Why Abortion is Hard to Talk About

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.

The Bachelorette Term of the Year is Not Positive

I have a confession to make.  Every Monday night, I sit down, open a bottle of wine, and watch The Bachelor.  My sister used to text me to ask what I was up to, and I would send her a picture of some food, wine, and The Bachelor on television in the background.  In fact, the picture of pizza on top of the Steve Connally’s Brain Facebook page is one of them.  She would laugh at me back then, but eventually she started joining me to watch.  Now we get together every week for the spectacle.

Obviously, you should not look to The Bachelor franchise for your morals and values.  Between drunken arguments, fantasy suites, and dramatic rose ceremonies where grown adults cry over a person they have spent less time with than their dentist, the show is the definition of a guilty pleasure.  This year, however, The Bachelorette has annoyed me with a recurring theme.  No, I’m not talking about the super woke firing of host Chris Harrison for having the gall to think that a 24-year-old girl should not be labeled a racist and cancelled from society for wearing a pretty dress to a party, although that is very annoying.  What I am talking about is a term that they have used over and over again to describe the current Bachelorette, Katie Thurston, throughout this season of The Bachelorette.  The term is “sex-positive.” 

Both my sister and I noticed “sex-positive” being used multiple times in the first few episodes, to which I observed, “I think sex-positive is just the politically correct term for slutty.”  She said, “No.  I think you can be sex-positive and still have moral standards.”  I agreed that sex is definitely a positive thing within a certain framework, namely between a married husband and wife, but I doubt that is what they meant considering the progressive, secular slant of mainstream entertainment, and the fact that none of the people on the show are married.  So, I looked it up, and as usual, I was right. 

The current definition of “sex-positive” not only lacks any moral standards other than consent, but it forbids them.  An article on healthline.com explains that sex-positivity “involves being nonjudgmental and respectful regarding the diversity of sexuality and gender expressions, as long as there is consent.”  It goes on to say that any morality attached to sex is “sex-negative,” including abstinence-only education, purity pacts, slut-shaming, and the “good girl” versus “bad girl” trope.  Another article on Yahoo even quotes Dr. Jess O’Reilly worrying that Bachelorette Katie’s definition of sex-positivity might not be inclusive enough.  She opines that, “some people claim to be sex-positive, but their definition of sex is narrow — they may not support and show reverence to sex workers, who provide essential services, for example.”  So, if you don’t think that prostitution is awesome, or if you think that a girl who wants to save herself for marriage is a good girl, you are considered sex-negative. 

If you think as I do that there should be moral standards attached to sex, and for example, it is not a good idea to try to have sex with a bunch of people you just met on a television show, you will probably be accused of “slut-shaming.”  Don’t worry about it.  Shame is not a bad thing.  The Oxford Dictionary definition of “shame” is, “the feelings of sadness, embarrassment, and guilt that you have when you know that something you have done is wrong or stupid.”  What is the alternative?  Should we prefer that people feel happy and proud when they do something wrong or stupid?  No!  I feel shame for bad things I have done.  That is good.  The shame should make me want to correct those behaviors.   The definition of “shaming” as a verb is, “to make someone feel ashamed.”  I don’t see that as a bad thing.  Would it be wrong to shame someone for beating their girlfriend?  For stealing?  For rape?  Of course not.  They should feel ashamed. 

Here’s the funny thing.  The people who say it is bad to shame someone constantly try to shame people they disagree with, including shaming people for shaming people.  Even worse, they shame people for doing what is right.  For example, while researching I came across an article ripping on The Bachelor for portraying Madison Prewitt, a contestant from last year, in a positive light.  Let’s see if you can guess why they did not like Madison with a multiple choice quiz.

A) She got super drunk and threw a pizza from a hotel balcony

B) She supports rocket attacks against Israel

C) She is a Christian and a virgin

Although it seems like A or B should draw more criticism, if you guessed C, you are correct.  Madison actually was disparaged for having good character and doing things the way God intended, because that is sex-negative.  (If Madi happens to be reading this, I’m single!)

On the other side of the coin, when season 11 Bachelorette Kaitlyn Bristowe had sex with Nick Viall on their first one-on-one date, “Bachelor Nation” went out of their way to show their approval.  Anybody who dared to question the wisdom or morality of the decision was denounced as a slut-shamer and a meanie.  Now, I actually liked Kaitlyn (not so much Nick), and nobody should bully her for doing what she did, but it was certainly wrong.  Saying so is not mean.  It’s just a fact.  God created sex for marriage.

People tend to think that God is cruel for giving us rules, but they are looking at it wrong.  God tells us how to do things to help us, not to be mean.  He is not saying, “I made some arbitrary rules to keep you from doing what you want.”  He is saying, “This is how I designed creation.  If you do things outside of that design it will lead to more harm than good.  I love you, so I’m telling you this to protect you from doing things that will hurt you.” 

Katie seems like a sweet, fun, and likeable girl.  When we first saw her get out of the limo with a big, pink vibrator, I thought it was funny.  What is not funny is trying to eliminate morality and implying that doing what is right is a negative thing.  Let’s get back to the shouting matches, drama, and finding out who is there for the right reasons, and stop with the politically correct buzzwords.  I’ll bring the wine.

Will Our Country Be Ancient Israel or Nineveh?

And there is nothing new under the sun.
Is there anything of which it may be said, "See, this is new"?
It has already been in ancient times before us. - Ecclesiastes 1:9-10

One of the great things about the Bible is that it gives us guidance for the future by showing us the past.  As we begin 2021 we find ourselves at a crossroads as Americans.  Both of the possible paths we can take have been tried before so we know what fate will await us depending on which we choose.

The first option is to choose a path that was taken by ancient Israel in the Old Testament.  Israel started as a great nation given prominence by God under the leadership of Kings David and Solomon.  They then fell into idolatry and wickedness, were split in two, and throughout their history were rebuked and given warnings by God through His prophets such as this one by Jeremiah:

‘Return, backsliding Israel,’ says the Lord; I will not cause My anger to fall on you.  For I am merciful,’ says the Lord; ‘I will not remain angry forever.  Only acknowledge your iniquity, That you have transgressed against the Lord your God, And have scattered your charms To alien deities under every green tree, And you have not obeyed My voice,’ says the Lord. – Jer. 3:12-13

The Israelites did not heed the warnings of the prophets and continued to rebel against God.  The consequences were harsh.  God removed his hand of protection from them and allowed the Babylonians to conquer the nation, destroy the temple in Jerusalem, and carry the people off into captivity. 

The second option is from another place talked about in the Old Testament, Nineveh.  You may recognize Nineveh because it is known mostly from the famous Bible story that we heard as children where Jonah is swallowed by a whale.  Many of you probably do not remember the rest of the story.  Here is a refresher.  Jonah was called upon by the Lord to, “Arise, go to Nineveh, that great city, and cry out against it; for their wickedness has come up before me.”  (Jonah 1:2)  Instead, Jonah decided to board a ship heading the other direction.  God sent a storm.  Jonah realized that the storm was because of him so he told the sailors to throw him overboard, and God sent a great fish to swallow him.  Jonah prayed and God had the fish vomit him onto the shore.  Jonah finally went to Nineveh and warned the city that they would be overthrown in forty days.  Sounds familiar, right?  Those stories almost always ended with the people rejecting the prophet’s warning and God destroying the city, but the story of Nineveh ends differently.  The people of Nineveh believed God and repented.  Jonah 3:10 explains, “Then God saw their works, that they turned from their evil way; and God relented from the disaster that He had said He would bring upon them, and He did not do it.”

As you can see, God is merciful.  Now I am going to put on my prophet hat and shout a warning to the United States.  Thus saith the Lord, our country is heading towards destruction.  You may think I am going to say that our country’s problems are due to bad political decisions giving Democrats too much power, and that is certainly true, but it is ultimately only a symptom of our situation and not the root cause.  The real reason for all of our troubles is the same as it was in the Old Testament; because we have turned from God as a nation.  Electing a great President like Donald Trump who enacts the policies that God wants in place is fantastic, but by itself that is only a temporary speed bump to slow down the decline of the United States. Winning an election is only a short term solution, as we now see.  The only way to really preserve America is for us to repent and turn back to God. 

We need a religious revival.  That is our one chance to avoid national destruction.  If we argue about political issues without having the same values in the first place, our side will struggle to win people over.  We have to first convince people that they need to get closer to God and embrace the values He imparts to us through the Bible.  Once that happens the nation will heal and thrive.  Think about it.  If an overwhelming majority of Americans turned to God and biblical values we would always elect pro-life candidates who value religious freedom, individual liberty, and support for Israel among other things.

Unfortunately, for now we are facing judgment from God.  He didn’t even have to do anything supernatural to punish us.  He is letting us rain down judgment on ourselves by giving Democrats power.  Joe Biden is our punishment.  He will likely cause more suffering than a plague of frogs ever could.   He has already promised to eliminate friendliness and smiles by mandating we cover our faces like we were under Sharia law.  He will almost certainly add crippling regulations to our economy leading to financial hardship for millions, especially small business owners.  In Israel God used attacks by foreign adversaries to judge his people and I fear that Joe Biden’s probable return to policies of appeasement toward terrorist nations like Iran will make it likely that they will achieve nuclear capabilities in the near future.  This could be a very dark time in our country.

We have a choice though.  As God says in 2 Chronicles 7:14, “if My people who are called by My name will humble themselves, and pray and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land.”  As you can see, we cannot avoid punishment without doing a couple of things.  First, humble ourselves and pray.  Second, we have to turn from our wicked ways.  That entails a lot of things. 

Usually when God spoke about wicked places in the past there were a few main areas that needed work.  One was violence and the spilling of blood.  That means we need to end the rioting and lawlessness that has gone on for a while now in our streets.  We also need to support our police who are trying to clean up the crime in our country.  It also means that we need to end the evil practice of abortion.  How can we expect to continue being blessed by God when over 800,000 babies are murdered every year?

Another major area of disobedience was sexual immorality.  That does not just mean the obvious offenses.  Yes, homosexuality is a sin that has become acceptable, and even cool in today’s culture.  This new trend of choosing your gender is also wrong.  As the line from the Arnold Schwarzenegger film Kindergarten Cop says, “Boys have a penis, girls have a vagina.”  However, sexual immorality also includes far more common things like sex outside of marriage.  In fact, 59% of Americans have cohabitated with a partner and 65% think that cohabitation is a good idea.  All of these things need to become unacceptable again.

There are many other things that are mentioned in the Bible like idolatry (putting other things ahead of God), stealing, dishonesty in business, and slander.  Obviously, in a country as big as ours we cannot completely eliminate these sins, but we can certainly change our outlook towards them and greatly reduce the behaviors.  Remember, God is merciful.  We can choose the path that Nineveh chose and heed my warning.  We cannot continue down the path we are on.  Repent and turn to God!