Definition of the Abortion Controversy 1989 Outline

John C. Rankin

[a flyer passed out in university forums, with my additional notes in brackets]

  1. Definition of liberal arts inquiry: The Socratic commitment to investigate every aspect of an issue with an open mind, willing always to be instructed by the facts as they emerge. Accordingly, I embrace liberal arts inquiry, and freely profess my philosophical presuppositions as an evangelical Christian, convinced that all truth is all God’s truth. [Honest seekers of truth never shy away from data. Only people with ulterior motives do. The Christian thus excels.]
  2. Definition of conception: Prior to it, the sperm and the egg are haploid life with no future apart from fertilization,whereupon they unite to form a one-celled zygote which is genetically unique and whole human life. This is our common biological origin. Human life defined by essence, not achievement. [“Nephesh is the usual term for a man’s total nature, for what he is and not just what he has” (Kittel, 9:620). “I was once a zygote, you too.”]
  3. Definition of abortion: The deliberate cutting off of life in the human womb (Latin: ab- + oriri = to stop from rising). [Sin v. redemption = brokenness v. wholeness. Metaethics of the language of understatement.]
  4. Definition of abortion as the ultimate male chauvinism: A man often flees responsibility by leaving a woman whom he has impregnated. She is alone and often feels no choice but abortion. But in so doing, she merely passes on the chauvinism by treating her child as a piece of disposable property, much as the man treated her. She is twice traumatized; once a victim, once a victimizer. And the man trots along his merry way. [Vulnerability of pregnancy — to be trampled or honored? Our affirmation of woman as image-bearers of God: empowering them to choose life.]
  5. Definition of the abortion debate: A religious war, and nothing less — the conflict between Christian and non-Christian world-views. No believer in Jesus Christ can allow for abortion (save the genuine threat to the mother’s life such as ectopic pregnancies). It is not a question of when life begins, but rather what value we place on unborn humans. [Molech, Darwin, Torcaso & Seeger, Engelhardt. Survival of the fittest ethic: eugenics. Abortion v. redemption.]
  6. Definition of Christian ethics in a pluralistic society: Our purpose is to participate in the political process as citizens who are also Christian. We will strive to inform and persuade, never to coerce or manipulate. We renounce “holier than thou” attitudes, and have no desire to impose theocratic rule in this society. We expect no more political freedom than what we gladly affirm for citizens of all ideological persuasions. On this basis we labor to protect the unborn and their families, convinced it is in society’s best interest. Only on the prior sanctity of human life ethic are we able to address other issues of social justice. And only in Christ can forgiveness be found for those who have been through abortion. [Christian truth provides the truest sense of tolerance & freedom, for we come from a position of conviction and strength. Wilberforce …]
  • A challenge to those who are in favor of  legalized abortion: 1) embrace liberal arts inquiry; 2) profess your own philosophical presuppositions; 3) cite any objections to the above definitions; and 4) set forth a positive rationale for legalized abortion. Then we can truly dialogue and learn. [Is there one person here who can say I have been less than exceedingly fair and accurate?]