Thursday, August 7, 2014

Abortion, cohabiting and our moral intuition

Two recent incidents in my own life illustrate the reality that we all possess moral intuitions, and whether we want to admit it or not, our own hearts convict us:
Incident #1 involved a recent online "conversation" which reminded me why I tend not engage in many of them. It was about abortion and the forms of contraception (like Plan B, for example) that sometimes "work" by preventing implantation of a fertilized egg (aka an embryo or early stage human) and I was, as gently as possible, offering the opinion that abortion, whether surgical or chemical, is morally wrong. In reply, I was told in no uncertain terms that I should shut up because I was a man, and religious besides (apparently that adds up to three strikes!). Wisely or unwisely, I persisted for a while, until my highly agitated conversation partner told me that all I really wanted to do was control women's lives with my religious dogma and besides, she wanted to reduce abortions, which is why she recommended Plan B and its compatriots.I found that last bit revealing. It reminded me of Hilary Clinton's famous line that she wanted to keep abortion "safe, legal, and rare." (To know much about the abortion industry is to conclude that its practitioners have evidently concluded 'one out of three ain't bad', but I digress). The bigger question is "Why 'rare'?" Why should my internet interlocutor feel compelled to tell me she wanted to reduce abortion?

Incident #2 involved a couple from a while back who told me that they are cohabiting, but keeping it quiet from their children until their upcoming wedding. Again, why should they respond that way? If there is nothing of which to be ashamed, why keep the fact that you are sleeping over a lot from your children?

The answer is obvious: because in your deep heart you know that there's something not quite holy about what you have decided to do. Moreover, you are trying to convince yourself that it is good in spite of your moral intuition to the contrary. The Scripture unsurprisingly proves itself true. We are adept at "suppressing the truth," (Rom. 1:18), but it relentlessly pops up again like a beach ball held under the ocean, condemning us with our own lips (Rom. 3:15). This is an example of common grace, meant to drive us toward finding the repentance and forgiveness we innately know that we desperately need. May we all find freedom from all our sin and shame in Christ Jesus.

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