Bible in the Abortion Debate
“Both read the same Bible and pray to the same God, and each invokes His aid against the other” Abraham Lincoln said those words in his second inaugural address. Both abolitionists and slaveholders used the Bible to justify their position. Then Lincoln continued, “it may seem strange that any men should dare to ask a just God’s assistance in wringing their bread from the sweat of other men’s faces”. In those words, Lincoln clearly implied that a just God cannot be on slaveholders’s side. God revealed objective moral truths to humanity. He is not everything for everyone. He is a holy person with unchangeable nature.
The Bible should be interpreted based on the context. Psalm 137 was written after the Babylonians destroyed Israel and took the people of Israel as captives to Babylon (586 BC). Earlier, the Babylonians did slaughter the infants and children of Israel. As the Jewish captives settled by the rivers of Babylon, they expressed their heartache and angst in Psalm 137 – ‘Happy is the one who seizes your infants and dashes them against the rocks’. That does not mean God loves to see children slaughtered.
Yes, ‘the Bible also contains multitudes of examples of God ordering the slaughter of men, women and children who belong to an outgroup’. Today, we are sending billions of military aid to Ukraine. Does that make the US Government and President Biden ‘war mongers’? Off course not. Based on Christian worldview, St.Augustine gave us ‘just war theory’: the only just reason to go to war was the desire for peace. Every war God commanded in the Bible is a just war. That does not make God a ‘war monger’. He desires peace. One of the names of Jesus ‘Prince of peace’.
The Quakers were the first people to question slavery in America. They believed in the dignity of every individual as created in the image of God. Today, most Christians believe even the unborn are created in the image of God. The Quakers achieved social justice using non-violence and pacifism. In today’s polarized America, I think we should follow their example.