A final point: In my own experience, conversion from the pro-choice to the pro-life cause is often (though certainly not always) a partial cause of religious conversion rather than an effect. Frequently, people who are not religious, or who are only weakly so, begin to have doubts about the moral defensibility of deliberate feticide. Although most of their friends are pro-choice, they find that position increasingly difficult to defend or live with. They perceive practical inconsistencies in their, and their friends', attitudes toward the unborn depending on whether the child is "wanted" or not. Perhaps they find themselves arrested by sonographic (or other even more sophisticated) images of the child's life in the womb. So the doubts begin creeping in. For the first time, they are really prepared to listen to the pro-life argument (often despite their negative attitude toward people or "the kind of people"who are pro-life); and somehow, it sounds more compelling than it did before. Gradually, as they become firmly pro-life, they find themselves questioning the whole philosophy of lifein a word, the secularismassociated with their former view. They begin to understand the reasons that led them out of the pro-choice and into the pro-life camp as God's reasons, too.This is so true to my own experience. I grew up an only child with no immediate family anywhere nearby. We didn't go to any church. It was so easy for me to listen to talking heads on the television - it was the 1970's and feminist speakers were becoming more and more common - and simply slide into the idea that abortion was no big problem. It had been decided, it was just taking some slow pokes a long time to catch up. Not that I thought about it much. After all, it was a women's topic and kind of a gross for a teenage boy to give much time to. But then you begin to grow up - and so do your friends. They start doing really weird things, like getting married and then pregnant. You get to put your hand on big, warm bellies swollen beyond anything sane and you feel the movement. There's something in there! Next thing you know, that something is running around your living room, playing with your dog. And one day you open the paper and there's a story about an abortion case and suddenly you put the two things together - the cold theory and the warm kick now running about. And something terribly odd slides into your brain. It wasn't there before: What were those obnoxious 70's types thinking?
(Robert P. George, The Clash of Orthodoxies: Law, Religion, and Morality in Crisis [Wilmington, DE: ISI Books, 2001], 74)
Monday, March 07, 2005
Doubts creeping in
A shameless copy and paste, taken from The Conservative Philosopher. This is Princeton legal scholar Robert P. George on how the movement from pro choice to pro life often takes us by surprise: