Support This Website! Shop Here!

Friday, August 25, 2006

Are Women Actually Chickens? and Other Conundrums

Back in the 1970’s and early 80’s, one of the popular rallying cries of the pro-abortion movement was exactly the comparison made in the essay title: if America forced women to carry their own unborn children to term, then America was treating women like chickens, that is, we valued women only for their eggs and their ability to be broody hens.

By purest coincidence, the pro-aborts began to grow strangely silent on this point in 1978, the year the first test tube baby was born. At the very moment the scientific establishment began to treat women as egg-laying machines, it suddenly became acceptable to treat women as egg-layers and as broody hens (the professional term is “surrogate mothers”). Today, the chickens have come home to roost. Despite the enormous health risks involved in egg harvesting, IVF and stem cell researchers make no secret of their desire to pay women for their egg production, and the use of their wombs. And no one has used the “broody hen” argument in twenty years.

But pro-aborts are not the only ones who grow strangely silent at times. Many Christians are wroth because President George Bush sees no problem with legalizing Plan B for use without a prescription. As one NPR reporter noted today, Plan B kills embryos that are exactly as old as the embryos used in embryonic stem cell research, which George and the rest of Christianity opposes.

Christians are in high dudgeon: George is inconsistent! Well, yes, but no more than most other Christians.

Plan B, you see, is simply a high-dose version of the popular birth control pill. Every hormonal contraceptive is exactly as abortifacient as Plan B is because Plan B contains exactly the same set of drugs found in any other hormonal contraceptive. So, when we say Plan B causes chemical abortions - and it does - we should simultaneously acknowledge that all hormonal contraceptives cause abortions, because they do.

Christians, by and large, insist on the first point and refuse to acknowledge the second., even though contraceptives don’t just abort children, they abort marriages. Today’s Christians, upset at the power of the homosexual lobby, have begun to blame the acceptance of homosexual marriage on the pre-existing acceptance of no-fault divorce among the heterosexual Christians. However, they conspicuously fail to note that contraception drives no-fault divorce. The pill makes the occasional fling and the purposely child-less marriage possible. It helps each spouse treat the other as an object to be used, not a person to be cherished. Wherever legal contraception is introduced, divorce and abortion increase. But like broody pro-aborts, righteous Christians do not permit themselves to draw that conclusion.

After all, logical conclusions are painful, as the case of circumcision shows. The World Health Organization now has several studies demonstrating that circumcision greatly reduces the transmission of AIDS in Africa. Listening to a CDC researcher explain the findings to an incredulous reporter was like listening to Galileo explain heliocentrism to the university professors at Padua. First, the reporter questioned the veracity of the news. Upon being assured it was true, he responded by saying, “Well, then circumcision campaigns for children will begin?” The researcher replied in the negative - African men were flocking to clinics to have the surgery. The reporter’s perplexity was palpable. He couldn’t imagine why an adult male would seek to reduce risk of disease by reducing pleasure. It sounded too much like some kind of twisted abstinence program.

For this reporter, as for most everyone else, lack of imagination combines with a lack of logical thought lies at the root of the problem. The difficulty is most obvious in pedophilia. Now that sex is divorced from procreation, the whole idea that we need an adult ability to consent to sex really goes by the wayside. Why do we say that a child cannot consent to sex? Sex is just about pleasure, right? A child can consent to the pleasure of eating an ice cream cone. A child can consent to the pleasure of going on an amusement ride. The idea that sex requires special, adult ability to consent is predicated on the idea that sex entails or creates adult responsibility - but if there is no procreative aspect to sex, then what adult responsibility is there?

There is as much chance of catching disease from an amusement ride or prepared food as there is in having sex. Pregnancy is not even a possibility for prepubescent girls and boys. In this respect pedophilia is, like homosexuality, a wonderful form of pleasure-filled contraception. So why does someone who accepts contraception or homosexual marriage insist on the need for adult consent from children?

The separation of procreation and sex is the ultimate no-fault divorce, in which the parties separate but neither side wants custody of the children - morality, ethics, and values. As I have pointed out elsewhere, sex doesn’t just create children – it also creates parents. The same mentality that drives homosexuals to desire the honor of marriage without the reality that marriage is about conceiving children, drive others to desire the title of parent without the difficulty of having actual children. Thus, it is not hard to find those who insist pregnancy begins at implantation, while steadfastly refusing to acknowledge their redefinition of reality means sex doesn’t create children (only gestation does) and men are therefore no longer fathers (since they don’t gestate).

In every case, the parties described above are operating from a set of inconsistent premises, an incoherent world-view. They continue to rely on the moral suasion of superseded definitions, despite having discarded the very definitions that created the moral suasion. Christians and non-Christians alike thrash in thin air, suspended only by the noose of their own logic after they have kicked away the foundation upon which they used to stand.


Jordan Potter said...

Well done, Steve.

One comment about circumcision:

"He couldn’t imagine why an adult male would seek to reduce risk of disease by reducing pleasure."

All I can say is that if circumcision reduces the pleasure of the sex act, I haven't been able to notice. Maybe it does reduce it somewhat, but it hardly comes anywhere close to eliminating it.

Doogie said...

LOL @ Jordan...

Having delved into the Theology of the Body as of late, I've discovered that God didn't create marriage merely for procreation either (not that our society couldn't use a return to that simple understanding).

Marriage is itself a representation of the Tri-unity of Father, Son, Holy Spirit. The love the Father and Son have for each other is represented by the love a husband and wife have, and the creative effect of that Divine love is the person of the Holy Spirit. Marriage echoes this by producing children, but since we humans are stuck in a timeline, we can re-present that third person time and time again.

So the very marriage act itself is a testament to the nature of God.

Oddly enough, I found myself meditating on this great mystery the last time my wife and I made love. Sounds weird, I know, but I can't ignore this amazing truth, especially when I'm actually experiencing it.

So when sex is abused as it is in today's world, it breaks my heart all the more to know that so many people are denying themselves a glimpse into the very face of God.

Steve Kellmeyer said...

You know, the odd thing is, Thomas Aquinas says in the Summa that we SHOULD NOT compare the Trinity to mother, father and child.

I know Hahn does it, so does West, but technically Aquinas says they are wrong to do so... :)

Doogie said...

Beg pardon Steve, but I'm not familiar enough with Aquinas to refute that point. But in perusing the Summa, I've found no indication of that.

On the contrary, "man cannot obtain the knowledge of God by natural reason except from creatures. Now creatures lead us to the knowledge of God, as effects do to their cause...."

If you can find the exact source of the point you made, I'd love to check it out.

West, I know, takes a certain professional pride in adhering to Church teaching. Even more than that, he's keenly aware that his words are taken authoritatively, for better or for worse, and he bears that responsibility with great discernment. He takes the bulk of his material from our late Pope's own writings.

In 1979, John Paul II wrote that the second account of Creation in Genesis is "a preparation for understanding the Trinitarian concept of the image of God.... Obviously, that is not without significance for the theology of the body. Perhaps it even constitutes the deepest theological aspect of all that can be said about man. In the mystery of creation - on the basis of the original and constituent solitude of his being - man was endowed with a deep unity between what is, humanly and through the body, male in him and what is, equally humanly and through the body, female in him. On all this, right from the beginning, the blessing of fertility descended, linked with human procreation...."

Then in 1980, John Paul II wrote, "the analogy of the human body and of sex in relation to the world of animals - which we can call an analogy of nature - is also raised, in a way, in both narratives (though in a different way in each), to the level of 'image of God,' and to the level of the person and communion between persons."

What I get from this - and other snippets I have read from the same authors - is that marriage is one image of the Trinitarian concept of God. It has been given to us - among other reasons, of course - to help us understand him, as much as we are able in our inability. To be sure, we can never say that marriage is a complete representation of the character of God; that would be absurd. But I do believe, based on Aquinas' recognition of creation pointing to the creator, and also on JPII's own writings (which I claim no expertise in) that the analogy stands.

Sorry for the ramble, but I rather relish this debate; for in our splitting of this one theological hair I am made keenly aware of the whole pate whose follicles we implicitly have no dispute over. That's nice, in a Church which at times seems to have so much ignored apostasy.

Steve Kellmeyer said...

The comparison between father-mother-child and Father-Son-Spirit is specifically called absurd by Aquinas.

Summa Theologica, First Part, Question 93, Article 6
It would seem that the image of God is not only in man's mind.

Objection 2.
Further, it is written (Gen1:27) God created man to His own image, to the image of God He created him; male and female He created them. But the distinction of male and female is in the body. Therefore the image of God is also in the body, and not only in the mind.

I answer that, While in all creatures there is some kind of likeness to God, in the rational creature alone we find a likeness of image as we have explained above; but in other creatures we find a likeness by way of a trace.

Reply to Objection 2.
As Augustine says (De Trinitas, 12:5) some have thought that the image of God was not in man individually, but severally. They held that "the man represents the Person of the Father; those born of man denote the person of the Son; and that the woman is a third person in likeness to the Holy Ghost, since she so proceeded from man as not to be his son or daughter." All of this is manifestly absurd: first, because it would follow that the Holy Ghost is the principle of the Son, as the woman is the principle of the man's offspring; secondly, because one man would be only the image of one Person; thirdly, because in that case Scripture should not have mentioned the image of God in man until after the birth of the offspring. Therefore we must understand that when Scripture had said to the image of God He created him, it added, male and female He crated them, not to imply that the image of God came through the distinction of sex, but that the image of God is common to both sexes, since it is in the mind, wherein there is no distinction of sexes. And so the Apostle (Col 3:10), after saying According to the image of Him that created him, added, Where there is neither male nor female.

Reply to Objection 3.
Although the image of God in man is not to be found in his bodily shape, yet because "the body of man alone among terrestrial animals is not inclined prone to the ground, but is adapted to look upward to heaven, for this reason we may rightly say that it is made to God's image and likeness, rather than the bodies of other animals," as Augustine remarks. But this is not to be understood as though the image of God were in man's body, but in the sense that the very shape of the human body represents the image of God in the soul by way of a trace.