Occupy GlobalNOISE March for mELBOURNE Babies

Anti-abortionists/pro-lifers/forced-birthers held a ‘March For the Babies’ yesterday in Melbourne. At the same time, the Campaign for Women’s Reproductive Rights and Occupy Melbourne crew organised a smaller counter-demo in support of women’s reproductive rights. Abortion was legalised in Victoria in 2008: the Babies march is an annual event organised to protest the passing of this legislation (the Abortion Law Reform Act).

The few thousand Christians who assembled to protect innocent babies were addressed by a handful of politicians and a foreign aristocrat. The Age reported that Pro-choice activists disrupt anti-abortion march (October 13, 2012) and television news reported that protesters clashed (which meant there was some shouty) but otherwise the event passed off peaceably. Angry Christian Bill Muehlenberg complains:

Yet if a dozen activists demanding homosexual marriage had held a public demo, without any opposition and thus no conflict, the MSM would still be everywhere, even outnumbering the protestors. The 6 o’clock news would be full of this, with major stories devoted to their protests. And next day all the newspapers would likely have front page coverage of the event as well.

Probably.

As for Jesus and abortion, I don’t recall him ever having mentioned it.

About @ndy

I live in Melbourne, Australia. I like anarchy. I don't like nazis. I enjoy eating pizza and drinking beer. I barrack for the greatest football team on Earth: Collingwood Magpies. The 2020 premiership's a cakewalk for the good old Collingwood.
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68 Responses to Occupy GlobalNOISE March for mELBOURNE Babies

  1. Georgia says:

    Hey, Andy, I was googling away busily trying to find some coverage of Saturday, and this is one of the very few places it came up at all! So I shall talk to you 🙂
    There was some shouty – I was there. Actually, even you should laugh at this.
    There was this guy, like a definate guy, holding a sign: ‘Rosaries off my ovaries’.
    The sign you see in the news video (7 news I think?) where a lady is holding it. She must’ve passed it to him. That was really funny.
    Anyway, about Jesus and abortion. Our argument is that the unborn are people, who are just very very young. Jesus didn’t say ‘Don’t kill 27 year olds! Or 28 year olds! Or 2 year olds! Or 1 year olds!’ Cause, I mean, that would be ridiculous. He just said to love everyone, and by extension, don’t kill anyone. So the argument really has to come down to, is the unborn a person?
    “If the unborn is not a human person, no justification for abortion is necessary.
    However, if the unborn is a human person, no justification for abortion is adequate.”
    Greg Koukl
    So, what’s your argument for the non-human-personhood of the unborn?

    Cheers!
    Georgia

  2. @ndy says:

    Hi Georgia,

    A few things:

    Yes. Some argue that the unborn (often, from the moment of fertilisation) is a person, and as a person they should not be killed (or at least not without very good, compelling reasons). The weakness in this argument lies in the identification of the unborn with a born person. In what sense is a zygote, for example, a person? Otherwise, some argue that, even if not a person, from the moment of fertilisation, a potential human person has been created, and it’s this potency which should be at the centre of moral consideration.

    A complicating factor in these moral calculations is the existence of women. To be precise, the unborn exists in an intimate relationship with its mother (‘host’). That is, any ethical position must necessarily (both in this instance and more generally) consider the interests of more than one party in the equation. Further, the nature of this discussion can be framed differently. So rather than speak of the unborn it’s possible to speak of a woman and a zygote or embryo (which may in fact produce more than one fetus).

    On the subject of Jesus and abortion, a caveat: this argument only really has relevance for those who proclaim themselves to be his followers. Those who are not Christians need not overly concern themselves with what Jesus did or said (and leaving aside the question of precisely what this consisted of and how it may be determined). In other words, if what Jesus said or did has relevance then it’s because it has intrinsic merit.

    That said, the reason for highlighting Jesus’ silence on this question is summarised elsewhere. But in essence it relates to the fact that the religious tradition of which Jesus was an expression makes all sorts of commandments (Moses came armed with hundreds) and yet says nothing specifically about abortion. In other words, it may be argued that the focus upon opposing abortion is misplaced.

    Beyond this, I guess the question is what makes a person a person; what rights accrue to a person on the basis of their personhood; how might conflict between rights be best adjudicated?

    These are my initial thoughts in response to your comment.

  3. Georgia says:

    Hi Andy,

    I can totally understand how you see a weakness in the identification of the unborn with a born person. To answer your question (in what sense a zygote is person), I would list some things that I see make a person worthy of human rights.

    Unique human DNA.
    Life.

    And, well, that’s pretty much it. Here are two of the zygote-does-not=person arguments I’ve heard:

    The zygote is completely dependent upon a host.
    – my attempt at debunking this: so what? Being physically connected to someone or something does not mean that you aren’t a person. Take co-joined twins for example. This link: http://www.lifenews.com/2012/10/03/mom-of-conjoined-twins-who-refused-abortion-challenges-pro-choicers/ brings up a video by the mother of co-joined twins, specifically talking about that argument. Where we get our nutrients from does not affect our personhood or human rights. Someone on life support is no less a person than I am. Basically, as we grow up we become more and more independent, from conception onwards. Being able to breathe on one’s own is just another step towards independence.

    The zygote does not have conscious thought.
    Again, my response: so what? I knock you unconscious; you no longer have conscious thought. No way on earth would I kill you. Yes, you still have brain function. The unborn have brain function from 8 weeks. If you want to grant personhood at eight weeks, let me know!

    The potential human person argument is really interesting.
    A couple of days ago I watched a 60 Minutes clip thing on YouTube, about Pregnancy Reduction. It showed a video of an unborn human, bobbing along in utero. A long needle slides into view, touches on the little chest, and then pushes in. Straight into the little heart you can see, beating. Fluid fills the heart. The little human writhes a little. I choke up.
    The doctor who did that explained that this was not a person, but a potential person. What? How? He looked into the future and saw that a person would be there in a few months and just arranged affairs so that the person would not come into existence? Ah, no. That heart was beating. That heart was here and now. It was not a ‘potential heart’. It was not a ‘potential person’. It was a person with potential. And that doctor just killed him. (Or her. The unborn have gender. They’re not things.)

    Any ethical position must consider the interests of more than one party in the equation. Absolutely! Couldn’t have said it better myself. There is one party, the mother, and the other party, her offspring (commonly known as ‘her child’). There may be other parties involved, but these two are the obvious two. However, until the party’s individual rights are determined, we cannot weigh them against each other. Isn’t it terribly sad that we have to weigh a mother’s rights *against* her offspring’s? If the unborn is a person, the right to life is absolute, and other people’s more minor rights cannot interfere with the right to life.

    Put it this way. I have a right to move my body. I can swing my arm around! But my right to swing my arm ends at the tip of your nose. Why? Because the right to swing my arm is lesser than your right not to be subject to violence. I have the right to buy a gun (if I have all the legal necessities). I have a right to shoot that gun. But my right to shoot is lesser than your right not to be shot.

    But if you weren’t a person – if you were a rabbit – I would have the right to shoot you. So your identity determines which rights you bring to the table. If the unborn is a person, they bring the overpowering right to life. If they are not a person … it’s a free-for-all, because without human/person identity there are no human/person rights.

    Isn’t it interesting that they’re called ‘human rights’, not ‘person rights’? I guess that’s because through the ages people have been labelled ‘just human’, and separated from the rest of us. If they are human, they have human rights.

    On Jesus – true. If you don’t believe Jesus was anyone special, why listen to him? But when non-believers tell us (I follow Jesus Christ) that we shouldn’t oppose abortion because of Jesus, you’re up for it. We follow him, we study his words, our lives are devoted to his service … we’re more than ready to take on the challenge.

    The misplaced focus on abortion? Well, put it this way. Killing your own offspring never was much of a hit among the Jews. Not unless that killing was a sacrifice to get them something – sacrificing to Moloch, for example, for which God sent nations to slaughter his own people. He came down pretty hard on the ‘shedding of innocent blood’. But children were a blessing – longed for, prayed for, boasted about. Being barren was a curse.
    We focus on abortion because, if the unborn is a person, as we say it is (and I understand this is a big incentive to decide not to believe the unborn is a person) then we are slaughtering thousands upon thousands of innocent people, legally, every year, in every state of this country, and we are guilty of their deaths. If you were in Nazi Germany and sat in your little sunroom and ignored the Jews being killed, you were guilty of their blood because you did nothing. So if you understand, and believe, that the unborn are people, you’ve got two choices: Stand up and get spat on, or sit down and keep the guilt on your hands. Figuratively speaking.

    So, what makes a person a person? What rights accrue to a person on the basis of their personhood, and how might conflict between rights be best adjudicated?

    There have been treaties and conventions galore on what rights we people get. See above for my requirements to get person status. And conflict between rights?

    May the biggest right win.

  4. @ndy says:

    Your commentary covers a lotta territory (ethics, rights, history) so my reply will be piecemeal.

    On killing, Christianity and Judaism:

    If The (generic) Bible can be regarded as an authoritative source on such matters, then I simply don’t agree with your account. That is, the God of the Old Testament is bloodthirsty and vengeful, from Beginning to End.

    In Genesis, God tells Noah he’s gonna kill everything ’cause the world’s too violent; in Exodus, God demands that any Israelite who touches Mt Sinai while He’s on it be put to death; in Exodus and Leviticus he commands female witches be killed and so too those who curse their Mom and/or Pop, have sex with an animal, work on the Sabbath or blaspheme. In Exodus, Moses placates an angry God by killing those silly enough to worship the golden calf (along with their mates). God’s thirst for vengeance isn’t satisfied so he sends down a plague to kill more unfortunates. The story of the Ark of the Covenant is also horribly bloody.

    In Numbers some of his worshippers have the temerity to ask God for some meat. He sends them some birds to eat after which he sends them a plague (to die for). God also commands the Israelites to murder a bloke caught working on the Sabbath by stoning him to death, kills and sends to hell others who challenge Moses and Aaron’s authority, and responds to complaints by sending another bloody plague their way. Another plague is sent down when the Israelites get too chummy with the Midianites: thousands die. He later commands the Israelites to commit genocide against the Midianites, killing the males and enslaving the young girls.

    In Deuteronomy, the penalty for exercising freedom of religion is death. Such also is the fate of disobedient sons.

    In Joshua, God commands the genocide of the Amorites.

    In Judges, the Danites (with God’s endorsement) commit genocide upon the inhabitants of Laish.

    In Samuel, God commands Saul to obliterate the people — men, women and children — of Amalek (along with their animals).

    In Chronicles and Samuel, King David has the bright idea of taking a census. This pisses off God who sends down a plague, killing thousands of Israelites.

    …and so on and so on and so on.

    For this God — your God — killing is Good and Righteous and can and should be committed for what otherwise appear to be not-very-good reasons.

    On DNA, life and rights:

    One of the reasons I referred to a human zygote is because in terms of embryology it forms prior to the embryo and hence the possibility of monozygotic twins. In other words, it doesn’t make much sense to speak of personhood in this context. Otherwise, I mean to suggest that rights, broadly speaking, are also sometimes attached to capacities. In other words, a fetus may (or may not) have a ‘right to life’, but it’s not possible to speak sensibly of their right to vote.

    Further to this, one of the reasons I invoked the notion that the rights of women are relevant is because it allows for discussion of the possibility that it’s an individual woman’s right to choose whether or not to have an abortion — and not, say, the state’s. Hence the implicit recognition that the responsible moral agent is the pregnant woman, who can and should be in a position to make an informed choice with regards whether or not to carry a pregnancy to term. In this context, a woman who agrees that abortion is wrong is free to choose not to have one, while one who does not may (or may not) proceed in so doing. (Of course, if one accepts that preserving life is of paramount concern, there are also grounds for conceding abortion in cases where a mother’s life may be put at risk through carrying a pregnancy to term.)

    In terms of the seemingly simple matter of the moral consequences of admitting a fetus to the world of personhood: it ain’t necessarily so. See, for example, ‘A Defense of Abortion’, Judith Jarvis Thomson, ‘Philosophy and Public Affairs’, Vol.1, No.1 (1971). http://www.jhu.edu/choice/files/adefenseofabortion.pdf

    Another issue concerns the nature of rights and their exclusive accrual to human beings. That is, there’s a long-established school of thought that maintains that rights depend not upon possession of a particular set of chemical compounds (species) but upon other properties, such as sentience. Thus, while technically speaking shooting a rabbit may be a relatively simple matter if you’re on a farm, have a gun and a good aim, it’s not necessarily a simple ethical proposition.

    More later.

  5. Georgia says:

    Thanks for that link (A Defence of Abortion)! Will definately read it 🙂
    Meanwhile, a brief reply, starting bottom-up on yours …

    Yes, the idea of sentience being a/the requirement for ‘personhood’ is not new to me. There isn’t much that I can say to that one without going into an enormous philosophical type-fest, eventually winding up with God. So unless you believe that, let’s forget red herrings and focus on the whales in the room …

    Lots of big words there – don’t worry, I can handle that – but if we simplify it, what that paragraph seems to be saying is ‘Because the woman is closely involved in the issue, she can decide if it’s right or wrong.’ Meeeeep. If Hitler had been brought up with adopted Jewish children, that would not have made it any more ‘right’ for him to kill 6 million of them. Yes, the woman is a ‘moral agent’. But to suggest that a woman is therefore able to declare something right or wrong is, well, wrong. A guy is a moral agent too. That doesn’t mean that he can declare that it is right for him to rape the niece he is intimately acquainted with.

    Monozygotic twins … sorry, haven’t done my research on this bit, so I’m not up to debating there. Give me a few weeks and I’ll talk.

    “… grounds for conceding abortion in cases where a mother’s life may be put at risk through carrying a pregnancy to term.” Yep. My one and only exception to my anti-abortion stance – except, I don’t think it is an exception, because if I remember rightly (and I may not), it’s not called an abortion in that case. It’s like one of those co-joined twins was dying, and her death would kill the other as well. You save a life. Thing is, check out the stats – for actually *saving the mother’s life*, the numbers are incredibly low. Saving ‘health’, sky-high. Morning sickness, anyone?

    “A fetus may (or may not) have a ‘right to life’, but it’s not possible to speak sensibly of their right to vote.” True. At the March a guy tried to stump me on that one. ‘How are you gonna put it on the electoral roll, huh? Huh?’ Me: ‘I only turned 18 recently (True. In May.). Does that mean that last year I wasn’t a person? I couldn’t vote. I am still not allowed to drive on my own! (Still on Ls.) Didn’t I have human rights back then?’
    Truth is, I did have human rights. It’s just that we have special laws and protections around children. No one says ‘8 year olds shouldn’t have the right to life cause look, we don’t let them drink alcohol!’ because that would be dumb. Of course a fetus can’t vote. Neither can a newborn. So, you could go with these guys: http://jme.bmj.com/content/early/2012/03/01/medethics-2011-100411.short whom you’ve no doubt hear about, and say that newborns are just ‘potential persons’ too. I hope you don’t go there. But, some do.

    Okay, the God of Hate.

    “For this God — your God — killing is Good and Righteous and can and should be committed for what otherwise appear to be not-very-good reasons.”

    I read those accounts – you’ve put them in your light, I’d put them in a somewhat different light. But it remains.

    God did kill – and order killed – thousands and thousands and thousands of people.

    Why do I still love Him? How can I love Him?

    Because I know that God is holy. It’s something hard for unbelievers to understand. I talked with a lady about sacredness – and then I realised she was using a different word to me. Holy is hard to explain. It means right. Perfect. Unable to tolerate evil of any level, of any kind. We people were created to be holy. Perfect. Friends for God. When we sin – I mean any sin – we break that holiness. As people who have chosen to sin, spat in God’s face, every single one of us deserves death. Deserves it like hell.

    So he could wipe every human being off the face of this planet and be perfectly justified in doing so. He is the Judge. He is the Alpha and the Omega, Creator with the right to mould his creations any way he chooses. And judge them.

    So why doesn’t he? Because he is not only perfect justice. He is mercy, as well. He loves. He shows his justice by obliterating, and his love by building up. You get to choose whether to be obliterated or built up. (Though check out Calvanistic theology, which I largely hold to.)

    The thing is – God is the judge. We aren’t. He did not give you or me the authority to kill. Human life is sacred to God – and he gets mad when we claim the right to kill for ourselves.

    Must go. Cheers. Georgia.

  6. @ndy says:

    Briefly:

    That’s kinda bottom-up… but not quite. Anyway…

    1

    Re sentience: yes, it’s been argued by some moral philosophers that sentience is one criteria by which it’s possible to determine ‘personhood’, a status which is obviously related to but not commensurate with ‘human being’. (Equally obviously, it’s possible to collapse this distinction, tho’ not without raising other conceptual problems.) But it’s really not necessary to believe in God (or gods) in order to examine the consequences this has for a discussion on the question of personhood; partly, I raised it in this context in order to broaden the concept of ‘rights’ to those which arguably belong to animals…

    I dunno about Big Words — I didn’t invoke phallogocentricity, after all — but I’m not sure you got my point.

    2

    First, there’s a distinction to be made between engaging in philosophical debate about moral questions — is abortion right or wrong? do animals have rights? why are umpires allowed to systematically discriminate against Collingwood? — and determining the appropriate agency for making decisions upon the basis of such considerations.

    The provision of abortion services in Victoria is subject to law: since 2008, the provisions of the Abortion Law Reform Act. It’s this law which protesters wish to see repealed and — as I understand it — further seek to have abortion (re-)criminalised. In other words, control over access to abortion services is governed by the state through its laws; these laws are subject to change; the state is invested (or arrogates to itself) the power and the authority to determine precisely how these laws are formulated and enacted; it’s possible for the citizenry to influence this process through engaging in political action.

    Such as having a March for Babies.

    The question of who it is that should have the authority to determine whether or not an abortion should take place has been the subject of feminist struggle for a long while. Women’s reproductive freedom means, if nothing else, that it’s the pregnant woman’s right and responsibility to make this decision. Of course, it’s possible to argue that this decision should be made by others: that a pregnant woman has no ‘right’ to make such a decision (hence the reason some refer to ‘anti-abortionists’ as ‘forced-birthers’). If this is the case, by whom should such a decision be made? Partly, the response of anti-abortionists is to seek to limit women’s access to such services, such that, even if a woman desires an abortion, her ability to access one is severely compromised. For example, by limiting or abolishing state support, or by criminalising abortion — rendering unlawful and mandating punishment (jail) for those judged guilty of accessing or rendering such medical procedures. In other words, a return to The Good Old Days, when only rich women, if fortunate enough, could afford an abortion and to escape the legal consequences of purchasing one (if not the medical and other risks associated with it).

    In summary, while there’s obviously an abstract dimension to the debate, what it boils down to is some very real, very concrete decisions, by women, concerning whether or not to give birth to a child. And I think a very good argument can be made — irrespective of yours or my or anybody else’s attitude or opinion on the matter — that it’s pregnant women, in the final instance, who can and indeed must determine whether or not an abortion is the appropriate course of action to take. (By the same token, it’s also a woman’s right to carry through with a pregnancy, even if this is against the wishes of others, including parental or state authority.)

    3

    Regarding Hitler

    I’m not sure the analogy is appropriate. Certainly, I don’t understand how it is. In any case:

    Yes, the woman is a ‘moral agent’. But to suggest that a woman is therefore able to declare something right or wrong is, well, wrong. A guy is a moral agent too. That doesn’t mean that he can declare that it is right for him to rape the niece he is intimately acquainted with.

    Leaving aside the paradoxical nature of your statement, the premise I wished to draw attention to is actually fairly simple, I think: each person is responsible for the consequences of their actions (insofar as these are known to them at least). So: it’s not a simple matter of someone simply declaring something to be ‘right’ or ‘wrong’; nor — of course — an issue of other’s obligations to agree. Rather — at least to the extent that they’re subject to rational discussion — such questions are a matter for debate.

    To put it another way: you are convinced that abortion is wrong. Further, that you have very good reasons for declaring this to be the case: God says so. Others, obviously, disagree. In the absence of force, your ability to prevent a woman from having an abortion would appear to depend upon your ability to convince her that it’s the wrong thing to do. A woman of good conscience, having been convinced of this, will not therefore have an abortion.

    Politically speaking, the situation is a little more complicated. Thus you wish to see abortion criminalised and those women who somehow manage to obtain one punished appropriately.

    4

    Re abortion on the grounds of health. Leaving terminology aside, the point is that it’s at this point that a utilitarian logic (more obviously) comes into play. That is, the rightness or wrongness of the action is judged on the basis of its consequences. This form of moral reasoning exists in a sometimes fraught relationship with notions of rights… but perhaps that can discussed at greater length later.

    5

    Re rights and capacities: my intent was more straightforward, but I’ll leave this question to one side for the time being.

    6

    Finally, on God and morality:

    I’ll hope you’ll forgive me for suggesting this, but when you write of your love for a supernatural mass murderer, I’m immediately reminded of the rationalisations abused women sometimes make with regards their abusive male partners: despite all appearances to the contrary, they maintain, the person (or thing, in this case) is actually, deep down, where it matters, Good. More often than not, this attitude is regarded by others as one of the tragic consequences of such abuse.

    Of course, within theology, this is more normally referred to as The Problem of Evil. That is, given that God is a Top Bloke, and more powerful even than Chuck Norris, why on Earth is this there so much horrible shit in the World? How theologians have responded to this problem is a whole other question, but to the extent that your observations regarding your love for God fail to account for this seeming discrepancy, it reads as being quite irrational.

    One final thing:

    God as universal tyrant has of course been the subject of determined critique for some centuries, and as Bakunin put it:

    “A jealous lover of human liberty, and deeming it the absolute condition of all that we admire and respect in humanity, I reverse the phrase of Voltaire, and say that, if God really existed, it would be necessary to abolish him.”

  7. Calamity says:

    “Why do I still love Him? How can I love Him?

    Because I know that God is holy.”

    And there it is. The heavenly platonic form of gender hierarchy writ large which not only forms the basis for all Patriarchal nonsense, including – as @ndy points out – why women should stay with their partner even if he is a little “hard to deal with” at times [*cue any Motown song you like*]. It is also the basis for the argument Georgia is putting forward.

    As a woman, a feminist and an anarchist, I consider there to be one single point at issue in this debate – and that is the relationship between a woman and her unborn child. Anyone else who claims to have a say can go and take a hike. The reason abortion is such a controversial issue just goes to show how far away we are, as a society, from allowing women that basic right – to dare think that her body is her own, and that she has the right to make decisions about it. And yes, the unborn child is *in* a woman’s body.

    Whatever decision a woman makes about the relationship between herself and her unborn child – is HER decision. And she should be supported in that decision.^

    Once the debate enters religious and philosophical grounds, which inevitably complicate the basic issues, rationality loses. I lose. Women lose. Feminism loses.

    It’s about me and my body. It’s about women and their respective bodies. God and dead white [male] philosophers can go and have a tea-party to discuss their own body parts and issues. Might do them some good.

    ^(There are extreme/exceptional cases but I don’t think it is productive to be drawn into those until the basic facts and issues are covered and established.)

  8. Georgia says:

    Um, okay, it’s gonna take me a while to reply to all those points in any depth. Seeing it’s past midnight now and I have assignments to get in tomorrow, you’ll have to excuse me for a couple of days. Just a quick something to think about –

    Briefly, on gender hierarchy – meeep. My brother feels the same way. And he’s a man. Male, you know. God isn’t God because he fits some definition of male.

    Where did I say that a woman doesn’t have the right to abortion *because she’s a female*? No guy should have the right to an abortion either! That just sounds a little hollow though. Gender hierarchy has nothing to do with abortion. Absolutely z.i.p. to do with abortion. Apart from the fact that it’s used as a way of ensuring only sons are born (alive, at any rate). You know about the massive number of girls missing from India due to selective abortion, cutting out the girls? Makes me mad. 🙂

    I didn’t say God was ‘a little hard to deal with’. That would be … silly. If God is God, he is well, like, unimaginably big, Creator of all things, who stretched out the heavens with his (figurative) hand and holds stars and galaxies in his (figurative) hand. He’s not a little hard to deal with. He’s God. I don’t ‘deal with’ him.
    (Besides which, God doesn’t beat me up.)

    Calamity, you said:
    … I consider there to be one single point at issue in this debate – and that is the relationship between a woman and her unborn child. … from allowing women that basic right – to dare think that her body is her own, and that she has the right to make decisions about it. And yes, the unborn child is *in* a woman’s body.

    Um. Forgive the Ums. But, I mean, if it’s a CHILD, and you’re the one who called it a child, what rationality can say ‘Yeah, I’ll step back and let you kill it.’

    That’s not called feminism. That’s actually known as cowadice. Or else something worse. Yeah.
    ‘Go ahead, do what you like with your body, the relationship between your body and her body is nothing to do with me, so yeah, you can kill your child.’

    How can the right not to be pregnant – esp. when 99% of cases the woman had more than an inkling that this was a possibility – be greater than the right to life?

    If there are two people there – and you’re saying there are – then how can you happily let one kill the other, because the one doesn’t want to live through eight more months of pregnancy?

    A woman’s body is absolutely her own. But just because you own your body, doesn’t mean you can do whatever you like with it. I’m serious there. You can’t punch me just because you own your body. A woman can’t kill her newborn because she owns her own body. A guy can’t rape me just because he owns his own body. There are things we must not do with our bodies. Like killing a child.

    As a fellow woman, I cannot understand how you can say that my mother’s right not to be pregnant was greater than my right to live. I love life. I love people. I love children. I can’t see a reason why I should turn a blind eye to a woman killing a child anymore than I can see a reason why I should turn away when a man kills a woman.

    It’s not just about you and your body. It’s about you and your body and a baby and his or her body. You said so yourself. Rationality comes in there 🙂 Different DNA, his own heart, her own brain, his own little hands and her own little face. Another person. Not your body. Someone else’s body. Not your life. Someone else’s life.
    A helpless little person, who has the right to her own life.

    Name me one reason why that child should die.

  9. Georgia says:

    Sorry about that cowardice comment. I just couldn’t think of a better word at the time 🙂 Don’t take it personally … not too personally, anyways. 😉

  10. @ndy says:

    Georgia, I think you’ll find ample evidence in The Bible of Heavenly, non-Platonic forms of Patriarchal nonsense. In one of Tim’s letters, for example:

    11 Let the woman learn in silence with all subjection. 12 But I suffer not a woman to teach, nor to use authority over the man: but to be in silence. 13 For Adam was first formed; then Eve. 14 And Adam was not seduced; but the woman, being seduced, was in the transgression. 15 Yet she shall be saved through child bearing; if she continue in faith and love and sanctification with sobriety.

  11. Calamity says:

    I’ve been thinking lately, that I wish there were gumball machines – you know, like in the shopping malls – that had gumballs in them, but gumballs with cylinders at the centre, filled with lubricant, so people could masticate and masturbate at the same time.

  12. Derek's disillusioned Catholic mate, Derek. says:

    Why am I weighing in? Ugh, I disgust myself. I really do.

    Georgia; “A woman’s body is absolutely her own. But just because you own your body, doesn’t mean you can do whatever you like with it.” It frigging better. Otherwise, I’m taking mine back and asking for something better to break (but I digress).

    You seem to think that the right for a woman to do “whatever [she] like[s]” with her body ought to be limited by legislation, and that that legislation ought to be influenced by your morality/bloodthirsty religion (both of which I’m pretty sure are houses built on sand and populated entirely by straw men). Is that correct? Well, I’m totally down with you getting your way as long as you consent to the other [now totally legal] restrictions on what people can do with their bodies and how they may use the sentience [for which you have fought so bravely] that this thought experiment indicates you have to agree with now:

    You and indeed all women and men may no longer:

    Shave
    Swear
    Gossip
    Eat lobster
    Eat pork
    Watch Collingwood play footy on weekends (this may apply to other teams)
    Get a haircut that’s too round
    Get tattooed
    Wear polyester/blended fibres
    Be allowed to attend church without a full set of ‘nads (whether you lost them in a bible-related accident or not)
    Wear any gold
    Work on the sabbath (and trust me, the bible has a cuh-ray-zee idea of what constitutes “work”)

    Now, I know you’re set on your world of perfect biblical social harmony with women’s rights falling to the wayside first, as a vanguard to the inevitable common-sense revolution. So, you as a woman, may no longer (on pain of physical violence and presumably a jail term/fine):

    Associate with people while on a period
    Be in a fight situation where you need to punch/grab a man in the balls to stop him attacking you
    Speak in church
    Hold political office, or indeed any office of authority (boss, manager, supervisor, employee of the month) where you gain any advantage/power over men

    Way to put those ladies in their place, Yahweh.

    Finally, 2 things:

    1) I know these are mostly archaic old-testament rules, and they’re all a bit whacky. So, why should we bother with these silly old rules that have no relevance to today’s society? Amirite? Well, if you say that the bible is CORRECT, and you say that certain things should be banned or prohibited because the bible SAYS SO (and, as discussed, it is worth listening to because it is CORRECT) then you are committing heresy to say that other things “AREN’T RELEVANT”. Either it’s ALL CORRECT, or it’s ALL BULLSHIT. When you use the supposed inerrancy of the Bible as an excuse to occasionally follow it to the letter, you paint yourself into something of an ideological corner.

    2) In addition to 1), many of these rules come from the same pages (and chapters) that ban things that the church is still fairly staunch on, like homosexuality. So attempting to subvert 1) by saying that anything’s “open to interpretation” is like me trying to entice a shy crustie into sharing a bath (it won’t wash, especially not with me).

  13. Derek's disillusioned Catholic mate, Derek. says:

    Also, your rabbit argument shows a flawed understanding of Leviticus. You aren’t allowed to slaughter rabbits.

  14. Georgia says:

    Whoah, lookit that! I’ve got three people dedicated to eradicating my beliefs! Cool!!

    Andy, awesome rabbit photo. Vewy cute.

    Calamity, um.

    Derek … letterip!

    You put forward a pretty good argument, except that you missed the main (whole?) point of my exposition above. Namely, that you are allowed to do what you want with your body – except when it injures (or kills) another person. None of your examples affect anyone but the individual. Getting a tattoo doesn’t kill a baby. Getting an abortion does. I say people should be allowed to go to a boxing gym and box boxing bags! Libertarian me! But I say that if someone goes down the street and punches a little old lady in the face, s/he should be subject to the force of the law. See?

    So again, the question is:
    Is or is not the unborn human a ‘human person’?

    It’s weird combining those two terms, as if they mean different things.

    Okay, Old Testemant laws etc.

    Imagine I took in a boarder, and told him he wasn’t allowed to have pets. If he brought a pet into the house, I would kick him out. Then imagine, three months later, I tell him ‘You can have pets now! Pets galore! Whatever you want!’ He could go down the petshop and wants to buy a guinea pig. The shop owner says “But you’re not allowed pets!” “Oh, but I am now,” “No you’re not, I know Georgia told you *no pets allowed*!” “But that was before! Now her brother who’s allergic to fur has moved out, and I’m allowed whatever pets I want!” “No you’re not, it says not right here!” “But now I am allowed!” “No you’re not!” “Yes I am!”
    A bit like this. It is perfectly 100% true that God said ‘Do not eat pork’ for instance. That was in the old contract. Better known as the Old Testament. New contract, new rules. Same basis – God’s character – but ‘the old has gone, the new has come’. The Bible says the law was babysitting humankind until Jesus came. We were locked up under the old rules, showing how impossible it was for us to keep God’s commandments. Like my boarder, who couldn’t resist bringing home puppy after puppy. But then – whoah – my brother moves out and the law changes. Whoah – Jesus comes to earth, and my saviour is crucified on a Roman cross, and dies to give me life. (That’s love, by the way. Love that’s very hard to deal with.)

    So those ARE old rules. Except not all those ones you listed are old. I still have the rule that my boarder has to wash his dishes after him. And after he gets his guinea pig, I tell him he has to vaccume the guinea pig room twice a week, to ensure *I* don’t get allergic to guinea pigs. In the same way, there are still rules and guidelines that we Christians follow (or try to, anyway). Like a woman not holding an position of authority within the church. (Context is vital here. Paul’s talking about church organisation, not employee-of-the-month arrangments.) Yes, I believe that. I also believe that a woman should obey her husband – even as he places himself under her to be ‘submissive to each other’, as Paul says. A husband is also commanded – commanded, not advised – to love his wife more than his own life, and not be demanding of her. Happy story.

    Slaughtering rabbits? Sorry, that law was in the old contract, done away with when the new one came into force.

    The Old Testament is included in the Bible because it can still teach us about God. What his holiness requires. How impossible it is for us, broken and sinful creatures that we are, to bribe our way to heaven with ‘good deeds’. It tells of history, human struggles, the power, love and the harsh justice of God.

    So it is ALL CORRECT (apart from a few scribal errors where people dropped a zero in calculations etc), but that doesn’t mean that everything there applies to every time, every situation. I could say, ‘Last week, he said that you’re a liar’, and you could just quote the ‘you’re a liar’ part, and turn my innocent statement upside down. Context is important.

    So, let’s get back to the question …

    When is it okay to kill a child?

  15. Georgia says:

    * No boarders or guinea pigs were harmed in the making of this hypothetical thesis.

  16. Derek's disillusioned Catholic mate, Derek. says:

    When does Jesus say not to kill children then? And what is your view on homosexuality?

  17. Derek's disillusioned Catholic mate, Derek. says:

    Also… How come you get to choose which bits to obey and which bits to ignore? The new testament doesn’t necessarily tell you to discard the old. If anything, the New Testament just repeatedly contradicts the [?] (and itself, srsly, that thing is one of the most historically diffuse accounts of anything ever) while still defending the Old Testament’s innerancy and its relevance.

    I don’t care what excuses you make to be allowed to cheat on the Old book. I can’t stand people who use the morality of their religion to attempt to dictate what other people do, but don’t consider that all the rules really apply to themselves in the same way. If you are allowed to argue that some bits are relevant and some void, then you’re admitting that the basis for your belief system is neither universal nor infallible. Doesn’t that mean that maybe people with opposing views (when neither argument has any abstract truth value) have as much right to hold them and act on them as you do to live how you want? And that maybe you shouldn’t interfere?

    Incidentally, I’m not asking you to disbelieve anything. I’m just asking you to critically challenge an ideology (anti-abortionism) that requires you to actively disavow large portions of the same ideology (Christianity) that you use to support your views.

    To give you an idea of where I’m coming from, and maybe challenge your assumptions about me, let me mention a few things about myself: I believe in Christ and (some of) his teachings. I do not believe in God, and hence do not submit to His (or His son’s) authority. However, I was raised Catholic and have a lot of time and patience to speak on points of Abrahamic theology that interest me. I’m not trying to shit-stir, I am simply interested enough in Christianity and opposed enough to forced birth ideology that I feel it is worth my time speaking to you about these issues. I am in no way opposed to any of the monotheistic religions being practised freely and peaceably, but I do oppose the notion that any people or peoples should be allowed to impose authority upon one another, especially when they use the teachings of their religion to justify this oppression.

  18. @ndy says:

    I dunno, but I think my version of the New Testament must be faulty, as I honestly don’t remember reading Jesus declaring that ‘God’s commandments are now null and void’. In any case, I’m pretty sure there’s at least one thing we can all agree on:

  19. Derek's disillusioned Catholic mate, Derek. says:

    Substitute “Old Testament” for the [?] in mine. I edited some stuff out and forgot to go back and re-arrange that part.

    @ndy, you’ve hit the nail right on the head. Jesus would as soon look at a man masturbating as smack him in the face.

  20. Derek's disillusioned Catholic mate, Derek. says:

    Or something…

  21. @ndy says:

    PS. One of my favourite bits in the New Testament is in Matthew 27 when a group of zombies invade Jerusalem. How cool is that? Oh and the bit about women covering their heads in Corinthians explains why all the ladies marching for the babies were wearing hats or baseball caps. I’m not looking forward to Judgement Day but: too many locusts and angels and beasts and sickles and plagues and hailstones and earthquakes and only 144,000 men get chosen for a ticket to the New Jerusalem anyways.

  22. Derek's disillusioned Catholic mate, Derek. says:

    “the bit about women covering their heads in Corinthians”- I’d like to see women covering their heads with Corinthians. I bet there’d be a classic Biblical style fight-out to floor the Corinthians and keep them down for long enough to wrap them into shapes for serviceable headgear.

  23. Georgia says:

    Jesus didn’t really start at the basics. He was only teaching for three years, so he taught his followers revolutionary teachings like ‘love your enemies’, rather than starting with ‘don’t kill children’. But he did build on the base of, well, not killing children: ‘”Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these.”‘

    ‘Sitting down, Jesus called the Twelve (his closest friends) and said, ‘If anyone wants to be first, he must be the last, and the servant of all. He took a little child and had him stand among them. Taking him in his arms, he said to them, “Whoever welcomes one of these little children in my name welcomes me, and whoever welcomes me welcomes the one who sent me.”‘

    He loved kids so much that he aligned their treatment with himself. If you punch my sister, I will feel as if you punched me – you’ve injured me. If you don’t welcome a child, you don’t welcome Jesus. I wonder, if you kill a child, does he feel that pain, too?

    If a child is a person, then rules pertaining to the treatment of persons apply to them, generally speaking. Normally, in the Bible and in common sense, rules of care are just exaggerated for little ones. So this is very interesting: ‘I tell you the truth: whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me.’ Followed by some pretty drastic reward/punishment stuff.

    What do you think, about the unborn being a person?

    Re homosexuality … funny that you should bring that up! I was just talking with a young lesbian lady on the bus on the way home today. She was lovely. I talked with her about abortion, as a matter of fact! She was pretty shocked about our laws – ‘Where have I *been!?*’ So yeah.

    Now, I know I’m kinda trapped here. ‘Whatever you say may be used against you’. How about we … no, that’s the easy way out. I was going to say, let’s forget red herrings and focus on the issue … cause you guys always bring this up … wherever I go …

    I believe that what God says is sin, is sin. He designed us, he created us, he can literally do whatever he wants with us. What he says, goes. So if he says ‘having sex with an animal is wrong’, then having sex with an animal is wrong. If he says ‘having sex out of marriage is wrong’, then it’s wrong. If he says ‘Having sex with someone of the same gender is wrong’, then it’s wrong.

    Sex is infinitely precious to God. It was created as a pattern of the intimate relationship between people and himself. Not an exact replica – a blurry picture, giving a hint of his great love for his people. When he created man, he said man was ‘in our image’ (‘our’ being a singular plural for God, like ‘family’, being a singular word pertaining to several). And then he says, ‘It is not good for man to be alone’. Hm. Suggestion there? God wanted friends. He wanted us.

    Sex is beautiful – I am waiting for my beautiful man, if there is a man for me, hard though that waiting may be – but sex it is still an imperfect picture of the beauty of our relationship with God. But it is still a picture! Imagine I was in love. I make these little models of me and my lover. Paint them lovingly. Put sparklies on their eyes. And then someone comes along and smashes them.

    I’m gonna be mad.

    That was a symbol of our love. That was precious! (Besides which I was quite attached to those little models.) I don’t care if the smasher thought he had a better use for that clay, it was MY clay and MY models and MY love.

    That’s what sex is like. God’s people. God’s model. God’s love.

    God’s rules.

    That’s how I see homosexuality. A misuse of God’s model.

    Homosexuals are people, with hopes, dreams, hearts. God loves homosexuals, because God loves people. God also loves murderers, thieves and people who sing out of tune.

    But me loving those little models of me and my lover is not going to stop me from trying to mend them. I’ll get out my superglue and cut my fingers ever-so-many-times on the sharp edges, and those models might not like me fiddling with them, but fiddle I will. If they can be mended, I will mend. Not into the shape the model-smasher wanted, but the way I want them to be.

    The way I made them.

    … sorry if I rambled. Does all that make sense?

  24. Georgia says:

    Oh cool while I was typing you were typing too! Hold and I’ll dive into those posts …

  25. Derek's disillusioned Catholic mate, Derek. says:

    “I believe that what God says is sin, is sin.” Only, not always. This is straight-up untrue, based on your earlier statement that some things that God says are sins are in fact able to be ignored.

    If you believe that in your model of Christianity, homosexuality is a sin, you base that decision on LEVITICUS. The bit that applies to homosexuality comes from the same chapter as many of the things I listed above. The things that you said it was silly of me to mention because they no longer apply.

    How come some bits of the same essential sentence apply, and other bits don’t? How come, when God says something is a sin and it’s convenient for you to obey, you consider it His will and when it isn’t, you consider it overturned by Christ (who incidentally had very little to say on sin compared to the early Abrahamic writers)?

    And why do you keep dodging this contradiction?

  26. Derek's disillusioned Catholic mate, Derek. says:

    I also love that homosexuals are equal in Yahweh’s affections to people who murder and steal. Very cute.

  27. Georgia says:

    Hi again Derek! Straight into it …

    “Also… How come you get to choose which bits to obey and which bits to ignore?” etc etc.

    I don’t choose … any more than my boarder chose what I put in the new contract. After my brother moves out – I give him the new boarding rules – they go into effect. After Jesus died – God gives us the new contract – it goes into effect. Of course it ‘contradicts’ the old! If it didn’t – why would he bother updating?

    “… I can’t stand people who use the morality of their religion to attempt to dictate what other people do, but don’t consider that all the rules really apply to themselves in the same way. If you are allowed to argue that some bits are relevant and some void, then you’re admitting that the basis for your belief system is neither universal nor infallible.”

    What is ‘religion’ to you? If the word religion means to you what I think it means, then I HATE religion.

    Cool, aye.

    Believing in Jesus is just that. Believing. When I believe something, I actually think, believe, am sure, that it is true and right. Therefore I MUST act on those beliefs. Otherwise I’m a total hypocrite! ‘Oh, I believe that you’re gonna drown, and that I should use this boat here to save you. Ta ta.’

    No, actually. I believe what I believe in. Otherwise why would I believe it?

    “… an ideology (anti-abortionism) that requires you to actively disavow large portions of the same ideology (Christianity) that you use to support your views.”

    Where do you see anti-abortionism requiring disavowal of Christianity?

    “… [your (very interesting!) life story] … forced birth ideology …”

    Thanks for the background. I would give you mine but people just make fun of it. Forced birth ideology? Hehehe. Does that mean that I get to call you anti-rapists ‘forced celibacyers’?

    “I do oppose the notion that any people or peoples should be allowed to impose authority upon one another, especially when they use the teachings of their religion to justify this oppression.”

    So, no ‘imposing authority’? Would you have imposed authority on Stalin, for instance? Due to your religion of ‘do not kill millions of innocent people’?

    Okay. Hi Andy!

    That video is really very cute. I’d never seen it before. Very clever … I would love to parody … or mimic … or something …

    Women covering their heads? Hm, most Christian women don’t, actually. Due to the difficulty translating that bit out of Greek, I think, it’s a little muddled … or else no one reads it … I do wear a headcovering. Full time. Even to bed. Keeps the hair out of my face, apart from being a personal conviction.

    Derek – lol, great takedown on the grammar check. Made me laugh!

    Hey guys … I have this scheme I think you might be interested in … if you like debating …

  28. Georgia says:

    Oh, I’d better say – I don’t think homosexuality, or sex out of marriage, should be illegal. (Provided both people are consensual and, necessarily, of age.)

    Why?

    Because that is a private sin, not affecting other people. That’s you in the boxing gym boxing your own face, and I might try my hardest to convince you not to box your lovely face, but I’m not going to make it illegal.

  29. Georgia says:

    “I believe that what God says is sin, is sin.” Only, not always. This is straight-up untrue, based on your earlier statement that some things that God says are sins are in fact able to be ignored.

    If you believe that in your model of Christianity, homosexuality is a sin, you base that decision on LEVITICUS. The bit that applies to homosexuality comes from the same chapter as many of the things I listed above. The things that you said it was silly of me to mention because they no longer apply.

    Huh? When I did I quote Leviticus?

    Corinthians 6:9:
    Do you not know that the wicked will not inherit the kingdom of God? Neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters nor adulterers nor male prostitutes nor *homosexual offenders* nor thieves nor the greedy nor drunkards nor slanderers nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God. And that is what some of you were. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.

    Like I said before, in the new contract I still require my boarder to wash his dishes. God still has his models, sacred, of his love for us. Not everything changed – and yet everything changed. Because now there is redemption.

    ___Because that is what some of you were.___

  30. Georgia says:

    “I believe that what God says is sin, is sin.” Only, not always.

    Well … it was breaking our contract to bring puppies home, if you remember. Therefore, wrong. When the contract changed, it was no longer wrong, right? Because that was a law based not on my character (it wasn’t like I just hated animals) but on a circumstance, on something I decided, in my wisdom (not wanting to pay hospital fees for my bro) to implement. But I still insist on him washing the dishes, cause my character hates mess. (In this hypothesis, at any rate.)

  31. @ndy says:

    A few things:

    1. Jesus said and did a lotta stuff. Assuming he or someone like him existed, what he said and did was recorded by others, many years later, in various texts, in languages other than English, variously translated and later assembled into the New Testament, the precise contents of which varies according to tradition.

    Georgia, I dunno which Bible you rely upon as authoritative.

    2. As far as I can tell, Jesus was a Jewish bloke with a rather unusual and extraordinary (tho’ hardly unique) interpretation of Judaic religious traditions. His status as the Messiah prophesised in the Old Testament (a descendant of King David for example) is obviously disputed, but Christians like yourself reckon he was so y’know.

    3. While Jesus is usually portrayed as ushering in a new era, he didn’t, as far as I know, repudiate Judaic tradition so much as emphasise its ethical dimensions: being a good (Godly) person was not so much following the letter as the spirit of the law. That said, if at any point Jesus repudiated the six hundred or so commandments Moses spells out in Exodus, I’m not aware of it. Hence all the things Derek’s disillusioned Catholic mate, Derek lists as being forbidden activities (and many more besides) would all still seem to apply.

    4. If your parable about The Boarder & The Pets was intended to convey the idea that the applicability of laws changes over time, amen. But even if one grants this, it doesn’t imply what you seem to think it does, which is that God’s commandments may be ignored ’cause Jesus was a goddamn hippy.

    5. In terms of gender relations, the injunctions to women to cover their heads, shut up in church, submit to their husbands, dress modestly, not teach or be in a position of authority over a bloke, not receive help unless she’s over 60 and been a good wife etc are contained in the New, not the Old Testament. But you may be right that Paul’s letter to Tim is meant to apply only for an hour or whatever on the Sabbath: I’ll have to read a bit more. The fact that you dispute my authority on Biblical matters is proof enough, I guess, that you allow for some means by which women can teach men about such matters.

    6. As I see it, leaving aside the particulars, the principal conceptual problem with your approach has to do with your identification of ‘what is Good’ with ‘whatever God happens to say it is’. So, you’re happy to accept that when God killed infants and pregnant women in the Old Testament it was Good, because God did it, and what ever God does is Good. On the other hand, you wish to argue that abortion is wrong because in Exodus Moses reckoned God told him to tell the Israelites ‘thou shall not kill’ (except when God told them to). In other words, you have no independent basis upon which to argue that any course of action right or wrogn, Good or Evil. One of the problems with this approach — apart from the obvious ones concerning origins/periodisation and authorship, and the relationship of Exodus to other portions of the Old Testament (let alone the Old Testament’s relationship to the new) — is that you have no compelling argument upon which to appeal to others who do not share your opinion regarding God’s existence or the status of the (Christian) Bible as the ultimate source of all moral authority. All you can really say is ‘this is Good because (I understand) God to have communicated it to us that this is Good’.

    7. Yes, (Matthew wrote that) Jesus said ‘love your enemies’ (tho’ Mark, Luke and John failed to catch it).

    Hippy.

    He said (or is reported to have said) a lotta other stuff too, perhaps less palatable.

    And, of course, nothing about abortion.

    8. On sex: well, to begin with, I suppose it would be nice if you met a nice fella, got married, and had joyous sex with him. Beyond that: along with violence, the Bible’s got a fair amount of sexy. I like the bit in Genesis when God’s sons come down from Heaven to have sex with Earth women and also Song of Songs — which serves as a useful contrast to Paul’s problems with the ladies.

  32. Derek's disillusioned Catholic mate, Derek. says:

    (way to miss the point)

    What religion is in that example is irrelevant, religion isn’t the subject of that argument. The subject of the argument is the use of religious morals to attempt to oppress other people’s behaviour. And you’re arguing in favour of that, so I don’t really know what to tell you other than to say you are neither as warm or as fuzzy as you want to believe (and nor is God).

    Also, I wasn’t grammar-checking @ndy, he didn’t make an error. I just like when sub-clauses in sentences create garden-path wordplays.

    You still believe homosexuality is a sin, which means that you afford equal weight to the teachings of Leviticus that you say that Jesus’s New Deal allows you to disavow. Why haven’t you engaged with this argument? I’m trying to indicate that there is a flaw in your reasoning that you should examine, before you jump into the breach all gung-ho about what the fuck people should do with themselves. Can you please engage with this? Tell me, why is it okay for you to say that SOME parts of Leviticus are STILL sin and SOME parts AREN’T? Parts that are even in the same PARAGRAPHS, SENTENCES AND CLAUSES as the part that you’re still defending.

    Once you are able to engage with your system of belief critically enough to understand that you are making judgment calls that have an almost arbitrary relationship to the text itself (and render it essentially redundant), maybe you’ll see what I’m getting.

  33. Georgia says:

    Andy, wow. Let’s see if I can cover all 8 points before I die of sleep deprivation … It’s late, ain’t it …

    1. Translation of the Bible? Hey, if we find a clay brick with writings on it from Sumer, waaaaay before Jesus’ time, we translate it and say ‘In Sumer, so-and-so said this!’ Well, we Christians get these scrolls and things and translate them and say ‘In Israel/Egypt/Babylon, so-and-so said this!’ Problem? The many different translations? Well, I know a bit of Indonesian (I spent two months there a while ago). I know how hard it can be to translate something eeeexxxxaaaacccctttttllllyyyy the way it was said. But I do know how to get the meaning across. I could have said ‘I do know how communicate my thoughts’. Big different? Some people prefer one way, some the other. The reality is, there is no major differences in any of the orthodox (generally accepted) texts. Differences, but nothing that actually affects doctrine to any degree. I use the NIV, the NKJV, the NICV, and the ESV. All combined, well, they say the same stuff.

    2. Yeah, I’ve read a bunch of stuff on that. Opposing and supporting. Also attended a couple of Passover celebrations with Jewish Christians, who explained how the various traditions (founded in Scripture) point to Jesus. Fascinating stuff.

    3. “… Jesus … [said]: being a good (Godly) person was not so much following the letter as the spirit of the law. ”
    Hey, where’d you learn that? Thumbs up, mate. That’s why my boarder kept messing up. He never really got it about my bro and his allergies … so he’d go out and play with kittens and come home with fur all over him, trying to sneak around my rule – as if that would prove how [conscientious] he was! Pretty sure that’s not how you spell that …
    But anyway. Check out Romans, chapters 5 to 8. It gets a little complicated – even Peter said so – but it’s well worth it for me. I stake my life on that stuff.

    4. “… the applicability of laws changes over time … [but] it doesn’t imply what you seem to think it does …”
    Oh? You know, before the Son of God was crucified, he took a cup of wine (I don’t think wine is the devil, btw) and called it his blood of the covenant, predicting the spilling of his blood the next morning. Blood is used to open a new covenant. As in, not an old one. A new one. With the shedding of Jesus’ blood, we were bought into the new covenant, and through his resurrected life we are kept. 😀 😀 😀

    5. “In terms of gender relations, the injunctions to women … are contained in the New, not the Old Testament. But you may be right that Paul’s letter to Tim is meant to apply only for an hour or whatever on the Sabbath: I’ll have to read a bit more. The fact that you dispute my authority on Biblical matters is proof enough, I guess, that you allow for some means by which women can teach men about such matters.”

    Heh. Yeah, the Sabbath (my SDA friends will pounce on me for this!) was also, I believe, listed among the non-character-based, old covenant laws that ended at the cross. But the word ‘church’ has a different meaning to what you think, I think. Church actually means the gathering of believers. Chapel refers to the building where the church meets. People just get lazy and call them all the same. Fact is, as an unbeliever, by disputing your positions I am not taking a position of authority or teaching in the church. You aren’t part of the church. So it’s a free-for-all, in a way. Yes, those are in the NT. That’s why I hold to them. Some were directed at individuals, for a specific situation. ‘Bring my cloak from such-and-such a place’ hardly applies to us. All this requires discernment and study. But it won’t save you. It didn’t save me.

    6. “… ‘what is Good’ with ‘whatever God happens to say it is’. So, you’re happy to accept that when God killed infants and pregnant women in the Old Testament it was Good, because God did it, and what ever God does is Good.”

    You know, I still struggle with some of the stuff in the OT. I don’t understand a lot of things. I have spent quite some time in tears over things that happened back then. Why? Why? Why? I still don’t have all the answers. But when God killed all those people, there is a background story. The Caananites, for instance – I have heard (need to do more research though) that because of their rampant sexual activity with anyone and anything, they were all riddled with sexual diseases completely untreatable at the time. Even the unborn (so I’m told) were affected. Slaughtering them was in a way a mercy killing (which, btw, I believe only God can normally ordain) and in a way, protecting his chosen people from those horrible diseases. I’m not saying every person God killed was dying a horrible death. But God cursed this world when Adam sinned, and the results of that flow on even – especially – today.

    “On the other hand, you wish to argue that abortion is wrong because in Exodus Moses reckoned God told him to tell the Israelites ‘thou shall not kill’ (except when God told them to). In other words, you have no independent basis upon which to argue that any course of action right or wrogn, Good or Evil.”

    I never referred to Exodus. Other people do lots, I don’t. There are plenty of better places to refer to. Not just ‘don’t kill’, but ‘love as yourself’. You don’t normally go killing people you love like your own life. Or, as new-covenant Christians are commanded, more that your own life.

    So, what’s your independent basis for Good and Evil? My independent basis is an independent God, combined with the conscience he gave me.

    “… you have no compelling argument upon which to appeal to others who do not share your opinion regarding God’s existence or the status of the (Christian) Bible as the ultimate source of all moral authority.”

    Hm, I thought I did a pretty good job of arguing why abortion is wrong. You guys all quit that subject, anyway.
    My God didn’t tell me to ‘compel’ people with ‘arguments’. He told me to love people. To pray for people. To witness to people. I talk to God, God talks to you. I’m just a pen. The meaning comes from him. Besides, here I am debating you at 12:50 am. I must be just a little bit compelling there … or else … won’t say that.

    7. It’s really funny how I and my family get called hippies. I like it. Get it all the time.

    “He said (or is reported to have said) a lotta other stuff too, perhaps less palatable. And, of course, nothing about abortion.”

    He said nothing about killing people called Andy, either. I guess we’ll just have to say, ‘Well, all people called Andy are people, and he said not to kill people, so I guess that includes Andy. Hey, all unborn people are people too, so I guess we can’t kill unborn people!’

    Yeah, Jesus said a lot of very … extreme stuff. Like when he’s lambasting the religious leaders, and they’re like, ‘Hey, you’re insulting us!’ ‘Yes, I can say even more than that!’ says Jesus. Oh boy, they hated him.

    8. “… the Bible’s got a fair amount of sexy. I like the bit in Genesis when God’s sons come down from Heaven to have sex with Earth women and also Song of Songs — which serves as a useful contrast to Paul’s problems with the ladies.”

    Oh yeah. The Bible is pretty MA rated at times. I like Song of Songs too. And that bit in Genesis? Totally fascinating. How that carries on through the various later books, with the Nephilim (that’s the theory I think most plausible, anyway). Paul’s problem? He was a bachelor. It was a lot easier to race around the world without a wife (and get stoned and jailed and beaten up and ambushed). Though he was pretty adamant that if he wanted to, he had the right to get married. He was a man on a mission. I’m a girl on a mission. But persecution (in my part of the world) and strife isn’t quite what it was facing Christians in those days. In other parts of the world of course, it’s worse. But I do think there is a man out there somewhere, a very weird and wacky guy, with a passion for God and children and a certain South American country as big as my passion, and one day I’ll meet him. There’s the possibility that I won’t ever meet any guy to marry.

    I’m okay with that. I’ve got a calling anyway. Which reminds me …

    Can you think of a good enough reason to kill a child?

  34. Georgia says:

    “What religion is in that example is irrelevant, religion isn’t the subject of that argument.”

    Oh – sorry, I thought you were arguing about why my religion is wrong? So, now it’s just religion in general under fire. Okay.

    “The subject of the argument is the use of religious morals to attempt to oppress other people’s behaviour.”

    Um, yeah.
    1. ‘My religious morals tell me that rape is wrong, so I’ll try to stop you raping.’
    2′. Well my religious morals tell me that rape is good, so I’ll help you raping.’
    3. ‘Well my non-religious morals tell me that it doesn’t matter if rape is right or wrong, just do what you want.’

    So you choose 3, and step back when I guy goes to rape a woman.
    I choose 1, and call the cops.

    “… you are neither as warm or as fuzzy as you want to believe (and nor is God).”

    I never said I was warm and fuzzy. Atm I’m in danger of chilblains.

    Hey, are you warm and fuzzy?

    (Just wondering.)

    “Also, I wasn’t grammar-checking @ndy, he didn’t make an error. I just like when sub-clauses in sentences create garden-path wordplays.”

    Yeah, whatever. I would have put a comma on either side of ‘in Corinthians’.

    “You still believe homosexuality is a sin, which means that you afford equal weight to the teachings of Leviticus that you say that Jesus’s New Deal allows you to disavow. … Tell me, why is it okay for you to say that SOME parts of Leviticus are STILL sin and SOME parts AREN’T? Parts that are even in the same PARAGRAPHS, SENTENCES AND CLAUSES as the part that you’re still defending.”

    Okay. Excerpt from my boarder’s contract thing.

    “You must never bring an animal of any description inside this building. You must not allow anyone else to bring an animal into this building, and you must always wash your hands after touching an animal outside this building.”

    New contract – hey, you’re allowed animals! But you still hafta wash y’ hands, fellas!
    Giving weight to the old contract?? What?? Well, um, sorta. I don’t want my boarder to get sick from animal germs, cause then I’d have to wash the dishes on my own. So I tell him to keep washing his hands. Even though I dumped the first part of that sentence. Am I engaging understandably?

    “… you are making judgment calls that have an almost arbitrary relationship to the text itself (and render it essentially redundant)…”

    Um, well, I could be. But mostly I think the OT rules I hold to are reiterated in the NT, and the OT rules I don’t hold to are generally dumped in the NT. It’s a big book though – I’m not really up to going over every single rule in the book. Not tonight, anyway …

    Does that … kind of … make sense? 🙂

  35. Georgia says:

    Btw guys I’m going to bed now, so maybe debate tomorrow. But before I go, and this is serious, would you be interested in doing a March for the Debate? (Parody of March for the Babies.) And debating live? (On Parliament steps.)
    ???

  36. Derek's disillusioned Catholic mate, Derek. says:

    You’re an idiot. That’s my final counter-argument, Georgia. You are actually a moron. Congratulations.

  37. Derek's disillusioned Catholic mate, Derek. says:

    I got into the flame war because it’s not real debate and I don’t have to deal with you. In person, I don’t think I could be bothered.

  38. Georgia says:

    Okay, thanks. Counter argument accepted.

    I enjoyed writing, and reading your replies.

    If you see a March for the Debate on the news in the next few months, you’ll be able to pick me, the idealistic young woman with the headcovering and the grin.

    Good luck, God bless.

  39. Derek's incredibly bored Catholic mate, Derek. says:

    Why would you bother debating this in real life, though? You’re convinced that God is on your side. There’s no point debating with you because you’re already irrationally convinced of the infallibility of your position, and no level of passionate debate on morality, ethics, feminism, free will or the nature of sentience is going to convince you otherwise.

    It’s like a paraplegic debating with their legs on the subject of whether they should walk. Might feel good to pretend that both sides of the argument are equally valid and relevant, but the legs still aren’t going to move.

  40. Georgia says:

    Hey, Derek,

    if you can show me why I should rationally believe something, and I can’t debate my way out of it, I would believe it. There you go. I get more the feeling that you are planning to never ever change your opinion. I mean, when you reduce to personal attacks, the normal thought is ‘whoah, he’s run out of rational arguments’.

    So I was actually going to ask you if you were willing to change. Are you? If I showed you that God was real (don’t get mad at me for suggesting this hypothetical), would you give up your life as you know it and believe in him? If I laid out the reasoning for abortion being murder, and flawlessly presented an irrefutable argument for you, personally, fighting to end it, would you do it?

    If you could show me why an unborn child should die, if you could show me why an unborn child was not worth protecting, if you could show me that I’m wrong and you’re right, give me your banner and go get another one, ’cause I’ll be on your side.

    But if I show you that an unborn child should not die, if I show you that an unborn child is worth protecting, if I show you that you’re wrong and I’m right, would you come alongside me, and be on our side? Would you?

    I am convinced that God’s on my side. If I wasn’t convinced of that, I wouldn’t believe it. You were convinced that abortion was a woman’s right. (I’m assuming.) That’s why you believed that. Some people won’t believe something even if they know it to be true, simply because it demands something of them that they’re not willing to give.

    I’d warn you about Christ. I’d warn you about living life to the full. Because it takes. It takes and takes and takes – it takes *you*. Your whole self. Jesus himself said not to take him easily. A builder looks at the requirements for a house before he starts building. Otherwise he’ll start and run out, and everyone will laugh at him. You’ve got to look at what you’re ready to give before you accept Christ. If you just give your money, that’s not enough. If you just give your words, that’s not good enough either. Your time, not enough. Jesus Christ is not satisfied until he has all of you. And let me tell you, you won’t be satisfied until you have him.

    If you want to debate, I won’t try to force you to become a Christian. You can stand down at any time. Likewise, I can stand down and say ‘I don’t want to debate any more right now’. Whoever’s watching can make up their minds about the reason. But like you said, what’s the purpose of debating if you’re not willing to change?

    Irrationally convinced? So far I seem to have held up relatively well.

    Legs moving? If you’re that confident in your position, how about moving your own legs and coming to a debate?

    I’ll buy you a free coffee if you do.

  41. Georgia says:

    (Besides which, it would be a debate focussed on abortion, not on God necessarily. I just come from a God-focussed standpoint. To have a debate you have to have a whole worldview consistent with each point you make. God is the centre of my worldview. Check out the book ‘The Universe Next Door’.)

  42. john says:

    hey georgia,

    that sign you talk about is almost as funny as the bunch of men holding up the sign that said something along the lines of ‘its easy to be pro choice when you’re not the one being murdered’. i tried pointing out to them that as men- who would never have to carry an unwanted pregnancy if the law was overturned- that it was easy for them to be anti-choice but they didnt seem to be interested. then there were the guys holding up the ‘i regretted my abortion’ signs with links to some website about women regretting their abortions (i imagine). lots of laughs on both sides hey.

    seeing as there were a lot of catholics present at the anti choice rally, im wondering if you’re a catholic too? just asking cos victoria’s “deputy police commissioner has accused the Catholic Church of impeding criminal investigation of child sex offences through its lack of cooperation with police.” (from the australian, october 19 this year) if you are a catholic, what’s your thoughts on that? if you’re not a catholic, how do you feel about an organisation with a history of abusing children, and covering it up, being heavily involved in organising and funding a rally that claims to be a march for the babies? isn’t that totally hypocritical? though, i s’pose george pell did say that “Abortion is a worse moral scandal than priests sexually abusing young people”, so maybe it’s totally consistent behaviour.

    anyway, on the personhood or not of fetuses, if your argument starts off by bringing jesus into it (which most anti choicers do), then it is up to you to convince those of us who are not religious (or those who are but believe in a secular society where religion doesn’t dictate what happens, or have a different religious view, etc) as to why we should act on your particular religions views. and talking about what jesus did or didn’t say (when he may not have actually existed) is not the way to do it. it’s just not convincing, which is why studies always show that the overwhelming majority of people in australia are to varying degrees pro-choice. even among religious people, the 2003 Australian Survey of Social Attitudes “found that 77% of Australians with religious views support a woman’s right to choose”.

    ” “If the unborn is not a human person, no justification for abortion is necessary.
    However, if the unborn is a human person, no justification for abortion is adequate.”
    Greg Koukl”

    while i don’t agree with this quote, it is at least an argument that isn’t relying on the bible, same as your references to life and unique dna. there are a couple of problems i wanna mention though in terms of relevance and consistency.

    firstly relevance, abortion has existed for a long time. sure modern methods of abortion are a lot newer, but women have been having abortions for thousands of years (literally). it being illegal or seen as immoral has never stopped it from happening, and never will. so ultimately whether or not a fetus is a person or a collection of cells, and whatever our moral opinion of it, women are still going to be seeking out abortions. black and white moral outlooks don’t often transfer to the real world successfully.

    it would seem more practical and realistic to try and provide services that are legal and safe as possible to reduce the number of women who die during ‘backyard abortions’. at the same time we can be promoting contraception, safer sex and consent to younger people to reduce the number of unwanted pregnancies, and provide after-birth services so women are able to afford to have a child if they want to (ie: childcare, single parents payments, etc). unfortunately many in the anti-choice christian right movement actively campaign against both of these things. bernie finn for instance is an upper house member for the liberal party- which does not exactly make it easy for new mothers.

    the other issue is that of consistency. for people like yourself, abortion is murder. while you may not have said that specifically, you have talked about it as killing, so presumably you would see it as murder. but most people who are anti choice make exceptions in the case of rape, incest, or risk of serious risk of death to the woman (you included yourself in the last category, ‘My one and only exception’. presumably that means you oppose abortion arising from rape or incest…). anyways, if it is murder and wrong, then it should not be acceptable under any circumstances. you may say that “if I remember rightly (and I may not), it’s not called an abortion in that case” but you’d be wrong, and either way, to quote you ‘so what?’. whatever word the anti-choice movement might choose to label it, the process is the same, a fetus is being aborted. why is it acceptable to you in this case? what is your justification? you say it’s to ‘save a life’ but by your own standards you are doing that by killing a life (the fetus). why do you value the fetus less in this case? the more consistent argument is the one that the extreme christian right makes- that we should leave it up to god.

    i imagine that the reason that you are not making that argument, is the same reason that the majority of anti-choice groups don’t make that argument anymore, which is that you know it’s going to turn people off. it is a hypocritical position that is purely driven by an attempt to gain support for their ‘pro-life’ stance.

    so your question, “So, what’s your argument for the non-human-personhood of the unborn?”, as much as you may not want to hear it, is irrelevant. whether people prove or disprove the personhood of fetuses abortions will still happen. those of us who are pro-choice usually see abortion as a part of the whole of reproductive rights- the right to have or not have a child(ren), and the right to live in a society where women are as free as possible to make that choice without constraints (be they economic, social, religious, etc). you do not believe in women having that choice.

    so a question for you as you attended a rally aiming to recriminalise abortion in victoria. what is your proposal for what we do to women who seek out illegal abortions if the law was overturned?

  43. Georgia says:

    Hey John!

    Re funny signs – yeah, laughter’s the best medicine, they say. With the ‘easy to be pro-choice when you’re not the one being aborted’, though, and your counter-slogan, I’d say we win. ‘Cause while yours may be perfectly true in some cases, guys (I think) are actually very reliant on the abortion ‘option’. They don’t have to pay child care. They don’t have to take aaaaannnnyyy responsibility. They can have lovely free sex and just drive their girlfriend to the clinic whenever the contraception fails.

    Re Catholicism – nope, I’m not a Catholic. Funny pro-‘choice’ers always bring that up. First things out of their mouths a lot of times – you support pedophile priests! I’m not a Catholic. Oh.
    “if you’re not a catholic, how do you feel about an organisation with a history of abusing children, and covering it up, being heavily involved in organising and funding a rally that claims to be a march for the babies? isn’t that totally hypocritical?”
    Well, in a way. But put it this way. If the government of some island was trying to run a program to give mosquito nets to malaria-prone areas for kids, would you say ‘Oh but some of your officials poisoned people’s water supplies! You can’t do something good, because some of your guys did stuff bad!’
    Sometimes ‘hypocrisy’ is more complicated. But, hey, you won’t catch me ‘supporting’ the Catholic church as an organisation.

    Ugh. Religion. Again. Andy/@ndy mentioned it in his original post, that’s why I mentioned it. Jump on him, if you rather.
    I don’t care how many Australians believe abortion is okay. Since when did the majority know best?

    “If the unborn is not a human person, no justification for abortion is necessary.
    However, if the unborn is a human person, no justification for abortion is adequate.”
    Greg Koukl”
    “while i don’t agree with this quote, it is at least an argument that isn’t relying on the bible, same as your references to life and unique dna. there are a couple of problems i wanna mention though in terms of relevance and consistency.”

    Yeah, hoped you’d notice those arguments. How do you address them?

    “…abortion has existed for a long time.” Yeah, so has rape.
    “it being illegal or seen as immoral has never stopped it from happening, and never will.”
    Neither will it stop rape. Going to make rape legal?

    “so ultimately whether or not a fetus is a person or a collection of cells, and whatever our moral opinion of it, women are still going to be seeking out abortions. black and white moral outlooks don’t often transfer to the real world successfully.”
    True, that. Which is why I focus not just on changing the law, but on changing the culture.

    “it would seem more practical and realistic to try and provide services that are legal and safe as possible to reduce the number of women who die during ‘backyard abortions’.
    Going to make rape legal and safe, too?

    “at the same time we can be promoting contraception, safer sex and consent to younger people to reduce the number of unwanted pregnancies, and provide after-birth services so women are able to afford to have a child if they want to (ie: childcare, single parents payments, etc).”
    Absolutely provide sex education – depending on what that entails. Absolutely provide cheaper child-care, etc etc etc. Provide for the child to live, not die.

    “unfortunately many in the anti-choice christian right movement actively campaign against both of these things.”
    Sorry, I can’t speak for everyone … there are nutters in every part of society.

    “the other issue is that of consistency. for people like yourself, abortion is murder. … but most people who are anti choice make exceptions in the case of rape, incest …”
    Not me. Why kill a child for the crime of the father?
    “… or risk of serious risk of death to the woman …”
    Like you said, including me.

    “anyways, if it is murder and wrong, then it should not be acceptable under any circumstances.”
    So, hang on a minute. My reasoning? As I said up there,
    “It’s like one of those co-joined twins was dying, and her death would kill the other as well. You save a life.”
    Exactly like that. The easiest way to explain. You know, having a dead sibling attached to your head could kill you. So, yeah. Gotta go, I’ll skim the next bit.

    “why do you value the fetus less in this case?”
    Not less. It’s just that when you absolutely have to choose one life or the other, you choose the one that actually has a chance to live. Two people in a sinking boat and you’ve only got one rope.

    “it is a hypocritical position that is purely driven by an attempt to gain support for their ‘pro-life’ stance.”
    No it’s not. I’m pro-life, that means I value life. Save life. In case you haven’t noticed, I don’t mind much when other people don’t support my stance. Otherwise I’d be pro-choice.

    “so your question, “So, what’s your argument for the non-human-personhood of the unborn?”, as much as you may not want to hear it, is irrelevant.”
    What on earth? “It’s irrelevant if a woman is a person, the man is a person and rape is always going to be around, so tough luck.” No. That’s not for me.

    Gotta run, I’m late to leave for TAFE.

    “so a question for you as you attended a rally aiming to recriminalise abortion in victoria. what is your proposal for what we do to women who seek out illegal abortions if the law was overturned?”
    Depends on the situation. Probably an educational program and/or jail term for non-coerced women. A 13 year old dragged in by her abuser is obviously a different case.

    Must go. Cheers 🙂

  44. Derek's increasingly frustrated Catholic mate, Derek, who's about to hit a priest. says:

    Let me set it out for you, Georgia.

    1: If you attempt to prove to me the existence of God, you negate His existence. Matter of faith, innit?

    2: Would you do the same if I presented a good argument to you? Of course not! The problem here (as stated) is that you believe that through debate, you can convince me to recant my arguments, but you are not open to the possibility of being wrong because you have God on your side. I could easily be wrong, and I know it! Abortion isn’t the black and white thing you think it is; it’s shades of grey at best and an infinitesimally observable moral minefield at worst! (To be clear, I am saying that the problem is, I UNDERSTAND I MIGHT BE WRONG; YOU DO NOT FEEL THE SAME WAY ABOUT YOURSELF).

    I’m open to being convinced that my views on abortion are at least naive (for a start I don’t have the matching genitals to be properly invested in the argument as somebody it might affect) and at worst misinformed (I’m no scientist). I am open to being told I’m wrong. I am not open to being told that God says I’m wrong. Either this argument exists at the level of people, or it doesn’t happen at all. I’m not setting this argument in my spiritual world (aside from Christ, I haven’t divulged my spiritual beliefs because they are not germane, but suffice it to say that they would influence the argument in a different direction), I’m setting it in the world we can ALL agree on- If you’re arguing for God’s rights and I’m arguing for women’s rights then we’re essentially having two irreconcilable arguments (why irreconcilable? because I don’t believe in God, and hence don’t give a flying fuck what he has to say on the matter; and you don’t believe in the worthiness of human agency or the science and philosophy of sentience and hence don’t care about my arguments).

    Further, while I am open to being right, wrong, misinformed etc. I am not open to forcing my views on other people by attempting to legislate their behaviour. Here is where we also disagree too monumentally for meaningful debate to take place. You are actively fighting at the moment to have women imprisoned, fined and humiliated for having abortions. If I concede that you are right, I must also concede that this is right. I never will. Whatever my views are (again, whether I am right or you are right) I would never want them be aligned with the oppression of women, especially not the oppression of women by the state.

    3) Your argument has no place in the secular world I wish to inhabit. I haven’t really mentioned this yet, but I DON’T WANT TO CONVINCE YOU THAT YOU’RE WRONG. It would be impossible; God’s on your side etc. etc. etc.

    I don’t care what you do with your whacky religion. You guys can all go jump for what it’s worth to me. What I do begin to care about is when you make an argument that IS GOING TO AFFECT PEOPLE’S LIVES, which you BASE ON YOUR RELIGIOUS MORALITY, that is a system that THE PEOPLE IT AFFECTS MAY NOT BELIEVE IN.

    Why do you care what us heathens do to our bodies? Are you going to claim the unwanted children and raise them as brides of Christ? I am all for you practising your beliefs as merrily as you like inside your own little bubble. The second you come out of that bubble and start forcing the ideas on the rest of us, you can get fucked.

    If you believe in what you believe in because of God (and according to you that makes you right) then I believe in what I believe in because of what I believe in (which by your logic makes me right too).

    So here’s my thought- you stop telling non-Christians (or at least non-hardline Christians) what to do with their bodies, and reserve your patriarchy, assault, humiliation, degradation, abuse, intimidation and subjugation for the women in your own community. THIS IS ALL I WANT TO CONVINCE YOU OF. TO LEAVE THE REST OF US ALONE AND PASS ALL THE LAWS YOU WANT ON YOUR OWN PEOPLE, WHERE THEY CAN’T HARM AND AFFECT US. Laws are supposed to be for everybody (they usually aren’t, but let’s make-believe). Why should laws that govern me relate to something I don’t believe in, something that means nothing without my belief?

    Thanks for the offer of a coffee. I don’t drink coffee, I believe that people shouldn’t put poison shit like that in their bodies. I think all people should stop drinking it because the excessive use of it in the world causes cancer, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, psychological distress, anemia and cardiovascular diseases (among other things). I think that it contributes to the early deaths of many people and the poor health of many others. Its hegemony as a social beverage has led to such large-scale industrial farming as to hasten the demise of our fair planet, not to mention enslave many millions of labourers (now wage-slave labourers, little better)-actual human lives and swathes of land that this crop continues to ruin day on day, whether you drink Fairtrade or not. I think coffee should be illegal. Curiously, though, I’m not doing much about that. People are making their own mistakes right now. All I can do is silently observe abstinence and politely tell people about my views, only when it comes up in conversation.

    Ever thought of doing that?

    Probably not.

  45. Derek's increasingly frustrated Catholic mate, Derek, who's about to hit a priest. says:

    Georgia: ““…abortion has existed for a long time.” Yeah, so has rape.”

    This is exactly why I find you such a frustrating opponent for debate. When nothing else works, pull out a Hitler or rape-related shock argument. *yawn*

  46. @ndy says:

    Derek’s increasingly frustrated Catholic mate, Derek, who’s about to hit a priest., I think her point is that just ’cause some Bad stuff (abortion/rape) has been happening for a long time that’s no good reason to give up trying to stop it.

  47. Derek's increasingly frustrated Catholic mate, Derek, who has renounced his faith and decided to move to Acapulco, but will probably just buy an Exit bag and cry himself to death watching Patch Adams. says:

    Ah, I see. We’re just so thoroughly sick of this discussion that it all sort of starts to look the same. Can we just kill ourselves and end this madness? Seriously, I am so sick of people talking about abortion, and for that matter about rape, so flippantly as if they know what any of these things feel like, and that from their arbitrary positions of moral superiority and enlightened betterness that they have more right to comment than the people it affects.

    If you weren’t aborted, then you’ve got no reasons to bother people who need one. (This is an intentional paradox, please don’t bother me about it).

    And while I’m here; If you haven’t been raped, then don’t drop it on the board like a five dollar note in Monopoly.

    I don’t know what to say to you Georgia. I don’t think you’re a bad person, but I feel like you and the people you ally yourselves with allow yourselves to be made hateful and cruel, and to feel superior to people whose life experiences you don’t understand and refuse to confront in real-world terms, with an alarming ease of conscience that smacks of inhumanity.

    The fact that you could ask me, all smiles and sunshine and handshakes and fucking rainbows, to engage in a friendly debate with you about this as if it isn’t going to be an emotive and difficult thing to do makes me wonder if you really understand that women who need abortions are human beings too? Human beings with feelings and fears and hopes and dreams and wishes like you and me. What right do either you or I have to play them like pawns in our own sick ideologies?

    I feel sad all the time because people like you want to tell other people what they have a right to do in moments of extreme crisis. In moments of existential, logistical and ethical crises that tear at people’s very hearts and keep them up every night until they make whatever awful choice it is that they need to to keep themselves alive, sane or even just safe, you want people to feel like murderers and bastards.

    I don’t know whether I’d most like to jump off the Westgate or run somewhere very far away and never listen to idiots and preachers ever again, but either way I’d probably need a car and mine got stolen last year.

    Fuck you forever.

  48. Georgia says:

    Derek, cool it! It’s okay! I’m honoured that you care enough about my opinion to get upset at me (I’m assuming you’re not upset because you feel like abortion might actually become illegal).

    If you attempt to prove to me the existence of God, you negate His existence. Matter of faith, innit?

    Do you believe your eyes? Do you have faith in your eyes? I have pretty good faith in my eyes. What about your nervous system? I have faith in my nervous system to tell me when I touch something hot, etc. That’s the kind of faith I’m talking about with God.
    By the way, I first read that logic in The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy. Did you read it there?

    I UNDERSTAND I MIGHT BE WRONG; YOU DO NOT FEEL THE SAME WAY ABOUT YOURSELF.

    Oh. You know, I might not have God on my side. I think I do – but if you can show me that I don’t, well, I’ll agree that I don’t. But we’re not going to get anywhere telling each other that the other person isn’t willing to change their beliefs. Man, I can’t even change your beliefs enough to get you to believe that I am willing to change my beliefs!

    I’m open to being convinced that my views on abortion are at least naive … and at worst misinformed.

    Cool. So, before debating I have to find out where along the continuum you stand. Do you believe that the unborn is (#0 non-human) #1 human, #2 person, #3 baby, and #4 worth protecting?

    I am open to being told I’m wrong. I am not open to being told that God says I’m wrong.

    See, you’re worse than me. I’m open to being told that Buddha says I’m wrong, even though I don’t believe in Buddha. I’ll talk about why Buddha is or isn’t worth listening to. I’ll argue with your point of view, and let you blast me with anti-God reasonings.

    Either this argument exists at the level of people, or it doesn’t happen at all.

    Okay, at the level of people. We’ll assume that people have intricate [intrinsic?] value, and forget about where it is derived from. We’ll assume that killing people is wrong, and not worry about why it is wrong.
    When is it okay to kill a child? (I’m open to you saying it’s okay in certain circumstances. I’ll listen. And debate back.)

    If you’re arguing for God’s rights and I’m arguing for women’s rights then we’re essentially having two irreconcilable arguments …

    I thought I was arguing for a baby’s right to live? That was what I wrote above – may the biggest right win, the right to life vs. the right not to be pregnant. I wasn’t talking about God’s right to live …

    …you don’t believe in the worthiness of human agency or the science and philosophy of sentience and hence don’t care about my arguments…

    Since when? I care about them all right! I just include ‘unborn human’ as a ‘human agency’! Philosophy of sentience? Give it to me – I don’t think I’ve heard it before. (Unless that’s the ‘sentience means dogs are more valuable than babies’ one, or the ‘no sentience means no worth’ one. It isn’t one of those, is it?)

    Further, while I am open to being right, wrong, misinformed etc. I am not open to forcing my views on other people by attempting to legislate their behaviour.

    You could be wrong about that.

    See? You can’t be ‘open’ to a belief unless you’re willing to be open to the ramifications of that belief. I’m ready to take your pro-choice banner! I’m ready to tell my family I’m campaigning for abortion! IF that is what my beliefs become! If you weren’t willing to be convinced that plantation owners should be forced to give up their black slaves, let me tell you, you weren’t open to believing that slavery was wrong.

    Here is where we also disagree too monumentally for meaningful debate to take place.

    The more monumental the disagreement, the more monumental the debate. My theory, anyway.

    You are actively fighting at the moment to have women imprisoned, fined and humiliated for having abortions. If I concede that you are right, I must also concede that this is right. I never will. Whatever my views are (again, whether I am right or you are right) I would never want them be aligned with the oppression of women, especially not the oppression of women by the state.

    Who is going to align you with ‘oppression of women’? I wonder if they called it ‘oppression of whites’ to fight for freedom for blacks? Was it – was it oppression? Calling it oppression doesn’t make it oppression. Oh, no! Young men are being oppressed – they’re being torn from their families, their futures destroyed, they’re being humiliated and oppressed – for drunk driving.
    I don’t like the idea of jail. I mean, I want to go to jail, and check it out, because I write, and it’s good to have experience of things you write about, when those experiences don’t harm you. But I much prefer the notion of … I think it’s Sweden … yeah, Sweden’s jails. They’re more like re-habilitation homes.
    But just because our jails don’t do the best job of re-habilitating people, doesn’t mean that they shouldn’t be used. I know it sounds harsh. It also sounds harsh to say that the young women who got off free for strangling her newborn with her underwear, should be in jail. If she’d killed him/her a week before, there wouldn’t even have been a fuss. (In Canada I think it was.) Perhaps we need a special type of correctional facility for women who have illegally aborted.
    Interestingly, I support the schemes to rid stigma from post-jail offenders. They’ve served their time. Once a criminal is not always a criminal. Australians should have learned that from their heritage.

    I DON’T WANT TO CONVINCE YOU THAT YOU’RE WRONG.

    Ah. Is that like saying ‘I don’t care what the truth is, I just want everyone to leave me alone’?

    Why do you care what us heathens do to our bodies?

    I wrote about that above. I care first of all because I love people. I don’t want you to hurt yourselves. But if you want to box your own face, I’ll let you. It’s when you go and box a little old lady’s face that I’ll step in the way. It’s when you kill a baby that I’ll step up to the plate.

    Are you going to claim the unwanted children and raise them as brides of Christ?

    I’d love to. In fact my father is starting a network called ‘Infant Refuge’ to debunk once for all the claim that there is a single unwanted child in Australia.
    Because we want them.
    (And by the way, I’ve always been raised as free to believe what I like. Dad gets mad when people try to force their kids to be Christians. You can’t force someone to believe something. But you can punish them for acting out those beliefs (like they chucked the guy in jail for shooting all those kids at school, when he believed he was doing evolution a favour).

    If you believe in what you believe in because of God (and according to you that makes you right) then I believe in what I believe in because of what I believe in (which by your logic makes me right too).

    The phrase was ‘believe what I believe in’ not ‘believe in what I believe in’. Ie. I believe what I have faith in.
    It doesn’t make you right. It just means that in theory you’ve thought about it. Which means you have a thinking process. Which can be inputted into. By me.

    Why should laws that govern me relate to something I don’t believe in, something that means nothing without my belief?

    If you believed that people with dementia should be knocked off, I would certainly encourage laws to be made to prevent you from knocking them off. You could heartily believe that people without a certain quota of memory should be killed, and that law would certainly govern you, even without your belief.
    That law would be right though.
    THAT’s why laws should govern people who don’t even believe in them. Because people believe all sorts of wacky things, some of which cause them to commit horrible crimes. There must be a belief system that is superior – otherwise, killing anyone and anything, raping, pillaging, slavery, torture and anything else your next door neighbour believes in could be ‘right for him’, and he could come next door.
    The superior belief system might be yours, based on the philosphy of sentience or something. So far you haven’t presented your superior beliefs system for analysis, you’ve just critisised mine.
    And so far you have indicated that a newborn baby is precious, and you oppose killing her, and a newborn baby has just as much sentience as a due-date baby, but you seem to support the choice to kill the due-date baby, which is a contradiction that I will pounce on. Because that’s what you do in debates.

    I think coffee should be illegal.

    Cool. I don’t drink coffee either. I also think it’s poisonous – um – stuff, though I’m not sure on making it illegal. Actually I am pretty sure on it. I don’t think it should be illegal. I just think that certain ways of producing it should be illegal, and it should be illegal to force someone else to drink it; maybe even illegal to give it to children.
    Because if an adult drinks it on their own volition, that’s free choice, and I support that, because it’s boxing their own face, and you should be allowed to do that.

    Have I ever thought of not jumping up and down about abortion?
    Yes, actually. The thought didn’t last for very long though.

    Because, well, I couldn’t think of many reasons good enough to let someone kill a child.

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