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Thanks for a great article! I wanted to respond to two of your comments as a recently converted pro-lifer myself.
"One of our priorities at ERI is trying to understand pro-choice culture. They think differently than we do and we need to understand those differences or we’ll just assume that whatever makes sense to us will make sense to them."
YES YES YES. This. A lot of pro-life rhetoric makes way more sense now from the "inside" and -now- I find it convincing...but a year ago it just put me off. Stop asking me leading questions, stop begging the question, stop trying to trap me with words, I felt! I would see billboards with pictures of born healthy babies saying "choose life" or "my life matters" and feel angry because I thought they were minimizing the experience of the woman who chose; minimizing the importance of all ages and stages; and implying that some women and men -don't- think that born babies matter (of course they do, who would question that?). I can respect shock-value conversion techniques, and I know they work sometimes. But for me...I needed somebody to demonstrate being pro-life without being what I would have called "crazy", "judgmental" or "anti-woman". I needed to hear pro-woman pro-life arguments, feminist pro-life arguments, and just generally intellectually sound arguments.
"In other words, this is the argument she is making:
P1: If someone cannot fully understand what another person is going through, then he can’t make a moral judgment against what she does.
P2: Men cannot fully understand what pregnant women are going through.
C: Therefore, men can’t make a moral judgment against abortion."
I think in some cases this is true but I also don't think this is always the case. When I talk about this with one of my pro-choice friends, she and her partner feel that men don't need to have an opinion because
P1: abortion isn't a moral problem and
P2: men can't get abortions so
C: men can't have an opinion about an elective medical procedure they can't get
It's basically the same as men not really being allowed to have an opinion about breast reduction surgery. I think before you can even get to men not being able to make a moral judgement because they don't -understand-, you need to get to a point where abortion could be a moral issue. I think that many pro-choice people do see abortion as a moral issue, just not a moral that they would impose on others (this is basically what I used to believe: I was one of those pro-choice/anti-abortion people who wouldn't have gotten an abortion myself in almost any case, but didn't believe in 'imposing my morality' on others). In this case, I think you can go after the issue based on the premises you've laid out in the article; but you have to determine whether the pro-choice person you're dialoguing with is coming off of those principles or not.
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“The truth is this is something I have always believe to some degree but never had the words for it.”
I can understand that. I always was egalitarian to a degree yet never had the words for it either. It helps to get the words for what you believe or are going through, as there is something powerful in having your sentiments or experiences named and affirmed by another; it helps you to think you are not alone.
How could you be so open to something like this while in the midst of an environment that promoted abuse, and also traditional roles (ie men leading and serving in theory, but men leading without serving in practice, etc)? Also do you realise that the promise of a man dying for his wife is
something that will rarely be faced in Western culture, because it is generally so safe here? My question for the traditional roles crowd is why should women submit to man’s leadership without question, based on such a highly mythical possibility?
“I think to a large degree it is lost language within the church and that men are decidedly against women in leadership roles because of it”
Well, considering the current church climate, that would make sense. Sounds like we have some reclaiming to do!
“not that I don't have female leaders in my Church”
Now that’s a step forward in the right direction! Although I am curious to know, I thought churches that sang hymns were conservative churches that wouldn’t allow women to be pastors. Do you have women pastors at your church and if so what is the typical feeling and belief about them? Also in what capacities do women lead in your present church?
“but by and large I see men looking down their nose with disdain at their wives for not being subject to them”
They do, don’t they? Mansplaining the Bible, and all of this stuff. I’ve heard it all – three of my relatives are going to pop out babies. Also if you get pregnant don’t be upset the birth control didn’t work or you’re not a good mother. You’re only a good mother if you’re a stay-at-home mother.
Also lots of sermons demanding intimacy from women as their conjugal duty; and they never mind enthusiastic and informed consent. What do women want? Love. What do men want? Respect. Women should never divorce abusive or adulterous husbands. Ninety percent of marriage books are aimed at women rather than men. Christian (and secular) romance novels including the Fifty Shades
saga exalt and glorify abusive men as heroes. Have you ever read or heard of Redeeming Love by Francine Rivers (now her book The Last Sin Eater had a very positive message for Christians but this romance I mentioned is one to put chills down the spine). The Bible does not allow women to be pastors, and says they are saved through childbearing (and I bet Paul didn’t mean painfree childbearing either). The list goes on and on.
In what ways have you seen men looking down their noses
with disdain at their wives for not being subject to them?
“this has been a problem to some greater or lesser degree in all churches I have ever attended.”
Can you tell me at least some of the ways you have observed it has been a problem in all the churches you have ever attended – both greater and lesser extremes if possible? As for me I’ve heard enough to last a lifetime.
"It is good knowledge to have and I am excited to share it."
That’s great, I look forward to hearing the results of your
endeavours and seeing lives changed because of it. By all means pass the message on!
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Since you seem to have copied this twice, I will respond only to one of the comments.
“Sorry it’s been a few since I wrote, been dealing with some family issues”
That’s fine, I completely understand. I hope that you and your wife are holding up well, and that Carolyn is still okay with us writing to each other, because I do care about her opinion on this issue as much as yours.
In regards to people being swayed by their less extreme articles, I totally agree and it’s highly problematic :(
“I have to say from my perspective there is nothing worth my time on this website or anything correlated with any of
my views.”
“I wonder if their tagline somehow seems to reflect an extreme of conservatism (as I do believe there can be extremes on all side of an agenda or idea.”
Probably does, you’re not the only one to note that.
“The truth is I can identify with the idea of needing to halt political correctness; I am very anti political correctness as it tends to make everyone extra sensitive about every issue.”
Personally I think there is a place for political correctness, and there is a place for free speech. We need both to balance each other; otherwise our society will become either too hateful of people it dislikes or too fearful of disagreement with the new status quo. I have seen both the pros and cons of political correctness. Although its intent is to foster sensitivity to the oppressed and marginalised in our society, one of its downsides is that it squelches speech that needs to be said if it doesn’t line up with the party goals. This philosophy goes totally against what utilitarian philosopher John Stuart Mill said:
“Truthfully we all need to be able to stand up for ourselves and against adversity if we ever expect to have equal rights and fairness.”
That makes perfect sense to me. Would you mind if I asked you to expound on this concept?
“I am not saying there is a not a place where a line needs to be drawn in the sand against hateful attitudes and ideals”
I know you’re not.
“unfortunately it seems more and more these days that those who are politically correct in one way or another want to yell angrily at people who don’t agree with their ideas or values.”
I’ve seen it too. Here’s a prime example as displayed in this article; I suggest you read the comments, you’ll see plenty of liberals including myself (I’m only part liberal) complaining about the unfairness of PC run amok:
“Last I checked being defensive or angry doesn’t bring anybody over to your side of the argument most often it causes division”
I do agree, civility is crucial to winning people over to your side of the argument. However sometimes it is okay to yell and be angry and such expression should not be stifled either. There is a fine line between demanding people be
nice to oppressors and oppressive beliefs and silencing those who won’t thereby enabling the cycle of abuse to go on, and between being so obnoxious and rude that you turn people away from what you have to say; in truth discerning the difference can be incredibly tricky.
“and this is what I hate about the political correctness movement. Until we can embrace what makesus different we will never be able to embrace equality.”
Okay, could you please explain what you mean here; how does embracing equality through embracing our differences work? Also there is such a thing as the
demand for ideological purity. Unless you fit in 100% with the line, even if you agree with the principles of what they stand for but you disagree in the way they are applied, you are ostracised, cast out as a bad person and possibly
as an oppressor; this is one thing I don’t like about liberal thought and especially SJW (social justice warrior) belief.
“I am not certain whoMark Driscoll is so I would have to look him up before commenting. As far asBiblical Patriarchy movement, I have never heard of this group either, so I will have to do some research before commenting.”
I know quite a bit about Christian Patriarchy, ATI, and the Quiverfull movement, I have studied the topic for a few years and it is not good. Feel free to ask me questions about it if you want and I'll try to answer although I don't know everything. From what I know of it, it is RoK-lite; in other words it would hold similar sentiments to that odious website but would couch them in less crude and more religious language. I will try to get some articles to you about this bunch later (am very busy right now) but the research is highly exhaustive; three good places to start
would be the following:
Such leaders to look for:
Doug Wilson, Nancy and Colin Campbell, Doug Phillips, Geoffrey Botkin, Mary Pride, Bill Gothard, Kevin Swanson, Gregg and Josh Harris (Josh Harris has turned his back
on it as far as I know), the Duggar family, Michael and Debi Pearl, Michael Farris, to name a few.
Also research Christian Reconstructionism and purity culture; it’s horrific stuff.
As for Mark Driscoll, he is not a man you want to get into. He really is bad for the church. Here’s some articles to get you started learning about this guy:
Visions (BTW I’m not against visions but his ones are really creepy):
Spiritual abuse:
His book Real Marriage:
His relationships with church leaders (John Piper likes him; and Doug Wilson has interviewed him and written on some of his materials, agreeing with some while rejecting others – Doug Wilson is a whole ‘nother shade of creepy):
Just Dear old Mark all over:
“I can see your point that there could be that some of theanti pc/feminist/anti-LGBTQ+ crowd may be drawn in; I would hope though thatthey would equally be disgusted
before they decided to stay.”
Yeah, me too, pal. However knowing the extent of conservative thinking I can’t apply that hope to all conservatives.
“Yes I agree it’s disdain for both lives, and yes it’s also removing the choice from the Woman, while I am not pro-choice in the idea that it kills a child, I am pro-choice in that I believe it is and always has been a woman’s choice (or should be) as it is her body we are talking about here.”
On the first point, we agree. On the second one, I’m a little confused. Are you saying that you are “pro-choice in that I believe abortion is and always has been a woman’s choice (or should be) as it is her body we are talking about
here”? Or do you mean “pro-choice in that I believe how a woman determines how her child is raised is and always has been a woman’s choice (or should be) as it is her body we are talking about here”? If the former, I believe I should remind you that we are not just talking about the woman’s body, but the child’s life also; in that case as in every other, life comes before choice, and without life there can be no choices. If the latter, I can agree with your
“I see it as complete selfishness on the part of any man to tell a woman what she should or shouldn’t do as he is not the one who will have to face the consequences either way.”
Would you mind expounding on how you mean selfish in this case, I am a little confused and I would like to understand better? I think what I'm really asking is what do you believe about the abortion issue? If a man tells a woman she should keep the child, is he being selfish? Or is he doing the right thing? What about a guy that offers alternatives to abortion – adoption, etc – and will support her in every decision but abortion yet if she were dying from a botched abortion he would have no hesitation in rushing her to the hospital? Is this man selfish in your opinion? I can understand your concern in this way, as I have heard people say to their daughters and girlfriends “You will carry the baby” and I felt that was necessary in the sense of saving life, yet so incredibly dogmatic at the same time (I know if someone talked to me like that I would understand where they were coming from and would generally be offended, and I’m strongly PL); is there not a better way encouragement not to abort can be expressed? Also when I hear people say to the pregnant woman “I will support your decision whatever you decide” that feels meaningful and respectful because it treats the woman as a competent adult, and I remember at the same time a child could lose its life because of those words and on that
level I strongly dislike this phrase, so I am in two minds on this one.
“That said, I believe the start of winning the battle for life starts with re-humanizing the child.”
I realise you mentioned ultrasounds but how else do you recommend that this is done?
“If women really know the difference I think they would be less likely to go through with an abortion, for one thing I think if before every abortion the woman had to have an ultrasound and hear the heartbeat it might make some change their minds.”
For my part, I tend to believe ultrasounds should be voluntary because no one should be forced to have objects in or on any area of their bodies without their consent; if the woman does not want to see an ultrasound there needs to be something else she can see or hear – like stages of pregnancy for instance, or someone else’s recorded ultrasound – to see it is a human life. No hype
necessary in this case, only cold facts. I can see it is a baby just by looking at it.
“That said I think to get places like Planned Parenthood to agree would be an uphill fight at best.”
Yes it would. Do you think PP should be defunded? One person suggested an alternate strategy, that PP be allowed to continue operating yet be financially punished
for pushing and promoting abortions until they stop doing it; what say you to that idea?
"Here is the thing Crystal, I am called to love and pray for my enemies as a Christian...”
Thanks for the explanation; however sometimes people can feel angry when thinking about people dying because of others’ actions and behaviour. Do you consider such anger justified?
“Agreed again that they should not be pushing a woman or coercing her to end that life or imposing their will on women.”
Oh, totally so :)
“From the Bible is where I get all my doctrine…”
I was raised with that as a kid, so it’s not new to me. In short are you saying that Jesus can forgive it all so we should do the same? This kind of thing – forcing a woman to abort – just isn’t forgivable in my book especially if the
man isn’t repentant.
"As far as some not feeling the effects of abortion? ... I guess what I am saying is sometimes the scars are not always easily seen.”
In regards to feeling scarred over abortion, you could be right. I have never thought of it like this before. Ironically enough, the people who seem to attack the most are not the ones that have had abortions but rather the ones
that don’t tend to get them – single men, single women (especially the ones not invested in a relationship), some who have studied the issue (not all, just some) and ex-PL people. I don’t understand why they would attack so much when they haven’t had an abortion, or say they haven’t had one.
In regards to your answer regarding child support, I think that’s fair. Do you mind if I borrow that answer for future reference? Personally I believe fathers are responsible for their children yet I appreciate your sharing your POV. Why
do you believe that way about fathers not paying child support if they don’t want to, can you explain?
“Yes that last paragraph states it all and very clearly…”
What do you mean – hold yourselves to a higher level? Do you mean by this to hold yourselves to a higher level than you previously held yourselves to, regardless of your sexes? Because I can see the consequences of men wanting to hold themselves to a higher level than women, sexually speaking, and they certainly aren’t pretty. This might mean looking down on women for being weak enough to enjoy sex, or punishing them societally for such. Interesting point about the judgement of God; and men should look after women and love them properly, agree
“You raise and interesting point, I will refer you back to one my first paragraphs on the reply, I don’t think men should necessarily pressure a woman either way”
Rather than pressuring, offer workable solutions long-term, yes? I get your point about pressuring as it’s ultimately not that helpful.
“should we stand for life and suggest to a woman the value of the life inside of her? Absolutely yes!”
Agreed 100%
“Should we stand in judgment of a woman he decided to take that life, no that is her choice we can only love, it is not our place to judge…”
Slight disagreement here, your Jesus said to “judge righteous judgment” so absolutely we should call this decision out as the error that it is (in love). We can’t stand by and permit it to go on, yet at the same time I do not believe breaking the laws to save life is the best way to handle this either long-term. Very difficult situation but such a decision should not be supported; we can’t just love, sometimes we have to speak up even if it’s hard and we’re rejected for it.
“We are to influence not force our will.”
Agreed 100%
“I am afraid I have been able to view this article is it is not available from my place of work, I will look at it later and give my opinion on a different post.”
I will look forward to your thoughts on it.
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“Very interesting articles indeed thank you for suggesting this site.”
Thank you for coming, and you’re welcome!
“On your argument of having a better understanding of female anatomy. As someone else mentioned though I wonder if there is a point of where you can make your argument too complicated? For instance if in my witness to a pro-choice woman I tell her I have gone into a hospital and experienced what contractions feel
like she will either think a "I am crazy" or b "I am lying". I am not sure this is the best line of reasoning?”
You said, “I wonder if there is a point of where you can make your argument too complicated?” I realise you touched on this point a little in the next sentence but could you expound on this area more so I understand what it is I am responding to.
In regards to the synthetic contractions I get your point, but I was thinking more along the lines of her yelling at you “You don’t know what it feels like” then you can open up at that point, or a place similar to that, and discuss it then if you feel it is right to, but not before. Well, you are worried about not reaching out with the best arguments in the best way; that is fair. What I hear from quite a few female legal abortion advocates is that “these men don’t
understand what birthing is like” and I want us PL people to answer that to the best of our ability.
The heart of my comment was to encourage people to think along the lines of creating scenarios that answer the childbirth question and then responding to them in a PL manner, as I deem this to be incredibly important. Also I believe a proper understanding of female anatomy is crucial for PL people to show as it will let people on the other side know that you understand what you are talking about, because sometimes PL individuals (especially men) do seriously mess it up. As for making the argument too complicated, I think there are ways this could be done, like being too technical etc. However there is a time and a place for such thinking and I think it’s time we started employing it more often.
“I do agree outside of that I need to at least have an idea of what pregnancy feels like. I cannot empathize fully with Cancer patients but I can still love them where they are at. Ok perhaps not the best analogy, but perhaps my point is still understood?”
Outside of that, we do agree and I do understand where you are coming from. Men do need to empathise (and this is how you show women you have a heart!) by willingly stepping into the negative side (not all of it is negative!) of our shoes for a while. Also if you have an idea of what pregnancy feels like you will be more likely to be a better and more empathetic partner, and friend in general, so thank you for acknowledging this. Do you understand what is being asked of a woman every time her family and friends (but especially her family) implore her to have children? She is being asked to potentially risk the following:
Now I understand that for quite a few women things like morning sickness are not an issue, and childbirth can be a pleasant experience. What I’m saying is that every woman risks these things every time she is with child. Every.single.time. You know the horrible thing about it is that the family couldn’t care less about any of this stuff, it’s so selfish and horrible and mean. I totally grok
and am for the perspective of keeping positive and thinking about new life yet I think women deserve better than what they receive from society. Men and children first is the law.
Do you grasp where I’m coming from here?
“I will say that there is a place you have opened my eyes, I did not realize there was such a thing as tokophobia, that definitely complicates things.”
It certainly does, as I have touched on this a few times I won’t go over the beaten track except to state that the “disorder” has illuminated my understanding to such a degree I have been shown things I would never have known without it. I think in a way it is a blessing in disguise because it has helped me to be more sensitive, more caring, and more compassionate towards pregnant persons and to see them as people with needs. Also my desire to develop a more positive attitude towards pregnancy etc does not negate the fact that this “disorder” could save my life or my person, or someone else, from serious abuse.
“I think ultimately what it comes down to is responsibility, and we as males have failed at that.”
I hope you don’t mind if I ask you to expound on what you mean by this sentence. In a way I totally agree with what you’re saying, because you mean that men should be more sensitive to women and their needs before demanding or coaxing sexual intimacy from them (yes, I like that idea, they should stop using and dumping us!). Yet in a way I disagree, because women enjoy sex just as much as the next man but are far more keenly aware of the burdens that society places on them due to their biological structure.
“We are the ones who need to understand women better and not objectify them.”
I agree, but how would you propose that this be done?
“Men are to easily lead by our lusts and perverse desires. This is what leads to many unwanted children.”
Well, I wouldn’t say that men are led astray by their perverse and lustful desires so much; in fact I think male and female desires alike are incredibly normal and natural. I would tend to argue that men have not been encouraged to see enthusiastic consent as a manly practice that decent humans engage in due to the ornate power structures society has created to benefit the male. Although I do admit that children are a natural result of sex and I think people need to be made aware that they are actually potentially conceiving human life every time they engage in certain types of intimacy in a non-shaming way. Personally I do not consider teen pregnancy a tragedy but rather see it from the perspective that women can raise children in a non-conventional environment if
they so choose and should be supported in such a decision if this is what they want (we need more social safety nets!); hence the emphasis on matriarchal parenting that I mentioned before. Also we need to start embracing children rather than rejecting them. Every child should be wanted and loved by someone, even if that someone isn't the biological parents. We need to vastly improve our attitudes towards children or we might find it harder to get rid of this negative perception of them, that they are a crimp in your style. Life needs to be respected and adoption needs to be encouraged more (with significant reforms of course). When it comes to the little ones our society has been incredibly selfish and adult centered, in that children exist for our convenience and pleasure rather than for their own state of being. Abortion is one logical fruit of such an attitude, I believe.
“I feel we as men need to encourage one another to love and cherish women and treat them as sisters.”
If only more men would talk and act like this, we would have a better world and women could feel safe walking on the streets and out in the countryside even alone at night! On this level I think you are right – I know of a situation in one of the big cities where I come from, the women had to go home from their jobs (I think it was a fast-food place) earlier than the men because at a certain time at night, women would get attacked by drunks and other guys unless they headed home early. That wouldn’t have been the case if men were taught respect for women then women could do the things that they wanted without fear of being preyed on by lustful men; like, they could work late at night without being told to go home because they are women. In short, we need to make our society more female-accomodating by teaching men respect for the opposite sex.
Do you think pornography has anything to do with this gross disrespect for the female sex?
“I feel we as men need to encourage one another”
I mean this kindly but more often than not I see men encouraging one another to gang up on women, persecute them, and love them and leave them (I grant you, there are exceptions and thank you for being an exception!). If men act like this so much how is it even possible in real life for guys to encourage one another differently? What sort of wellspring will they use for each other when things get tough and other guys jeer at them for not taking a shot at f**ing the little temptresses? I mean, in the foreseeable future things will change because boys will have a stronger support system to help them treat women better, but right now, in the present, how would you recommend guys handled such things as their alternative encouragement sessions?
“If we truly want to be a good example we need to encourage other men to be chaste”
Why would you recommend chastity as your go-to strategy? Also, I think I should state there is such a thing as enthusiastic consent; without it chastity wouldn’t be very effective. Just curious – and I am unsure how to appropriately word this so please bear with me – but do you believe men generally have a higher sex drive than women?
“and to seek to understand the danger it does put women in when we take advantage of them sexually”
From your POV, what sorts of dangers do women face when men are not chaste? Also (and I am really trying to understand your position here) do you consider men to be the guardians not only of their own sexuality and purity, but also of the sexuality and purity of the women they come into contact with?
“We as men need to have self control as the Bible commands us and we shouldn't use anything as an excuse.”
I do agree with this sentence. Also, I will state that women LOVE sex like any man does, and this is something quite a few people don’t tend to understand. How is this system going to help them especially if they have high sex drives? Furthermore, if it is true that men have higher sex drives than women how can men control themselves? It’s been tried and tried and it’s failed every time
because at least some of the guys succumb to their desires (which really are not bad in and of themselves); how can such a thing work now (assuming they have high sex drives due to being male)? Society doesn’t encourage self-control. How can society be changed in this area? I think what I’m really trying to ask is this – restraint in this area is incredibly hard on a guy especially if he’s been told that sex is his right; how is he going to hold himself back from non-marital relations without breaking under the strain – I realise you’ve implied accountability but who are the best accountability partners in your opinion and why? I’m curious as to your viewpoint here.
“Morally this is what we as men can do, as the burden will always fall harder on the woman than the man.”
Fair enough answer. Proper consent, following a certain code of ethics – enthusiastic, informed, etc – is key to good relationships with the opposite sex too.
From your perspective, why do you say the burden will *always fall harder on the woman than the man?
Also I realise you’re probably going to disagree entirely with this next comment, so I offer it nervously, not to ridicule what you might believe but rather to express a different opinion and the reasons for that view. I believe the heavy focus on abstinence (for women especially) has been one of the greatest banes of the PL movement (the irony of it all is that men are encouraged to see women as possessions not people!). Before I start I will acknowledge a quote from Randy Alcorn on the good that the PL movement (mainly the commoners) have done so far:
“The fact is this: Thousands of pro-life organizations around the country and throughout the world provide free pregnancy tests, ultrasounds, counselling, support groups, childcare classes,
financial management education, babysitting, diapers, children’s clothes, and housing. Add to these tens of thousands of churches donating time, money, food, house repairs, and every other kind of help to needy pregnant women, single mothers, and low-income families. Countless pro-lifers adopt children, open their homes, and volunteer to help children after they’re born. Together these
efforts comprise the single largest grassroots volunteer movement in history.” (Why Prolife? p. 20)
I recognise that they do these things. That is not my complaint with them.
My problem is that the leaders of the PL movement have pushed abstinence instead of promoting real solutions like contraceptives and educational sex education. Do you know how much condoms alone could reduce abortions? Probably a lot, I think.
Many of my sentiments are expressed fairly well in this article:
In short, I think in some ways you are right because from what I read, your motives and words tend to be headed down a woman-honouring direction (although men should honour and acknowledge their needs as well, within reason) and I commend you for that. Yet in other ways I disagree (such as that I think that consent is the way to go more than chastity), and I appreciate the respect we show each other when we don’t see eye-to-eye, 100%. I hope, as usual, that I am properly acknowledging your points in my replies rather than just rambling off on tangents; if I haven’t done so in any reply I’ve given you including this one feel free to tell me.
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Here is your comment:
This is my reply:
You said, “I will try to respond to this one quickly. I cant understand how anyone who is pro life could stand behind this article how can anybodyRationally think that
this is a good idea.”
I don’t think some - and yes, the keyword is some PL and pro-family people would stand behind the article so much as the website, because to them it might represent pro-family values, or state their complaints with feminism. Do people have valid complaints against the feminist movement? Yes, they do, because no one is perfect and anyone can make mistakes or stand for something wrong, even feminists. However, RoK is not really the ideal place to find or express these complaints.
“I certainly hope there are not people who are family friendly and pro life who are anyway supporting this website. If there are I feel sorry for them because
they are part of the problem and nothing about the solution.”
This is how I see it – I’m not sure RoK (which they stole from Return of the King in the Lord of the Rings series) is officially tied up with conservatives, or anything (in fact some of their articles seem to express disdain for conservatives while others seem to love on them). What I am saying is that I think some conservative people might wander onto it and think what a wonderful site it is – without having seen all that pro-abortion stuff, etc – because it expresses their views on feminism and PC behaviour so well, yet at the same time as far as I have seen conservatives don’t seem to take delight in shaming fat people and strongly abhor Communism (one of the guys writing articles calls himself General Stalin which I think would make most conservatives jump in
their tracks). The problem is not so much any conservative support such a website might receive (I have seen a few conservative-minded people comment
there, and some people use some of their better-written articles out of sincerity) but rather that quite a few in the minority tend to hold similar views to the operators of the RoK website, but tend to say these things in much
more refined and “positive” language. In short, I don’t think that, say, Mark Driscoll would love on RoK publicly or say conservatives should support them or anything, but he sure talks like them. Also, quite a few in the Biblical Patriarchy movement would talk like the RoK crowd although I’m not sure any of them have ever so much as nodded heads at each other. If ever I see a PL or pro-family person say anything in favour of RoK then I will be happy to point out the pro-abortion article and see what they have to say about it. I can just hear some people responding now, “Oh, I can accept some of the other stuff, just not that.” I hope, however, that I can reach the consciences of others and that they will be sufficiently horrified to turn away from this stuff.
“There needs to be accountability when it comes to the pro-life movement if there are people who can actually justify anything that is said on this website.”
In short, as I tried to explain in my long-winded passage, it would be the diatribes against feminism and political correctness that would be likely to draw people in, if anything. Not so much the Fat-Shaming Week that Return of Kings has written up to promote shaming against fat women, nor teaching how to get “slts” laid – which is all stuff I doubt conservatives could support in
good conscience although I suspect I might hear whining about political correctness as regarding fat people at the same time. Another point I’m trying to make is that some *could find certain elements of this site justifiable based on some of its anti-feminist and anti-gay sentiments and that really worries me.
“That said I cannot imagine asking any woman,Either through coercion or persuasion to eliminate the life that is growing inside of her. I cannot imagine treating someone with such disdain and disregard.”
I agree with you, and anyone that does this is treating two people with disdain and disregard, not just one. I know guys badgering girls to get abortions is something that definitely occurs. Many legal abortion advocates either disapprove of it because abortion should be a “choice” for the woman free of coercion from outside influences, or they outright ignore or deny that this is happening. What they are recommending in this article is incredibly deceitful and manipulative, not to mention murderous. I don’t know why it is that the poor little lamb always has to be the one to die for the parents’ freedom; such a system of thought seems so incredibly heartless to me.
“I abhor the fact that there are men who would do this end I pity them for their mistakes because in the end everyone will have to give a confession for why they did what they did, that is my belief. I know that may seem heavy but I believe we are accountable for what we do in this life in the next life as much as we are in this one if not more so.”
As a Christian how can you hate the sin but love the sinner in this case, because they want to force the women to kill their unborn babies; just curious as to
your rationale here. In some ways we can’t be all love on this stuff but gotta call it out for the junk it is as they’re reproductively objectifying the mother AND killing an innocent human life in the process. So I wouldn't call it a mistake but rather a morally reprobate and abhorrent crime, because murder (morally speaking, although legally abortion is not considered as such) is far, far worse than a "mistake". These guys are not only snuffing out God's little lights to the world but also imposing their wills on women's bodies, yes there is such a thing as reproductive objectification.
In regards to answering for your mistakes in the next life what theological or Scriptural basis do you have for this belief?
“If I knew a young man who was considering this I would tell him that the pain that he would feel later in life and the pain that it would cause the young woman woUld in no way be worth whatever relief he would think he would receive as a result. And I would remind him that he is responsible for her as much as he is responsible for himself in that matter so if he wants to be judged for her
actions and his own then that is what will happen as a result.”
In regards to how you would answer a young man who behaved like this, the first part of your reply on this issue is excellent, although it must be noted that not all people feel pain or regret over abortions. Some people shrug it off with the carelessness of casting aside a cloak. I am really not joking; sites like Imnotsorry exist that discuss how women don’t feel sorry for abortion. I suppose if you’ve been told that your child is a clump of cells (it is at the beginning, it’s called a zygote) and you have the right to evict this potential intruder out of you, then you wouldn’t feel sorry if you felt it necessary, would you? However other women have felt intense grief and guilt and have resented the men in their lives that forced them, and they have every right to feel that resentment. But I digress.
Do you realise how many guys fear paying child support for an unwanted child? Sometimes they will even go so far as to threaten, manipulate, or in some cases kill the
mother if she will not abort. Some choice, eh? What options would you suggest to a young man who does not wish to pay child support especially if his partner promised him that she would not keep the child but decided on seeing the baby she wanted to be a parent?
As for the second part of your comment, you mentioned that the man “is responsible for her as much as he is responsible for himself in that matter so if he wants to be judged for her actions and his own then that is what will happen as a result”; could you please expound on what you mean here?
Also, might you be referring to this sort of sentiment, because at least in some ways if not in all it sure sounds like the following paragraph:
“The history of abortion in America should bring more shame to men than to anyone. No pregnancy happens without a man. Men should take the responsibility for
their own purity and to protect that of women.* When they fail to do this, they should be the first to accept full responsibility for the consequences of their actions, including the conception of a child. As George Gilder argues in Men and Marriage, when men exercise deep loyalties to women and children, when we take responsibility to protect and defend them, we are at our best; when we violate those loyalties, we are at our worst. We become abusers on the one hand, or passive cowards on the other. We place ourselves under the rightful scorn of women and under the judgment of God.”
Quoted from page 285 of the book Pro-Life Answers to Pro-Choice Arguments by Randy Alcorn, under the section therein called “Final Appeals”
*I would like to touch on this point at a future date, examine it from all angles, both pros and cons
I mentioned this in my reply:
“Another point - if men are allowed an opinion against abortion will not some men assume they have a right to have an opinion FOR abortion? Which is a potential
downside to Josh's arguments I think.”
Would you agree or disagree with such an opinion?
Last but not least here is a shocking article at Secular Pro-Life Perspectives discussing a children’s book dealing with the topic of abortion. I believe you might want to tear out your hair after reading it, it is that bad:
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Do you mind if I ask you to go back onto the friendship page because there are two I put up there?
Also, I'm very fond of both of you too, and hope your day is running just splendid! Yes I am having a good day but need to get back to my job soon. I apologise for not answering all your comments, don't worry though it's on my bucket list.
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I briefly touched on Return of Kings with you. It's a site for guys, and yes, even some PL and conservative people have commented there and seem to like it. Ironically enough, here's an article written by them on how to encourage a woman to procure an abortion, all for the guy's benefit of course:
Please read that and tell me what you think.
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Thank you for your words. They are very kind and meaningful and I am deeply astonished at how open you are to thinking things through. I have to wonder what caused the heart change so rapidly, do you mined if I ask?
"I used to believe that women were under obligation to respect men
without question."
My answer is that the only way for that to be possible is for a man to earn respect. If he wants to be known as a leader, protector, and provider he must walk the talk. Do I believe in roles? No, but I do believe in keeping your word and if that is what people claim about themselves I want to see them live up to it.
"That women shouldn't reveal a man's abuse or other
issues in an open way."
I know we went over this - reconciliation. Like I've said before, I am all for reconciliation if it is the best course of action and as I said if there are children it is generally harder to know the right thing to do; however sometimes it has to be discussed and the man must be made to see the error of his ways even if that involves separation or divorce.
"I believed that a women should be questioned
about her truthfulness in regards to her confessions of her husband."
Why? I believe egalitarianism is a far superior system in that no one gets away with anything bad like this regardless. However, for sake of argument if a man is to be a leader he has to held accountable for that responsibility. I find that too many men want the glory of these titles without taking their meanings seriously and I think they should stop it if they're not going to live up to their word.
"I believed men were not responsible to help with the rape culture as far as making women feel More comfortable and secure."
Really? How and what led you to that bizarre conclusion before you - thankfully - changed your mind?
You said, "I identify Masculine identity as being strong protectors, courageous in protecting the weaker but also being warriors." Do you still think men should do this? Also, do you still think women need protectors, or do you think that women need to learn to protect themselves as well as having strong masculine protectors? Also do you still think part of the problem for women being treated badly is not teaching guys they need to be protectors? Because all of that stuff you said, I can agree with though I might interpret it somewhat differently. Also do you still fear being emasculated by certain aspects of feminism, like you mentioned to me before?
You ever heard of the movie The Next Three Days? There's an example of a man loving his wife in action! I fell in love with the story almost right away when I realised what it was about.
In regards to sisterhood - I won't lie, sometimes feminists do believe in the sisterhood of women and will use that to fight anyone oppressing them, so in a way it does represent feminism because it is a movement by women for women because of the inferiority status they faced in the past; however I think that at the same time that feminists would prefer to treat everyone as equals rather than to hate on and fight their male counterparts.
"I am seeing also more and more that women are.meant to be warriors as
much if not more so in regards to changing our culture, that because of
so much desparity for so long there needs to be vocal strong women
defending others against the will of the status quo."
How can they do this?
Your wife is a good woman too, from the sounds of it - a good, virtuous woman. I think you should know, thanks for taking your belief in being a protector seriously. You are strong, intelligent and truly manly and I appreciate your heart for our sex because when you defend and support women, ironically enough, you are fulfilling that function commonly known as the male role - to protect, provide, and in some ways to lead others. I hope you feel ten feet tall by the time you finished reading this paragraph.
"Thank you again Crystal God has established within you such a loving strength and it's a beautiful thing to see..."
This made me feel so happy inside, my heart danced :*)
Out of the risk of vanity why do you say that?
Two things though: PLEASE answer all my other comments, it would mean a lot if you would do this. Also, I think we need to steer the conversation back onto life issues, because I don't want this to stray horribly off-topic or anything; this subthread is becoming very interesting and I think we need to carry it here:
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Words can't express how deeply I esteem both you and your wife. Evidently the two of you had some tough occurrences to sort out. I respect you for being willing to make this journey and to critically and humbly examine yourself, and I respect your wife for supporting you in your journey.
Would you mind compiling for me a list of what you believed at the beginning of our conversation, and what you believe now, on the roles of men and women - but particularly men - in our society. Also, what beliefs have you retained on the role of men, and what beliefs have you discarded, so I know more clearly what you think?
Personally I think it is instinctive for many men to want to protect, and for some to want to lead; and there is no shame in this at all. In fact I would doubt a man is good if he was not protective; from what I have observed the trouble is balance, to know when to step in and when not to. Also I appreciate when a man* is willing to step up to the plate and take charge because it shows that he is an intelligent human being with an amazing mind. On that level I have tried to hear what you have said, and take your words to heart as I think it is as important for me to listen to your perspective as it is for you to listen to mine.
That being said, I still believe that some men aren't natural born leaders and that is not shameful either but rather should be acknowledged for the sake of honesty. In short, the problem is not saying that men tend to be natural leaders and protectors - quite a few are! The problem is saying that a woman is not allowed to behave a certain way or to do certain things because those things she wants to do or those qualities she happens to possess are masculine by nature and should not be touched or had by a woman. What equal-rights activists and many feminists want is not for men to give up their power but for women and non-conventional people to share in it so that everyone is equal and can contribute their amazing abilities to both traditional roles; in other words rather than shoving you off your park bench all we want is for you to scoot over and make room for us too (as Sarahoverthemoon put it in one of her articles). In short I am seeking to express that while I appreciate the dilemma that men seem to find themselves in today, I also appreciate the dilemma of those that don't fit the expectations of society, and wish to acknowledge both to the best of my ability.
*Usually I would say "person, regardless of sex or gender" but in this case I wish to underscore the point that the abilities of men who want to protect, lead, and provide are important and should not be dismissed or ignored.
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I’m going to respond to this comment proper later but I will leave this thought for you to consider:
After speaking to you, I have noticed a certain pressure on men that women don’t seem to have (women have different types of pressures). It’s this pressure of being the right kind of man, the ideal, always a certain type of guy to be good enough, to be accepted as the perfect manly sort. Stop. Put that out of your mind for a while and be a GOOD PERSON. Think of yourself as a human being first and foremost and your masculine character (which in reality
comprises part of your personality) will naturally flow from that. It never works the other way around, ever; all it brings is a lot of confusion for those that are concerned about fitting in and a lot of heartache for those that cannot do it. God made us individual, not carbon boxes with “masculine” and “feminine” written on us. Every culture has a different understanding of what “masculine” and “feminine” means, and what roles pertain to which sex. Also anyone that doesn’t measure up is made to feel absolutely worthless and that is so unfair to them.
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Thank you so much for your kind words, grateful cyberhugs offered in return and hope that both of you also have the best of dreams, look forward to the chat tomorrow :)
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I'm very relieved to hear you would try to love LGBTQ+ people, so you have answered my question. As you know already, I am female so I was meaning my question as would you treat me the same if I was gay or straight.
If you want to keep reading at The Art of Manliness by all means please do so. I also recommend you keep reading at places like Rachel Held Evans, Samantha Field (formerly known as Defeating the Dragons) and No Longer Quivering as well. Do I agree with everything on all these websites, no, but I am willing to keep an open mind and glean the best of all the options out there.
This quote from this page moved me, it's the goal of how a man can be a good equal-rights activist while being manly too, in a nutshell:
"True manliness differs also from the false in its attitude to woman. Its knightly feeling makes it wish to defend her rights, to maintain her claims, to be her protector and advocate. False manliness wishes to show its superiority by treating women as inferiors. It flatters them, but it does not respect them. It fears their competition on equal levels, and wishes to keep them confined, not within walls, as in the Mohammedan regions, but behind the more subtle
barriers of opinion, prejudice, and supposed feminine aptitudes. True manliness holds out the hand to woman, and says, ”Do whatever you are able to do; whatever God meant you to do. Neither you nor I can tell what that is till all artificial barriers are removed, and you have full opportunity to try.” Manly strength respects womanly purity, sympathy, and grace of heart. And this is the real chivalry of the present hour."
Taken from http://www.artofmanliness.com/2009/01/04/manvotional-true-and-false-manliness/
"I also think you are right about the situation with Susan and I should honestly be happy that people stepped in to help her. Even though it still hurts (especially since some of my struggle was due to mental health issues) but ultimately it was the right thing for her to do, to protect herself and our children, I see that now."
To be honest I don't know the whole situation but if your ex-wife truly did anything wrong as well then that needs to be acknowledged because that is fair. That being said, I think you are right and you are having a good attitude about the whole thing, which must be hard. I can sense you are still in a lot of pain. Be strong, don't be afraid. Take time out to heal and renew yourself and you will, in time, be restored yet there will always be scars. You are still grieving, that is okay. Don't be afraid to express that even if you have to cry.
"Thank you for continuing to work with me even as you find out these things about me, it is hard to be this vulnerable but I am learning a lot in the process and I really appreciate the time you are taking to challenge me and help me gain understanding."
In my heart of hearts I hope I'm not being biased, and am being equally sensitive to both your side of the story and hers. However I accept the compliment and say that you also are making me think through things I never considered before. Don't be afraid to push through the pain and the ring of fire (both terms connected with painful childbirth, interestingly enough; and yes, it takes intense strength from every part to do this) by reconsidering your positions and being open to correction where you went wrong; joy and healing will come from it. Yet don't melt your identity away, but hold your own. Where you were legitimately wronged, don't be afraid to say it. But when you have legitimately wronged others, don't be afraid to face it either, because I hurt for your ex-wife and your children too. Of course I will continue to be your friend, I see that you are open-minded and genuine. You've put your soul in my hands and I intend to see to it that your confidence is honoured.
I would like to know that your wife is fine with our discussions too. I don't want her to feel left out or to worry about anything inappropriate as my intention is to strengthen your marriage not weaken it.
"Oh one last thing, the article on rape culture was incredible"
Thank you for acknowledging it and desiring to do right as a result. You will be rewarded in the long-run. Please, this IS a way you can protect AND empower us women at the same time. It will make you feel good for protecting us, and it will make us feel good because we can be treated with equality and respect. Well done, bro :)
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Personally, I'm not sure. I just think being gay is something that develops with time. I find it difficult to believe in the gay gene yet at the same time it's not a garment you can just magically toss off and on either. Yes some gay people have become hetero but it's also happened the other way. Other folks have been this way since childhood. IMO it does not matter if they were born that way or chose it; I care about respecting people rather than standing in judgment of actions, provided they are consensual and genuinely loving. I know my opinions on this matter are not orthodox according to either conservatives or liberals but what matters is the way I treat others and support their right to be seen as human beings.
In regards to the website you might like to read a little before commenting, as you are going into a different culture as well as a different religion. Furthermore I encourage you to become a regular commenter both at SPL and here. Here, you will learn to speak truth in love about life issues, and at SPL they generally have such a neat forum of commenters, pro-legal abortion and pro-life. I have made friends there.
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I want to make something very clear to you: there is NOTHING inherently misogynistic in a man wanting to be a leader, or a protector. Some men are wired that way and it is fine for them to explore that side of themselves. The misogyny comes when a man insists that because someone else is a woman, she cannot lead, because some women are leaders at heart too.
I do not think all the teachings of the church on roles are bad per se, but they have been used to the detriment of others so much I find it hard to support them. Perhaps you might be interested in complemegalitarianism as an alternative theory, which basically means you believe in roles without hierarchy. I am egalitarian with a few old-fashioned leanings but personally I find the concept intriguing.
No, you haven't weirded me out at all with mentioning your same-sex attractions. I hope you are - I don't know how to say this - finding fulfillment in that area of your life without being unfaithful to your wife. Just curious - do you think being gay is a choice or an innate quality of birth?
Speaking of which, I was initially unsure but I think now I can bring you to this website to chat sometimes too; this woman is lesbian but is an Orthodox Sephardic Jew as well, by birth, and I think that, since you seem to like Jewish people so much you would find her website to be a very interesting place as you'll probably learn about some elements of Jewishness and Jewish religion if nothing else. I love it already and I find the people to be very nice at that place:
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Two more things:
First, a big bear cyberhug for you; you deserve it! And if your wife wants to join in then we can make it a threesome cyberhug :)
Second, I caution you to stay well away from such websites as The Return of Kings. Roosh V has ties to that website and it has led many a well-intentioned man desiring manliness astray.
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You also have made me think more about cis hetero men and their needs and desires. It's been a concern of mine that these things are pushed to the side a lot in our culture, but we need to zone in on them more (and yes, I think this is a failing in certain aspects of modern feminism). I support cis hetero guys exhorting each other to be manly and strong and to celebrate their identities as human beings and men, as much as I support gender queer and trans to celebrate their identities, and women to celebrate theirs. This is why I can appreciate films like Faith of Our Fathers (one intention of that film is to celebrate masculinity, although its primary theme is the Vietnam War) as much as Suffragette (which is coming out soon and celebrates women's fight for freedom in England) and learning about the struggles of non-cis and non-hetero people (which I don't mind discussing in more detail as we keep messaging each other, if that's okay with you).
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Averagjo, I wanted to write this to encourage you. I've been very busy hence I haven't written back, but by all means please respond when you can.
I appreciate your humility, very much. It's good that you can see where you went wrong and are trying to do right; take heart! Now that you know, you have another chance to get things RIGHT and that means so much to everyone. I am sorry the example of fatherhood before your eyes was not a good one but fortunately you can do better and I hope with all my heart that you can build a strong foundation of love and trust with your children still. As someone that grew up with an exceptional father please let me tell you, it means so much to a child to know that Daddy loves them, will talk to them, play with them, and be a parent and big buddy for them. I'm sorry you're sad about it, please know I'm hurting right along with you.
No, you have not come on too strong at all; on the contrary you shine a good aura of positive energy and love. I appreciate your words to me a lot (although I am curious to know, if I were gay would you still have said - and meant - the same kind things? I have seen hypocrisy on this issue from many Christians - trust me, I know what you believe about homosexuality because I read your comments - but in your case, I hope so!). Also I realise it must be very hard for you to say that feminism has some good in it when some of its principles were used against you; it is more than I could do if I were in your shoes. I believe that feminism influenced the women to behave the way they did not just because you hurt them but because there were, and still are, very few emotional supports for women (there was a time when the woman would have been the enemy!), thus making them fiercely supportive of Susan. However I would rather not get into the dynamics of feminism being used to fight for women to the death, because I realise your heart is still broken.
Please know, my friend, that I want to support you in your quest to be a good human being, first and foremost; then a good man - warrior, leader, protector, as this is your temperament and there is a place for people like you in this world. I've got a few articles for you here, to help you more on your journey:
With all my love to you and Carolyn,
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I want to make it clear, I didn't mean any of what I said to ridicule what you believe or make you feel bad about it. I am very happy you find fulfillment in your spiritual journey and if you keep talking to me you can share your insights. But my spiritual journey is different for valid reasons, because I have been called down a different road and I will shrivel up if I do anything else with myself. Also, I'm in pain, I don't understand and I've seen so much negative about it that I WON'T do it.
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“I can see that this is something that has deeply affected
you and it's not something that can be easily understood by most.”
Yes, it has. Like I said, I’m still recovering.
I am so sorry for the pain and abuse you faced, and for
your life being ripped apart. I know words are cold but they are all I’ve got and I wish they could express the sadness I feel over the stuff that happened. It hurts me that anyone’s father (or mother, but I say father because I have a very neat father, my mother is great too though) would belittle and emotionally batter their own child; I don’t understand it. It also takes a lot of courage to admit when you are wrong, and to be willing to change; which is what I see you doing and I think that’s just plain admirable. Yes, it is a pattern that some experts in behaviour have noted, that sometimes (not always) the victim of a narcissist/psychopath will take on certain characteristics of their abuser, which is what seems to have occurred in your case.
If you read at this website it might help you recover even more, as it might teach you the patterns of abuse you went through better so you can mark them out more clearly in your mind, and I learned a lot from this website because the woman who wrote it was either married or living with an abuser but she broke it off and she tells her story to warn others:
Also due to your experience on both sides of the abuse spectrum I can see why you would think that the Naghmeh affair shouldn’t have been so publicised to the extent that it was, although as you know, for the sake of Naghmeh and the children’s well-being I strongly disagree with that opinion.
“Perhaps my take on the situation with Naghmeh and Saeed is due to some of those heart issues not fully being worked through.”
I have no desire to cause you pain but I have to agree with
that sentiment.
To bring you further helps on how to be a better man, I’d
encourage you to read through a small segment of this conversation, you’ll find it at the top if you leave it on “Best” and read down:
The young man I chat with is a very nice person and I’m
proud to have had that conversation with him.
“I can say now that the Lord is using people like you to
shape and mold me into the person I am needing to become.”
Same story here in the sense you’re making me consider a
few things as well, except in my case it’s open-mindedness. Thanks for all the things you share with me and for the respectful way you respond to me, it means a lot.
“At any rate I can honestly say I commend you for the stand you are taking for women and I think it's honorable that it includes the life of the unborn, what a powerful testament to how we can all use our giftings for good.”
Thank you. Like I mentioned some people think I’m suppressing women because of it, although I am curious to hear from your POV in what ways I am taking a stand for women – more sensitivity perhaps?
“I think it's also wonderful that you have such supportive
parents who are able to encourage you no matter your desires. I think that is beautiful thing and I wish more parents could do so.”
They understand God has to make the call on singleness or marriage rather than them, and I appreciate them a lot because they are good parents.
“As far as my point on being the bride of Christ. The image
that is painted in the Bible that Men and Women can be seen as being the bride of Christ. Some even Christian men are offended by this idea, but I think it's beautiful as it is the ultimate loving relationship.”
Thanks for sharing that. A few questions though – why are
some men offended with this idea? Also, if men and women are equal and the Bride of Christ is supposed to be the representation of perfect love, why is the Bride of Christ not equal to Christ then?
“Christ doesn't expect us to change he just desires a relationship with us. The change comes as result of desiring to be pleasing to him. Meaning that the pressure is off of the person who desires a relationship with Christ and as they seek him he becomes the source of their happiness and joy.”
That’s … nice I suppose. Please explain how that works.
Because, I have to be honest and you will probably be very displeased by the time I'm done. In my experience I’ve seen and heard something quite different, as I thought Jesus wanted us to change once we came to him. The beauty of being an ex-Christian is that I determine what I believe and how I behave (with God’s help as sometimes I struggle with doing right, or having OCDs and schizophrenia) rather than God deciding all that for me. If we don’t change for
God and do all he says once we become his meek, unquestioning little property, he will punish us; that is what I have seen of Christianity. My heart cries out for a personal relationship with God but never on those terms. If anyone
treated a close relative or friend like that then they would be classed as abusive, but it seems such control is okay in God’s case because he’s the creator. If he’s the moral creator of all standards then why does he demand such exclusive loyalty and obedience? However I didn’t say any of this to attack you or to make you unhappy in your spiritual path but rather because I want to understand, how can you frame it in those terms? I thought Christians were the bondservants of Christ, subduing their flesh to his will. There is so much about Christianity that baffles me. Now I’m scared I’ve angered and hurt you by my words but please help me, I can’t, I don’t understand.
“Now it's true that God has blessed me with a spouse as
well, but our love is centered in his love for us which makes the dynamic that much better.”
I hope you don’t mind if I ask you to explain how that
“Yes sharing is hard sometimes it's leaves us vulnerable to
attack and places us in a place without security at times.”
Agreed 100%
“I find that when I centered in the love of Christ I don't
feel so vulnerable not that I don't sometimes feel attacked, but that I can respond in love not hate. Not that I always do this perfectly obviously lol.”
Yes, and I’ve also seen some Christians online respond in
arguments, judge-mentalism, and sometimes pure hatred. However I appreciate that you seem to be different from that, very much, and that you try.
“Yes if we can help other through our own experience it
betters not only our life but the lives of others as well.”
It’s such joy when I know I’ve given life to someone
through my time, comfort through my words, and gentle pushback sometimes challenging people to really think about what they believe. That is truly amazing. Also it means a lot to me when someone finds strength through my words and knows they are not alone! I appreciate it when people come up to me, asking questions or wanting to share their experiences. It means I am doing my job right. Who knows, someday I just could save someone’s life through the things I write; I hope so anyway. Sometimes though I must cause offence for the sake of human dignity (I try to be respectful even then) and those times are hard but I’d rather speak truth at those times than anything else; if someone changes their mind because of what I’ve said, I’ve also done my job in that I’ve been an influence for good – civility is CRUCIAL for my type of work. Which leads me to ask, what is the difference between condemning an action and the person committing that action?
“In regards to you not being a Christian but desiring a
relationship with God, can I ask a personal question? Is there something standing in the way?”
Wow, it’s a long story, but yes and no, for so many reasons. Among these reasons - No, not really AFAIK but I know I’m happier not being controlled or dominated by some being(s), yet yes, because of some of the rough
things I’ve gone through. Schizophrenia in my early teens which becomes a mixture of that and nasty OCDs, who’d have thunk? When you’ve had voices in your head you see the world differently and you’re less likely to surrender to anything you can’t control. To me how I perceive what Christians describe as “a personal relationship with God” is really very similar to the experiences I have had with voices – punishment, threats, fear, guilt, etc. Yet it’s more than that; spiritually I am not fulfilled by traditional orthodox conservative Christianity (and I'd NEVER get into Islam because that's, like, even uglier!) and I would feel forced to give up huge chunks of myself if I became a Christian, including freedom of thought which I treasure, especially
as I find that religion doesn’t tolerate serious thought or questioning of ideas. God commands us to love him with our minds yet we’re told by the same God to obey without question otherwise there will be consequences, how contradictory! I find you can’t think things through and use your brain to advance progress in thought and improve the world. You’re stuck in one rut and I don’t like that. Also morally some of the things the Bible commands are just
questionable at best. I could go on and on but I will leave it there.
In all sincerity, I ask forgiveness for any offence I’ve caused by anything I’ve said, and if you think I'm a bad person for some of the stuff I've said and you don't want to talk to me anymore over it, please tell me and I'll respect that; and I send many vibes of love your way, for you and your partner; may you be happy in your new lives together and may your God smile on your efforts to please him in your lives together too :*)
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Thank you for sharing your insights; they are most helpful and I never considered the hymn "Come Thou Fount" that way myself. I recommend you do a Bible study in your church or home group on what you've learned; it could be helpful to people.
Thanks for answering whether you knew or not too. I am not surprised that you did not know anything about this, really; all the church really seems to teach is a cultural understanding of the Bible rather than the way the Bible was really written in the times of the ancient Jewish people. This information must be very new to you and I am happy to be part of this journey, assisting you to be a better Christian, a better partner, and a better person. I am curious though, how do you reconcile your beliefs that man should lead with this knowledge you just gained? Do you see a conflict there or do you think that the concepts of
male leadership and female co-leadership/mutual submission can work together in harmony?
Just curious – from what you know of me, do you consider me or what I believe the type of system to uphold suppression of males, or females, or neither? I ask because I want to be sure I’m not crushing other people in my quest for equality regardless of sex. Also I’ve been accused of suppressing women because of my strong PL stance, which is very hurtful as I have a strong passion for many things feminist.
BTW you said “I suppose in my writing I was not always very clear at what I meant”. You were very clear what you meant and I wanted to show you something you might not have even considered before. Also I’m glad you disagree with none of the points raised in the articles. You said “being equal to me is much more important than having authority and subjects” – that is excellent but how do you reconcile this with man being head and leader; I do not understand.
I think you can understand a little better now why I took issue with some of your statements about men and leadership. I had heard them before and I have always heard them used as a way to push women down, I think
partially as a reaction to the fear of emasculation (as you have mentioned before), yet I also appreciate your amazing open-mindedness even to positions you disagree with. You are a smart and curious individual and you should never be afraid to ask questions because you should rather desire questions that can never be answered than answers you can never question. I want to understand: does your dislike of certain aspects of feminism stem from a certain fear that men could lose their masculinity in the process, or be dominated and squashed by feminist belief? I ask because my intention is to understand and care about your concerns rather than dismiss them; also, I hope I am not repeating myself
in this but I’m rather trying to address and ask for a thorough explanation of this quote if you haven’t given it already: “my fear of feminism is only when it seeks to dominate males”.
I encourage you to listen to women share their experiences
in the church, part of the reason for this is good leaders listen to those under them rather than boss them about. More often than not it’s been hard for us at times. Like I said I’m an ex-Christian but I’ll do anything to assist Christian feminists in their work. Have you ever read J. Lee Grady’s Ten Lies the Church Tells Women? Very powerful book and I think you would enjoy it. Although I have to say I disagree with his theological background (New Apostolic Reformation – which is heretical and theologically unbiblical) I think he has it right on this issue of women in the church. It was a very eye-opening book. It’s good that you would try to share this information with other men, too; thank you for trying to lead them right with the new info you acquired and I will try to help you in this area more if you'd like that.
You also have communicated to me things I did not know,
from a guy’s perspective, how to treat males better and be more sensitive to their needs as well, which is the job of a good feminist. Sometimes I worry a lot about suppressing men although sometimes the things I worry about are
legitimate areas for concern like pornography and sexual harassment. I don’t appreciate statements like “Women are more intelligent than men” and “Men’s sexual appetites deserve to be suppressed” because I think that’s very suppressive language for guys and I would like men to feel equal with me; no higher, no lower. The majority of feminists generally embrace egalitarian thought, rather
than an all-out emphasis on matriarchy. Although it does need to be noted that when quite a few feminists speak of matriarchy they speak of it as a desire to empower women and help the world to feel female influence, or to study past
societies where matriarchy was the norm, rather than to suppress males. I can understand your concern when I read things like “All men are oppressors”, “All women are our sisters”, and “Men deserve to spend time in the penitentiary”. I will be happy to explain at least the first two of these statements from a feminist perspective but I admit such sentiments can also be ambiguous and be used to
punish men and paint them negatively; yes, some feminists do speak of men negatively due to their VERY negative experiences with them. Personally I don’t call myself a feminist but I have read feminist theory enough to understand what it teaches and that is part of the reason I don’t belong to the PL movement although I am personally PL, and politically so on the legality question.
Finally, if your wife ever wants to comment I'm keen to hear a third voice as it could make the discussion more fun :)
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That is a very meaningful compliment, thank you for being so receptive and for the lovely words, and you have helped make my day :)
I will respond more fully to your reply later but before I do, I would like to know, have you ever heard of the ezer kenedgo concept before I gave you those articles? Was it ever taught or spoken of in your church, your men’s
groups, or anything? Or is this something you’ve only just discovered today? I’m asking because I want to know what you know about this concept, and also because I would like to know what the church emphasises in regards to marriages.
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I can see why some of our thoughts are similar. I was raised in a somewhat traditional home where I've been protected by both my father and brother (my mother encouraged them to do it) and I'm grateful for my family, although I will say my mother is more protective of me than even the guys.
"I feel men in general want to be good people and leaders as you mentioned."
I doubt that this is the case generally but there are quite a few nice men out there (take heart, you are one of them!). One good online male acquaintance I have informed me that a significant minority of boys and men only have one thing on their minds, and that men have two heads and use the wrong one to think with. He let me know if girls understood that about boys their relationships with them would be easier. However, please let me know where I said or implied generally and I'll be happy to account for that as well.
"Gentle coaching and loving correction are very helpful here, but
oftentimes we are just told we are doing it wrong, without ever being
told how to do it right. Again we as men are not mind readers, but most
of us seek to be teachable, this is the connection I think that is
missing in the male female relationship."
My question is, how do you think most men would like to be taught then? Also I'd like to encourage you to read some of these articles and think about them. Originally God created an ezer kenedgo for Adam, meaning a strong helper in Hebrew. In other passages in the Bible God is also referred to as an ezer = helper. Tell me this - if a woman is always supposed to be led by a man, what about God; why is he referred to in the same language as Adam's helpmeet in the Hebrew?
http://www.patheos.com/blogs/nolongerquivering/2011/09/nlq-faq-the-bible-accountability-in-marriage-part-1-bringing-real-change-to-your-relationship/ a must read
The last two articles describe a way to counteract a belief system that teaches total subjection of women, and yes I mean true subjection.
You mentioned how men want to be taught to do it right. I think I would recommend, if you don't read any of the others, please read the one I marked a must read and tell me what you think, okay?
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I think on this subject you've proved yourself to be rather a decent sort :)
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Thank you for being open to changing your ideas :)
Also, thank you for not being one of these men who thinks teh little wimmenz must suffer because the pain is truly beautiful! I encountered one of those once, and the conversations we had - I tried to encourage him to reconsider even to the point of getting rather personal about some of my fears and desires on this matter (which makes me feel ashamed when I think about it). In some ways he had some interesting insights on the issue of pain and childbearing, but the man was utterly impervious to reason. He told me that it was beautiful that I felt the many aspects of pain, in regards to my cycles - his words not mine.
The fear isn't as bad as it used to be, due to my discovering ways that childbirth pain could be reduced and/or eliminated, not just medically but alternative (and) spiritual methods! When thinking about childbirth positively and seeing it as an intense challenge rather than an agonising torture, sometimes I find the idea of birthing a child to be very attractive :)
I haven't been shamed very much, and if ever I was it was mild. Someone did sneer at my being PL and tokophobic once - sigh. I have had my fear thrown up at me in a few different ways, not pleasant I can assure you. I've experienced having my normality questioned due to this fear as well. Those preachers exhorting the importance of the feminine role (I hated them for their insensitivity to women that were not wives and mothers), and graphic depictions of negative childbirth via such items as books and movies was anything but helpful. Yet I've encountered amazing compassion as well. One person very close to me showed me understanding when I told them about the fear, and let me know they supported my desire for agency over having children. Also online I've been mostly loved and pampered by legal abortion advocates and PLers alike, including yourself. But I'm a little worried about what my future partner/spouse will say, especially if he's a man (which I think is highly likely as I am not a lesbian and am highly attracted to men!). I fear I might have certain trust issues I would have to sort out if ever I got married, and I fear by the end of it that hubby would think I'm nuts and not be kind and patient :(
Yes, those preachers that talk about my role as wife and mother do demean women especially childfree and tokophobic women! One thing you should never ask your tokophobic daughter is when she will give you grandchildren; nor should you ever ask your son-in-law when will you get my daughter pregnant, nor should you ever congratulate your son-in-law for doing so! These kinds of things are highly off-putting, I can tell you that, because our lives are not normal and we consider it cruel for a man and family and society to put us through so much pain for their pleasure. We consider it cruel and ugly and selfish, and wonder if we matter at all. Sometimes we think we might be carrying aliens inside us and we find that scary.
"It makes me think of stories about young women who want to have some
control over their lives and be happy single, being constantly told "oh
you just haven't met the right person yet". As if happiness somehow
depends on being married."
I do agree here. For the Christian, happiness depends on doing the will of God, whether married or single. It has nothing to do with financial or relationship or any other kind of security except the security in God, the Bible, and prayer. Also I have amazing and sensible parents who generally support my decision to be single or properly married to a loving man, so that's not a problem for me.
"I think the image of being the bride of Christ is a powerful one, as it
allow a person to feel loved as they are without having to subject
yourself to cultural norms and standards."
In what ways would that be so?
"I am amazed at your ability to share so openly and honestly and I pray that God continues to mold you into his image."
Thank you. Sometimes sharing is hard because I have to be careful how much I share. Sometimes I'm making myself vulnerable to ridicule and that scares me. But I want to share so I can help people and more often than not I enjoy it! Also I'm not a Christian, but rather spiritual, although I do long for a personal relationship with God very much.
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I will answer this comment in more detail later but you said this:
"I will say that there is a place you have opened my eyes, I did not
realize there was such a thing as tokophobia, that definitely
complicates things."
I'm a recovering tokophobic who is beginning to see the bright side in pregnancy and childbearing although potential negative physical feelings still can cause fear sometimes; here's my story:
Some women will abort because of this fear because it's so strong. I've been told that being childfree and being tokophobic are reasons legal abortion advocates name for abortions, and that my proto-type (preferring to be childfree and being a recovering tokophobic individual) is the type of woman that would seek an abortion.
Here's a basic article about it, and if you need more information I'll be happy to pass it your way:
You THINK pro-choicers are telling you that because you're a man you can't have a moral stance on the ending of human life. You're missing the point.
You not being able to be pregnant doesn't mean that you can't understand what the pregnant woman is going through. It means that you're not the one who has to suffer and risk your life in order to bring life into this world. Whether a woman makes the decision to suffer and risk her life in pregnancy and childbirth should be up to her and her alone, regardless of whether we can understand where she is coming from.
Your fishing scenario imagines the question is about YOUR responsibility - whether you should or should not intercede to prevent the child's being pushed into the lake. It ignores the fact that you're actually talking about someone ELSE's responsibility.
Say you don't know how to swim, and you spot a drowning child in the middle of an ice-cold pond. You are with a female friend, and you say to her, "Oh my God, that kid is drowning! Save her!" She turns to you and says, "I can't! I can't do it! I'll freeze to death before help arrives! I barely know how to doggy-paddle, I'd never be able to save her!" Some people might say to her, you probably won't freeze to death. Some might say to her, have faith in God, as I do. Some might tell her how if she doesn't jump into the water to rescue the kid she'll get sued for violation of some good Samaritan act, or even push her into the lake against her will.
If she responds to any of those arguments by pointing out that you don't know how to swim, that's not her being a jerk. That's not her being illogical. That's her pointing out that you're not the one who has to risk your health and safety to bring the kid to shore.
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I'm not a police officer. I'll never be the one who has to risk my life or my health in order to arrest a 300-pound thug. I'm still against police brutality though.
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I appreciate your writing in very much.
"It means that you're not the one who has to suffer and risk your life in order to bring life into this world."
As a prolifer, I wish prolifers would address this actual point in their scenarios. On this, we agree.
"It ignores the fact that you're actually talking about someone ELSE's responsibility."
This is where we will disagree, I think. Supposing you were talking about any other situation where a person has power over the life of another. Are we supposed to say nothing if we see such things as unjust laws taking the lives of others, cruelty to animals, or racial discrimination against other people, all because it is the government's responsibility and not ours to do the right thing? If we take your logic to its proper conclusion and apply it to other cases this means that we should not say a word in defence of human rights because it's the government's job to look after it. I disagree with that premise and believe it is our duty to speak up if we see another innocent person or animal being hurt, even if it's not popular or convenient to do so.
However, I would appreciate hearing your opinion on my thoughts from your perspective. Thanks again for writing in.
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Margaret Wallace
Awesome!! I hate when they use that argument against men. The ability to give birth should not determine weather you are able to defend the unborn! I had a hysterectomy last year for medical reasons. I can never have a child again. That doesn't take away my pro-life efforts.
Great, well-articulated reasoning Timothy, and kudos for your diplomacy skills!
Having men in the pro-life movement has always made sense to me because they were fetuses once, too. Having started out as an unplanned female fetus, self-preservation is naturally part of my anti-abortion stance - luckily I was conceived in '63, not '73. I simply won't tolerate men being "approved of" in the pro-abortion movement and discounted when they're pro-life - it's beyond insulting to deny the value of their voices.
(Also, any pro-choicer using a man's inability to be pregnant against him is baloney. Would they use that argument against infertile woman, or women who chose sterilization, or have gone through menopause? Not if they know what's good for them!)
Thanks for a great article. I've seen a form of the thought experiment before (maybe it was "drowning toddlers in bathtub"?), I think from your brother, but without the beautiful explanation about the pro-choicer's premises.
To the "how can you have an opinion . . .” question, I have replied, "I am so horrified when I see my innocent little sister or brother about to be ripped into shreds, that I can't help myself." That has worked.
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I'm sorry I haven't been able to write back in; hectic study schedules took over.
In regards to the comment above you, what did you think of the points where I saw things differently from the Brahm brothers on the question?
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I had seen your comment and had liked it, but I had thought of it as offering improvements on the Brahms' approach, rather than undermining the approach. So I had proceeded to say "great article. . . . beautiful explanation . . ."
Reflecting further about the explanation, however, I don't think that this premise --
P1: If someone cannot fully understand what another person is going through, then he can’t make a moral judgment against what she does
-- can be completely dismissed. I think it is correct to say:
"P1: If someone cannot fully understand what another person is going through, then he can’t make a perfect moral judgment against what she does."
Timothy Brahm, there by the lake, can only make his best guess about the situation. Though he can never be pregnant, you and many others who can be pregnant support his decision, so he is vindicated to an important extent. But still, his imperfect understanding of what is going on might mean that he is wrong. The two-year-old child might be a cyborg who is destined to enslave the whole human race if not stopped now.
I think that this premise could be completely dismissed:
"P1: If someone cannot fully understand what another person is going through, then he can’t make an adequate enough moral judgment to take action against what she does."
It is simply not possible to remain uninvolved. If we do nothing in any situation, we support the status quo of that situation. And in some situations we don't have much time to think. We are no more likely to go wrong taking action than we are doing nothing. Doing nothing may be a safer strategy in term of escaping consequences for ourselves in case we decide wrong, but I don't think it's really safer in terms of making the decision that is morally right.
"I think it is time to create thought experiments that are equal to and actually deal with the reality of pregnancy and childbirth . . ."
Create them, yes. But such thought experiments would have to be more contrived than the car in the lake ("complicated or hard to imagine" as Timothy Brahm says), which might become a distraction. So if the car in the lake is enough to get the interlocutor to drop that particular objection of theirs, well and good. Only if it is not enough, trot out a less realistic one.
I have sometimes thought that I would like to experience a relatively smooth pregnancy and labor (and if pregnancy and labor are expected to be significantly rougher than normal, I think a woman should have a right to abort). And I have (with somewhat less attraction) considered trying simulated labor. But here in India where I live, I don't know if hospitals would readily understand and get into the spirit of the idea, and since I'm an old man (and since it would be a "labor" that would not pay off in terms of saving a life), they would likely be leery of taking the responsibility.
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"I had thought of it as offering improvements on the Brahms' approach, rather than undermining the approach"
Improvement was my intent. I do not wish to undermine anything the Brahm brothers do, especially as both they and I care about unborn persons.
"P1: If someone cannot fully understand what another person is going through, then he can’t make a perfect moral judgment against what she does. ... If we do nothing in any situation, we support the status quo of that situation."
We see eye to eye on that. I don't think anyone should sit by and do nothing on this. It's imperative to speak up regardless of gender. I simply think that there are points that men need to be told of and listen to from the lips of women that would help them convey the message with more thoughtfulness and compassion even as they do speak up, so that more people, and especially more women, will listen.
As for that second sentence I copied, I like it and would love to borrow it because it's so very true.
"Create them, yes. But such thought experiments would have to be more contrived than the car in the lake ("complicated or hard to imagine" as Timothy Brahm says), which might become a distraction."
With all due respect, I disagree that they would be a distraction. In fact, I think advocates for legal abortion (and especially my two friends Bair and LJ) would be more likely to listen if people like the Brahm brothers tried to come up with scenarios that were equal to and that actually dealt with being in the situation of facing a "shredded birth canal" and "pushing through a tiny hole" as my friend Bair says so often, and she is making a valid point by doing so (although not all childbirth is nearly as horrific as she says, of course).
By my comment, I wasn't trying to say that he shouldn't get involved at all. What I was trying to say was that he could become more involved in a more empathetic way by listening to females and their experiences, positive and negative, and seeking ways to help them through that as much as he could without coming across as anything but sympathetic. I know of a guy who is fascinated with menstruation and his female friends come to him for advice on menstrual products frequently because they consider him an authority on the question despite his having never bled in his life. Taking a genuine, NON-CREEPY interest in women's issues (and especially women's anatomy in the sense of showing he is not ignorant of it, rather than showing he is fascinated with it) as it relates to the question at hand would be helpful; but showing a creepy, sexual interest in these things would cause injury to prolifism, and in such a case it would be better that he stuck with his original approach!
I totally agree that on any and all human rights issues it is our duty to get involved.
Look at Raif Badawi. Are you aware of what the Saudi government is going to do to him? If we took this logic to its full conclusion we might as well conclude, "Well, since I'm not a Saudi, and I don't completely understand the situation as to why Badawi is suffering in this way, I won't get involved because I don't want to interfere in Saudi culture and customs."
No! It is our duty to get involved in some way when we see an innocent person being hurt, whether it is Raif Badawi or an innocent unborn person.
So next time someone tells you that you ought not to jump into the abortion debate, bringing up a guy like Raif Badawi would have a three-fold benefit: 1) it would help Raif Badawi get free if more people knew about his case
2) it would bring a common ground between the advocate for legal abortion and yourself and prove to them you care about more than just "fetuses"
3) it would definitely help prove a point that morally, people have to step in when someone is getting hurt, and that it would be vile to say nothing and let the show go on
Putting that aside, we need to also take into account a lot of other things. For instance, rapists are very fond of using pregnancy and visitation rights as a way to torment the rape victim, and the Republican Party's insensitivity and downright cruelty on the topic:
http://whatever.scalzi.com/2012/10/25/a-fan-letter-to-certain-conservative-politicians/ (it made me CRINGE when I read it)
http://www.cnn.com/2013/08/01/us/rapist-child-custody/ (and this is HORRIFYING!)
I'm not against rape babies being saved - even legally. What I am against is staying in this perpetual state of having to choose whether to force the pregnant person to carry to term or force the unborn person to lose his/her life. I very much recommend high techs and replacement ideals for these reasons!
Why do I mention this? Because even as we talk about these things there will be people who will use our best intentions against us and give prolifism a bad name.
I really appreciate the fact you would want to experience simulated labour. I recommend you push for it (pardon the pun) and if you can't get it where you live, try it in another country; it might give you a certain level of spiritual insight you never had on the subject before and would definitely increase empathy to women after experiencing it as now you could say "I have done it and I understand". You have no idea how much it means to a woman to hear the words "I understand" from a male she respects. And childbirth can be very spiritual especially if you use alternative methods, although I have no problem with epidurals or anesthetic either, as it is whatever rocks a woman's boat at the time:
I think though that a woman would be more qualified to discuss reducing/eliminating pain in childbirth than a man, because it would sound better coming from her. Also take this into consideration: if a woman is morally obligated (and even legally obligated) to keep the unborn person alive until high techs are created we should try to make the journey as pleasant as possible for her, don't you think? But once high techs are created I cringe at leaving things at the status quo state. In fact, I cringe at women being forced to carry even now, despite the fact I would also equally cringe at the death of the unborn person.
I mention this, again, because women deserve better than just being told, "Do the right thing." We need to help them get there. And stepping in, telling them about alternatives to abortion, and helping them experience better births, among other things, would all be helpful in saving a life.
Speaking of which, we have to drop this sort of thing from our vocab like "and if pregnancy and labor are expected to be significantly rougher than normal, I think a woman should have a right to abort", for, while I understand your concern, wonder why you believe that, and think it is considerate of you to see the pregnant person as important, I believe that we should be focusing on replacement (replacing abortion with high techs) rather than pandering to deaths of either unborn or pregnant persons, as both are equally valuable.
I didn't know you lived in India! I personally find your mindset a little fascinating precisely because it is so different from mine. You do come across as very intelligent, actually :)
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Thanks. I hope to look at the links.
For the moment, I will just ask for clarification of one thing:
"while I understand your concern, wonder why you believe that . . "
If you understand my concern, don't you understand why I believe that?
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No, not completely. I understand you are trying to show concern for the pregnant person's life but other than that, I don't get it.
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I had said:
"and if pregnancy and labor are expected to be significantly rougher than normal, I think a woman should have a right to abort"
You had replied "I understand your concern," and now have said, "I understand you are trying to show concern for the pregnant person's life."
Now we have to do a little exercise of dissecting your words that some people might not like, but I have to understand what you're saying. When you had said, "I understand your concern," I had understood you to mean "I understand that you feel concern." If you understood that I feel concern, you understood correctly. I feel concern for the pregnant person's life. I feel concern for the pregnant person's suffering. I feel concern for the fact that I am a member of society and, if society does as I advocate, it will compel many women to undergo suffering that they could have avoided. I am okay with compelling them in that way for the sake of saving a life, but only okay up to a point. If it looks like the suffering or risk will be [Edit: , say, twice] that of a typical pregnancy and childbirth in a developed country (I haven't decided exactly where I would draw the line), then, while I would hope that if I were in that woman's position, I would choose to undergo the suffering or risk, I think it should be her choice.
But now you have said, "I understand you are trying to show concern for the pregnant person's life." If you mean that primarily I feel concern and secondarily want people to understand me, that would be correct. But if you mean that my primary objective is to show concern, and that only secondarily do I feel concern, that would not be correct. Or if you mean that my only objective is to show concern, and that I may not really feel concern at all (which you probably don't mean), that would not be correct.
You had originally said, "while I understand your concern, wonder why you believe that . . "
If you understand my concern as in my "I feel concern for the pregnant person's life" explanation above, then it seems to me you should understand why I believe that "if pregnancy and labor are expected to be significantly rougher than normal, I think a woman should have a right to abort."
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I think you both feel and show concern for the pregnant person's life.
"If you understood that I feel concern, you understood correctly. ... But now you have said, 'I understand you are trying to show concern for the pregnant person's life.' If you mean that primarily I feel concern and secondarily want people to understand me, that would be correct."
Yes. But what's this thing about "secondarily want people to understand me"? Which I don't get at all.
"'You had originally said, "while I understand your concern, wonder why you believe that . . '
If you understand my concern as in my 'I feel concern for the pregnant person's life' explanation above, then it seems to me you should understand why I believe that 'if pregnancy and labor are expected to be significantly rougher than normal, I think a woman should have a right to abort.'"
On the level you have explained it, of empathy to the woman's situation though not to such a deed itself, I can understand. This is the part I don't understand - why is it that many prolifers will defer to abortion as the default position even as they are fighting it (and I confess on the life of the mother situations I have done it myself). It is impossible to fight it completely if you accept it somewhat, isn't it? Also, it seems to give the opposition an unfair advantage that they shouldn't be having.
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"Yes. But what's this thing about 'secondarily want people to understand me'? Which I don't get at all."
In one post you had said, "I understand your concern," and in the next post you had said, "I understand you are trying to show concern;" and, though I wasn't sure you had intended a distinction, in case you had intended one, I was explaining that:
  • first I feel concern
  • second I try to show concern.
    I try to show concern: [Edit:
    because I want people to understand that I feel concern
    = because I want people to understand me
    = because I want people to understand my position.]
    "This is the part I don't understand - why is it that many prolifers will defer to abortion as the default position"
    Do you mean "In situations where everyone would agree that the woman's carrying and delivering the baby is not a reasonable option (such as life-of-the-mother situations), why do many pro-lifers think of abortion as the default solution and technological solutions as a last resort, rather than the other way around?" -- ?
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In regards to your concern, I was not thinking of any distinctions at all, nor was I trying to make any.
"I try to show concern because I want people to understand that I feel
concern / because I want people to understand me / because I want people
to understand my position." 1) I feel concern (I can understand that)
2) I want people to understand me (can you explain this?)
3) I want people to understand my position (what is the difference between you and your position? is it that you want people to know you are a compassionate individual, and your position is based on compassion?)
"Do you mean 'In situations where everyone would agree that the woman's carrying and delivering the baby is not a reasonable option (such as life-of-the-mother situations), why do many pro-lifers think of abortion as the default solution and technological solutions as a last resort, rather than the other way around?" -- ?
Yes, and another question:
Why is it that prolifers accept abortion as part of prolife efforts at all? I mean, we believe abortion is a very bad thing and are fighting it legally and morally, yes? If that is the case, why do we use the word "choice" to refer to it when it should be known as "human rights abuse"? Also, why is it that we accept abortion as a solution to at least some of our ills if it is so very wrong? Isn't this a form of compromise? Sure, we tend to be stricter about it but still advocates for legal abortion can be two steps ahead of us every time this occurs. Besides, with this kind of thing, it gives advocates for legal abortion an advantage to say, "See! We were right after all! Abortion should not be made illegal, you have just admitted to this through your exceptions!" Another point is that I see no hope for a brighter future in the prolife movement. I see no hope that unborn persons can be saved and pregnant persons can have their bodily autonomy respected at the same time. What I do see is almost an acceptance that abortion is, well, "normal", "the status quo", "the way things are" despite our consciences wrestling with us and telling us that unborn persons dying because others willed it is distressing, to say the least - that sort of attitude towards the matter. The question is, why are we showing this morally degrading act such a level of tolerance that we would not even offer to slavery? This kind of thing permits the status quo to drag on and on rather than dealing with it, which is what we want. I want to see it eliminated and replaced with something better for everyone. That is my goal.
Why do we treat getting rid of abortion as a wearisome duty rather than a necessary act to improve society? On this question, I think I know why - because illegalising abortions without doing anything else to improve the lives of born persons simply isn't going to work. Even if technological alternatives were impossible I would demand a safety net, contraceptives, sex education, altering our attitudes towards sex and pregnancy, and superb medical care at least. I am frustrated when I watch people dragging their feet over the needless deaths of unborn persons, all such deaths being sanctioned by the government under the guise of "choice". I am equally frustrated when I watch pregnant persons being thrown under the bus by the prolife movement, their needs dismissed or outright demeaned. We say both unborn and pregnant persons are equally important. Let's prove it true for once.
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Please see all the edits (flagged Edit) in my "There is no difference" post.
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Sure thing, bro.
Thanks for carrying on the conversation!
"what is the difference between you and your position?"
There is no difference. I should have used "=" instead of "/". Sorry I didn't do that in the first place. I meant the three phrases that I used all to mean the same thing. I have now edited that post of mine.
"abortion is a very bad thing. . . . If that is the case. . . . if it is so very wrong?"
The problem as I see it is this: It is too simplified to say "abortion is a very bad thing. . . . it is so very wrong." It is not as simple an issue morally as slavery. A pregnant woman sometimes stands to lose more if deprived of abortion than a slaveowner stands to lose if deprived of his slaves. And bodily rights, which as you agree is a legitimate concern, doesn't offset the moral compulsion to protect people who are outside anyone's body (i.e., doesn't offset the moral compulsion to free the slaves), but does partially offset the moral compulsion to protect people who are inside someone else's body.
Therefore many pro-lifers, including me, do not say in the first place "abortion is a very bad thing. . . . it is so very wrong." [Edit: Or at least we don't say, "Abortion should, categorically, be legally prevented." We say, "Abortion is normally a very bad thing. It is normally morally so very wrong. And among those cases where it is morally wrong, it should frequently, but not always, be legally prevented.] We have a very tricky course ahead of us in trying to separate the justifiable cases from the unjustifiable ones (like trying to separate good dates from bad ones on a fast-moving conveyor belt at a date-packing plant in the desert?) in providing legal protections."
[Edit: Once there is an unwanted pregnancy, with present technology, there is rarely going to be a happy ending. We have to accept that fact. All we can do is seek the least of all the evils.]
Above I said that bodily rights is a legitimate concern. I think that people have a psychological sense of ownership of their bodies which makes them sensitive about trespasses on their bodily boundaries, and that regardless of whether philosophically people really do own their bodies, we should respect that psychological sensitivity to a certain extent. Therefore in any situation of opposing interests between two parties, we cannot simply decide the issue in favor of the party who is likely to suffer the greater harm. That psychological sensitivity has a magnifier effect such that even a minor harm becomes big when one's bodily boundaries are being trespassed. I have tried to think about all this http://www.noterminationwithoutrepresentation.org/dismantling-the-bodily-rights-argument-without-using-the-responsibility-argument/. (Search for     magnifier   .)
"it gives advocates for legal abortion an advantage to say, 'See! We were right after all! Abortion should not be made illegal, you have just admitted to this through your exceptions!'"
Well, I don't know if I'm addressing your exact point, but what I have encountered is advocates for legal abortion who argue that way in relation to personhood. Their argument basically goes:
Premise 1: It is wrong ever to kill a person.
Premise 2: You (pro-lifers) allow some killing of the unborn (exceptions).
Conclusion: Therefore you don't really believe the unborn is a person.
But their Premise 1 is wrong. I do really believe the unborn is a person, but I don't think it is wrong ever to kill a person. Sometimes it is unavoidable.
So in that argument, I don't think that, under inspection, advocates for legal abortion have an advantage.
But if someone does have a particular advantage in some particular argument, we shouldn't deny that they do. We should just proceed based on our belief that their disadvantages outweigh their advantages.
"Why do we treat getting rid of abortion as a wearisome duty rather than a necessary act to improve society?"
Again I may not be addressing your exact point, but I see the changes of mental paradigm involved in getting rid of abortion as raising society to a level of psychological health never before attained. I wrote recently about this for Life Matters Journal. In Life Matters Journal itself there is no discussion facility, but the essay, "What's in It for the Born?," appears, with discussion facility, http://www.noterminationwithoutrepresentation.org/whats-in-it-for-the-born/ as well.
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First off, I'd like to say that since abortion is a moral issue, it is perfectly right that males should have an opinion on it. I appreciate the empathetic way you are attempting to approach it and I do not think that men should be afraid to speak up on behalf of unborn persons. I mean, half of them are killed in abortions anyway, aren't they?
Suppose we were talking about sex slavery here. Since there are lustful men who exploit others for these very purposes, should you as a man keep silent because of the prevailing stereotype that men tend to like hurting women, or should you speak up?
Also, consider domestic violence. Males are some of the biggest DV abusers. Should they be silent just because it's a little boy being abused by his father rather than a woman?
However, I think that you need to really try to put yourselves in a woman's shoes for a while so you can speak more authoritatively on the subject.
For the next point, I am speaking from a perspective of my non prolife friends here for a while:
In regards to "Trot out the Toddler" it isn't the same thing as carrying a child for nine months. If you want to really reach some people, I think it is time to create thought experiments that are equal to and actually deal with the reality of pregnancy and childbirth - especially agonising childbirth, where a woman labours and pushes out a baby in pain, with potential health risks of paralysis, death, etc. Similar to stand-ins for pregnant persons experiencing such things.
This is more my perspective now:
Also, how are you going to come across to a tokophobic? If I believed abortion should be legal I would consider you a monster - guaranteed. Do you even know what tokophobia is, and if so, how do you reach a tokophobic and encourage them to become prolife?
Here is a way you can learn to empathise more: go to your local hospital, get yourselves hooked up onto a machine, and undergo simulated labour. Then you can tell any woman you're talking to that you did this so, to a small degree, you can understand.
As a recovering tokophobic woman I recommend this strongly. Men need to learn absolute empathy and mercy for pregnant women as pregnant women have been exploited by society way too much and had their fertility used to enslave them - by males and male expectations for large families, etc.
Also, I recommend that men study everything they can about female biology - menstruation, pregnancy, menopause - and get their facts straight on it. Here's a story of when a senator didn't get it right and the embarrassment he caused for the prolife cause was huge:
So please, consider all these things, as they might be of help to you in the future. If I think of anything else I'll say too.
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I agree with Acyutananda below regarding thought experiments. You don't need to use a sledgehammer to crack open a walnut (note: I'm not comparing a woman's body to a walnut or a sledgehammer, in case your pro-choice friends happen to be reading). There are many different kinds of pro-choice people, and many different justifications for supporting abortion. Any thought experiment that could answer every critic of the pro-life position would be unnecessarily complicated and probably ineffective. A simple thought experiment that clearly focuses on the individual objections the person in front of you is making would be far more useful.
The authors of this blog have talked to thousands of pro-choice people. Some of the most common arguments that they encounter at the street level are that women should be able to have abortions if they can't afford another child, or because having a baby will make it more difficult to finish school, or because the child might be born with HIV or addicted to drugs, or because the child might be disabled, or because the expanding human population is putting too much burden on the environment. All of these arguments "smuggle in" the view that unborn children aren't fully human, or somehow aren't equal to born children. The easiest way to demonstrate this is to ask whether we would tolerate someone killing a two year-old for these reasons. If the answer is "no", then we're ready to look at what makes the unborn different from born children and whether those differences should justify killing the unborn. There's no need to deal with difficult agonizing childbirth or the health risks of pregnancy because that is not where the pro-choice person is coming from (and doing so might even be counterproductive).
Now, some pro-choice people argue that abortion should be legal because it's unjust to force a woman to use her own body as a life-support system for 9 months or to go through agonizing labour - even though it might entail taking a human life. Josh is on the record repeatedly stating that he considers this the strongest argument for legalized abortion. And trotting out a toddler would be ineffective (if not harmful) in this case, as it's not obvious how the parallels are applicable. A different, more elaborate thought experiment would be necessary to address this kind of argument. Different people require different approaches, and giving an answer that's too complicated can be just as bad as oversimplifying a question.
Regarding tokophobia, isn't a phobia an irrational or pathological fear of a certain phenomenon? It seems that, by definition, a tokophobic person would be unlikely to accept any pro-life argument (no matter how sound it is, or how reasonable the person presenting it happens to be). Let's turn it around - how would you encourage a tokophobic person to become pro-life, or at least convince them that you're not a monster? Why did you become pro-life even though you're a "recovering tokophobic"?
I'm not sure I agree with your assessment of the article you linked about the Idaho lawmaker. He clearly knew that you can't perform a gynecological exam by eating a camera, but he asked the question anyway to demonstrate a point (that it's disingenuous to compare colonoscopy to abortion). You can argue about whether or not his point is valid, but it's not fair to say that he's ignorant of how women's bodies work. And I don't think he caused huge embarrassment to the pro-life cause, given that I had never heard of the guy before I clicked on your link.
That being said, I definitely agree that pro-lifers should get it right on the science of female biology - especially males. There's a much better example here of a male politician getting his facts wrong and causing massive embarrassment to the pro-life cause - unfortunately, he is not the only person to have made this mistake:
Of course, double standards in the mass media let pro-choice men like Bill Nye and President Clinton get away with being as scientifically illiterate as they want to be. But that by no means should give us an excuse to be ignorant when lives are at stake.
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"There's no need to deal with difficult agonizing childbirth or the health risks of pregnancy because that is not where the pro-choice person is coming from (and doing so might even be counterproductive)."
Generally speaking you would be correct. But I think it is highly necessary to invent something for those people who DO ask. Perhaps they might not be many but it is a concern that needs to be addressed. However, it should not be brought up unless THEY initiate that conversation for the very reason you stated.
"A simple thought experiment that clearly focuses on the individual
objections the person in front of you is making would be far more
Agreed. For those kinds of cases commonly dealt with I think the Brahms did a brilliant job.
"Now, some pro-choice people argue that abortion should be legal because it's unjust to force a woman to use her own body as a life-support system for 9 months or to go through agonizing labour - even though it might entail taking a human life. Josh is on the record repeatedly stating that he considers this the strongest argument for legalized abortion. And trotting out a toddler would be ineffective (if not harmful) in this case, as it's not obvious how the parallels are
applicable. A different, more elaborate thought experiment would be
necessary to address this kind of argument. Different people require
different approaches, and giving an answer that's too complicated can be just as bad as oversimplifying a question."
Those are the types I am talking about, and I think some unanswerable argument needs to be made just for them.
As for tokophobia, I was prolife long before I was tokophobic, and raised prolife but developed the other problem in my teens. Here's my story:
I do share my testimony. Many people are respectful and don't consider me a monster. It certainly helps to build a common ground because, due to the problems I faced I have become more empathetic.
I appreciate being told about that other guy who was ignorant. On that case of the pill being swallowed I would have to think more about that but still tend to lean to the idea he was possibly being ignorant (not that I'm against prolifers showing up the folly of the other side; in fact they should).
I appreciate your responding to me. Great points!