A World of Contradictions: Redux

For several years, I wrote and maintained a worldviews blog called Espresso Roast (toward the end, I invited a few friends to contribute, as well). Though I have long-since stopped writing on that blog, I do keep it online because there were a lot of things I commented on that I feel are still relevant to the world we are living in now (makes it sound like I wrote it fifty years ago).  So, I thought I’d go through some of the more important things I think we need to consider and re-post them here from time-to-time.  

“A World of Contradictions” deals specifically with the topic of abortion, but more broadly about our tendency to disengage our critical thinking in order to more easily adopt logically opposing views that suit our personal agenda or flavor of “truth”.  My hope is that you will consider this example and use it as something of a template in order to evaluate other instances of this in our culture today.  The ability to recognize it leads to the ability to live consistently and rightly in a crazy world of contradictions.

The following was originally posted on November 24, 2004…at 8:45 a.m.  

a world of contradictions

although I know that it is a sign of our current times, i still never cease to be amazed at our culture’s ability to embrace contradictions. we live in what many have labeled a “culture of death” because of our acceptance of abortion. this is an issue that divides our country at every election and practically every day in between. people vehemently defend the woman’s right to choose while others defend the baby’s right to live.

supposedly, the issue has been settled by the courts. the supreme court ruled that life begins at birth. well, then there comes the peterson case in which this guy is charged with murder…two counts. the fetus which isn’t yet a person is now given rights. that’s right, the right to live, and scott peterson is charged with fetal homicide.

the most recent instance of this type of crime came out this morning in louisville, where i live. a man has been charged with killing his unborn child by beating his ex-wife. a 19 year old man was arrested tuesday afternoon for beating his 18-year-old ex-wife who is in stable condition at a local hospital. according to the report, “her 5-month-old unborn fetus died after what police said was the latest of beatings the young woman suffered.”

first, it’s hard not to feel absolutely enraged by the level of brutality and cold-hearted cruelty demonstrated by this man (and i use that term loosely). i suppose this, in part, speaks to one of the prevailing attitudes: either 1. this man truly didn’t care that he could kill this child, 2. wanted to kill the child, or 3. didn’t even view it as a child. either way, we see demonstrated a devaluation of human life.

then there is the whole idea of fetal homicide. exactly how can there co-exist two laws on the books, one that says doctors can kill unborn children but nobody else can? is that not completely irrational? help me here, because i don’t see it. if i’m right here, i assume that it goes all the way back to the woman’s body thing. i think what we have is that a woman who has become pregnant, for whatever reason, has been given the charge of declaring human value. it seems to me that if the woman wants the child, even unborn, the child is a person…a human being. if the woman doesn’t want the child, the unborn child is not a human being. even on this level, there is a terrible contradiction. regardless of the judgment of the woman, the unborn is either a child or it isn’t. there cannot be, in reality (though i often question whether many actually live in that realm), two women standing side-by-side, one carrying a non-human, potential child…a fetus, and the other carrying an unborn human being…a child, determined to be so simply because each of the women have judged them to be so. sounds crazy, but i think that’s really what is going on within our legal system, and our culture at large. i suppose this is what we get when we have a legal system divorced from a transcendent, almighty God who alone is equipped to make those judgments. we have to make decisions like this that we have demonstrated our inability and incompetence to do so intelligently…in short, we were never designed for this.

so, i suppose we will continue to live in our duality, accepting, if not embracing, the contradictions we face in morality, ethics, religion, politics, and i suppose the list could go on and on. actually, i hope that is not the case. i hope those of us who believe in a transcendent, almighty and sovereign God will make our voices heard…not with a graceless condemnation on those caught up in the contradictions, but with compassion and love for a world caught up in the confusion and a message of hope that is found in the Author of life and order.