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Why Christianity supports abortion

Smithereens
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9/26/2016 1:04:59 AM
Posted: 2 months ago
Most Christians I know are socially conservative, so they generally don't like laws changing when they have to do with things like abortion etc. However, I believe a shallow consideration of theology would convince any christian that abortions are the best thing since the invention of the wheel.

Christians believe that a human life is the 'soul' or 'spirit' not the body. A conscious being is present so long as a central nervous system is present. In the absence of a central nervous system, a Christian believes that there is no human present. Thus Christians don't view embryos as people, because that is a really materialistic way of reducing humans. It's completely contrary to Christian thought to label a human as nothing more than the collection of their cells.

By all accounts, Christian theology teaches dualism. This type of philosophy holds that the conscious agent is not completely explained by biological processes. Some dualists do believe that, however all dualists agree that there exists something about the human which is not completely physical.

To argue that life begins at conception is to refute the idea that a human is more than the just sum of their cells.

Simply put, Christians cannot accept such a proposition as being true. A materialist who does not believe in anything other than what can physically be measured can argue this idea consistently, but not a dualist who believes that there is something to a human other than the cells.

It baffles me to no end that Christians remain unanimous in their condemnation of abortion, despite the bible having nothing to say on the issue and despite this position running in complete contradiction to the tenets of Christianity.
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Idealist
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9/26/2016 1:44:10 AM
Posted: 2 months ago
At 9/26/2016 1:04:59 AM, Smithereens wrote:
Most Christians I know are socially conservative, so they generally don't like laws changing when they have to do with things like abortion etc. However, I believe a shallow consideration of theology would convince any christian that abortions are the best thing since the invention of the wheel.

Christians believe that a human life is the 'soul' or 'spirit' not the body. A conscious being is present so long as a central nervous system is present. In the absence of a central nervous system, a Christian believes that there is no human present. Thus Christians don't view embryos as people, because that is a really materialistic way of reducing humans. It's completely contrary to Christian thought to label a human as nothing more than the collection of their cells.

By all accounts, Christian theology teaches dualism. This type of philosophy holds that the conscious agent is not completely explained by biological processes. Some dualists do believe that, however all dualists agree that there exists something about the human which is not completely physical.

To argue that life begins at conception is to refute the idea that a human is more than the just sum of their cells.

Simply put, Christians cannot accept such a proposition as being true. A materialist who does not believe in anything other than what can physically be measured can argue this idea consistently, but not a dualist who believes that there is something to a human other than the cells.

It baffles me to no end that Christians remain unanimous in their condemnation of abortion, despite the bible having nothing to say on the issue and despite this position running in complete contradiction to the tenets of Christianity.

I have one question: why would you ever think that Christians, or Christianity as a group, is any less able to refine their knowledge and beliefs during the course of time than any other group? The Constitution is re-interpreted continually, and yet you would trap all Christians to their forefathers' ancient philosophies and observations? Have they no right to benefit by advances in science and philosophy?
Smithereens
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9/26/2016 1:51:52 AM
Posted: 2 months ago
At 9/26/2016 1:44:10 AM, Idealist wrote:
I have one question: why would you ever think that Christians, or Christianity as a group, is any less able to refine their knowledge and beliefs during the course of time than any other group? The Constitution is re-interpreted continually, and yet you would trap all Christians to their forefathers' ancient philosophies and observations? Have they no right to benefit by advances in science and philosophy?

I don't see Christianity shifting from it's anti-abortion position in the next hundred years.
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Idealist
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9/26/2016 2:20:05 AM
Posted: 2 months ago
At 9/26/2016 1:51:52 AM, Smithereens wrote:
At 9/26/2016 1:44:10 AM, Idealist wrote:
I have one question: why would you ever think that Christians, or Christianity as a group, is any less able to refine their knowledge and beliefs during the course of time than any other group? The Constitution is re-interpreted continually, and yet you would trap all Christians to their forefathers' ancient philosophies and observations? Have they no right to benefit by advances in science and philosophy?

I don't see Christianity shifting from it's anti-abortion position in the next hundred years.

Neither do I, but I HAVE seen it progress in my own lifetime. Christians who once vociferously opposed any hint of abortion now merely grumble when they hear it mentioned. That is evolution. The true test will be defining at what point a fetus is believed to become a person. You have to admit that the laws are very mixed-up. It's criminal if you cause a pregnant woman to miscarry, even accidentally, but legal to have an abortion. Did you happen to see that viral video going-around that shows a surgeon operating on a fetus in-vitro, and the fetus is actually holding and squeezing the surgeon's finger? Yet it wasn't legally alive. That kind of thing makes you think.
Geogeer
Posts: 4,244
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9/26/2016 6:04:10 AM
Posted: 2 months ago
At 9/26/2016 1:04:59 AM, Smithereens wrote:
Most Christians I know are socially conservative, so they generally don't like laws changing when they have to do with things like abortion etc. However, I believe a shallow consideration of theology would convince any christian that abortions are the best thing since the invention of the wheel.

Christians believe that a human life is the 'soul' or 'spirit' not the body. A conscious being is present so long as a central nervous system is present. In the absence of a central nervous system, a Christian believes that there is no human present. Thus Christians don't view embryos as people, because that is a really materialistic way of reducing humans. It's completely contrary to Christian thought to label a human as nothing more than the collection of their cells.

By all accounts, Christian theology teaches dualism. This type of philosophy holds that the conscious agent is not completely explained by biological processes. Some dualists do believe that, however all dualists agree that there exists something about the human which is not completely physical.

To argue that life begins at conception is to refute the idea that a human is more than the just sum of their cells.

Simply put, Christians cannot accept such a proposition as being true. A materialist who does not believe in anything other than what can physically be measured can argue this idea consistently, but not a dualist who believes that there is something to a human other than the cells.

It baffles me to no end that Christians remain unanimous in their condemnation of abortion, despite the bible having nothing to say on the issue and despite this position running in complete contradiction to the tenets of Christianity.

1. We are embodies souls or ensouled bodies (little difference). Thus the soul and body come into existence at the exact same moment.

2. There is more to Christianity than the Bible.

3. Early Christians unanimously condemned abortion

4. The bible clearly shows that Jesus was present from the beginning of conception. Thus the soul and body are united right from the beginning.

5. You're completely wrong.
desmac
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9/26/2016 6:17:12 AM
Posted: 2 months ago
At 9/26/2016 6:04:10 AM, Geogeer wrote:
At 9/26/2016 1:04:59 AM, Smithereens wrote:
Most Christians I know are socially conservative, so they generally don't like laws changing when they have to do with things like abortion etc. However, I believe a shallow consideration of theology would convince any christian that abortions are the best thing since the invention of the wheel.

Christians believe that a human life is the 'soul' or 'spirit' not the body. A conscious being is present so long as a central nervous system is present. In the absence of a central nervous system, a Christian believes that there is no human present. Thus Christians don't view embryos as people, because that is a really materialistic way of reducing humans. It's completely contrary to Christian thought to label a human as nothing more than the collection of their cells.

By all accounts, Christian theology teaches dualism. This type of philosophy holds that the conscious agent is not completely explained by biological processes. Some dualists do believe that, however all dualists agree that there exists something about the human which is not completely physical.

To argue that life begins at conception is to refute the idea that a human is more than the just sum of their cells.

Simply put, Christians cannot accept such a proposition as being true. A materialist who does not believe in anything other than what can physically be measured can argue this idea consistently, but not a dualist who believes that there is something to a human other than the cells.

It baffles me to no end that Christians remain unanimous in their condemnation of abortion, despite the bible having nothing to say on the issue and despite this position running in complete contradiction to the tenets of Christianity.

1. We are embodies souls or ensouled bodies (little difference). Thus the soul and body come into existence at the exact same moment.

2. There is more to Christianity than the Bible.

3. Early Christians unanimously condemned abortion

4. The bible clearly shows that Jesus was present from the beginning of conception. Thus the soul and body are united right from the beginning.

5. You're completely wrong.

The standard amount of christian evidence for all of those assertions.
Smithereens
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9/26/2016 6:44:27 AM
Posted: 2 months ago
At 9/26/2016 6:04:10 AM, Geogeer wrote:
1. We are embodies souls or ensouled bodies (little difference). Thus the soul and body come into existence at the exact same moment.

No, our souls and our minds come into existence at the same moment. Tell me, do you have more of a soul than an amputee?

2. There is more to Christianity than the Bible.

However there is nothing more to God's revealed will outside the bible, so it's a moot point to discuss

3. Early Christians unanimously condemned abortion

They didn't have abortion 2k years ago. Please cite your sources. Furthermore, the early christians were all communists, so why don't you model more of your decisions based on them consistently?

4. The bible clearly shows that Jesus was present from the beginning of conception. Thus the soul and body are united right from the beginning.

No the bible doesn't talk about conception. That's a clinical and biological term that requires understanding of how fertilisation works. That was not discovered until nearly 2k years later with the discovery of cells.

5. You're completely wrong.
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Geogeer
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9/26/2016 8:06:32 AM
Posted: 2 months ago
At 9/26/2016 6:17:12 AM, desmac wrote:
At 9/26/2016 6:04:10 AM, Geogeer wrote:
At 9/26/2016 1:04:59 AM, Smithereens wrote:
Most Christians I know are socially conservative, so they generally don't like laws changing when they have to do with things like abortion etc. However, I believe a shallow consideration of theology would convince any christian that abortions are the best thing since the invention of the wheel.

Christians believe that a human life is the 'soul' or 'spirit' not the body. A conscious being is present so long as a central nervous system is present. In the absence of a central nervous system, a Christian believes that there is no human present. Thus Christians don't view embryos as people, because that is a really materialistic way of reducing humans. It's completely contrary to Christian thought to label a human as nothing more than the collection of their cells.

By all accounts, Christian theology teaches dualism. This type of philosophy holds that the conscious agent is not completely explained by biological processes. Some dualists do believe that, however all dualists agree that there exists something about the human which is not completely physical.

To argue that life begins at conception is to refute the idea that a human is more than the just sum of their cells.

Simply put, Christians cannot accept such a proposition as being true. A materialist who does not believe in anything other than what can physically be measured can argue this idea consistently, but not a dualist who believes that there is something to a human other than the cells.

It baffles me to no end that Christians remain unanimous in their condemnation of abortion, despite the bible having nothing to say on the issue and despite this position running in complete contradiction to the tenets of Christianity.

1. We are embodies souls or ensouled bodies (little difference). Thus the soul and body come into existence at the exact same moment.

2. There is more to Christianity than the Bible.

3. Early Christians unanimously condemned abortion

4. The bible clearly shows that Jesus was present from the beginning of conception. Thus the soul and body are united right from the beginning.

5. You're completely wrong.


The standard amount of christian evidence for all of those assertions.

He was the one arguing what Christianity should believe, I was merely setting him straight.
Fkkize
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9/26/2016 8:23:54 AM
Posted: 2 months ago
At 9/26/2016 6:44:27 AM, Smithereens wrote:
3. Early Christians unanimously condemned abortion

They didn't have abortion 2k years ago. Please cite your sources. Furthermore, the early christians were all communists, so why don't you model more of your decisions based on them consistently?
I suppose abortion was always possible using some unspeakable methods. Although I don't know the historical detail, it seems to me many reasonable people would oppose it, Christian or not, if say the woman died because of it in 50 % of the cases.
: At 7/2/2016 3:05:07 PM, Rational_Thinker9119 wrote:
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: space contradicts logic
Geogeer
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9/26/2016 8:27:04 AM
Posted: 2 months ago
At 9/26/2016 6:44:27 AM, Smithereens wrote:
At 9/26/2016 6:04:10 AM, Geogeer wrote:
1. We are embodies souls or ensouled bodies (little difference). Thus the soul and body come into existence at the exact same moment.

No, our souls and our minds come into existence at the same moment. Tell me, do you have more of a soul than an amputee?

Not at all, no more so than a fat person has more of a soul than a skinny person, or an adult does than a child.

Defects of body have nothing to do with the simultaneous creation of body and soul.

2. There is more to Christianity than the Bible.

However there is nothing more to God's revealed will outside the bible, so it's a moot point to discuss

Really? What came first Christianity or the Bible? If it was Christianity then you are completely wrong.

3. Early Christians unanimously condemned abortion

They didn't have abortion 2k years ago. Please cite your sources. Furthermore, the early christians were all communists, so why don't you model more of your decisions based on them consistently?

Now THAT is funny.

...do not murder a child by abortion or kill a newborn infant. - Didache 1st Century

Tertulian (2nd century)

But still in the womb an infant by necessary cruelty is killed when lying twisted at the womb's mouth he prevents birth and is a matricide unless he dies. Therefore there is among the arms of physicians an instrument by which with a rotary movement the genital parts are first opened, then with a cervical instrument the interior members are slaughtered with careful judgment by a blunt barb, so that the whole criminal deed is extracted with a violent delivery. There is also the bronze needle by which the throat - cutting is carried out by a robbery in the dark; this instrument is called and embryo knife from its function of infanticide, as it is deadly for the living infant.

Athenagoras (2nd Century):

What reason would we have to commit murder when we say that women who induce abortions are murderers, and will have to give account of it to God?

Basil (4th Century):

She who has intentionally destroyed [the fetus] is subject to the penalty corresponding to a homicide. For us, there is no scrutinizing between the formed and unformed [fetus]; here truly justice is made not only for the unborn but also with reference to the person who is attentive only to himself/herself since so many women generally die for this very reason.

Ambrose (4th Century):

Indeed there are those women who cut off the word prematurely born/aborted, before they give birth, there are those who have Christ in the womb but they will not yet have formed (him), to whom it is said: my children, whom I desire to bring forth again and again until Christ be formed in you.

Jerome (4th/5th century):

Some, when they find themselves with child through their sin, use drugs to procure abortion, and when (as often happens) they die with their offspring, they enter the lower world laden with the guilt not only of adultery against Christ but also of suicide and child murder.

John Chrysostom (4th/5th century):

Why sow where the ground makes it its care to destroy the fruit? where there are many efforts at abortion? where there is murder before the birth? for even the harlot thou dost not let continue a mere harlot, but makest her a murderer also.

And on and on and on...

4. The bible clearly shows that Jesus was present from the beginning of conception. Thus the soul and body are united right from the beginning.

No the bible doesn't talk about conception. That's a clinical and biological term that requires understanding of how fertilisation works. That was not discovered until nearly 2k years later with the discovery of cells.

No the word conception isn't used, but the concept of being pregnant surely was. Mary was referred to as mother in the very earliest stages of being pregnant. Thus clear evidence of soul body union.

5. You're completely wrong.

Completely substantiated.
Smithereens
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9/26/2016 8:27:11 AM
Posted: 2 months ago
At 9/26/2016 8:06:32 AM, Geogeer wrote:
He was the one arguing what Christianity should believe, I was merely setting him straight.

I'm a she and you should reply to me before claiming that you're 'setting her straight.'
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Geogeer
Posts: 4,244
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9/26/2016 8:29:47 AM
Posted: 2 months ago
At 9/26/2016 8:27:11 AM, Smithereens wrote:
At 9/26/2016 8:06:32 AM, Geogeer wrote:
He was the one arguing what Christianity should believe, I was merely setting him straight.

I'm a she and you should reply to me before claiming that you're 'setting her straight.'

Apologies, didn't look and most on here are he.

I was responding in the order of the replies, and you have been set straight.
Geogeer
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9/26/2016 8:32:39 AM
Posted: 2 months ago
At 9/26/2016 8:23:54 AM, Fkkize wrote:
At 9/26/2016 6:44:27 AM, Smithereens wrote:
3. Early Christians unanimously condemned abortion

They didn't have abortion 2k years ago. Please cite your sources. Furthermore, the early christians were all communists, so why don't you model more of your decisions based on them consistently?
I suppose abortion was always possible using some unspeakable methods. Although I don't know the historical detail, it seems to me many reasonable people would oppose it, Christian or not, if say the woman died because of it in 50 % of the cases.

Same things as today - just more rudimentary. There were instruments that cut out the unborn child and there were drinkable concoctions. Both of which had serious risks for the mother.
Smithereens
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9/26/2016 8:45:29 AM
Posted: 2 months ago
At 9/26/2016 8:27:04 AM, Geogeer wrote:
At 9/26/2016 6:44:27 AM, Smithereens wrote:
At 9/26/2016 6:04:10 AM, Geogeer wrote:
1. We are embodies souls or ensouled bodies (little difference). Thus the soul and body come into existence at the exact same moment.

No, our souls and our minds come into existence at the same moment. Tell me, do you have more of a soul than an amputee?

Not at all, no more so than a fat person has more of a soul than a skinny person, or an adult does than a child.

Defects of body have nothing to do with the simultaneous creation of body and soul.

The conclusion that should be most apparent to you from this is that there is nothing supernatural about the physical body. If I destroyed my body and moved my consciousness to another body via sophisticated technology, I'm still the same person, I still have a soul. The soul is not contained in the cells. Use this thought experiment to understand why:
A typical human contains 3 trillion cells approx. Every minute I remove 10 cells. Assuming my consciousness can be kept alive via life support until no cells remain, how many cells need to be removed for me to stop existing? The Answer is that I can remove all my cells and still retain my soul, if my conscious self is still held elsewhere.
The answer is quite apparent when you think of it this way too: If I chop off my arm, do I lose a part of my soul? Obviously not. What about both arms? All my limbs? No. The only part of my body that I could accept as being somehow able to affect the soul would be the brain itself. If I were a brain in a jar I wouldn't be fundamentally different as a person, I'd just be an extreme amputee. You've already indicated that amputee's aren't different, so you must accept that a human is a central nervous system.

Given this, it makes sense that we don't charge people for murder if they slice off a finger. Similarly, we don't need to charge for murder if they kill a zygote. There is no central nervous system, meaning there is no human being there.

2. There is more to Christianity than the Bible.

However there is nothing more to God's revealed will outside the bible, so it's a moot point to discuss

Really? What came first Christianity or the Bible? If it was Christianity then you are completely wrong.

The bible predates Christianity by about 1400 years. The New testament was written between 30 and 70 AD. The start of Christianity was around 33 AD. This is actually a really basic concept though. If you look at Paul's writings, he is addressing christians. Clearly christians existed before he wrote those letters. However this is all beside the point. The bible does not say anything on abortion.

3. Early Christians unanimously condemned abortion
And on and on and on...
I'll recognise that abortion was practiced and condemned by christians for 2k years. However you didn't address the argument I made against the view that this constitutes an argument against abortion. Early Christians observed communal living and were thoroughly socialist by even the most socialist standards today. Does this motivate you to support the communist party? You're clearly picking and choosing what you want to believe. You think they were mistaken about social ideology but not abortion? Actually they were mistaken on both social ideology and abortion.

4. The bible clearly shows that Jesus was present from the beginning of conception. Thus the soul and body are united right from the beginning.

No the bible doesn't talk about conception. That's a clinical and biological term that requires understanding of how fertilisation works. That was not discovered until nearly 2k years later with the discovery of cells.

No the word conception isn't used, but the concept of being pregnant surely was. Mary was referred to as mother in the very earliest stages of being pregnant. Thus clear evidence of soul body union.

If there's one thing I know, pregnancy testing is an invention of significantly advanced technology. There isn't anyone who says abortion is okay if the baby has grown large enough to make the mother visibly pregnant. The debate is about whether or not a zygote has a soul, and the answer is No it doesn't.
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Geogeer
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9/26/2016 9:08:33 AM
Posted: 2 months ago
At 9/26/2016 8:45:29 AM, Smithereens wrote:
At 9/26/2016 8:27:04 AM, Geogeer wrote:
At 9/26/2016 6:44:27 AM, Smithereens wrote:
At 9/26/2016 6:04:10 AM, Geogeer wrote:
1. We are embodies souls or ensouled bodies (little difference). Thus the soul and body come into existence at the exact same moment.

No, our souls and our minds come into existence at the same moment. Tell me, do you have more of a soul than an amputee?

Not at all, no more so than a fat person has more of a soul than a skinny person, or an adult does than a child.

Defects of body have nothing to do with the simultaneous creation of body and soul.

The conclusion that should be most apparent to you from this is that there is nothing supernatural about the physical body.

Really? Then why do animals and trees not compose literature? They too have brains.

If I destroyed my body and moved my consciousness to another body via sophisticated technology, I'm still the same person, I still have a soul.

Show me you transferring your consciousness to another body and I'll grant you the argument.

The soul is not contained in the cells. Use this thought experiment to understand why:
A typical human contains 3 trillion cells approx. Every minute I remove 10 cells. Assuming my consciousness can be kept alive via life support until no cells remain, how many cells need to be removed for me to stop existing? The Answer is that I can remove all my cells and still retain my soul, if my conscious self is still held elsewhere.

And yet your consciousness cannot be held elsewhere. It is tied to your body until death.

The answer is quite apparent when you think of it this way too: If I chop off my arm, do I lose a part of my soul? Obviously not. What about both arms? All my limbs? No. The only part of my body that I could accept as being somehow able to affect the soul would be the brain itself. If I were a brain in a jar I wouldn't be fundamentally different as a person, I'd just be an extreme amputee. You've already indicated that amputee's aren't different, so you must accept that a human is a central nervous system.

No the human is not the central nervous system. The body has certain requirements at certain stages of life. The central nervous system is only a requirement at a certain stage of life. You are the very same organism at fertilization as you are now, only developed to a later stage of life. Since you have ceded that the soul exists at fertilization and you are the same physical organism now as you were then you can only conclude that within Christianity the body and soul are united from creation.

Given this, it makes sense that we don't charge people for murder if they slice off a finger.

A finger does not cease the function of the organism in most cases.

Similarly, we don't need to charge for murder if they kill a zygote.

A zygote is a unique human organism. Thus it is murder to intentionally kill one, as no zygote can be guilty of a crime.

There is no central nervous system, meaning there is no human being there.

That fails on both embryological and philosophical grounds.

2. There is more to Christianity than the Bible.

However there is nothing more to God's revealed will outside the bible, so it's a moot point to discuss

Really? What came first Christianity or the Bible? If it was Christianity then you are completely wrong.

The bible predates Christianity by about 1400 years. The New testament was written between 30 and 70 AD. The start of Christianity was around 33 AD. This is actually a really basic concept though. If you look at Paul's writings, he is addressing christians. Clearly christians existed before he wrote those letters. However this is all beside the point. The bible does not say anything on abortion.

Thank-you you have just proven that the bible (which is the New and Old Testaments) predates the bible. Thus the authority of the Church which canonized the Bible must possess at least equal authority. And even the bible notes that there is much not in the bible, that is why Jesus left a Church with authority and not a book. Those who had the authority, could say which books were authentic and which weren't.

3. Early Christians unanimously condemned abortion
And on and on and on...
I'll recognise that abortion was practiced and condemned by christians for 2k years. However you didn't address the argument I made against the view that this constitutes an argument against abortion. Early Christians observed communal living and were thoroughly socialist by even the most socialist standards today. Does this motivate you to support the communist party? You're clearly picking and choosing what you want to believe. You think they were mistaken about social ideology but not abortion? Actually they were mistaken on both social ideology and abortion.

That is irrelevant to this discussion. We can get into that in a different thread; here it is just a diversion from the topic - whether Christianity supports abortion - which you clearly conceded was always condemned from the very beginning. Case closed.

4. The bible clearly shows that Jesus was present from the beginning of conception. Thus the soul and body are united right from the beginning.

No the bible doesn't talk about conception. That's a clinical and biological term that requires understanding of how fertilisation works. That was not discovered until nearly 2k years later with the discovery of cells.

No the word conception isn't used, but the concept of being pregnant surely was. Mary was referred to as mother in the very earliest stages of being pregnant. Thus clear evidence of soul body union.

If there's one thing I know, pregnancy testing is an invention of significantly advanced technology. There isn't anyone who says abortion is okay if the baby has grown large enough to make the mother visibly pregnant. The debate is about whether or not a zygote has a soul, and the answer is No it doesn't.

Lol. Women have known what a missed period means for longer than Christianity has existed. And there are lots of people who believe that abortion is a woman's right up to the very moment of birth.

What is funny is that you claim that within Christianity a zygote doesn't have a soul, and yet provide no biblical evidence to the point, whereas I have. You provide no philosophical foundation for your assertion, whereas I have. You provide no evidence from the Church fathers, whereas I have.
Geogeer
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9/26/2016 9:12:00 AM
Posted: 2 months ago
At 9/26/2016 1:44:10 AM, Idealist wrote:
At 9/26/2016 1:04:59 AM, Smithereens wrote:
Most Christians I know are socially conservative, so they generally don't like laws changing when they have to do with things like abortion etc. However, I believe a shallow consideration of theology would convince any christian that abortions are the best thing since the invention of the wheel.

Christians believe that a human life is the 'soul' or 'spirit' not the body. A conscious being is present so long as a central nervous system is present. In the absence of a central nervous system, a Christian believes that there is no human present. Thus Christians don't view embryos as people, because that is a really materialistic way of reducing humans. It's completely contrary to Christian thought to label a human as nothing more than the collection of their cells.

By all accounts, Christian theology teaches dualism. This type of philosophy holds that the conscious agent is not completely explained by biological processes. Some dualists do believe that, however all dualists agree that there exists something about the human which is not completely physical.

To argue that life begins at conception is to refute the idea that a human is more than the just sum of their cells.

Simply put, Christians cannot accept such a proposition as being true. A materialist who does not believe in anything other than what can physically be measured can argue this idea consistently, but not a dualist who believes that there is something to a human other than the cells.

It baffles me to no end that Christians remain unanimous in their condemnation of abortion, despite the bible having nothing to say on the issue and despite this position running in complete contradiction to the tenets of Christianity.

I have one question: why would you ever think that Christians, or Christianity as a group, is any less able to refine their knowledge and beliefs during the course of time than any other group? The Constitution is re-interpreted continually, and yet you would trap all Christians to their forefathers' ancient philosophies and observations? Have they no right to benefit by advances in science and philosophy?

The fundamental claim of Christianity is the Jesus is God and God cannot err. Jesus sen the Holy Spirit, which is also God, to guide the Church and protect it from error. If the Church changes official teachings in such a way that it fundamentally reverses a prior belief, it is proof that Christianity is false. Obviously, this is the way to discover which branch of Christianity is the valid one, it is the one whose teachings has remained constant for +/- 2000 years.
Smithereens
Posts: 5,512
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9/26/2016 9:33:59 AM
Posted: 2 months ago
At 9/26/2016 9:08:33 AM, Geogeer wrote:
At 9/26/2016 8:45:29 AM, Smithereens wrote:
The conclusion that should be most apparent to you from this is that there is nothing supernatural about the physical body.

Really? Then why do animals and trees not compose literature? They too have brains.

Brains, exactly. A human is it's brain, not it's foot. Not it's entire body either. You can swap out every single part of a human and that person remains the same. The only part you cannot swap out is the brain.

If I destroyed my body and moved my consciousness to another body via sophisticated technology, I'm still the same person, I still have a soul.

Show me you transferring your consciousness to another body and I'll grant you the argument.
Please read the intent of the thought experiment. My consciousness clearly exists. Let's suppose for argument's sake that my consciousness resides in my left kidney, so I could theoretically destroy any part of my body and retain my consciousness, except for the kidney. If by some miracle, the centre of conscious activity moved from my kidney to my brain, can I destroy the kidney without losing myself? Yes. Suppose then I moved my conscious activity to a place outside my body. Clearly the body is a vessel for a human, not a human itself.

The soul is not contained in the cells. Use this thought experiment to understand why:
A typical human contains 3 trillion cells approx. Every minute I remove 10 cells. Assuming my consciousness can be kept alive via life support until no cells remain, how many cells need to be removed for me to stop existing? The Answer is that I can remove all my cells and still retain my soul, if my conscious self is still held elsewhere.

And yet your consciousness cannot be held elsewhere. It is tied to your body until death.
you're confusing the point. I'm not interested in the fact that we tend to die if we remove all our cells, I'm interested in the location of my conscious being. I'm telling you that it's in the brain alone, except you don't appear to believe me.

No the human is not the central nervous system. The body has certain requirements at certain stages of life. The central nervous system is only a requirement at a certain stage of life. You are the very same organism at fertilization as you are now, only developed to a later stage of life. Since you have ceded that the soul exists at fertilization and you are the same physical organism now as you were then you can only conclude that within Christianity the body and soul are united from creation.

A human is a central nervous system. You demonstrate why in your next few sentences:
A finger does not cease the function of the organism in most cases.
Exactly. This was your response to my question on why you don't get charged with murder for the loss of a finger. The finger is not a human. So let's go one step further. What if I take off your whole arm? How about both arms? All your limbs? What if I switched our all your internal organs for artificial ones?
You still remain the same person, because a human is a central nervous system. Not a lung, liver and gall bladder.

A zygote is a unique human organism. Thus it is murder to intentionally kill one, as no zygote can be guilty of a crime.
A zygote is like a big toe. You're perfectly correct in believing that a big toe has never been tried in court, because there is no conscious agent dwelling within that big toe. Similarly, there is no conscious agent dwelling within that zygote.

That fails on both embryological and philosophical grounds.

no it doesn't.

2. There is more to Christianity than the Bible.

Thank-you you have just proven that the bible (which is the New and Old Testaments) predates the bible. Thus the authority of the Church which canonized the Bible must possess at least equal authority. And even the bible notes that there is much not in the bible, that is why Jesus left a Church with authority and not a book. Those who had the authority, could say which books were authentic and which weren't.

Nope I don't need to recognise the authority of the church. When we refer to the bible, we are talking about 'inspired scriptures.' The church didn't decide what scriptures were inspired, they merely collated all the ones that were. The scriptures were inspired regardless of whether or not they would later be compiled as the bible. The fact that they are all together makes it easier for us to read them, but doesn't change anything about the fact that they would have been inspired regardless. The church's actions have no relevance to their inspiration.

3. Early Christians unanimously condemned abortion
That is irrelevant to this discussion. We can get into that in a different thread; here it is just a diversion from the topic - whether Christianity supports abortion - which you clearly conceded was always condemned from the very beginning. Case closed.

No this is pertinent to your case:
Do you believe that the word of the early Christians constitutes authority or not?

4. The bible clearly shows that Jesus was present from the beginning of conception. Thus the soul and body are united right from the beginning.

Lol. Women have known what a missed period means for longer than Christianity has existed. And there are lots of people who believe that abortion is a woman's right up to the very moment of birth.

What is funny is that you claim that within Christianity a zygote doesn't have a soul, and yet provide no biblical evidence to the point, whereas I have. You provide no philosophical foundation for your assertion, whereas I have. You provide no evidence from the Church fathers, whereas I have.

Refer to the bolded, as you have gone off track. Nobody before the 18th century knew what a zygote was, so how exactly did they discuss the moral ramifications of killing one? Exactly, they didn't.
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Willows
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9/26/2016 11:24:12 AM
Posted: 2 months ago
At 9/26/2016 8:45:29 AM, Smithereens wrote:
At 9/26/2016 8:27:04 AM, Geogeer wrote:
At 9/26/2016 6:44:27 AM, Smithereens wrote:
At 9/26/2016 6:04:10 AM, Geogeer wrote:
1. We are embodies souls or ensouled bodies (little difference). Thus the soul and body come into existence at the exact same moment.

No, our souls and our minds come into existence at the same moment. Tell me, do you have more of a soul than an amputee?

Not at all, no more so than a fat person has more of a soul than a skinny person, or an adult does than a child.

Defects of body have nothing to do with the simultaneous creation of body and soul.

The conclusion that should be most apparent to you from this is that there is nothing supernatural about the physical body. If I destroyed my body and moved my consciousness to another body via sophisticated technology, I'm still the same person, I still have a soul. The soul is not contained in the cells. Use this thought experiment to understand why:
A typical human contains 3 trillion cells approx. Every minute I remove 10 cells. Assuming my consciousness can be kept alive via life support until no cells remain, how many cells need to be removed for me to stop existing? The Answer is that I can remove all my cells and still retain my soul, if my conscious self is still held elsewhere.
The answer is quite apparent when you think of it this way too: If I chop off my arm, do I lose a part of my soul? Obviously not. What about both arms? All my limbs? No. The only part of my body that I could accept as being somehow able to affect the soul would be the brain itself. If I were a brain in a jar I wouldn't be fundamentally different as a person, I'd just be an extreme amputee. You've already indicated that amputee's aren't different, so you must accept that a human is a central nervous system.

Given this, it makes sense that we don't charge people for murder if they slice off a finger. Similarly, we don't need to charge for murder if they kill a zygote. There is no central nervous system, meaning there is no human being there.

2. There is more to Christianity than the Bible.

However there is nothing more to God's revealed will outside the bible, so it's a moot point to discuss

Really? What came first Christianity or the Bible? If it was Christianity then you are completely wrong.

The bible predates Christianity by about 1400 years. The New testament was written between 30 and 70 AD. The start of Christianity was around 33 AD. This is actually a really basic concept though. If you look at Paul's writings, he is addressing christians. Clearly christians existed before he wrote those letters. However this is all beside the point. The bible does not say anything on abortion.

3. Early Christians unanimously condemned abortion
And on and on and on...
I'll recognise that abortion was practiced and condemned by christians for 2k years. However you didn't address the argument I made against the view that this constitutes an argument against abortion. Early Christians observed communal living and were thoroughly socialist by even the most socialist standards today. Does this motivate you to support the communist party? You're clearly picking and choosing what you want to believe. You think they were mistaken about social ideology but not abortion? Actually they were mistaken on both social ideology and abortion.

4. The bible clearly shows that Jesus was present from the beginning of conception. Thus the soul and body are united right from the beginning.

No the bible doesn't talk about conception. That's a clinical and biological term that requires understanding of how fertilisation works. That was not discovered until nearly 2k years later with the discovery of cells.

No the word conception isn't used, but the concept of being pregnant surely was. Mary was referred to as mother in the very earliest stages of being pregnant. Thus clear evidence of soul body union.

If there's one thing I know, pregnancy testing is an invention of significantly advanced technology. There isn't anyone who says abortion is okay if the baby has grown large enough to make the mother visibly pregnant. The debate is about whether or not a zygote has a soul, and the answer is No it doesn't.

Nor does a fully developed human being.
As much as "mother nature" is a metaphor, so too is "soul".
To ever believe that we really do have a soul is nothing more than spiritual, wishful thinking.