Tuesday, February 12, 2008

I'm not surprised

A few days ago I felt the baby move, really move, for the first time. I feel definite shifts and turns inside me now...like a bloop-woop-doop below my belly button. What's ironic is that even though I can feel a baby growing inside me, I really can't imagine a baby growing inside me. Are there really fingers and toes and tiny ears, actual legs kicking, and, and...? It doesn't quite seem possible, although of course I know it's happening. It seems we humans have so little imagination when it comes to things we can't see with our eyes, so really, I'm not surprised so many women and men find it very easy to put their child to death with an abortion. Sure we've explored outer space, invented the internet, and I hear scientists are hard at work trying to create sperm from female bone marrow, but because of our lack of vision, when it comes to debating facts largely outside the realm of the physically tangible, anything can pass muster as a moral choice.

You see this repeatedly in society, from people who decide the world would be better off without the hope of God and religion, to people who would prefer the universal embrace of homosexuality, to people who trust there is no pain in abortion so great it could negate its usefulness. Lack of vision, lack of imagination--human beings can be terrible at understanding consequences when they are not completely obvious. If we don't experience a smiting by God, we all have the capability to believe that an evil act isn't really very evil, or is even good. I believe that were many people to just take a few small steps towards what I will term 'the mystical', or the realm of things that go unseen with physical sight, the world would be startled at the reality of God.

I'd like to hope this burden of not knowing what is right in the face of the unknown falls mostly on the shoulders of secular, and particularly non-Christian, persons rather than Christians. Christians have a perfect moral law passed on to us by God through the Jews and Christ himself, and it was exemplified without a flaw in the person of Jesus. No other religion in the world can claim that its founder was a perfect leader, because no other religion in the world has God as its founder. And that's why we need him so, because only God has ordered the universe. Only his laws work. We can't evade him by coming up with our own individual moral codes-- they fail since they are not based on reality, which would be what God set up when he created the earth. Without Christ, we are all so lost in the quagmire of figuring out morality, and we are bound to call evil good.


Melanie B said...

And it doesn't really get much easier to imagine as the pregnancy progresses, does it? I spend so much time wishing I had a see-through panel in my abdomen. Was that a hand or a foot or an elbow? Is that the baby's head or her bottom? I can feel her moving and yet can hardly imagine her. I had a weird dream about that last night.

And it's an interesting analogy. We really do have problems dealing with the abstract most of the time. And evil is so often abstract.

I'd add that it seems to me that even among Christians Protestants have more of a burden than Catholics. I've been following a debate between Catholics and protestants on birth control on another blog and I really pity all the protestant women because they don't have clear leadership telling them that birth control is an evil. One thing I love about being Catholic is that I trust the Church is guided by the Holy Spirit and I can follow her wisdom on this and other issues. I don't have to leave it up prayerful discernment between me and my husband.

That's kind of a digression, but it's been on my mind and I was a bit curious about your take on the question.

jogger mom said...

A very good point, I do think Catholics have less of a burden because our church clearly defines many moral issues, including sticky modern ones. I was just reading last night "Moral Reflections on Vaccine Prepared from Cells Derived from Aborted Foetuses", issued by the Vatican in 2005. What other church provides this kind of information? Some other examples that spring to mind are the church's teaching that it is not morally permissible to vote for a pro-choice candidate (unless they're all pro-choice, I think), and the church's social justice stance on immgration issues in the US...how many Protestant churches have these things outlined for their members? The birth control issue is another obvious one, and to me, I think the fact that the Church has maintained traditional Christian beliefs on the sin of artificial contraception (and is nearly alone in its stance) is proof that,as you say, we can trust the Chruch is guided by the Holy Spirit--and in a way that doesn't compare to the Protestant model.

We all need prayerful discernment in our lives, but let's face it, if your church doesn't teach that birth control is a sin, or ____ is wrong, how much time is the average Christian going to spend in prayer on these issues? I'd wager none.

Andrea said...

Congrats on feeling that movement. It is one of the best feelings of pregnancy.

This observation you've made is quite interesting. I was reading recently that an increasing number of abortions are chosen by women who have already given birth to other children. I find this particularly sad and depressing. I guess it doesn't get much easier to imagine after you've previously given birth either.

And re: the guidance of the Church. Yes, and yes. What a wonderful resource we have in the guidance of the Catholic Church. The Church itself has so many resources and so much history to build upon, which is the great thing. Instead of each new church plant spending so much time (especially in non-denom churches) to codify the basics of what they believe, Catholics can move on to new issues. Believing the authority of the Church teaching is such a blessing. Protestants won't take anything as truth that is not directly spelled out in the Bible.

jogger mom said...

Yup, 61% of women who get an abortion in the US already have one or more children (Guttmacher Institute), surprising isn't it. I don't get it.

jogger mom said...

Just to clarify what I meant by the Protestant model when talking about the Holy Spirit, so often it seems the way Protestants think is 'well, if that church doesn't agree with what I think is right, I'll just find one that does, or else I'll get some people to start a new church with me based on what the Holy Spirit/Bible REALLY says'. That's not trustable authority. There's no Biblical precedent for that.

As Martin Luther said:
“In matters of faith, to be sure, each Christian is for himself Pope and Church.”

“There will be the greatest confusion. Nobody will allow himself to be led by another man’s doctrine or authority. Everyone will be his own rabbi; Hence, the greatest scandal.”

(not sure of source, found this at paleocrat.blogspot.com)