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Old 07-18-2015, 09:59 AM #1
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Abortion, miscarriage, and God.

Abortions kill the unborn.
It is bad when the unborn die.
Therefore, abortions are bad.

Miscarriages kill the unborn.
It is bad when the unborn die.
Therefore miscarriages are bad.

A perfect plan is one which cannot be conceived to be any better.
God has a perfect plan (Stemming from perfect knowledge and power).
God's plan involves miscarriages.
miscarriages kill the unborn.
It is bad when the unborn die.
Therefore, God's plan is not perfect.

-----

With simple logic, it seems like God is responsible for more unborn deaths than planned parenthood. Miscarriages occur much more often than abortions, and always have.

For the most part, people can't control the causes for their miscarriages, so they can't really be held morally responsible fore the unborn deaths, in the way that they can for purposeful abortions. However, God could have allowed them to be born, and not only chose not to do this, but devised a plan where this would inevitably happen, no matter what people do.

This can be related to the problem of evil and free will, but I aim a bit more specific than the broad finer points of that discussion, though feel free to use that in a response if you wish.

I suppose you could say that man's sins bring about evil things like miscarriages, just as members of the WBC and others say that homosexuality causes hurricanes. But I would be a bit surprised if that is the consensus here.

Sorry if this is in poor taste, it wasn't written to be. It seems like a fair topic for discussion to me.
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Old 07-18-2015, 10:12 AM #2
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From ck thread

Quote:
Originally Posted by markcheb View Post
But Gods plan includes the death of His own Son. Which would also appear "bad".
I agree that too appears bad, unnecessarily so.

Is the only reason these things are not bad because God caused them? Following this logic, it seems like anything God does MUST be "good." This seems like a very different meaning of the word than I think most people think of, even Christians. I take issue with the thought that God could literally come down in human form again, rape 100 people, light some babies on fire, and take a 10 billion ton **** in the ocean, and all would be encouraged because he planned it out ahead of time.

I think it is much easier to see the absurdity in the above case, because it is more relatable to us when we consider God a personified humanoid agent. But I don't think it should matter. God knowingly causes things to happen, that if he were directly doing in a bodied self (Or things which would be bad if any human did them), they would be/are considered bad/wrong. Just the same, a person would still be charged with murder if he devised a complex rube goldberg machine which ended with the pulling of the trigger on a gun which shot another person.

Heck, the gun itself can be considered a rube goldberg machine for committing murder, which is why people say things like "Guns don't kill people, people kill people." So if God initiated the machine which led to miscarriages, he should be responsible for them, right?

All of this also sort of gets into divine command theory and the euphoro problem, which people can discuss in here as well.

Most narrowly though, I want to know why abortions are wrong, and miscarriages are not, in the mind of Christians who believe as much.

If you want phrases like, "God is good!" to mean anything more than, "God is God," you may have some explaining to do.
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Old 07-18-2015, 12:00 PM #3
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Gonna need a definition for "bad"
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Old 07-18-2015, 01:48 PM #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by markcheb View Post
Gonna need a definition for "bad"
Good point. I was thinking the moral compass of most modern humans, as it relates to this issue. I assumed that people who are outraged about abortion are so due to the nature of abortion itself, and not only because it happens to go against God's will. If it is only a matter of going against God's will, there are many more sins and thusly defined "bad" behaviors that should cause even greater outrage, as they occur more frequently than abortions do.
But anyway.

Maybe we do need to take up the Euthyphro problem first. I assume you subscribe to divine command theory, so what is"good" is what is in accordance with God's will, correct? If so, then doesn't saying "God is good" only mean that God does what God plans?" Is that generally how you think of the expression?

If you believe things are only good because they are what God wills, then anything God could ever do would be "good." I don't think this is praise worthy in this case. If I was king of a nation, and the law was written so that everything I say or do becomes law, then of course I would necessarily be said to be a law abiding king. My being law abiding wouldn't be a praise worthy achievement.

But for fun, let's go ahead and go with the DCT definition of 'good' where it is synonomous with what God wills, and see where it takes us.

God is perfect in knowledge.
God creates man/the world.
Therefore, God knows what will result from the initial conditions he set in place before he even decides to create humanity.

So, this take us to the next argument.

God has perfect plan.
Humans cannot surprise God/act in a way which He does not anticipate.
Humans 'choose' to have abortions.
God planned/caused humans to have abortions.

Of course we now get into free will and the seeming contradiction with God's perfect knowledge. Perhaps you can give a sufficient explanation of how to get around this contradiction? Do you think humans have absolute free will, or just 'sort of' or 'illusory' free will?

In any case, it seems to me that no matter how we look at it, miscarriages are a bad thing caused by God, and abortions are as well, though perhaps more easily blamed on humans for their 'role.' Unless, miscarriages are good because they are part of the plan, in which case I think abortion too would be seen as good.

I realize I am jumping around a lot here, but I am trying to be thorough, as there are many angles to take up in this topic, and I wasn't entirely sure which way you wanted to go with your request for a definition of 'bad.'

I would appreciate your definitions and thoughts, if they would offer clarity and explanation on the matter.
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Old 07-18-2015, 02:02 PM #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by markcheb View Post
Gonna need a definition for "bad"
I tend to ramble when my thoughts aren't guided. You seem to be more qualified to speak on Biblical matters. How would you like to define bad, or anything else that needs more narrow description?
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Old 07-19-2015, 10:25 AM #6
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I can't. Bad is too generic a word to use in the original statement. I don't see a definition that could be inserted in place of the word "bad" and make sense all the way through.
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Old 07-19-2015, 11:44 AM #7
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Well how would you describe abortion? Perhaps you aren't one of the Christians whose beliefs I aim to investigate. I often hear people say that it is a great evil, on par with the Holocaust. That it is bad, wrong, etc. I guess I would like to know exactly what these people mean.
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Old 07-19-2015, 04:36 PM #8
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It's the basic POE (problem of evil), which as you say ties into the euthyphro (sp.) dillema.

FWIW, my wife had a miscarriage a few weeks ago. It pretty much sucks.

I'd go so far as to say the POE part of what led to my reconversion (I had an atheist phase), since folks seemed to take it so seriously and yet I found it weak.

Many have tackled it, but I've always been of the opinion that God can define good - not that it's arbitrary, but that God's character is inherent to it. So when I say "God is good" you're right, I'm pretty much just saying "God is God".

The issue here is assuming that God is under the same moral rules as we are. It's not the case. When I design a car I create rules for it such as "when you turn the wheel left the car steers left". This is my will. If the car steers right instead, it's broken - ie. sinning. But that doesn't mean that *I* have to steer left when my wheel is turned. My will is not broken, and I'm not a car. Likewise the car can be programmed to avoid crashes via whatever funky tech, however I'm still perfectly ok to crash cars into each other in testing situations.

In the same way "you shall not murder" applies to humans, while God has the authority to remove/create life as He sees fit. We are outside our rights (for the most part, obviously war/punishment raise their own related but separate issues) when committing abortion, for the same reason we're outside our rights when killing an adult we don't like.

Of course whether you're Christian or not, the question as to whether a fetus deserves human rights is at the core of the abortion debate. If it's not, then Christians should be pro choice too! But we're not, and that's mostly because we don't find the arguments convincing, not because the Bible actually specifically mentions abortion as such. It doesn't, interestingly.

I'm on the fence regarding lib free will. I just don't see how it can exist at a fundamental level short of God creating some metaphysical way that we can't grok. If it doesn't exist then I see your dilemma, but to me it still comes back to the fact that God can do what He wants. If that makes Him "bad" according to some definition outside of "against His will" then that's no issue, given that ultimately good and evil don't exist without God (let alone free will). I don't subscribe to any definition of good and bad outside of His.
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Old 07-20-2015, 01:54 PM #9
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Perhaps replace with word "bad" with "negative"? But I feel like no matter what it's replaced with, that word will still carry a loaded meaning to be interpreted by the listener. So how about replacing "bad" with "generally crappy moment."
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Old 07-20-2015, 03:11 PM #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by vijil View Post
It's the basic POE (problem of evil), which as you say ties into the euthyphro (sp.) dillema.

FWIW, my wife had a miscarriage a few weeks ago. It pretty much sucks.

I'd go so far as to say the POE part of what led to my reconversion (I had an atheist phase), since folks seemed to take it so seriously and yet I found it weak.

Many have tackled it, but I've always been of the opinion that God can define good - not that it's arbitrary, but that God's character is inherent to it. So when I say "God is good" you're right, I'm pretty much just saying "God is God".

The issue here is assuming that God is under the same moral rules as we are. It's not the case. When I design a car I create rules for it such as "when you turn the wheel left the car steers left". This is my will. If the car steers right instead, it's broken - ie. sinning. But that doesn't mean that *I* have to steer left when my wheel is turned. My will is not broken, and I'm not a car. Likewise the car can be programmed to avoid crashes via whatever funky tech, however I'm still perfectly ok to crash cars into each other in testing situations.

In the same way "you shall not murder" applies to humans, while God has the authority to remove/create life as He sees fit. We are outside our rights (for the most part, obviously war/punishment raise their own related but separate issues) when committing abortion, for the same reason we're outside our rights when killing an adult we don't like.

Of course whether you're Christian or not, the question as to whether a fetus deserves human rights is at the core of the abortion debate. If it's not, then Christians should be pro choice too! But we're not, and that's mostly because we don't find the arguments convincing, not because the Bible actually specifically mentions abortion as such. It doesn't, interestingly.

I'm on the fence regarding lib free will. I just don't see how it can exist at a fundamental level short of God creating some metaphysical way that we can't grok. If it doesn't exist then I see your dilemma, but to me it still comes back to the fact that God can do what He wants. If that makes Him "bad" according to some definition outside of "against His will" then that's no issue, given that ultimately good and evil don't exist without God (let alone free will). I don't subscribe to any definition of good and bad outside of His.
Thanks for the response.

I'm sorry to hear about the miscarriage. I know many people personally who have had both miscarriages and abortions (One or the other, for clarity). They are different kinds of life traumas, but neither are easy to deal with.

I don't think saying that God's character is inherently good helps the conversation. Are you saying that morality and God's will are not one and the same, but happen to run parallel to each other?

Otherwise, it seems like God's will must be what determines morality, and any character that God has, is by definition, good, unless maybe he has a character trait that he wishes he didn't have..

To your analogy, it sounds like you are saying that because we are creations of God, we are bound to his will, in terms of morality. Because he made us, what he says is 'right' by definition. And the obvious comparison here is that of a parent to child relationship, and the "Because I say so" reply. If a child disagrees with their parent, are they objectively wrong/bad? Or only bad/wrong in the view of the parent? In my opinion, they are only wrong/bad under the paradigm of their parent's authority. Objectively, there doesn't seem to be anything that could make the parent's moral views/will any more right/wrong/good/bad than that of the child's. If the two agents have differing goals/values/criteria for morality, then convergence will not be reached.

More to the point though, you would say that humans exist with the purpose of serving God, correct? That is to say, God made the car so that when he turns the wheel left, the car goes left. God made us so that when we obey His will, we are functioning as intended.

So I have a thought experiment. Suppose a scientist builds an android that is designed to obey his commands. One day, the scientist commands it to drown a puppy. The android, somehow, refuses the command. The android would then be said to have acted contrary to it's derived purpose or its design. Does that then mean it acted objectively immorally? We can even suppose that the scientist and the android are the only entities in existence. Would this matter, when there are no 3rd party viewers to cast judgment? I don't think so.

I don't mind telling you that I lean towards moral relativism. Even under the creator/God paradigm, what is good seems to be relative to what God wills. Say, for argument sake, that there were 2 realities, each with its own God, but the two differ on what they want, or how they want the world/subservient species in their respective realities to be. Here, it is easier to see how the things we view as good in one reality, would not necessarily be good in the other.

So assuming God exists, and what is morally good is what is in accordance with His will, then good becomes synonymous to obedient to the authority. At this point, I ask why be moral, in this context (Ignoring heaven/hell type consequences)?

We, according to Christians, derive our morality from what God wills, which only means that we are judged good/bad based off of how well we obey Him.

Something I can't help but contemplate. If God told you to amuse him by killing babies, would you do it? I don't think I would (Ignoring hell type consequences), which would makeme evil/bad in your eyes, correct? If the whole world were watching this situation play out, do you think most people/Christians would be rooting for me to kill the baby? Would opinions change of God? Is this a sort of world we would want? Does it matter in any way what we want?
_________

Back to abortion/miscarriage (Or even murder in general, like you suggested), so you would say that Christians abhor abortion (See it as evil/bad/undesirable) only because it goes against God's will? You say essentially that you believe a fetus has rights, which I assume you mean just as much right to continued life as any other person (Correct me if wrong). Assuming this is the case, it is still only wrong to kill it (In the Christian view) because God wills it to live. If God will'd it to die, then it would be morally impermissible to let it live. So anti-abortionists aren't really mad about some humanitarian tragedy, they are outraged because people aren't listening to God. So I again ask, why does this outrage not extend to other areas where even more people are disobeying God's will?

____________

I typed this pretty fast between class and work, so I apologize if I was unclear or incoherent, or just plain dumb with any of this. I'll try to clarify things that warrant it later. I'm pretty busy during the week, so you may need to be patient with me, but I would enjoy hearing others discuss this topic as well if people want to continue while waiting for my return.

In the mean time, maybe more discussion can be spurred by these thought experiments. I stumbled across them in an ethics class last term, and haven't discussed them with people yet, so it could be fun/enlightening to do so. Even if they end up being crap!

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/A_Defense_of_Abortion

The criticisms are on that page too to consider.
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Old 07-21-2015, 06:45 AM #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by vijil View Post
It's the basic POE (problem of evil), which as you say ties into the euthyphro (sp.) dillema. FWIW, my wife had a miscarriage a few weeks ago. It pretty much sucks. I'd go so far as to say the POE part of what led to my reconversion (I had an atheist phase), since folks seemed to take it so seriously and yet I found it weak. Many have tackled it, but I've always been of the opinion that God can define good - not that it's arbitrary, but that God's character is inherent to it. So when I say "God is good" you're right, I'm pretty much just saying "God is God". The issue here is assuming that God is under the same moral rules as we are. It's not the case. When I design a car I create rules for it such as "when you turn the wheel left the car steers left". This is my will. If the car steers right instead, it's broken - ie. sinning. But that doesn't mean that *I* have to steer left when my wheel is turned. My will is not broken, and I'm not a car. Likewise the car can be programmed to avoid crashes via whatever funky tech, however I'm still perfectly ok to crash cars into each other in testing situations. In the same way "you shall not murder" applies to humans, while God has the authority to remove/create life as He sees fit. We are outside our rights (for the most part, obviously war/punishment raise their own related but separate issues) when committing abortion, for the same reason we're outside our rights when killing an adult we don't like. Of course whether you're Christian or not, the question as to whether a fetus deserves human rights is at the core of the abortion debate. If it's not, then Christians should be pro choice too! But we're not, and that's mostly because we don't find the arguments convincing, not because the Bible actually specifically mentions abortion as such. It doesn't, interestingly. I'm on the fence regarding lib free will. I just don't see how it can exist at a fundamental level short of God creating some metaphysical way that we can't grok. If it doesn't exist then I see your dilemma, but to me it still comes back to the fact that God can do what He wants. If that makes Him "bad" according to some definition outside of "against His will" then that's no issue, given that ultimately good and evil don't exist without God (let alone free will). I don't subscribe to any definition of good and bad outside of His.
Your wife had a miscarriage but Hitler made it to his 50's. Think about that. But praise the lord amirite?
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Old 07-21-2015, 01:01 PM #12
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As an atheist, I view miscarriages as an extremely unfortunate occurrence.

That said, abortions are also morally wrong to me, because you are taking away someone else's shot at life. The morals used to decide this do not come from the bible or any other scripture, but rather the society I was raised in.

With this in mind, I still think that abortion should be legal, but that's an entirely different, political, conversation.

To clarify, if a god is the cause of the miscarriage, then god is morally reprehensible, and not worthy of being worshiped.
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Old 07-21-2015, 07:06 PM #13
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A life aborted, miscarried, murdered, or asleep in bed at a ripe old age.
All had a beginning & an end.
This is the will of god.

Nothing to do with "good or bad".
God is lavish with death, it was said that no-one here gets out alive.

If every person born (or unborn) is ultimately scheduled to die, where is the difference as to when it actually happens?
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Old 07-22-2015, 12:59 PM #14
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If every person born (or unborn) is ultimately scheduled to die, where is the difference as to when it actually happens?
Right, because life is pointless
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Old 07-22-2015, 06:18 PM #15
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He didn't say life was pointless. Death gives life meaning and value, and we all owe a death. But that may be wandering a bit far from the topic at hand.
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Old 07-23-2015, 09:15 AM #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Pyrate Jim View Post
A life aborted, miscarried, murdered, or asleep in bed at a ripe old age.
All had a beginning & an end.
This is the will of god.

Nothing to do with "good or bad".
God is lavish with death, it was said that no-one here gets out alive.

If every person born (or unborn) is ultimately scheduled to die, where is the difference as to when it actually happens?
Why did He create humans if not to live, at least awhile? Or more specifically, why would He put a soul in a fetus only to have it miscarried and never become self aware or born into the world? How does he choose how long a person or fetus gets to exist on Earth?
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Old 07-23-2015, 12:34 PM #17
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He didn't say life was pointless. Death gives life meaning and value, and we all owe a death. But that may be wandering a bit far from the topic at hand.
While we all owe a death, to say that a death at 6 months and a death at 70 is exactly the same implies that the time difference is meaningless, meaning life is meaningless.

This is more easily illustrated by how many elderly people are more accepting of death than younger people, even if it's not exactly "their time." That was the part that I took issue with, because he is saying that a miscarriage or abortion is the same as the death of an elderly person, which it's clearly not.
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Old 07-23-2015, 01:44 PM #18
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While we all owe a death, to say that a death at 6 months and a death at 70 is exactly the same implies that the time difference is meaningless, meaning the duration of life is meaningless.
Don't be sloppy.

I bet you're an ageist.
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Old 07-23-2015, 08:50 PM #19
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Yeah this is interesting and it is always a question on my mind.

Why is it our fault that we were born into sin?

Is it to glorify God that we are punished for something we had no choice in becoming?

The only reason evil has not completely triumphed is because man is mortal.

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Old 07-24-2015, 12:53 PM #20
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Don't be sloppy.

I bet you're an ageist.
Life is the "duration of life" in this case since it was being put forth that a miscarried baby is the same as a person that has lived a full life, so that wasn't being sloppy at all. Saying that someone who has not lived a life dying is the same as someone who has dying is to say that life is meaningless; death is what matters.

I don't see the point of your second comment. I'm not, but whether or not I am has no bearing on the topic at hand. I'm sure that most people would prefer to die later in life rather than earlier, because what is in between matters and forms you as a person. I fail to see how having that opinion means that you think that someone is worth more or less because of how long their life was. Then again it strikes me as an ad hominem attack meant to derail me.
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Old 07-27-2015, 04:08 PM #21
Pyrate Jim
 
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by snoopay700 View Post
Life is the "duration of life" .
Do you believe in afterlife?
That the Soul goes on?

If so, then what is the duration of the soul?
Always & eternal?

I believe that I have an eternal soul, and that Souls do not recognize time as mortals are limited to. Eternity goes both ways in time, if my Soul is Eternal ever after my brief existence here then it must have been Eternal ever before as well.
Who's to say a Soul is limited to a single body ~ "You get one shot at this".

The opposite would explain a few things. A Soul having multiple bodies in succession would account for stories of reincarnation, and simultaneous occupation would give you "Soul Mates" between two bodies inhabited by the same soul.

Quote:
Originally Posted by snoopay700 View Post
While we all owe a death, to say that a death at 6 months and a death at 70 is exactly the same implies that the time difference is meaningless, meaning life is meaningless.
Not Life is meaningless, it's TIME that is meaningless to the Soul.
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