. But I personally can not think of a greater silver lining that a brand new life. Yes, it was horrible, but now you have a baby! Babies ate WONDERFUL gifts!

Knowing the condition of the birth is a new phenomenon.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

How's this for a definition of evil?

While studying the morality of Bart Simpson I think I figured out a good definition of evil. Here it is:

Someone who does not want to do good.

Easy, right? So obvious. Maybe a little bit too obvious. Enough that you might miss what I really mean, so let me explain.

The standard measure of evil is Hitler. But maybe Hitler isn't the best example to use in these cases since there is so much emotional attachment to his figure. (see my comment) So rather than use that tired example I'll use a more fun one: James Bond villains. They generally want to take over the world. But to what end? Power? Greed? No. Not all of them. What do they want? Utopia. They want to create peace. Their methods might be a bit unorthodox, but their end goal is the same: goodness. They believe that they are doing good. In fact, EVERYONE believes that they are doing good.

This is why I don't believe in evil. Everyone thinks they are doing good. And I think it's pretty darned good evidence for the existence of God. The general "tide" or "current" in humanity is towards goodness. Over time we should gradually get to be better and better people because we all struggle towards goodness.

Unfortunately, although evil seems fairly easy to define, it seems that good is far more difficult. The struggles we have (indeed many wars were fought over this) are reconciling each others' definitions of "goodness." There are few universally accepted definitions of "good," so one of the main goals of philosophy I think is to study mankind in such a way as to discover that universal definition of "goodness" so we'll have a tried and true yardstick by which we can live and know that we are doing right.

This is why I especially like my definition of morality: free will. I think it covers all bases. Read the article for more information.

Bart Simpson: An allegory for humanity.

I got into a discussion with some people online about The Simpsons and I told them about my belief that they generally teach good moral values on the show. They completely scoffed at my thought and ridiculed me soundly. But I stand behind what I said.

You can really see what I mean if you study the bad seed, Bart. Bart is not intended to be a positive role model. Bart is an allegory of the nature of all mankind. He is an exploration of the duality of good and evil and a lesson that good triumphs. He is constantly struggling with temptation and having to deal with the consequences of his sinful tendencies. It's actually quite Christian in its nature. He always (and by extension we) learn(s) a valuable life lesson, although it's rarely spelled out "I learned something today" South Park style.

If you are a fan of the show, you no doubt remember when he killed a bird with a BB gun. Or when he was caught shoplifting. Or when he got Principle Skinner fired. Or in this latest episode, when he got Miss Krabappel fired. In this episode she tells him something particularly ground shaking, "You are bad on the inside." That completely shattered him, and the fact that he was so shaken by her accusation shows just how good he really is. If he was truly evil, it wouldn't matter that someone said that he was bad on the inside. (This is where the definition of evil became clear to me.)

Whatever you feel about Bart's nature, the one thing you must conclude is that he is not rotten to the core. He is in fact good inside. When his pranks go overboard he always feels bad for it and attempts to make things right. In fact, the majority of the shows involving him are almost always largely composed of his attempts to right his wrongdoings. The show is really about good.

So we can really study Bart and learn something about ourselves. Although we do tend to make mistakes, we should always try to do good and to make our evil deeds right. And in general, that's exactly what we do, because we are good.