September 08, 2008

What If You're Right?

Vice Presidential Candidate Joe Biden was on Meet the Press on Sunday and he had this to say about the abortion issue that has been plaguing his running-mate since their visit to Rick Warren's Saddleback Church several weeks ago: "[As a Roman Catholic] I'm prepared as a matter of faith to accept that life begins at the moment of conception. But that is my judgment. For me to impose that judgment on everyone else who is equally and maybe even more devout than I am seems to me as inappropriate in a pluralistic society."

Through work and observing the political process and just generally by osmosis, it's been interesting to observe the impact of a pluralistic society on my own thinking. And I suppose Biden's take on the matter is all well and good from a Kantian point of view where one's feelings on religion are to be divorced from one's invidual lifestyle and philosophies of the tangible world and one's dealings with it.

At the same time though, how can Biden, as a professing Christian, claim to agree with the statement that life begins at the moment of conception, or accept that as true, and then have that belief have absolutely no impact? I cannot reconcile that at all. To me, that is by far and away the most contemptible thing that any thinking person could profess.

Simply put, if you believe something, and you believe that you are correct, that belief should change you. If your ethical beliefs have no bearing whatsoever on your actions, either you don't believe them or your actions are not impacted by your rational thought... unless you profess that your beliefs are just whimsy with no more or less authority than those of any others. Which is all well and good, until one reaches a conclusion that has bearing on human life.

To me, this is made more fascinating by the thought of changing Biden's statement to impact a straw-man argument such as "I believe life believes at birth, but I cannot impose my beliefs on those who believe that life does not begin until adolescence and that murder, as such, cannot begin until that point. For me to impose that judgment..." You get the idea. I'm sure there are whole schools of philosophy that I am neglecting here and that there is a flip-side to this argument that someone would like to entertain. That said, I cannot find it and I have a hard time seeing how any Christian could hold such a viewpoint either.

Posted by Vengeful Cynic at September 8, 2008 10:59 PM | TrackBack