The moral problem of abortion & the moral problem of Third World poverty

Discussion in 'Religion and Ethics' started by mlw, Nov 4, 2012.

  1. mlw
    Offline

    mlw Member

    Joined:
    Jul 22, 2010
    Messages:
    74
    Thanks Received:
    7
    Trophy Points:
    21
    Location:
    Stockholm, Sweden
    Ratings:
    +12
    Earlier in history the baby acquired status as a human being only at the moment of birth. As a fetus it hadn't yet taken its first breath, which was regarded as the moment when it became inspired with the life spirit. In fact, during epochs in history, the child had to undergo a ritual, e.g. baptizing, before it acquired full status as a human being. Before this, the parents could get rid of the child. This was, of course, due to factors of poverty.

    Historically, people had recourse to a symbolic and religious worldview. The "rule" was that human life begins when the child is born. This is the moment when it takes its first breath and starts life as a separate organism. We still celebrate this as our birthday, when our life began. We don't view it as beginning a few months before. Astrologers have always regarded this as the moment when life begins. Although we have lost this "naive" worldview, I don't think it's possible to live without a symbolic outlook. We must still have recourse to symbolic rules to live by. The moral burden gets too big, otherwise.

    I think we should be less sentimental about abortion. Up to a few months, abortion should be legal. It is true that it is cruel, but we cannot expect to remove all the dark aspects from life. Most importantly, human life isn't holy. There is a tendency of putting the human being on a pedestal, as if he were a divine being. But homo sapiens is the most destructive and evil creature that has ever existed on this earth. There is no grounds for worshipping human life.

    There is a conflict between qualitatively valuable life (intellectual life, spiritual life, artistic life) versus vegetative life, i.e., the life of the child; motherhood and the rearing of children, etc. Among simple people, such as the majority of the Nigerian population, there is really no alternative to a vegetative life, so they give birth to children en masse. But in the white population there are people who have greater horizons than a mere instinctual and unconscious life, which implies a qualitatively valuable life, capable of enhancing the conscious dimensions.

    The meaning of human life isn't simply to propagate the species. For instance, if a woman wants to pursue a career as a musician, it might be necessary to do an abortion. Thus, something spiritually valuable can take root. Life isn't only about quantity. Quality is equally important. So this is a conflict which we have to live with. We have to put up with the painful and conflicting sides of life, and not simply remove that which is morally difficult, as in the Islamic countries. Arguably, a single meaningful human life is worth hundreds of unconscious and mechanical lives (in a metaphorical sense).

    A meaningful human life is a life that can reach its potential. Think of the many women in history who had to sacrifice their individual talent for the sake of motherhood and kitchen duties. An immense number of philosophers, musicians, artists, poets, scientists, and spiritual personalities, were never given a chance. It is very painful not to be able to develop one's personality, and instead be confined within a suffocating space. Many people, not only women, have been driven insane by the stifling morality of society. It has created immense suffering in human history.

    When I speak of "meaningful life" I don't mean to say that all other human life is worthless. I mean that people who have an impetus in themselves, to manifest their inner nature, will experience life as meaningless if they are confined within too narrow constraints. Such people have an urge to live a meaningful life, whereas the majority just take a seat on the train, visit all the stations in life, and then die. Of course, their lives are probably meaningful in some religious sense, but their lives aren't meaningful in the personal sense of the creative individual. There are different variants of meaning.

    I am not saying that it is self-evident to terminate the life of fetuses. But nor is it self-evident to always let them live. We must accept that life is wrought with difficult moral problems. It is not always an easy decision. If the fetus has a serious genetic disease, such as Down's syndrom, etc., I would find it easier to take this decision. But if such a child were born, I would be capable of loving it.

    But don't swallow the fundamentalist argument, that abortion is always wrong. We are unceasingly taking the lives of living beings. A pig, for instance, is a vastly more intelligent creature than a fetus, and it has a full spectrum of feelings. Don't elevate human beings to divine creatures that under no circumstances can be put to death, whereas other living creatures can be killed as if they had no value at all.

    Today, we overvalue vegetative and unconscious life and underestimate spiritual and individual life. We ought to acknowledge the moral conflict involved between these two forms of life. Sometimes one must leave room to the growth of the individual at the price of vegetative and unconscious life.

    The notion that all human life is always divine and must be protected at all costs is what underlies the expansive population of Subsaharan Africans and their immigration to the Western world. The biggest immigrant group in Sweden is the Somali nationality. Approximately 85% are unemployed, whereas most of the rest is studying or are employed in some government program, etc. The majority of them lead vegetative lives; eating, copulating, chewing Khat, etc. Most Western people think this is ideal. The more humans there exist on earth that are merely vegetating, the better it is. But this policy is catastrophic. Population growth devastates the earth.

    The advanced conscious life of the individual is valuable life. It is the only thing which is divine, whereas unconscious and mechanic life is not only meaningless, it is destructive to life on earth since it uses up so much resources and gives rise to criminality.

    It is dismaying that there is no appraisal of the drive of individuation. The individual is like a tree that has a strong urge to blossom out. If this force is stymied, it generates an enormous anxiety and suffering in the individual. Life must be lived, and there are always costs involved, such as the sacrifice of a fetus or the sacrifice of a loving relationship. Life always involves sacrifice. (That's why all higher civilizations in the Bronze Age made an abominable ritual of this truth and instituted the human sacrifice). We don't need to spare every embryo, nor do we need to keep every Third World child alive.

    Let's stop worshipping human life, as such. In the modern age the human being is elevated to divine proportions. This is a severe misunderstanding of the Christian message. Black and brown children in the Third World are not divine. However, the individual who realizes his inner potential and emancipates him/herself from unconscious and vegetative life is following the path of Christ.

    Lao-tzu says: "Life is spirit" (Tao Te Ching, 6). The life of the spirit mustn't be confined within a box where it is suffocating. This is what happens when the vulgar notion of life in the flesh is elevated as the highest principle. Let's stop the materialistic worship of the human flesh. It is time to understand that life is spirit. The maximization of human lives on this planet has no value at all, it only destroys the planet. It asphyxiates the life in the spirit, which is the only real life.

    Mats Winther
     
  2. waltky
    Offline

    waltky Wise ol' monkey Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Feb 6, 2011
    Messages:
    20,905
    Thanks Received:
    1,792
    Trophy Points:
    215
    Location:
    Okolona, KY
    Ratings:
    +3,889
    UN poverty commission not doin' much good...
    :eusa_eh:
    UN’s $5.7B anti-poverty agency doesn’t do much to reduce poverty, according to its own assessment
    January 14, 2013 : The $5.7 billion United Nations Development Program bills itself as the U.N.’s flagship anti-poverty agency, but when it comes to actually helping the world’s 1.3 billion desperately poor people, that description appears to be more of a facade, according to a report commissioned by UNDP itself that is slated for closed-door discussion at the end of this month.
     
  3. waltky
    Offline

    waltky Wise ol' monkey Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Feb 6, 2011
    Messages:
    20,905
    Thanks Received:
    1,792
    Trophy Points:
    215
    Location:
    Okolona, KY
    Ratings:
    +3,889
    Most Rich Could End World Poverty 4 Times Over...
    :eusa_eh:
    Can we fight poverty by ending extreme wealth?
    January 20, 2013 - Nonprofits owe much of their budgets to wealthy donors, so it’s unusual for a major charity group to implicate extremely rich individuals as part of the problem.
     
  4. LittleNipper
    Offline

    LittleNipper VIP Member

    Joined:
    Jan 3, 2013
    Messages:
    2,052
    Thanks Received:
    154
    Trophy Points:
    85
    Ratings:
    +339
    Don't worship screen, stage, music and sports stars and that would save billions. There are the billions that might be saved if people didn't steal/cheat/murder --- ending up in jail, quit smoking --- ruining one's health, not getting drunk --- having accidents and ruining one's health, not waste money on tattoos but give it to the poor, and performing sexual acts that spread HIV and a multitude of horrible diseases, AND ALSO not wasting money on drugs that ruin people's lives.

    The above are the simple things everyone can do. Why expect the rich to carry the load when we are so unwilling to help ourselves?
     
    Last edited: Jan 20, 2013
  5. jwoodie
    Offline

    jwoodie Gold Member Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Aug 15, 2012
    Messages:
    8,767
    Thanks Received:
    1,287
    Trophy Points:
    245
    Ratings:
    +3,912
    So would you prohibit abortions during the first trimester, or are you just soft-pedaling a pro-abortion argument? Historically, women and children were considered property (as were slaves). Should we therefore become less sentimental about their welfare? How about euthanasia? Our glorious Native Americans used to discard old people and unwanted babies with careless abandonment. Is that OK, too?
     

Share This Page