Sunday, February 19

Getting Serious on Facebook

My facebook newsfeed if frequently pasted with pro-life propaganda, some of which can be fairly disturbing.  I respect my christian friends but sometimes I can't help myself but to dive in a make sure both sides are represented.  The other day a person I used to associate with in undergrad where we were both heavily involved with Campus [Crusade] for Christ.  Since that time my beliefs have completely diverged in the opposite direction while his have become even more steadfastly fundamental.  The conversation began around the topic of abortion and progressed to a discussion of truth and eventually got personal.

The Discussion:

The original post - GB/NC:apparently there's some serious censorship taking place here on facebook. I had a commentary concerning abortion on my fb wall earlier in the day, it got some good traction, and now it has disappeared?! How? I don't know.. but I imagine if it was removed then this comment will be the next to go, and maybe my account with it.. yikes. We can kill babies but don't dare voice your outrage on behalf of those who have yet to speak.

Random dude (non-christian):  also fetuses*

Me:   I agree with *fetuses, thank you. On CBC radio someone was bringing up the question of abortion and was saying "children". Skewing a little? But I don't think facebook censors abortion debate. I see plenty of pro-life propaganda on my newsfeed ALL THE TIME

Random dude 2 (christian):  Cause apparently there is a big enough difference in the womb and out of the womb that they need different names....Not

Me:  Fetus isn't the only name - embryo, blastocyst, different stages of development have different labels. Fetus = inside the womb, infant = outside the womb. I will point out that the words fetus and human being or person are not mutually exclusive. Just because someone uses the term fetus does not assume a belief that a fetus may not also be a person/child/valid life. It is the case sometimes and not in other cases. But I am glad your best defense is childish rudeness.

GB/NC:  come on now [my last name] (also my man [random dude]), it may be semantics but I truly believe it goes much deeper than that. Giving the young child inside the womb a sterile and medical name makes the deed easier. If it were a 'child', the deed would be 'murder'.. the lines we have carefully defined (fetus/infant) and established would become blurred (note that God never makes this same distinction inside or outside the womb). But we have been very precise in giving the unborn a less than memorable name - I suppose to justify the act or in an attempt to temporarily satiate our consciences, but our consciences will not be silent or satisfied. Why? because we may be able to convince each other that the deed is justifiable and right, but we have not moved God's mind on the issue and truly He is the sole caretaker of the line between right and wrong, sin and righteousness, good and evil. There is forgiveness, but God have mercy on these defenceless unborn dead children in the meantime until Lord-willing we one day get our heads on straight. There is no justifying the way we choose to conduct ourselves, we are a disgusting society sometimes and I pray things will turn around but I see very little reason for hope or light on the near horizon.

Me:  this has become quite the discussion. I just wanted to make sure I replied, I had bigger fish to fry this week but now I'm back. I appreciated your thoughtful and respectful answer. Perhaps the semantics makes it easier for some people however, I doubt that anyone who has had an abortion made the decision based solely on semantics. The problem with this argument is that we're two sides talking past each other with few agreed upon points so there can be no resolution. Your response to me will always reference the bible and god/jesus/religion (ex. "we have not moved god's mind on the issue") will always be a moot point for anyone who does not subscribe to that belief system. If someone has chosen not to follow that doctrine then an argument pulling from your personal beliefs based entirely on that doctrine (ie Christianity) will hold no sway - it will be considered an entirely invalid argument and dismissed. It is not that I would not be willing to entertain points for pro-life (although I am pro-choice and am so steadfastly) it is that those points need to come from something that I find truth in to be of any relevance like science, art, experience, etc. Religion/god does not fall under that category. And I am sure the same holds for you - if I cannot justify my belief FOR choice using the source in which you find truth (jesus/the bible) then you will automatically consider all of my arguments invalid. That sir is why the issue could not be resolved in a debate (at least one involved with Christians and non alike). So, again, thank you for the time you took to answer in a respectful way however, if you are unable to defend your stance with anything other than religious rhetoric then it will have absolutely zero sway or impact on my thinking.

GB/NC:  I guess the most dangerous people are those who at one time believed they had the faith and then left the faith but still suppose they are experts in that which they once had but I'd argue never knew. Since 'religion' is out for you which breaks my heart then we have no other standard by which to appeal to. You can only appeal to truth. You said science, art, or experience are your standards now. Please refer to my latest fb status for my stance on 'science', and keep in mind my degree at Guelph, I am a scientist and one of the only people in this ongoing conversation who holds an undergraduate degree in it. But science is constantly changing, revising. History proves how many times science was wrong in the past with devastating consequences (slavery, nazis, lobotomy, and now abortion). So we can't appeal to science because truth never changes, that's the nature of truth.. it's true. Science changes, it is dynamic, truth is not. Art, your next standard, is expression and subject to the beholder.. one person believes it to be beautiful and another ugly, subjective and also, not truth. Art is unworthy and incapable of being a standard. Finally experience, which although holds the most sway with the majority of people, it also falls short. As a good scientist you would know that experience can be controlled/altered by mimicking hormones.. so you can't trust experience/your feelings as a standard by which to measure truth. Experience is relative, truth is absolute. Unfortunately many people base their relationship with Christ solely on experience, and when tragedy hits they find their feelings are easily changed and their 'experiential faith' shaken, sometimes beyond repair. You can't base you life then on experience/feelings. I can tell you that I am passionately angered and saddened by the death of an unborn, but what sway does that have with you? That's just my personal feelings. In the end, I can appeal to you with nothing but truth. What is truth? Truth is unchanging and the only ONE I believe to satisfy that requirment is the one who is the same yesterday, today, and forever. We know murder is wrong, but by what standard? Science, no - survival of the fittest. Art, no - death is a valid expression and in the name of art there are no limits. Experience, no - have you ever killed anyone to know it's wrong, to feel what I assume to be an empty feeling? Well I haven't, and what about the people who can kill and feel nothing? Serial Murderers, does that make murder okay for them based on their standard of truth - experience? You tell me. So then what can we appeal to for the truth? We know murder is wrong, but not everybody would agree with that based on the very standards you use - science, art, and experience. Some people believe murder is fine/natural/important/necessary. So without a standard, we have no appeal. There is no truth. But I don't believe that.

Me:  I'll take the "most dangerous people" comment as a compliment as it implicates me as a danger towards the cause of religion/Christianity. And since you have brought in the pity and moral high ground card (see: "it breaks my heart" statement) I consider the gauntlet thrown. That is one of the most angering and arrogant things that Christians routinely say to people who have a different belief system than they do. Of course science falls short of truth as it is an ongoing quest for it however science at least readily admits to its own shortcomings. Just because one cannot find absolute truth in one area does not assume it is found in another (ie. religion) solely by default. The discounting of experience along with your false and misplaced pity is also extremely arrogant because your ultimate faith in the claims of the bible are still only based on your own "experience" (that should be italicized however I'm not a facebook whiz). You experienced jesus/religion/god in a way that caused you to believe that it was real and therefore build your world view around its claims. You can in no way claim to know what my or any other person's experience is of religion and so you cannot know if, put in their shoes, given their exact experience, chemical makeup and path, you would still have developed the same faith that you currently hold. Christianity for you has been a source of identity, something that you relate to, something that has worked for you - for myself it caused me immense pain and destruction. As for your bachelor in science, well gbakes, since you opened those floodgates, I know fairly well how seriously you took your studies at that time and I can attest that an undergraduate degree in any subject these days is on the whole not much of an achievement - anyone can earn an undergraduate degree in almost any topic. At the end of all of this I will always have to concede that I do not have all of the answers, I do not have the ultimate source of truth on which you base everything however who says that there is one? Who says that because I haven't found it that it doesn't exist? And who can prove that just because some people wrote their own version of the truth, one that provides an easy answer to all of life's difficult questions and allows people to avoid thinking for themselves that this book/philosophy/religion must be true?

This ended up being longer than expected.  Props if you read this far.  It is difficult for me to tell who came out on top but it sure did get personal.  There were good points made on both sides of the argument.  Then he dropped the "pity" bomb and the gloves came off.  Perhaps I went too personal?

Be honest, if there had been an impartial moderator, who took this debate?


Anonymous said...

While I would not consider myself to be an impartial moderator, I wanted to thank you for not simply ignoring the G's post. Having a very similar experience with Christianity in the past, I too log in to facebook and frequently find my news feed littered with similar posts.

However, when I read something I disagree with or find hurtful, I do not respond. I can list all the reasons why I don't respond, but the real reason is because I don't want to hear (or in this case read) what G did about you - that it breaks his heart that are no longer keeping the faith so-to-speak. This just makes me so incredibly sad. And, let's be real, I hate the idea of letting people down.

K V, thanks for posting this both on your blog and through the facebook thread.

I miss you and think you often.


Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Mike T said...

Religious views often get ugly and personal because of the closed minded nature of the rhetoric. Both of your views have merit but GB/NC believes he has more ammunition than you..You win!

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