With the overturning of Roe v. Wade, abortion is on everybody’s minds. While those on the left fret that there will now be a plague of babies across the land, many on the right celebrate that our nation’s greatest evil has ended. Neither, of course, is what the Supreme Court decided. The decision simply says that the Constitution does not guarantee the right to an abortion, which is obviously correct. That does not, however, outlaw abortion. What it does is allows the states to decide their own rules on abortion. This means that open discussion and persuading people actually matters again. The question now is, how do we do that?
To many pro-life people, it seems so simple and obviously wrong that they forget to look at the discussion from a pro-abortion person’s worldview. It is very difficult not to be disgusted and angry with people who think it is alright to murder a baby, but pro-lifers have to remind themselves that without God, murder is not wrong. People who are pro-abortion do not share biblical values, and without God, those people are logical to think the way that they do. Trying to convince them is futile because they do not believe there is a God to tell them that murder is wrong. They do not believe there is a God who will judge them for their murders in the future. Murder is a perfectly logical thing for them to do if they think it will make their lives better. If a baby seems like it would be inconvenient, killing the baby makes perfect sense. In fact, if a neighbor plays their stereo too loud at night, murdering that neighbor makes perfect sense. If someone is competing for a job you want, murdering that person is logical. If you find yourself in a love triangle, murdering your romantic competition is rational.
Without God, people are just animals. Many on the left will openly push this idea. You see PETA equating animals with people all the time. They have equated KFC cooking chickens to the Nazis murdering Jews in the Holocaust. With that in mind, is it wrong if a lion kills an antelope? Of course not. That is just a lion trying to improve its life. If there is no God, a human killing to improve their life is no different from a lion killing to improve theirs. Without the shared viewpoint that human life is intrinsically more valuable than an animal’s, attempts to persuade non-believers that abortion is wrong will likely be futile.
Does this mean that we should give up on persuading people that abortion is wrong? Not at all! It just means that we must start with the deeper issue of what makes something right or wrong in the first place. The first chapter of my book, The God Bet, goes into this very issue in depth. It makes the point that if we do not start from the same foundation of morality, it is very unlikely that we will ever agree on much more than that ice cream is delicious. There is little chance of convincing someone that abortion is wrong because it is murder if that person has no basis for believing that murder is wrong. For this reason, the most important and effective way to convince people that abortion is wrong is if we first convince them that God is real and that He created people in His image, with a purpose higher than their own personal pleasure.
Our top priority should be showing God’s love to people so that they want to follow Him, too. If we successfully do that, we could alleviate most of the problems in our country. It is obvious to anybody who is honest. I would wager that weekly church attendees are underrepresented in our criminal population. When we hear about a string of 7-11 robberies and murders like those that happened here in Southern California last month, a deacon from the local church is probably not the most likely suspect.
This does not, of course, mean that people who believe in God are perfect. They certainly still do bad things, because by nature everyone wants to do what they feel like doing. The difference is that people who believe in God have a reason to try to not give in to those urges. Without God, there is not even a reason to hold back.
This is why when the topic of abortion comes up, we should not automatically jump into the immorality of the practice. They will see it as pushing our religion on them. They do not realize that laws against rape, theft, perjury, slander, and murder outside the womb, among others, are also pushing religious values on them. In fact, this is why we see all these things increasing. Without the base of our values, God, people have started to decide their own right and wrong. For example, the rise in violence across the country is not because of guns. It is due to the weakening of religious values in America.
We need to persuade two groups that abortion is wrong. The first is the general public, which is necessary to get laws changed to protect the unborn. For that, I honestly believe that religious revival is the only way to do it. Arguing that something is wrong with people who decide their own right from wrong is a waste of time.
Since abortion will still be legal in many places, like where I live, in California, the other group that we need to persuade is women who are pregnant and considering abortion. This is more immediate because it can directly save lives in the moment, even if it is only one at a time. Obviously, the best way is again to point that woman to God, but because of the urgency in the situation, where a life is on the line right then, we may have to persuade someone who does not yet believe in God. Without that belief in God, there is only one other possible way to convince people of something. You have to appeal to their own self-interest. I truly believe that God tells us right from wrong not to control us, but because He loves us and doing what He says is ultimately in our own self-interest. It will make our lives better whether we can see how or not. Therefore, to convince somebody, we must figure out how making the correct moral decision will also be better for them intrinsically. When looking at pregnancy, this is easy to see. I asked on social media if any woman out there regretted their decision not to have an abortion. Of the over 500 comments, not a single woman regretted having their baby. So, leaving out the morality issue, we can pretty much guarantee that a woman who has a baby will be glad she did, even on a selfish level.
Remember that we Christians are not of this world. We do have to live in it. When we live in a pagan society, we have to keep in mind that other people do not share our values. When the apostle Paul lived, the society was worse than it is now. He did not conform to it, but he also did not give up on it. He did not simply address the symptoms of sin, although he did not shy away from those topics. He focused on sharing Jesus, because that is how the other problems can be fixed. We should try not to get overly upset with pro-abortion people, because they don’t know any better. They decide their own right and wrong. We are on a higher level than them, so expecting them to live at our level is unrealistic. By all means, keep trying to change the laws, because lives are at stake. The way to do it is by showing that we have a God who loves us. Once more people realize that, the rest can be more easily remedied.
We cannot bring people to God by fixing our nation’s problems. We must fix our nation’s problems by bringing people to God.