Saturday, August 14, 2004

On being pro-life

In a comment on an earlier post, David wrote something that has had me rethinking my position:
I'm not pro-life. I'm against the unlawful taking of innocent human life, so I think the criminalisation of abortion (and euthanasia) is imperative.

Life is not sacred. Lives that God has declared protected are sacred. But once you remove God from the equation, all that is left is monism.

First, to tell the truth, I had to look up "monism," and that's added another layer of complexity.

I've called myself pro-life, even though killing is sometimes necessary as a choice between one death and others. Capital punishment, necessary war and self-defense protect prospective victims of the criminal, regime or aggressor. I can't, as many who define opposition to capital punishment as "pro-life," equate the life of an innocent unborn child with the life of a convicted murderer.

At the same time, killing is not to be done lightly, as if it has no cosmic implications. Even though human beings are capable of taking life, we're not capable of giving it. I've always thought of that as the indication that life is sacred, but is that true?

I think it is. "Sacred" means set aside for a holy purpose. Life, and specifically human life, but not excluding even the life of a mushroom, is something given by God, and which only God can give, for the beauty of the Cosmos. We choosing beings get to choose whether we contribute to that beauty as light or shadow, but we all contribute to the beauty. Still, just because Hitler brings his shadow to the beauty of the cosmos, by revealing the light of those who stand against him, is no reason to let him go on eliciting that beauty. Then we're not standing against him, and we're all part of his shadow. We don't get, as Prof. Rosen says that journalists think they do, to stand outside the picture as an uninvolved observer.

So I guess I'm still pro-life and still believe life is sacred, though I don't leave God out of it. Funny how we wander different hillsides and arrive at the same place.

Check out David's blog, though. It's a good one.

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