The World is not Black and White

Absolutist thinking only makes things worse.

(I originally posted this as a response to someone on Facebook, but I decided due to its length it would work better here.)

My problem with simply making abortions illegal is that without finding ways to eliminate the perceived need for them — through programs such as nation-wide comprehensive sex education and access to birth control (https://mic.com/articles/98886/the-states-with-the-highest-teenage-birth-rates-have-one-thing-in-common#.dZnzMbb69), free or low-cost access to comprehensive medical care for pregnant women and new mothers, extensive paid maternity AND paternity leave (https://www.weforum.org/agenda/2016/08/these-10-countries-have-the-best-parental-leave-policies-in-the-world), and massively increased social and financial support for all new mothers, especially those from low-income families or those whose children have severe disabilities (http://www.takepart.com/article/2016/04/18/another-nation-giving-parents-free-box-baby-supplies) — making abortion illegal will not make it go away. It will merely drive it underground, and women will suffer and die needlessly as a result:

The world is not black and white. All living creatures have sex; they are driven by biological forces to do so. And while many species do so only because of the drive to pass on their genes, many others (not only humans) also do so for pleasure. When societies ignore that fact by simply saying “sex is bad and don’t do it; if you do, the baby is your punishment,” without preparing for what will happen when (not if) that directive is ignored — whether intentionally or through coercion (incest or rape) — they criminalize women and girls simply for the fact that they contain a reproductive system that functions like reproductive systems are supposed to.

Until our society fills in all of the gaps to prevent unwanted pregnancies, rape, incest, poverty due to the cost of raising a child, or bankruptcies due to paying the long-term medical expenses of a disabled child who will never have any sort of quality of life, abortions will continue to happen. And as long as people hide behind morality to avoid REALITY, billions of dollars will be spent on protecting potential humans while ignoring the millions of actual, here-on-earth humans who are suffering every day.

For those who choose to base their entire worldview on a handful of verses in the Bible, here are some suggestions:

On Protecting the Environment

  • Genesis 2:15: The Lord God took the man and put him in the Garden of Eden to work it and take care of it.
  • Proverbs 12:10: The righteous care for the needs of their animals, but the kindest acts of the wicked are cruel.
  • Psalm 24:1: The earth is the Lord’s, and everything in it, the world, and all who live in it.

On the Importance of Education

  • Proverbs 10:14: The wise store up knowledge, but the mouth of a fool invites ruin.
  • Proverbs 17:27: The one who has knowledge uses words with restraint, and whoever has understanding is even-tempered.
  • Proverbs 18:15: The heart of the discerning acquires knowledge, for the ears of the wise seek it out.
  • Hosea 4:6: My people are destroyed from lack of knowledge.
  • Ecclesiastes 7:12: Wisdom is a shelter as money is a shelter, but the advantage of knowledge is this: Wisdom preserves those who have it.

On Helping Those in Need

  • Matthew 25:40: The King will reply, “Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.”
  • Proverbs 19:17: Whoever is kind to the poor lends to the Lord, and he will reward them for what they have done.
  • Acts 2:44-45: All the believers were together and had everything in common. They sold property and possessions to give to anyone who had need.
  • Philippians 2:3: Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves.
  • Luke 6:31: Do to others as you would have them do to you.

On Equality and Human Rights

  • Psalm 67:4: May the nations be glad and sing for joy, for you rule the peoples with equity and guide the nations of the earth.
  • Leviticus 19:33: When a foreigner resides among you in your land, do not mistreat them.
  • Luke 6:31: Do to others as you would have them do to you.
  • Mark 12:31: The second [greatest commandment] is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no commandment greater than these.”
  • James 2:8-9: If you really keep the royal law found in Scripture, “Love your neighbor as yourself,” you are doing right. But if you show favoritism, you sin and are convicted by the law as lawbreakers.

(translations taken from the New International Version)

Values

Been thinking about my core values. Or trying to — it’s hard to think past anxiety and depression. But I believe it’s so very important to live an authentic life. I have spent too much time being afraid to be myself 100% of the time. I don’t want to live that way the rest of my life.

I can’t do anything about the state of the world. But I can do something about how I live in it.

I know that I value human rights and personal autonomy — the right of every person to live his or her life according to his or her values, in the way that brings him or her the most satisfaction and contentment. If a person lives his or her life without causing harm to others, he or she should receive no condemnation from others.

I value human lives — thus I believe that it is important for every person to have access to medical care and comprehensive health education, regardless of that person’s social or financial circumstances. When every person is given the opportunity to understand how his or her body and mind works, and what its needs are, he or she can make the best decisions for his or her physical and emotional well-being.

I value education — providing every person the tools and skills to encounter, understand critically, and utilize whatever information he or she needs, and to gain from it the knowledge and wisdom to be productive and happy members of society. From ignorance comes fear. And fear is a powerful weapon for those who know how to wield it.

Likewise, I value reason over emotion. “Feeling” that something is true does not make it true. History, the physical and social sciences, and the arts and humanities have recorded all that humanity has learned. Ignoring that record of knowledge in favor of (often highly-charged) emotions leads to a society governed by fear, hate, and anger.

Instead of fearing the unknown, embrace the fact that there is so much left to learn. Instead of hating those who are different, try to understand them and empathize with them. And instead of letting anger control you, view the world with compassion.

Every person has his or her own path. Instead of blocking the way, try lighting it.