Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Lucia Countering a Religious Argument for Abortion

Ironically, pro-abortionists decry any suggestion of a religious argument, but will happily use them in support of abortion.

In this case using the belief of reincarnation to bolster the idea that nothing is really lost through abortion, it's just delayed for a better time.

Spontaneous or deliberate termination have the same moral status in Japan and there is a religious ritual called Mizuko Jizo which provides a way for women to acknowledge these, if they want to. Parents who are unable to have a child because of miscarriage, abortion or stillbirth will often visit a temple to visit the Mizuko Jizo (pictured above) and will write a letter to the child that cannot be born now but will be born at a later time.
Many women or couples in Japan who have terminated a pregnancy, suffered a miscarriage, or had a stillborn baby choose to honour the soul of this child through a practice called mizuko jizo. Mizuko means ‘child of the water’ and is used to refer to the soul of a child who has been returned to the gods, and Jizo is the name of the Buddhist god who protects and guides that soul on its journey to another world.

Abortion is regarded as the parents willingly making a decision to return a child to the gods, sending a child to a temporary place until such time that it is right for the child to come into this world, either into the same family or another one. The child is returned because the parents, at that time, would be unable to provide enough love, money, or attention to this child, without it being to the detriment of their present family. Practicing mizuko jizo allows the parents to provide a certain amount of attention to the child, who is regarded as a member of their family.
The problem with this belief is where is the line?  At what point does the child become someone that is permanently removed from the world by their death rather than having their existence only delayed?  Or is there no line?  If there is no line then it could mean that if you have a three year old that you are having trouble caring for, that you can kill him or her knowing that their soul will be returned to you or to another family later.
What strikes me as different about the abortion debate in NZ is the centrality of the foetus, the "potential person". In Japan the idea that a foetus has a right to life has not been widespread and the practice of abortion not a taboo on religious grounds. Traditionally it was not at conception or the quickening that the foetus became a "person" but rather this occurred when the religious rites of passage were performed after birth.

Ah, birth is the line.  Mostly.  But after the "religious rites of passage were performed after birth."  I suppose if the rites are not performed, then the baby isn't a person.  And if the baby is killed at some point, presumably before birth, then that's fine too, because the soul gets to have another go at life.

I used to believe in reincarnation, however I never believed it was alright to kill a child in the womb.  By deliberately killing you were interfering with that soul's incarnation into the physical world.  Some people I knew thought that maybe the soul didn't come into the body until birth.  However to me this belief denied that a human being was essentially a soul living out a human existence.  How would birth, a physical process, draw the soul in if the soul was spiritual?  The soul would have to be a physical substance in order for this to take place at a separate time from the creation of the body.  It made more sense to me that the soul was there from the beginning and gradually created the body it wanted to be in physically.

What I believe now is subtly different.  Rather than the soul being the author of their own existence, the body is a physical expression of our soul and both are created at conception.  In other words, rather than being just spiritual creatures temporarily leading a physical life, we are body/soul composite beings.  We bridge the physical world and the spiritual world by being both physical and spiritual. We are like an angel/animal hybrid.  We are not the author of our own existence for our soul is created by God during conception.  Each person that is made is a unique human being, never to be repeated again.  When you snuff out a life, that life is gone from the physical realm forever until the end of the world.

The other view is far more attractive, I can certainly understand that.  And as commenters on the thread on The Hand Mirror have said, that belief takes away the guilt.  Guilt is something to be avoided.  Except that guilt is one of the ways that your conscience speaks to you.  Guilt indicates you may have done something wrong, just like pain indicates something may be being damaged and if you don't take your hand out of the fire NOW, IT'S GOING TO GET BURNED!  And your conscience (even using guilt) is one of the ways that God has of speaking to you which you ignore at your peril.

Related link: Abortion in Japan ~ The Hand Mirror

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