By: Leslie Bosslet, Students for Life of America’s 2012 Missionary for Life
Have you ever had a lengthy, in-depth conversation with a philosophy major? If so, you’ll understand what I mean when I say that they make you think. They ask you to define words you do not normally have to define, such as “freedom” or “law,” or to answer questions such as, “What is the government’s purpose?” If you are a philosophic thinker and conversationalist, thank you for presenting your friends and acquaintances with these matters.
I got to enjoy one of these discussions in a small group setting last week. (Thanks, Justin, for getting us talking and for sharing your insights!) We began discussing the meaning of freedom. I know that I’ve written in the past about women’s freedom, freedom for all humans to live, etc. But what we concluded in this conversation is much less complex: What sets humans apart from other living creatures is the ability and free will to choose what we ought. We are free to choose what we want, but so are animals that cave to their desires and hungers. Can we agree that humans are beautiful creatures created to do good because we can? How incredible is that? (This is our ladder to the stars for all you John Steinbeck readers and/or Mumford and Sons fans.) We have self-control, logic, and reason to choose what is morally good and what benefits not only ourselves but others as well.
Now. If we have the awesome ability to choose what is ultimately good in whatever situation we find ourselves, why wouldn’t we? A simplified answer is because of inconvenience.
We live in a culture of instant gratification. Quicker is usually better. Contraception is popular because it allows almost no worry about the result of a baby after sex. Abortion is a fix to an unwanted pregnancy so that the lives affected by that “potential person” can continue as planned, causing little inconvenience to the mother besides the abortion procedure itself (Many argue there are usually no side effects. This claim is false, but different topic for a different time.). As humans we are given choices to place band-aids on current problems. But we have the higher thinking to choose what we ought.
Can we kill a preborn child to prevent inconvenience to the parents? Unfortunately, at this time in our county, yes, legally we can. And thousands choose this every day. Should we “terminate a pregnancy” to prevent inconvenience? Absolutely not. As humans we are better than this. (If you are inclined to argue against the fact that abortion kills a human person who is equally as human as you and me, please read this article: http://abolishabortion.com/blog/i-mean-it-s-one-cell-case-personhood.) No one said the freedom to choose what we ought is always an easy ability to carry around—no pun intended if we’re talking about pregnancy.
But we are smart, intellectual, logical creatures who have the ability to think past the immediate future in order to envision what effects our choices have on others, including others we cannot see in front of our naked eyes. We are strong enough to reason past what is convenient at the time. We are not only freer than any other creatures on earth because we have this ability and moral obligation to choose what we ought, but we are compassionate. We are told to care for all creation, including the environment, other creatures, and each other as humans and future humans. We need to use these amazing competencies wisely; and it is easier for us to do because we are ultimately loving creatures.