Nature of Reality Series
This is not the usual screed against abortion calling people murderers and baby killers. It's simply an explanation of how I got where I am at today from where I was years ago. I am not one of these people who is convinced I am correct the way a fundamentalist Christian is convinced he is correct. Indeed, my motivation is that I don't know what's going on. I do not know the nature of reality here, and since I don't know, I can't make assumptions or decisions on such an important topic. I must therefore err in the least harmful direction.
My original reasoning was that if there is such a thing as a soul that exists independently of a physical body, and if there is an 'after' or 'other' life in a plane different than the physical, then why would said soul inhabit a physical body in the womb? Indeed, COULD a soul inhabit an undeveloped body, no matter how vaguely 'human' it might look prior to birth? In other words, does a soul need a certain level of physical development before inhabiting a body is even possible? In any of the research I had done into the paranormal, the consensus from every position seemed near unanimous to say that the soul entered the body shortly before or after birth. If that is true, then there is no good reason to be against abortion. And why should we be beholden to someone whose religious belief dictates otherwise? Just because a group of people have a cockamamie view of reality doesn't mean everyone else needs to follow their God's rules.
However, I got to the point where I decided I did not want to kill anything unnecessarilly. If I find a bug in the house, I take it outside. As I've said many times, I'm sorry about the bugs on the windshield, but I won't go out of my way to kill something alive. And, yes, I am a meat eater. I have canine teeth. They are designed to rip flesh from bone. I like hamburgers. I like bacon and eggs. I like filet mignon. I'm not ashamed of that because that was the world I was born into. I am a predator. I prefer that to being born as a cow, in which case I would be prey. I absolutely must eat something to stay alive and I don't understand how someone can draw a line between plants and animals just because they are more like animals. Plants are alive, too. I don't mind vegetarians as long as they don't make it into a political issue. If God had intended me to be a vegetarian, why did He make animals out of meat? Nature is what it is and no amount of philosophizing is going to change the nature of the beast.
The bottom line for me here is that life begins at conception. How do I know? Because that's when it starts to wiggle. It may not yet be fully developed according to the directions of its DNA, but it is still potential waiting to happen. If there is a soul, I doubt it can inhabit a two-celled organism, but that isn't really the point. A two-celled organism may not be viable for several months, but it is an independent entity. I know it may not survive outside the womb, but you can't survive outside the warmth of your house in winter either. If you were thrown out naked into the cold I would give you less than 24 hours before you died of exposure. I do not believe a fetus belongs to anyone else any more than a two-year old child does. Sure, the child is yours, but you can't kill it at will. In an odd way my respect for a bug led me to the conclusion that abortion is wrong.
This has given me a new found respect for the religious point of view. I don't believe in those religions, particularly. In fact, as I said below, the problem with religion is that it believes its own metaphors are reality. Beyond the metaphors religion is trying to give you a code of conduct. If the collective consensus of a religion is that 'Thou shall not kill' applies to unborn life, what's wrong with that? It's really irrelevant whether a God or souls or an after-life exist. Even if they don't, the same rule applies. Using that reasoning, it would be easy for an atheist to reach the same conclusion as a fundamentalist.
From my standpoint I am not coming at this from either an atheistic or a religious point of view. It's not so much that I am agnostic. I'm more undetermined. I simply don't know, and if I don't know for certain, how can I make any other choice except err on the side of life instead of against it?