Saturday, June 04, 2005

The sanctity of life

The talebangelicals are claiming that every fertilized human egg is a human being and crowing about the "sanctity of life." Bush is, of course, mentioning the "sanctity of life" whenever he opposes abortion and stem cell research. That would be the same Bush that got his underage girlfriend pregnant and pressured her to have an abortion. That would be the same Bush that gleefully consigned 152 Texas prisoners to execution after giving no more than 15 minutes' consideration to each of them (his 2-hour lunches were obviously of greater concern to him). That would be the same Bush who mocked Karla Faye Tucker's plea to be allowed to live so that she continue to minister to her fellow inmates. That would be the same Bush that lied the US into an illegal war that has (at the time of writing) claimed the lives of over 1,600 US military personnel (the true figure is probably twice that because those who die in the operating theatre or on the way to the operating theatre or commit suicide at the thought of life with such a badly shattered body are not counted as having died through enemy action), and somewhere between 10,000 and 100,000 Iraqi lives. That would be the same Bush whose economic policies mean that children are consigned to poverty and hunger without medical benefits and possibly even death through starvation or illness. That would be the same Bush whose "no condoms" policy with regard to medical aid in Africa will consign millions to death from AIDS.

But none of this matters because, according to Bush, a fertilized human egg is a human being with a soul and must be protected. Which is standard Catholic doctrine and, to a greater or lesser extent, the doctrine of other Christian creeds. At the moment the sperm fertilizes the egg, God intervenes and doles out a soul to that single cell (or maybe the cell attracts a soul automatically - I'm not au fait with the finer points of theology). And because that cell has a soul, abortion at any point along its development is murder.


In the Catholic doctrine, if a mother has an abortion not only does she end up in Hell but so does the aborted foetus. That is a horribly pernicious doctrine and it is all too easy to see it as a cynical piece of manipulation by the Catholic church. Firstly, by encouraging unfettered reproduction, it allows a minority Catholic population to eventually become a majority. Secondly, and far worse, poverty and religion go hand-in-hand. If you work 16-hours/day for a meagre subsistence then all you have to look forward to is "pie in the sky, when you die, by and by" - your reward in Heaven. In order to get your reward in Heaven you must be a devout Catholic. In order to be a devout Catholic you must not use any form of contraception (other than "Catholic roulette") and you must not have an abortion. And so, as a devout Catholic in poverty you have plenty of children - which makes your poverty even worse, which makes you even more dependent upon your reward in Heaven as the only meaning to your pitiful existence, which makes you more dependent upon the Catholic church, which makes you have more children...

Creating a religious doctrine for the purposes of outbreeding competing religions is evil enough. Creating it knowing that it will increase poverty, misery, and suffering and therefore increase the size of your flock amongst the poor whilst reinforcing their poverty is even more evil. But the final touch of evil is consigning the aborted foetus to Hell.

Very few women (apart from rich dilletantes like the Bush daughters) would consider abortion as a trivial way of dealing with (what they see as) a trivial inconvenience. Most women agonise over having an abortion. They have an abortion because they've been raped, or because the child would be incapable of surviving long after birth, or because both the woman and the foetus would die if the woman attempted to carry it to the point where it could be born prematurely by Caesarian section and survive. There is one other reason why desperate women consider an abortion.

Women living in poverty consider an abortion if they know that they cannot support yet another child and that if they have the child then it, and possibly some of their other children, are likely to die of starvation. It is a terrible position to be in, yet many women living in poverty face it. And the number of women who face that decision has gone up significantly since Bush stole power: poverty has increased and so has the abortion rate under Bush. And this is why the Catholic doctrine that the aborted foetus goes to Hell is evil. A woman faced with seeing her newborn and one or more of her children starve to death or having an abortion so that her other children won't starve is likely to choose the abortion even if it means she is consigned to Hell for having it - the instinct for maternal sacrifice comes into play. The doctrine that the aborted foetus to Hell is pure fucking evil - the reason why will be seen after this aside.

End of aside

The fact is that most conceptuses do not develop to term. The majority never get beyond a few dozen cells. Some get as far as the first month then spontaneously, naturally, abort (the woman usually never even realizes she was pregnant but thinks she had an unusually heavy period). Find somebody who is employed at the sewage works cleaning the filters and ask him or her about the number of foetuses that have to be removed. The simple fact is that most conceptuses are not viable, which is why many couples can try for years before the woman gets (noticeably) pregnant. For every baby born, there are tens or hundreds of spontaneous, natural abortions. And each and every one of those spontaneous, natural, abortions has a soul (according to most Christian creeds). According to Catholic doctrine, if I interpret it correctly, because they were not Christened then they are destined for an eternity in Hell (or at least Purgatory). The only way to avoid the spontaneously, naturally, aborted foetus going to Hell/Purgatory would be for women to always flush the toilet with holy water (and even that may not be enough, it may be necessary to have a priest present).

Trying to reconcile Catholic doctrine, a God of love, and 90% of humanity being consigned to an eternity in Hell without being born is somewhat difficult. According to Catholic doctrine, we are destined for Hell from birth (unless we are "saved" by becoming Christian) because each soul that is created is tainted with "Original Sin" (what a wonderfully moral doctrine - it's like being sentenced to death because your grandfather didn't pay a parking ticket). It's hard to reconcile each soul being created equal with birth defects (which Christians pass off as God "handicapping" an exceptionally good soul).

It's even harder to reconcile souls being consigned to Hell before they can even experience even a few seconds of life outside the womb with some of the souls that lived to adulthood. Genghis Khan. Attila the Hun. Stalin. Adolf Hitler. Pol Pot. Prescott Bush. George H W Bush. George W Bush. Evil fucking bastards, each and every one. And yet they were all allowed to emerge into the world and do their evil. How much more evil, therefore, must be the 90% of souls that were consigned to Hell before they had a chance even to take their first breath.

That Stalin foetus? Oh yeah, he'll probably kill tens of millions of Russians. Let him through. Those other nine foetuses? Nah, you can't let them out into the world. They're evil even though all souls are created equal. Let Stalin through, terminate the others. So mote it be.

If that's the way it really works, then God is the ultimate in evil not the ultimate in good. If that's not the way it works then Christian doctrine is a pile of steaming manure. Either way Christian doctrine is not up to the task of determining the morality of abortion or of using embryonic stem cells to cure diseases.


Blogger Traesom said...

Hi Brian,

I went through all of your blogs and found them extremely well written, insightful and mucho interesting. The only thing I have myself not yet written about is the DU bit. That is fairly freaky because I have a step-son who is a green beret (whose name, incidentally, is Brian), and who has had two tours in Afghanistan before being wounded, and is now stationed pretty much back in the states (in NC) where they've got him training new recruits (thank God). Anyway, I'm going to tack a little self promotion on here for your perusal.

Once again, Brain, thanks for visiting Marchenheim, and for commenting.

Shameless Self Promotion

At the moment I have 5 blogsites expressing various facets of my personality, such as it is. I make no money off of any of these; I do it for fun and amusement, and most of all for expression. Below are the links to those sites, in order of creation. You are of course more than welcome to visit any of them, and comment as you wish. Neither do you have to agree with my points of view. In fact, I rather relish good, logical argument, so have at it.

Also, if you’d like to write a blog either agreeing or disagreeing (or forming a synthesis) with any of mine, sort of like an op ed, then please do, send it to me via e-mail (at least accessible at the moment through Marschenheim or Neuevo), and I’ll be glad to publish it, provided of course it comports with good (passable anyway) English and is no more crude in its approach than what you can find on my sites (which leaves quite a bit of leeway).






Tuesday, June 07, 2005 6:27:00 PM  
Blogger Whatever said...

Hi, I hopped over here from a Traesom blog {g} Good stuff to be found there too!

I wanted to comment on this one, just to say, couldn't agree with you more Brian. If that is god, send me to hell already, quit wasting my time. If I were already damned, and god could have cared less about what I did otherwise, I'm STILL glad for all the bad stuff I DIDN'T do, and so friggin there and they can KEEP heaven.

People calling abortion murder; birth control is next, right around the corner. I know, it really is already, but I mean in a popular, catchy way everyone can get behind. Like "traditional values" and "preventing accidental abortions" and "we need more troops, have more babies" and maybe prices will mysteriously increase dramatically. Stuff like that. It's all about control.

What makes me sad are the multitudes of women that buy into it. Lambs to slaughter.

Wednesday, June 08, 2005 5:15:00 PM  
Blogger Brian de Ford said...

Hi Traesom

Eventually I'll figure out how to do threaded replies on blogspot (It's not that I'm not techy - I run web servers for a living - it's that I only look at this when it's late and I've been drinking).

Thanks for the compliments (flattery will get you everywhere).

Afghanistan is not quite as bad as Iraq. Bush-the-slightly smarter used 350 tons of DU in Iraq. Bush-the-fuckwit used 1,000 tons of DU in Afghanistan. Bush-the-fuckwit used 2,200 tons of DU in Iraq in March and April of 2003 and we don't know how much more. If your son was in Afghanistan for more than a few months then he should consider getting a vasectomy. :(

Having taken a very quick look at your blogs, if you like Louisiana Man you ought to listen to Zappa's Broadway the Hard Way - "What's that hanging from the neighbor's tree? Why it looks like 'colored folks' to me. Would THEY do THAT...seriously?"

BTW, your "nuevo" blog reminded me of 10cc's "One night in Paris" - I think it was meant to be a pastiche of that, but maybe I'm wrong.

Monday, June 13, 2005 3:57:00 AM  
Blogger Brian de Ford said...

Hi Whatever

So-called Christian "morality" leaves me cold. If God works the way they claim he does then God's morals are far worse than mine. In fact, although I often fail to meet my own moral expectations, the Christian God doesn't even manage to do as well as me. When the time comes to sit in judgement on moral behaviour, I shall pronounce God to be lacking.

Lest that be taken as hubris in considering myself to be superior to God, let me clarify. There is much in the Old Testament and some in the New Testament about God's behaviour that I consider to be abso-fucking-lutely immoral. If there is a God and God gave us the capability to reason logically, then offering your daughters up for a gang-bang so that your special guests won't get homosexually raped is just plain wrong, even if your special guests are angels (you fight the bastards to your death, not offer your daughters for a gang-bang).

The basis of Christianity, that you can atone for your sins to your fellow man simply by confessing (in some sects) or being "born again" (in other sects) is immoral. I am not Jewish either by birth or by creed, but Judaism beats Christianity with Yom Kippur (the "Day of Atonement): once a year (at least) a follower of Judaism must atone to his God for his sins against God but he cannot atone to God unless he has first atoned (made recompense for) his sins against his fellow man (actually, against his fellow Jew because Gentiles are under no compunction to reciprocate). The Jew has to make good his crimes against his fellow man; the Christian merely has to go into the "sorry box" and say "forgive me father for I have sinned (but I'm fucked if I'm going to do anything to put right the wrongs I did)."

One day, when I am in a foul mood and have the time, I will delve into the immoral morass that is Christianity. The example I have in mind is similar in kind to the "indulgences" that caused Martin Luther to begin the revolution that led to Protestantism, although few major creeds of Christianity are free from the taint.

Monday, June 13, 2005 4:16:00 AM  

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