Contraceptives and sin

Discussion in 'Family, Relationships, and Single Life' started by Jellies, Jul 25, 2021.

  1. Invictus

    Invictus Well-Known Member

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    No they haven’t. I’m not talking about verses. Merely citing verses can be just as much reflective of opinion as what you’re accusing me of. I’m talking about interpretations. Find qualified interpreters who say that the (written) Torah in its own historical context didn’t view born and unborn children as the father’s own property. No one has cited any such in this thread, but if you find any I’ll be delighted to study them. But I doubt you will, because no modern scholar that I’m aware of fails to recognize the Torah’s historical context in that way.

    Otherwise I just don’t see how you get around it, certainly not when you look at the verse immediately following. To pay a fine to the husband is to compensate him for the value of what was lost. That’s a tort, not a crime. But as I’ve said before, although Exodus says what it says here, whether we like what it says or not, I don’t know of any good reason why we would see this passage as having any normative value today.
     
    Last edited: Aug 15, 2021
  2. Invictus

    Invictus Well-Known Member

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    That is something which must be proved on a case by case basis rather than assumed. Jesus certainly never said any such thing, according to the records we have. Doctrinal issues aside, you have to at least be aware of Jewish interpretations because for over 1,000 years, they were the only ones interpreting the text in its original language. The Latin West was reliant on the Vulgate, and the Greek East on the Septuagint. When the Reformers began commissioning new translations from the Hebrew, guess where they turned for help: the medieval Jewish commentaries (especially Rashi, with whose work no less an authority than Luther was intimately familiar). Being closed-minded toward a whole category of sources is not a reliable recipe for finding the truth. It’s not a habit I would commend to anyone.
     
  3. bwallac2335

    bwallac2335 Well-Known Member

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    If my memories serve me correctly there were some church fathers who were fluent and could read Hebrew. I think Origin was one of them but I could be wrong. I don't have the energy to go look it all up right now
     
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  4. Invictus

    Invictus Well-Known Member

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    There were, and Origen was one of them. The “thousand years” I was referring to is circa 500-1500.
     
  5. Stalwart

    Stalwart Well-Known Member Anglican

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    Exactly. But everybody here is only citing medical data, as if medicine can prove what is human and what isn’t, or when a soul enters the body. It’s a surprisingly secular approach. We can’t allow that within the circles of the Church. The questions of the soul should be paramount, not peripheral. The questions of DNA should be peripheral, not paramount.
     
  6. Rexlion

    Rexlion Well-Known Member

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    I feel like you've just moved the goalposts. In post 77 you relied on the "Biblical passages" you think probative that the fetus was merely regarded in the O.T. as property. When I remarked that other Bible passages have been cited to show that the fetus is a human being (Jerem. 1:5 being one of them), you replied that I have to find qualified modern interpreters of the Torah to prove that a fetus is more than property. :confused: Since we Christians find the Bible to be exceedingly more authoritative than Torah commentaries, I decline to rise to the challenge. :tiphat:

    I'd like to sum things up somewhat. I contend that abortion is a homicide. You appear to contend that abortion is a property crime (a serious property crime, I should hope!). Both homicides and serious property crimes are felonies under US law. So even if abortion is 'only' a serious property crime, it should still be punishable by some years in the penitentiary rather than hailed as a 'right of woman's privacy.' (You might protest that the embryo/fetus is the woman's property, but in earthly terms he should be only 1/2 the woman's and 1/2 the man's, and in spiritual terms he belongs to God.)

    And whether homicide or property crime, either way an abortion is a sin before God; in fact, even if it were no crime at all, at the very least it is the sin of selfishness, the sin of failing to seek God's will in the matter, and the sin of "robbing God" of a human person whom He says He knew before conception.

    Although we disagree on the nature and severity of the wrong, hopefully we can agree, at least, that:
    1. abortion is a sin
    2. abortion is wrong
    3. abortion should be illegal and therefore penalized (even the scripture you cited supports a penalty)
     
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  7. Invictus

    Invictus Well-Known Member

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    Ok, but, of what use is the concept of “soul” in a discussion of law? One needs empirical, objective events and objects to determine whether a law has broken. How are we supposed to know empirically when a non-empirical entity has been joined to the body, thus making the resultant combination a “person”?
     
  8. Stalwart

    Stalwart Well-Known Member Anglican

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    As I wrote, there are three levels of assent. The highest is Scripture yes, and the lowest of the three is Reason (ie. Enlightenment). But you keep avoiding the one in the middle: the Tradition. As an Anglican you've got to cite the Anglican tradition and the church fathers in support of your views.

    Right so, in the Enlightenment you see the "Offences Against the Person" act of 1828. Will you then assert that an abortion after quickening is murder?
     
  9. Invictus

    Invictus Well-Known Member

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    I think that under some circumstances it is morally wrong, under others it is permissible but not praiseworthy, and under others that it is obligatory.
    I do not think it should be illegal.
    I specifically said I disagree with the way Exodus treats the subject, insofar as the basis of the tort is the assumption of paternal ownership. That being said, one cannot assume sola scriptura and then work from there to the notion that abortion is murder, because the recorded divine commands touching on the subject not only do not say that but actually say the opposite, plainly.
     
  10. Rexlion

    Rexlion Well-Known Member

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    For the record, I have been using the word "homicide" throughout this thread, which leaves open the possibility of manslaughter (a lesser offense than murder).
     
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  11. Invictus

    Invictus Well-Known Member

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    I don’t consider Reason to be subordinate to Tradition or Scripture. Rather, I see Reason as occupying the same level as Scripture, with Tradition subordinate to both. There is no dogma of the three-legged stool.

    Nevertheless, I have cited Aquinas insofar as we’ve discussed the issue of personhood. The early Fathers did not have a definite framework to talk about personhood until after Chalcedon. If I were aware of any specific Anglican sources - which I asked you to cite - I would have mentioned them as well. I was already aware of the history of the way that English and American common law treated the issue, but that’s not the same thing as citing an ecclesiastical source. Regarding the abortion act itself, everyone knows the Fathers condemned it, along with contraception, tattoos, and a host of other things. One has to look at the whole array of the issues involved - exegetical, legal, philosophical, medical - to arrive at a truly informed view, and one cannot simply pretend that insight into these things came to a halt after the age of the Fathers or of the classical Anglican divines, however much respect we may accord their writings.
     
    Last edited: Aug 15, 2021
  12. Invictus

    Invictus Well-Known Member

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    I would possibly consider a truly elective late-term abortion as belonging to the manslaughter category, maybe. However, these are a small fraction not only of abortions total but also of late-term abortions, the latter of which are often accompanied by some severe underlying medical issue. That being said, it’s still not a road I’m terribly comfortable going down. I could see the term “elective” getting twisted out of any recognizable relationship to its plain meaning and serving to facilitate an outright ban rather than to name a rare exception. Any such legislation would have to be drafted most carefully, to prevent the potential for abuse.
     
  13. Stalwart

    Stalwart Well-Known Member Anglican

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    The concept of quickening has always been a legal term. The entrance of the soul into the body has always been empirically validated through Christian history, right? Whether you measure it by the start of the heartbeat, or the first movements detected by the mother, the principle is the same of ensoulement being an empirically-verified concept.

    I appreciate that. That's a big step for us to get on the same page regarding this issue.
     
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  14. PDL

    PDL Well-Known Member Anglican

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    I am not sure where your obsession with cells comes from. Nowhere in this thread have I said cells equal humans. Indeed, I teach my students the contrary. Most textbooks say that cells are the basic building block of life. Cells are living and anything smaller is not. This is not true because cells in the human body cannot exist independently.

    I can sum up the erros in what you say where you say, 'They might still be living if I'm cremated'. They cannot be alive if you've been cremated. They won't even exist!
     
  15. PDL

    PDL Well-Known Member Anglican

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    I agree and was hoping someone would add souls to the discussion. I would have liked you to say more and explain whether Anglicanism has any thoughts on when we receive our soul. I am ashamed to admit that if Anglicanism has a position on this issue I am not aware of it. I know Roman Catholics believe we receive our soul at conception. I understand Jews believe it is received with the child's first intake of breath at birth.
     
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  16. ZachT

    ZachT Well-Known Member

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    I didn't say you said cells equal humans? My original post agreed with you. You said "But, is it a human? Indeed, this is not a question for science to answer.". I said "science is completely incapable of defining what is human".

    I was focusing on cells to demonstrate science cannot tell us if a fertilised embryo is human or not.

    Naturally I meant my cells might still be living at the point I'm being cremated. If they aren't dead post-cremation then there would be no murder.
     
  17. Stalwart

    Stalwart Well-Known Member Anglican

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    The Roman Catholics actually believe that we receive our human soul at the moment of quickening. Just see Thomas Aquinas on the issue (This is why he denied the immaculate conception of Mary). However the RC church has changed its teaching in the 19th century. (And covered up the tracks, to create the illusion that its teachings do not change.) The modern RC position, no matter how pro-life and hardline it may seem, was not the teaching of the Roman church prior to the 19th century. I find that most of modern Roman Catholicism was created imaginatively out of thin air in the 1800s. Even “magisterium” was a word that was made up in the 1860s.

    Anyway, all of historic European legal codes reflect this connection between quickening/ensoulment and the beginnings of the human person. England is no different until the recent decades (ie. the dark times). I posted the famous passage from “The Offences Against The Person” act of 1828. It’s been the constant teaching in the Anglican Communion for centuries that the human person begins at ensoulment/quickening.
     
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  18. PDL

    PDL Well-Known Member Anglican

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    So the question must be: When does ensoulment/quickening happen?
     
  19. anglican74

    anglican74 Well-Known Member Anglican

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    It seems to me that we should quote here from The Didache, an apostolic writing from the 1st or early second century AD if i remember correctly:

    2:1 But the second commandment of the teaching is this.

    2:2 Thou shalt not kill; thou shalt not commit adultery; thou shalt not corrupt youth; thou shalt not commit fornication; thou shalt not steal; thou shalt not use soothsaying; thou shalt not practise sorcery; thou shalt not kill a child by abortion, neither shalt thou slay it when born; thou shalt not covet the goods of thy neighbour;
    http://www.earlychristianwritings.com/text/didache-hoole.html
     
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  20. Invictus

    Invictus Well-Known Member

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    This is my conclusion as well (especially with regard to Roman Catholicism). In theory, I would prefer the viability criterion over the quickening criterion if we’re talking purely in terms of the capacity for independent existence, but the latter is a stable point (approx. 18-20 weeks), whereas viability is going to be a moving target based on the state of technology, and assumes that personhood is based on circumstances external to the person. So, I think that if we’re not going to use birth as the hard starting point, the best alternative is the halfway point when quickening occurs.
     
    Last edited: Aug 16, 2021