The Views of Christians on Abortion Essay

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Since 1973 when the U.S. Supreme Court ruled the legalization of abortion in the case of Roe v. Wade, over 48 million unborn babies have already perished in their mothers wombs with 4,000 more face extinction each day. Abortion is a hotly debated issue in American culture with Pro-Choice and Pro-Life presenting arguments that would justify their stand.

For those in favor, it is a womans right to own her body and choose what is best for her future while those against fight for the unborn childs inalienable right to life. The question whether the fetus is a person or not provides another crucial point to the discussion. Advocates of abortion believe that a fetus is a mere collection of tissues and cells with no life unless born but for Christians life begins at conception where the fetus has all the potentials of becoming a human being.

God is the creator of the universe and the author of life. He alone can take life away. With this fundamental belief, Christians consider life very sacred and a precious gift from God. Taking it away through direct abortion is evil that goes against the fifth commandment You shall not kill and the teachings of the Holy Bible, which is the basis of the Christian faith.

The immoral act is an unspeakable crime that destroys Gods law as it obstructs the natural process of procreation. Before we are born, God already knows who we are because we are part of His plan. Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I dedicated you (Jeremiah 1:5). Each life is deeply rooted in the image of God. That is why Christians treat life with respect and sanctity. For them, it is a sense of duty to preserve life according to Gods purpose.

The Sanctity of Life. Abortion is a religious concern because it affects ones faith. Overall the Christian community condemns the practice and calls for its abolition. Human life is sacred because from its beginning it involves the creative action of God and it remains for ever in a special relationship with the Creator, who is its sole end. God alone is the Lord of life from its beginning until its end: no one can under any circumstance claim for himself the right directly to destroy an innocent human being (Vatican par. 2258).

Perhaps the greatest evidence of the sanctity of life was when God himself in the person of Jesus Christ went through the process of conception and born from a human mother. In this way, the Lord of Life, humbled His godliness to show us the inviolability and importance of being born into this world, which is Gods ultimate creation.

No one can dispute that life indeed comes from God but to serve our own interests we often divert from the path of righteousness to seek personal gains. It is not for us to take Gods place and alter His laws to suit our needs. The birth of Christ also demonstrates divine intervention where the Almighty masterminds our stages of development from a fetus to a human being. This is so because God is the source of life. In any aspect, ending a pregnancy intentionally goes against the will of God and is morally wrong for every Christian.

The Holy Bible contains passages that uphold the sanctity of life. However, supporters of abortion rationalize that the Scripture does not explicitly denounce the act since there is no mention of the word in the Good Book. This is a lame attempt to defend their case. In fact, the moral principles and laws of todays society are derived from the Bible, which is the word of God.

No matter how people justify their reasoning for abortions, scientifically or philosophically, deep inside their conscience they know it is wrong. Having been created in the image and likeness of God (Genesis 1:26-27), human life inherits Gods characteristics such as knowledge and love. That is why man is different from other creatures for he is special. God has given man dominion over all the earth. He commanded him to multiply and fill the earth.

Despite mans sinful ways, God continues to show His love by sharing one of His greatest qualities that is to create life. Through motherhood, we now experience the miracle of birth. The presence of a newly born baby always brings life to the family, the most basic structure of society. Taking away this life defeats Gods purpose of why He created this world.

The fact that God allowed His Son to suffer death to save mankind from sin is enough proof that we, as human beings, are important to Him. Thus, the deliberate decision to deprive an innocent human being of his life is always morally evil and can never be licit either as an end in itself or as a means to a good end (Pope John Paul II par. 16). As God gave man the authority to rule the earth, Christians believe that it is their mission to safeguard all forms of life particularly human life.

The Personhood of the Fetus. The focal point of abortion rests on the issue whether the fetus is a person or not. Pro-Abortion claims that the fetus is not a human being because it does not have human characteristics like hands and feet nor the capability to think and communicate. As such it does not possess yet rights of a moral person. With this argument, they find abortion morally justified.

For Christians, it is very clear that life begins at conception based on Biblical principles and the natural law. Every new life becomes a fetus first before turning into a full grown human being. It is the first stage of human development. By cutting the fetus off one is deprived of the right to live, which is the most basic right of all human beings. This is the natural process of creating life given by God to mankind. Intervening in that process opposes Gods commandments.

When a child is conceived, irregardless how the woman got pregnant, God has no choice but to let that life grow. That is His law and we have no right to question His wisdom because we are simply His creatures. The assertion that the woman has the right to own her body and do whatever she likes is incorrect because that body comes from God as well as her life. We owe everything to Him who made us. Practically, we do not have anything.

That is why we should be grateful to God who gave us life. In its position paper on abortion, the Anglican Church resolved in its 1983 Synod that the fetus is God given life, with the potential to develop relationships, think, pray, choose and love. All human life, including life developing in the womb, is created by God in his own image and is, therefore, to be nurtured, supported and protected (COFE par. 3).

On the other hand, the Catholic Church stresses that from the time that the ovum is fertilized, a life is begun which is neither that of the father nor the mother; it is rather the life of a new human being with his own growth¦This human being is to be respected and treated as a person from the moment of conception; and therefore from that same moment his rights as a person must be recognized, among which in the first place is the inviolable right of every innocent human being to life (Pope John Paul II par. 7-8).

For Orthodox Christians, they consider conception a manifestation of Gods love. Unborn children are persons under the Constitution, and there is no rational basis whatsoever for creating an arbitrary or scholastic distinction so as to exclude them (Jatras & Farley par. 38). Among Protestants, the fetus is already a human life that should be protected by the laws of society. Robbing the unborn child of life is a horrible crime.

Different Approaches. Although majority of the Christian groups such as the Catholics, Anglican, Orthodox, and Protestants share the same sentiment on abortion as a moral evil committed against the unborn they differ in their approaches to the issue. It has divided Christianity. For some Christians, abortion has become a necessity as birth control or damage control in protecting their public image.

Other church leaders disagree that abortion is always morally wrong per se but could be justified on a case to case basis especially when the health of the mother is endangered during pregnancy or when the woman is a victim of rape or incest. Many Christians are contradicting their own faith by choosing abortion. Several Christian nations have laws legalizing abortion. To complement mothers having abortion, a number of church organizations offer social help and counseling sessions. More often women pressured to undergo abortion develop psychological problems or even regret later for making such decision.

The Anglicans opt for limited abortions under circumstances that threaten the life of a mother by terminating the pregnancy as early as possible. Other sectors of Protestants have policies empowering a woman or couple to decide whether or not to undergo abortion without legal restrictions. The Catholic and Orthodox Christians strictly prohibit abortion in all forms calling it an act of murder by the late Pope John Paul II and St. Basil the Great. Both churches reiterate their stand that the deliberate killing of unborn children either as an end or means constitutes a grave moral disorder. However, some members disagree with the teachings seeing abortion at times as a moral choice during a particular situation.

Conclusion. The number of deaths caused by abortion far exceeds those who have died during the two world wars and the figure is increasing each day. Christians know that the act is evil and a serious offense against their loving God but they choose to ignore His commandments for their self-interests. It is a sad reality that Christianity has to deal with. Even without the Bible just through his conscience, a Christian knows that taking an innocent life is a mortal sin. If we accept that a mother can kill even her own child, how can we tell other people not to kill one another? (Mother Theresa par. 13). It seems many Christians practice their faith only in words but no longer in deeds. This has led to a Godless society?

The adverse consequence of abortion is mass murder. The statistics are alarming. Christians must unite to defend these innocents because it is their calling. They have the strength to initiate laws that would respect and promote the sanctity of life. It is crucial for Christians to take unanimous steps to fight this immorality that attacks the very heart of Christianity. To care less would detach them from Christ and without Christ being a Christian would be meaningless.

References

Catholic Biblical Association of America. The New American Bible. The New Catholic Translation. Catholic Publishers, Inc., Washington, D.C. 1971.

The Vatican. Catechism of the Catholic Church. Life in Christ. Section Two: The Ten Commandments. Article 5: The Fifth Commandment. 2005. 11 July 2007. http://www.vatican.va/archive/ccc_css/archive/catechism/p3s2c2a5.htm

Pope John Paull II. The Gospel of Life (Evangelium Vitae). An Encyclical. To the Bishops Priests and Deacons Men and Women religious lay Faithful and all People of Good Will on the Value and Inviolability of Human Life. 1995. 11 July 207. http://www.vatican.va/edocs/ENG0141/__PQ.HTM

COFE (Church of England). Abortion A Briefing Paper. The Resolutions of General Synod. 2005. 11 July 2007. http://www.cofe.anglican.org/info/socialpublic/abortion.html

Jatras, James George & Farley, Paul. An Orthodox View of Abortion. The Amicus Curiae Submitted to the Supreme Court. 1988. 11 July 2007. http://www.orthodoxinfo.com/praxis/abortion.aspx?print=ok

Mother Teresa. Whatever You Did Unto One of the Least, You Did Unto Me. National Prayer Breakfast. Washington, D. C. 1994. 11 July 2007. http://www.sehlat.com/lifelink/mteresa.html

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