(LifeSiteNews) — Catholic conservative podcaster Michael Knowles confidently and articulately explained the pro-life position to a panel of young women on the so-called “Whatever” podcast this month, affirming that the core of the disagreement about abortion and any political matter necessarily goes back to debate over the existence and identity of God.
“I can make secular arguments for whatever you want, but ultimately it’s going to come down to God because everything comes down to God,” the 32-year-old Daily Wire podcaster, author, and Catholic husband and father of two young boys remarked during the five-hour podcast episode livestreamed March 7.
The lengthy episode of the podcast, which normally deals with issues related to the modern dating world, became centered on abortion for about three-quarters of an hour when the six young women on the panel, ranging in age from 18 to 33, were asked whether they would date a man who is pro-life.
Most responded that they would not.
“You wouldn’t date a guy if that guy said, ‘I don’t want to kill your child?” Knowles asked, going on to respond to the first objection regarding a woman’s alleged right to do what she wants with her own body by asserting that our bodies do not belong to ourselves but to God.
“If you believe that God owns it then that’s your belief, but it’s not mine,” one of the panelists, 20-year-old Victoria, argued. Sam, 19, chimed in that Knowles could not “bring religion into politics.”
“Well, you have to bring religion into politics,” he answered, echoing British Cardinal Henry Edward Manning in observing that “all politics is religious.”
“All of our political ideas rest on, as we have discussed, ideas of applied morality, right? What’s good and what’s bad,” Knowles explained, going on to point out that theology provides the ultimate basis in determining whether any particular action is moral or not.
“Morality rests on the basis of epistemology, which is how we can know anything at all,” he said, adding that “epistemology rests on a basis of anthropology, which is the question of, ‘what is human nature, how is a human even to know anything?’ And anthropology rests on a basis of ontology, which is, ‘what does it mean to be’? And then ontology rests on a basis of theology, which is, ‘what is the fundament of reality, the force that sustains all life and created the universe?”
Drawing from St. Thomas Aquinas, Knowles defined religion as “a habit of justice that renders unto God what He is due.”
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During the course of the debate, which became at times cacophonous on the part of the young women, the panelists opposing Knowles floated a variety of pro-abortion defenses, including the alleged lack of personhood of the child, the supremacy of the mother compared with the “fetus,” the notion that the government shouldn’t tell a woman what to do with “her body,” and the possibility of a child being born into a bad family.
In response, Knowles pointed out that a baby in the womb is indeed a growing human life with unique DNA, the term “fetus” itself means “offspring” or child, that the right to life is the fundamental right upon which all other rights rest, and that the government already justifiably intervenes in other harmful things a person can do with their bodies (like heroin use). He also touted pro-life pregnancy resource centers, and promoted adoption as an alternative to abortion for women who can’t keep their babies.
At one point, Knowles responded to the claim that access to legal abortion drives down crime rates, noting that, as had been pointed out to him by a bioethicist, such an argument could also be used to justify genocide against entire swaths of people.
While the young women on the panel seemingly admitted that abortion was tragic, they continued to argue that it should still be available to women as a legal option because of exigent circumstances like rape or the inability to raise a child.
“I think all of you have the moral intuition that [abortion] is wrong, especially because you’re women and you just don’t want to kill your children,” Knowles said. “You know that it’s wrong, so why not follow that to its logical conclusion and say ‘you shouldn’t do it?’”
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Asked to “steelman” the pro-abortion argument to his best ability, Knowles suggested that “the strongest argument for abortion would be that there’s no such thing as God.”
“Because in order for abortion to be even remotely acceptable … we would just have to be stuff,” he said. “We’d just have to be matter, right? There wouldn’t be good or bad or right or wrong.”
Further asked to “remove religion” from the conversation and describe the best non-religious argument for abortion, Knowles said all such arguments are “pretty silly.”
Nevertheless, he reiterated that the best argument for abortion would be “that we live in a materialist world, so all of the metaphysical things that we pretend to care about, or think that we care about — you know, our loves, our hopes, our dreams, our joys, our emotions — that’s all just fake. It’s all just a trick played by chemicals firing off in our brains, and we’re actually just bags of flesh and we’re eventually going to die and take a dirt nap and turn into worm food and that’s all that there is, just oblivion.”
Knowles’ description of bleak godless materialism was met with smiles and nods of affirmation by the young women on the panel.
“Sounds right, sounds right,” Sam responded.
While Knowles agreed “that’s very often how we treat ourselves,” he argued that “the way we behave, the way that you’re all talking, you don’t really believe that, because you’re saying [that] some things are good, some things are bad.”