Abortion is the one hot-button issue that is guaranteed to electrify most Christians. They have strong opinions on many issues, but this one evokes an emotional reaction like no other.
And to be honest, it’s understandable. If I thought babies were being slaughtered by the millions, I’d be pretty upset, too. Since 1970, there have been over 47 million abortions in the United States, equivalent to nearly eight holocausts.
To be fair, most Christians are not violent and do not condone violence. They have found other ways to discourage abortions.
For example, they’ve passed laws that force women to have ultrasounds before they can get an abortion, and they’ve made regulations so strict that many clinics end up having to shut down, which means women have to drive hundreds of miles to the nearest provider.
Personally, I kind of hate debating people about abortion. You can’t have a reasonable discussion about it–citing facts and making arguments–because at the end of the day, you either believe a fetus is a baby or you don’t. If you believe it’s a baby, then abortion is murder. If you don’t, then abortion is just a routine medical procedure.
What we really need to ask is why so many Christians believe fetuses are babies. Why are they convinced that life begins at conception?
If ask you Christians, most of them will cite Bible verses such as Jeremiah 1:5 which says, “Before I formed thee in the belly I knew thee,” or Psalm 139:13 which says, “thou hast covered me in my mother’s womb,” or Galatians 1:15 which says, “God, who separated me from my mother’s womb.”
You’ll notice that none of these Bible verses explicitly prohibit abortion. (Which makes you wonder, why didn’t God write a verse like, Thou shalt not slay an unborn child?) Nevertheless, Christians interpret these verses as pro-life.
But as with horoscopes, Bible verses can be interpreted however you want. As I explained in this post, the Bible seems more pro-choice than pro-life.
Just look at Numbers 5:21-28. According to this passage, sometimes God will punish unfaithful wives by causing them to miscarry. In other words, God himself commits abortions.
And then there’s Numbers 31:15-17. In this passage, Moses orders his soldiers to kill all the non-virgin women. Since there would have been thousands of them, and since there weren’t contraceptives back then, many of the women must have been pregnant. God would have known this, yet he told Moses to order the killings anyway.
If you ask me, it doesn’t sound like God values unborn children very much.
But let’s not get bogged down with a Bible study. I’m willing to believe Christians when they say their god is pro-life. After all, it’s their religion, so they can make up whatever doctrines they want.
Here’s my problem: If God is pro-life, why are miscarriages so common?
Most Christians believe life begins at conception, when the egg is fertilized. Well, what if I told you that most conceptions don’t make it to term? Hard to believe, right?
That might not sound right to you, but that’s because it often happens without the mother even realizing it. Over 22 percent of fertilized eggs never complete implantation are are flushed out during the would-be mother’s menstrual flow. That means you or partner may already have had a “miscarriage” without even knowing it.
That’s why the idea that life begins at conception is ridiculous. If an embryo of just a few hundred cells is a human being with a soul, then all these early miscarriages are the biggest humanitarian crisis in history, and scientists should be spending all of their time trying to figure out how to save them.
Most doctors don’t consider a woman to be pregnant until implantation occurs, but after that, it gets even worse. 30 percent of these end in miscarriages. And again, in many cases, it happens so early that the woman doesn’t even realize it.
At least 15 percent of verified pregnancies miscarry. While miscarriages in the first few weeks aren’t even noticed, a miscarriage that occurs after a woman has gone to the doctor and been told she is pregnant can be devastating, especially if she’s been trying to get pregnant for a long time.
Sadly, many women blame themselves, thinking they weren’t eating healthy enough or that they didn’t care enough. Of course, this is nonsense. Miscarriages are very common and there’s nothing we can do about it.
But you know who could do something about it? God. At least according to Christians. They say he is all-powerful and that he regularly performs miracles.
If that’s true, why does he allow so many miscarriages? Why doesn’t he watch over each and every unborn child, keeping it safe and healthy as he knits it together?
The standard apologetic to this is, “We live in a fallen world.” You see, because Adam and Eve sinned, the whole world is damaged and thus filled with diseases, deformities, natural disasters, and all sorts of terrible things.
Okay, but why would God allow unborn babies to be punished for the sins of Adam and Eve?
Imagine this: A woman goes into labor earlier than she expected. She’s in a lot of pain, so her husband quickly drives her to the hospital. When they arrive, the doctor examines her and says, “Something is wrong. If we don’t do a C-section right now, your baby is going to die.”
The woman says, “Okay, let’s do it.”
The doctor replies, “Nah, I’m just gonna let your baby die. You see, we live in a fallen world, so these things happen.”
Awful, right? But according to Christians, that is exactly what God is doing every single day: nothing. He just lets unborn children die, over and over again, millions upon millions of times.
When I was a Christian, I would have said that only God can judge whether a baby should live or die and that in some cases, it might be for the best that the baby dies in utero.
My view was the same as Pat Robertson’s. A few years ago on “The 700 Club,” a viewer asked him what to say to a coworker whose baby died. Here is his response:
As far as God’s concerned, he knows the end from the beginning and He sees a little baby and that little baby could grow up to be Adolf Hitler, he could grow up to be Joseph Stalin, he could grow up to be some serial killer, or he could grow up to die of a hideous disease. God sees all of that, and for that life to be terminated while he’s a baby, he’s going to be with God forever in Heaven so it isn’t a bad thing.”
That’s exactly the sort of garbage I spewed when I was a believer. Since then I’ve had a lot of time to think about it, and I’ve come up with a few questions.
Are we supposed to believe that the millions of miscarriages that occur every year all would have resulted in future dictators or serial killers, or that they all would have died from awful diseases?
And if God terminates babies before they can become the next Hitler, why did he allow the original Hitler to be born? Why are there dictators all over the place? Why are there so many serial killers? Why do children die of hideous diseases every single day?
Also, if a miscarriage results in a child going straight to Heaven, then isn’t abortion a good thing? By that logic, we should abort every single pregnancy in order to ensure that they all go to Heaven and never have a chance to become unbelievers who die and go to Hell.
Some Christians don’t believe all deceased children go to Heaven. They believe God looks at their souls, determines whether they would have become believers or not, and sends them to Heaven or Hell accordingly.
If that’s true, then there are millions of souls that go straight from the womb to Hell, which means they spend almost all of their existence in agony without even knowing why. If that is so, then why allow those pregnancies to occur in the first place?
If God thinks some pregnancies shouldn’t be allowed to go to term, then why not stop the egg from being fertilized?
God can see the future, right? So he knows which unborn children will become unbelievers, right? So why not stop those conceptions from happening? If he did that, all these miscarriages and souls going straight to Hell could be avoided.
There are also Christians who say that a miscarried child doesn’t go straight to Heaven or Hell because it doesn’t have a soul yet. But if it doesn’t have a soul yet, then it’s just a piece of flesh, so what’s wrong with aborting it?
If you’re a pro-life Christian, I hope this article has given you a lot to think about. But the main point I want to drive home is this:
Since millions of miscarriages happen every year, then the Christian God isn’t pro-life, or he isn’t all-powerful.