Should we throw out the pro-life position due to being religious? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.
When I have seen debates going on about abortion now, something that seems to come up consistently is that this is a religious position. We have separation of church and state. We are not to be controlled by religious laws.
Is this the case? After all, many people who are explicitly religious are pro-life. Would these people be pro-life if they abandoned their religion? If their reasoning is religious in nature, can we rule it out? Even if it isn’t, surely that is their motivation. Right?
To begin with, there are many laws that we have today that are found in religious texts. Most of us seem to think that murder and stealing are wrong and to some extent, lying, such as in cases of perjury, lying under oath. While there are people who are more loose than I think should be with sex, we generally tend to think you shouldn’t cheat on the person you’re with and condemn adultery.
Who among the most radical atheist would like to abandon the law against murder because it is found in the Ten Commandments? Anyone? Do you think it should be allowed for people to steal what belongs to you? Do you think your partner should be just fine with cheating on you?
Christians are often falsely accused of picking and choosing, but atheists do the same thing. They don’t want us to be ruled by ancient laws in the Bible, but they don’t seem to mind some of those laws. Let’s also keep in mind that those laws are not given as if they are new information.
Before the Ten Commandments, we see murder being condemned, even at the very beginning with the story of Cain and Abel. The Ten Commandments were not giving new information for the most part. They were giving beliefs that the Israelites already knew of and understood. It’s not as if they got the commandments and said “Whoa! Turns out murder is wrong!”
Now let’s suppose though that my motivation is largely religious, even if my argument is not. So what? That doesn’t matter. Imagine if you had myself here and with me was atheist Albany Rose. She is a well-known pro-life atheist on social media.
Let’s suppose that we each give the same argument for why abortion is wrong. Now my perspective you could believe was religious and that was my motivation. The same could not be said of Albany Rose. Is the argument valid when it comes from her but not when it comes from me?
Of course not. Arguments stand or fall on the merit of the argument and not on the merit of the person giving it. Now if you think that someone is untrustworthy and a liar, you can be possibly rightly suspicious of their evidences. However, suppose that those evidences do turn out to be true. If that is so, then the argument stands or falls on its own.
If it is the case that the person is not one who has a reputation of being untrustworthy, then pointing out the motivations of the person doesn’t matter a bit. Arguments are either true or false. They don’t have motives. Only the people presenting them do.
Saying someone is religious in their argument is not a refutation. It is just a dodge. Sure, if I quote the Bible and you don’t believe it, then you could say you reject on those grounds, but if I give a more natural law or scientific argument, that still stands or falls on the data itself. Dealing with the person will not deal with the argument.