Have you ever had someone answer a question you asked with a question?
It’s probably not the best way to make friends and influence people.
In fact, it’s that kind of approach that lead to Socrates being force fed a hemlock cocktail during Athens’ happy hour.
Why does this kind of response tend to irritate us so?
Probably because it makes us have to think.
And if most people really liked to think, how could we explain the continued existence of professional wrestling?
But I digress.
Interestingly, the question with a question approach to debate was a techinique that Jesus used to create teachable moments.
Now when He came into the temple, the chief priests and the elders of the people confronted Him as He was teaching, and said, “By what authority are You doing these things? And who gave You this authority?”
But Jesus answered and said to them, “I also will ask you one thing, which if you tell Me, I likewise will tell you by what authority I do these things: The baptism of John—where was it from? From heaven or from men?”
And they reasoned among themselves, saying, “If we say, ‘From heaven,’ He will say to us, ‘Why then did you not believe him?’ But if we say, ‘From men,’ we fear the multitude, for all count John as a prophet.” So they answered Jesus and said, “We do not know.”
And He said to them, “Neither will I tell you by what authority I do these things. (Matthew 21:23-27)
I couldn’t help but be reminded of this method of getting to the heart of the matter when I read an on line post that boasted of a question the author claimed “no pro-life person can answer” – “If abortion is murder, do you support prosecuting women who have abortions?”
At the risk of raising some Socratic ire, I would like to take Jesus’ approach and respond with a question that ushers all others in this issue to the sidelines.
“When did your life begin?”
And yes, the emphasis in this question is on the personal pronoun “your”.
There is an inescapable answer.
Your life, as well as my life began at the moment of conception.
At that time, there were two undeniable facts about you.
First, you were not a thing or an it.
Scientifically, there is no debate that you as a fertilized egg weren’t an inanimate object. You were alive. You were a being.
Secondly, at the moment of your conception you weren’t just as likely to become a panda bear or a cane toad. You had the same genetic endowment you have now – the 48 pairs of chromosomes that made you human.
That means scientifically, inescapably you were a being that was human. At the moment of conception you were a human being.
The only difference between you and me and a fertilized egg is time and nurture.
To use the words fetus or embryo or even to be so crude as to say to an expectant mother “How’s the little tadpole today?” is usually a way to avoid this fact.
Merely proceeding along the path of development far enough to pass through a birth canal and survive on the outside doesn’t magically transform us from tissue blob to bundle of joy.
You were human all the way along.
Unable to survive without outside help?
I know some twenty-year-olds who fit the same description.
To ask the question – should women who abort their children be prosecuted as murderers?- ultimately obscures the real issue.
To conclude the pro-life position isn’t true because of how some people feel about those who have acted out their pro-abortion beliefs, doesn’t change the facts of life.
Yes even your life.
Which leads to another question.
If so called “pro-choice” people are so sure we are dealing with a mere mass of cells or a sub human clump of tissue, why do they so angrily oppose informed consent laws that show women an ultra sound of the baby whose life will be terminated?
For You formed my inward parts;
You covered me in my mother’s womb.
I will praise You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made;[b]
Marvelous are Your works,
And that my soul knows very well.
My frame was not hidden from You,
When I was made in secret,
And skillfully wrought in the lowest parts of the earth.
Your eyes saw my substance, being yet unformed.
And in Your book they all were written,
The days fashioned for me,
When as yet there were none of them. (Psalm 139:13-16)
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