Monday, 28 September 2015

The Face of Love

Abortion is evil. Unremittingly, unceasingly so. In the same way that slavery is not justified by legitimate economic concerns, the reasons used to attempt to justify abortion do not change that it is evil.

And yet, it is not simple. Millions of women resort to abortion as a way out of desperate situations, or because of some great evil that has been inflicted on them. When discussing abortion, this cannot be ignored. What are we to do with those children conceived through rape, or who are destined to be born into abject poverty, or who are simply unwanted and unloved by their own parents?

Again, abortion is evil. It is not the answer. To destroy the child as punishment for the sins of their father, or to deny them a chance at life because of the situation of their parents, simply heaps evil upon evil. It compounds injustice, and is not a legitimate solution to genuinely tragic situations.

There is no justice or healing to be found in the slaughter of innocents.

But if we are not to respond to evil with evil, how do we respond? What is our solution for the mother who thinks that her only escape from terrible circumstance is the murder of her child? What is our answer to the abortionist who truly believes they are doing what is good? And how do we respond to those who have repented of this evil - who truly believe what they have done is wrong, but are now haunted by guilt?

The answer, of course, is love. Not an ethereal, inactive love. Not a false concept of love based entirely around emotions. A living, working love, that provides help in need, and grace for the fallen.

One way this love is expressed is through crisis pregnancy centres. These are an incredible resource for women who find themselves in seemingly hopeless situations. They will provide financial, physical, emotional, and spiritual support, both to aid women in difficult pregnancies, and those who have suffered the anguish of abortion and are seeking healing. The staunchest pro-life supporters I know are all involved in organisations of this sort: seeking life and love not only for the child, but the parents.

Crisis pregnancy centres have been accused of being "fake clinics" by those who support (and perform) abortions, but how much better an answer it is to suffering than death! This is true support, true hope, and true care: to be willing to help women in their time of need, while not sacrificing their children on the altar of convenience.

To love is to lay down our lives for others - not lay down the lives of their children.

Abortion is not just evil, but it is ultimately a hopeless thing. Where there is life, there is hope - yet it takes that away from the children, never giving them a chance to live for themselves. Crisis pregnancy centres promise life and hope for the whole family.

However, while they are incredibly valuable, there is an even greater answer to evil. It is the answer given by Alyosha to Ivan, in the excerpt from The Brothers Karamazov in my last post.

“Brother,” said Alyosha suddenly, with flashing eyes, “you said just now, is there a being in the whole world who would have the right to forgive and could forgive? But there is a Being and He can forgive everything, all and for all, because He gave His innocent blood for all and everything. You have forgotten Him, and on Him is built the edifice, and it is to Him they cry aloud, ‘Thou art just, O Lord, for Thy ways are revealed!’ ”

Our ultimate hope for the lives of many innocents is the life of the One innocent, who freely gave of Himself that we might live. The One who offers not just life on this earth, but life eternal.

To those who find themselves considering abortions, and those who have already had them or performed them, I urge you: turn to Jesus, the Saviour and Judge of the world, and plea for mercy and help. He is gracious, and will give abundantly to those who ask. There is no greater hope, and no greater answer to evil.

Turn too to the body of Christ in this world. Those who truly serve God will extend love towards you freely, no matter your past or present circumstances. Find a faithful church, and ask for support. It will be given, without judgement or expectation of recompense.

This is also a call to the Church itself. Do more - we must do more! As long as the evil of abortion continues in the world, we need to fight it. To do nothing is to do too little. Whether it be through prayer, through protesting, or reaching out to those who have been afflicted by abortion, we must seek and strive to shine the love of Christ into the world. It may seem a hopeless mission, but our hope is in Jesus, in whom all authority in heaven and on earth rests.

Abortion is a dreadful scar on the world. It is a terrible wordless question, screamed by the millions who have been sacrificed for reasons they could never understand.

Love is the answer. Jesus is the answer: a healing for the wounds that sin inflicts on creation, and mercy and grace for those who seek Him.

He is the face of love to whom we must turn. And, in the words of C. S. Lewis:
“I know now, Lord, why you utter no answer. You are yourself the answer. Before your face questions die away. What other answer would suffice?”

Friday, 25 September 2015

The Face of Evil

Do you know what evil looks like?

There are differing views on whether "evil" truly exists, and whether we can really know it. Some might say that morality is relative, others, that it's simply non-existent. Many more hold to some form of an absolute morality, that transcends cultural values. A morality to be sought after, not created.

I believe that those who claim evil is no more than an abstract concept are tragically mistaken, and demonstrably so, precisely because we know exactly what evil looks like. There are terrible tragedies throughout human history, brought about by the actions of depraved people, that are universally condemned as not simply unpleasant, but in direct violation of a real moral code. The right and wrong of genocide is not a matter of preference. Slavery is not wrong because we believe it to be so: we believe that it is wrong because it is evil in its essence.

We know what evil looks like, because we have seen it.

So why is it that, looking back at history, we freely and fiercely condemn the atrocities of the past, yet turn a blind eye to an evil that matches every one of them, eye for eye, tooth for tooth, life for life?

Why do we slaughter our children?



How can we dare to do this?

There is no question that those killed through abortion are human: fully, utterly human in the most literal sense of the word. They are genetically no different. The only difference is in development. We say they are disposable because they are different from us. They don't look like us - like how we think people should be.

Does that sound familiar to you?

There are only two possible sides in the question of abortion. First, that it is utterly inconsequential, a thing not worth considering: discarding excess weight, as it were.

Or it is murder. If it is not murder, it is not wrong, but if there is any moral value on the life of the foetus - if this human life bears the slightest importance simply by virtue of being human - then abortion can be no more or less than murder, and the tragedy of abortion easily compares to the worst genocides in human history.

The only way to justify abortion is by taking a subset of humanity, and deeming it sub-human. By creating a separate category for them, and saying "because you do not meet our perception of those who deserve human rights, you are of no worth".

Abortion has more in common with the atrocities of history than body count. The justifications are exactly the same.

How can we dare to do this?

You may speak of reproductive rights - but on what grounds is abortion a right, when it directly contravenes the most fundamental human right that exists: the right to life itself? How can it possibly be right to have special dispensation to murder the most vulnerable, at the time when they should be safest, and most cared for?

There is much talk of the pro-life movement being fundamentally misogynist. It's claimed that those who fight abortion do so for no other reason than hatred or repression of women. This is no more or less than a terrible lie. We fight because we see life, and know its value. Our motivation is the same as that of William Wilberforce, or the heroes of the world wars. We fight for justice, and we fight against evil. We fight for life. We fight for the women who have no voice, and whose own family fights against them.

How can anyone dare to do any less?

Abortion is an attack on society from the inside. It is a terrible thing that sets mothers at war with their children, and tears nations apart from within. It is an absolute perversion of the incredible gift of giving life that women have been granted. It is completely, totally, utterly evil.

I would like to share an excerpt from Fyodor Dostoevsky's The Brothers Karamazov.

“But then there are the children, and what am I to do about them? That's a question I can't answer. For the hundredth time I repeat, there are numbers of questions, but I've only taken the children, because in their case what I mean is so unanswerably clear. Listen! If all must suffer to pay for the eternal harmony, what have children to do with it, tell me, please? It's beyond all comprehension why they should suffer, and why they should pay for the harmony. Why should they, too, furnish material to enrich the soil for the harmony of the future? I understand solidarity in sin among men. I understand solidarity in retribution, too; but there can be no such solidarity with children. And if it is really true that they must share responsibility for all their fathers' crimes, such a truth is not of this world and is beyond my comprehension.”

The death of a child - of even one single innocent infant - is too great a price to pay for whatever perceived benefits abortion may bring.

My plea for you is to see this. To recognise abortion for what it is: evil. To stand up against this, no matter the cost, and fight for life. Fight for the defenceless. If you support abortion, then please think of the lives that have been lost, and ask yourself: has it been worth it? Have the 1.3 billion deaths been worth it?

Has one single death been worth it?

This is what evil looks like - what it has looked like for all time.

Let me finish with one more excerpt - one with a message of hope.

“Rebellion? I am sorry you call it that,” said Ivan earnestly. “One can hardly live in rebellion, and I want to live. Tell me yourself, I challenge you—answer. Imagine that you are creating a fabric of human destiny with the object of making men happy in the end, giving them peace and rest at last, but that it was essential and inevitable to torture to death only one tiny creature—that baby beating its breast with its fist, for instance—and to found that edifice on its unavenged tears, would you consent to be the architect on those conditions? Tell me, and tell the truth.”
“No, I wouldn't consent,” said Alyosha softly.
“And can you admit the idea that men for whom you are building it would agree to accept their happiness on the foundation of the unexpiated blood of a little victim? And accepting it would remain happy for ever?”
“No, I can't admit it. Brother,” said Alyosha suddenly, with flashing eyes, “you said just now, is there a being in the whole world who would have the right to forgive and could forgive? But there is a Being and He can forgive everything, all and for all, because He gave His innocent blood for all and everything. You have forgotten Him, and on Him is built the edifice, and it is to Him they cry aloud, ‘Thou art just, O Lord, for Thy ways are revealed!’ ”