NewsFri Oct 5, 2007 - 12:15 pm EST
Even a “Raving Atheist” Can Be Pro-Life - Interview
Special to LifeSiteNews.com by Laura Freeburn
Editor’s Note: The following, until now unpublished, interview was conducted with the popular blog personality "the raving atheist". The blogger, a lawyer who will not divulge his real name, has nonetheless acquired pseudonymous fame. He is featured, as "the raving atheist" in the anti-Christian documentary film ‘The God who wasn’t there". His pro-life convictions are based solely on scientific evidence for the life of the unborn. He is firmly opposed to belief in God. The interview is published here as it provides interesting insights.
Is it lonely being a pro-life atheist?
The pro-life position is certainly a minority one among atheists. It’s also a minority position in my state, New York, which is the abortion capitol of the world. But the internet makes finding company easy, with sites such as that maintained by the Atheist and Agnostic Pro-Life League. And a handful of pro-life atheists, such as Nat Hentoff, have surfaced in the mainstream media.
Nevertheless, I did feel a great sense of alienation and rejection from the readers of my blog when I started regularly posting on abortion. The topic was already painful, almost disabling, from me to write about, and it was discouraging to see my efforts met with vicious personal attacks. Ultimately, it was for the good: I decided to write less and devote the extra time to volunteering at a Crisis Pregnancy Center. I also formed close friendships with a number of Christian pro-life bloggers, who assisted me (and let me assist them) in other advocacy and outreach efforts.
Your blog examines "how religious devotion trivializes American law and politics". How do you think that applies to the abortion debate in America?
In the late 1960’s the pro-choice movement made a deliberate, strategic decision to trivialize the abortion debate by dismissing all pro-life arguments as mere Catholic dogma. This made it easy to gloss over the inconvenient, undeniable scientific embryological fact that human life begins at conception in favor of specious arguments regarding church/state separation and accusation that religion "is being forced down our throats." Planned Parenthood today still insists that the question of when life begins is a religious one which varies from woman to woman, apparently mind-dependent rather than reality-dependent. They do draw the line at the old Mayan practice of throwing infants into volcanos, although I don’t see why, under their theory, that wouldn’t be a protected exercise of religion as well.
Has the pro-life movement done a good job of countering that strategy?
Yes. I’ve seen more of a reliance on science - embryology, ultrasound - on the pro-life side than on the pro-choice side. In fact, the mainstream pro-choice organizations oppose showing women who are considering abortion ultrasound pictures of the child on the grounds that they are "confusing."
It should be noted that the pro-choice side isn’t opposed to raising religious arguments when it suits them. Planned Parenthood has hired clergy to promote abortion from a theological standpoint. The Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice devotes its very existence to that endeavor. Ironically, even the atheistic Freedom from Religion Foundation employs a religious argument when it comes to abortion - it argues that the practice should be permitted because it isn’t expressly forbidden by the Bible.
I think most people now view abortion as a straight moral issue rather than as a religious one. They recognize that although there may also be established religious doctrines against abortion—just as there are against theft, adultery and other forms of killing—those doctrines aren’t the sole reasons against the practice. They don’t care if some people see them as God’s reasons, because they withstand human scrutiny as well.
What tips would you give Christians who want to win atheists and agnostics over to the pro-life side?
Familiarize yourself with the purely secular arguments made in the essays like those available at the Atheist and Agnostic Pro-Life League website. There are also plenty of religious sites which provide the same arguments. They are the only ones which will appeal to non-believers. Quoting the Bible or trying to convert an atheist is a waste of time.
The most common argument that you should be prepared to counter is the one that asserts that a prohibition against killing after conception can only be accepted if one believes that the fetus has a "soul." You can respond by asking if an eight month old fetus has a soul, if a newborn baby has a soul, if a teenager has a soul, if an adult has a soul. If they respond "yes," you can point out that they are relying on an equally religious argument. If they deny the existence of souls, you can ask if that makes it okay to kill anyone at any time.