PMW 2019-013 by Lita Cosner (Creation Ministries, Intl.)
Gentry note: This is an older article (2008), but one that anticipates what we are now experiencing in America: the legal slaughtering of near term and delivered babies. As postmillennialists committed to the spread of righteousness and truth, we stand against such a practice. And the first step in standing against it is to understand what is going on. This article ought to help.
Blurring the line between abortion and infanticide?
When the Roe v. Wade decision was delivered, the reality that a baby was being killed during abortion was less clear to many people—it was common to think that what was being removed was ‘a blob’ or ‘a clump of cells’. But most who would be in favor of abortion would at least draw the line at birth—once the baby is outside the womb, nearly everyone agrees that he or she is entitled to the full protection of the law, regardless of what route the baby took to get there. But some think that there is one time a fully-born baby does not have the right to life—when he or she was born as a result of a botched abortion.
Peter Singer: infanticide-supporting ‘bioethicist’
Peter Singer (1946–) is probably the most well-known bioethicist who, though he is too humane to eat a hamburger and advocates giving rights to great apes, has no qualms about infanticide. To him, an unborn child only acquires ‘moral significance’ at around 20 weeks’ gestation, when the baby is able to feel pain. But ‘[e]ven when the fetus does develop a capacity to feel pain—probably in the last third of the pregnancy—it still does not have the self-awareness of a chimpanzee, or even a dog’, and so he gives greater ‘moral significance’ to the chimpanzee and dog than to the unborn child.1
He readily admits that the unborn child is fully human, but argues that the humanity of the unborn child does not obligate society to preserve that life. In Rethinking Life and Death, Singer takes the view that ‘newborn-infants, especially if unwanted, are not yet full members of the moral community’, and proposes a 28-day period in which the infant might be killed before being granted full human rights.2 In a 2007 column, Singer seems to reverse his position on the acceptability of infanticide in most cases, but makes it clear that it is not because a child acquires a new ‘moral significance’ once it exits the womb, but because ‘the criminal law needs clear dividing lines and, in normal circumstances, birth is the best we have.’3 However, he argued in another article that, due to the high rate of disability in very premature infants, doctors should not treat babies born before 26 weeks of gestation if the parents of such a child decide not to treat their infant.4 Singer asserts: ‘killing a disabled infant is not morally equivalent to killing a person. Very often it is not wrong at all.’5 Indeed, this sort of thought has been the basis of wrongful birth lawsuits by parents who claim that their disabled children should not have been born.
God’s Law Made Easy (by Ken Gentry)
Summary for the case for the continuing relevance of God’s Law. A helpful summary of the argument from Greg L. Bahnsen’s Theonomy in Christian Ethics.
See more study materials at: www.KennethGentry.com
Singer’s bizarre views on human life may belong on the lunatic fringe, but they are fairly mainstream in what passes for ‘bioethics’. Singer’s views stem from a philosophy known as utilitarianism, in which the stated goal is to maximize pleasure and minimize pain for the most people possible. So the ‘right’ decision in any given situation is that which results in the most pleasure and the least pain for the greatest number of people. The use of utilitarian ethics was popularized by Joseph Fletcher (1905–1991), an apostate Episcopalian minister who became an atheist. He is best known for creating ‘situation ethics’, and was hailed ‘the patriarch of bioethics’ by bioethicist and former Roman Catholic priest Albert R. Johsen (1931–).6 Situation ethics can be summed in the book transcript of a debate between Fletcher and the Christian apologist and lawyer John Warwick Montgomery (1931–):
‘ … Whether we ought to follow a moral principle or not would always depend upon the situation. … In some situations unmarried love could be infinitely more moral than married unlove. Lying could be more Christian than telling the truth … stealing could be better than respecting private property … no action is good or right of itself. It depends on whether it hurts or helps people. … There are no normative moral principles whatsoever which are intrinsically valid or universally obliging. We may not absolutize the norms of human conduct. … Love is the highest good and the first-order value, the primary consideration to which in every act … we should be prepared to sidetrack or subordinate other value considerations of right and wrong.’7
Montgomery scored a powerful point with the audience when he showed that situation ethicists shouldn’t be trusted under their own belief system, because they could happily deceive you if the situation were right.
Indefensible (by Sam Kastensmidt)
Sub-title: 10 Ways the ACLU is Destroying America. An Important work in our day of cultural collapse and Christian persecution.
See more study materials at: www.KennethGentry.com
The Christian viewpoint is that moral absolutes are real (see the articles under Are there such things as moral absolutes?). Where there is a conflict, the resolution is not situational but depends on the biblical hierarchy of absolutes: duty to God > duty to man > duty to property; obeying God’s laws > obeying the government. This system is called graded absolutism, where there are exemptions rather than exceptions to moral absolutes, i.e. the duty to obey the higher absolute exempts one from the duty to obey the lower one.8
Fletcher also popularized the distinction between ‘human being’ and ‘person’ that is central to Singer’s ethics.9 He proposed a formula to determine whether an individual qualified as a ‘person’, with requirements such as ‘minimum intelligence’, ‘self awareness’, ‘memory’, and ‘communication’.10 Singer’s denial of the unborn child’s personhood is central to his justification for abortion, as he freely admits that the unborn child is alive and human.11 Tom Beauchamp goes as far as to say, ‘Many humans lack properties of personhood or are less than full persons, they are thereby rendered equal or inferior in moral standing to some nonhumans . . . .
To finish the article and see the footnotes: click