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Christianity and Abortion Essay Sample

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Christianity and Abortion Essay Sample

            Christianity has historically expressed its displeasure with the abortion in world societies. In fact the war against abortion is one thing that has continued to unite Christians despite their ever increasing denominations. There is hardly any denomination that does not preach against abortion, teach adherents against it, and lobby governments and legislatures against the vice. Despite this tradition, there is need for Christians to continue fighting the vice because of the increasing liberalism of abortion ideas worldwide. It can even be argued that preaching against the vise should form one of key occupations of Christianity world over. Subsequent sections of this paper will address church teaching throughout history, current beliefs in various mainstream denominations, and biblical teachings regarding value of human life and why it should be preserved.

Historical Teachings

            The early historical teachings inn Christianity held that life was precious and should not be tempered with. As in today’s teachings, it was held that human life began during conception, and there was no difference between the fetus and wholly grown human beings. All are equal in the eyes of the creator. According to Diteach, early Christian teachings book, Christians were taught against taking the life of a child in their womb.[1] Note the use of the word ‘child’. Many people today would just take the name for granted, but not so in the Christian foundations of Christian teachings. It was hereby tau8ght that a fetus was a child, and just as one should not take life of a child, so should that of fetus be protected.

            Early Christians were therefore taught that life started during conception, and continued through the nine months in mothers’ womb, through birth development, adolescence, adult and old age. All these stages were not to be tempered-with, for they were created by God and only he has control over the lie. This is a teaching that has continued to thrive in Christian traditions throughout time, and there is hope that tomorrow’s Christian would also follow suit. The foundations that were set in yesteryear’s Christians were strong enough to help today’s ones in holding their faith. It is therefore up to today’s Christians to build strong foundations for the generations to come.

            The book of Jeremiah teaches that God knew the human being before he created him in mother’s womb.[2] In that regard, it can be interpreted that God recognizes human beings at the very point of conception. In fact, he recognizes the value of human being even before he creates them (before conception). God the creator recognizes fetus as human beings, why not the human race on earth? This is a question that many Christians ask themselves. The answer holds that they are obliged to follow God’s example and thus respect the value of human life since conception, a fact that encourages them to fight against abortion.

Mainstream Church’s View

            The Roman Catholic Church, world’s oldest Christian denomination, opposes abortion on very serious grounds: fetuses are complete human beings that no human being has the right to interfere with. This has been the church’s teaching throughout centuries and has completely refused to release ground. Catholics have therefore continued with age old arguments against abortion. There are many old church rules that have been changed over time. However, successful synods have not even dared to discuss or negotiate about Church’s stand on abortion. The no-no stand is well help by all, even rebels within and without the congregation. In addition, of all the teachings that were dropped by Protestants after the reformation, the abortion stand remained untouched; it rather remained a common ground. As mentioned earlier in the introduction, the fight against abortion remains among the issues that Catholics and Protestants have in common and work together. Catholic Church recognizes life begins at fetus stage. The two theories exemplifying this stand are detailed below:

Ensoulment: This refers to Saint Thomas Aquinas’ 13th century notion that life for male fetus begins at forty days and that of female at ninety.[3] This is however an old and theory that cannot hold sway in today’s debate regarding abortion. The Church thus does not follow it, maybe because science has so much advanced from 13th century level. As a result, it has continued to be held that life begins at inception and no human being has got right to terminate it, whether at fetus or old age stage. All in all, Aquinas had made an important contribution, because few surgeons would have performed a successful abortion at that stage of pregnancy.

Quickening: This is used to refer to the time when Elizabeth had John the Baptist play in her womb upon meeting Mary, the mother of Jesus.[4] The jumping of John the Babtist in his mother’s womb means that there was life in him. Since this is a biblical teaching and it happened on two women who bore some of the most influential individuals’ in Christian faith, it should be held by the faith’s adherents that life truly begins in the womb, and that non of members of the human race should terminate such a life. Doing so would be going against teaching of the faith.

            In 1995, Pope John Paul II published Evangelium Vitae (Gospel of life), which reinstated on the impotence of human life hence the necessity of protecting it.[5] This served as a reminder to adherents of the fain that they should continue defending human life no matter the stage of developing. Pope John Paul’s message was also a reminder that the church was not ready to change its stand on abortion any time soon. The Church will therefore continue pushing for the stand it has practiced for centuries. Importance of human life does not seem to be anything that church can negotiate.

            The Orthodox Church is also completely against destruction of human life through abortion, as it is with killing of fellow human beings. The Church’s foundation regarding this stand lies in the Ten Commandments, one of which warns against killing of fellow human beings.[6] Fetuses are also included in the human being clause. As it is tin the Catholics, the Orthodox Church does not provide room for negotiation when it comes to preaching against abortion. Teaching that God’s laws have to be followed at all times is negotiable in the Church’s tradition. Also like the Catholic Church, has also refused to change its teaching and laws in order to accommodate abortion beliefs. As indicated on the introduction, all Christian denominations have similar teaching regarding abortion; the difference just comes from the development of anti abortion thoughts in the Christian denominations. It is therefore not unique for these two denominations have similar standings regarding the abortion.

            The Church of England also is also vocal regarding abortion, as shown in the Church’s stand that the unborn child is completely alive and was created by God the creator of all human beings. That being the case, nobody has got the right to take the life of human beings. Believers in this faith thus hold that only God who created life has the power to take it out of the other. Human beings doing that would be sinning against their creator. This is similar to the teachings of the Orthodox and Catholics, which further shows similarities among Christian denominations. However, the Church of England categorically states that abortion can be carried out when fetus is suffering from disabilities, or mothers’ life need to be saved.[7]

            Other mainstream protestant churches have been at the forefront of teaching against abortion. Indeed, they can be said to be the most vocal. Evangelicals’ ability to use multimedia to reach wider congregations has had one of the greatest contributions in the abortion argument. As a result, many more people, even those who do not subscribe to the faith have been receiving anti abortion messages. The use of multimedia is making more people aware of Christian teachings regarding abortion. As seen in there previously discussed faiths, different Christian denominations are on the same page when tit comes to abortion, this has helped entrench Christian beliefs and teachings regarding the practice.

Biblical Teachings

            As mentioned earlier, the bible consistently refers to unborn fetus as children.[8] Thus as people, so are they required not to kill the unborn ones. It should be held that children are to be protected from harm that could come their way, and includes the born and unborn. In upholding their teaching, Christians are required to tell believer of other faiths on the importance of seeing the born as children and advice on how top protect them fro any harm. When all this is said and done, fetuses become protected from the harm if abortion. The societies benefits from practicing what is inline with teaching and also influence other religions and non-believers.

            The biblical teachings in the book of Psalm are full of praises regarding how individuals should thank their God. One of the braises included therein is that of praising God for the good he did in taking care of the fetus before it is born.[9] In this sense, Christians have been taught that God is very concerned with the well being of fetus just s he is interested with born and full grown individuals welfare. This is something that all Christians should put into consideration when dealing with abortion issues; it should be upheld that nobody should take the life of a human being that God is so concerned about, which includes fetuses.

            The book of Job teaches that God is the giver of life[10] and thus only he can take it. Sine it is in Christians teaching that God is the sole provider of life, only he knows where life begins. This means that human beings should leave issues related to life to the Lord their Creator. None of them should take God’s place in making such decisions. In fact that would be trying to make themselves God, which is not inline with biblical teachings. Taking such matters in their own hands, it is believed would not make God so happy; He would be annoyed by such conducts and subsequently delivers harsh punishments.

            In almost similar teachings in the book of Job, the Psalms further tells of how God is the one who creates human beings and that the human race are among the sheep of God’s pasture.[11] Therefore, as the sheep in the same herd should not be killing each other, so are members of the human beings avoid killing each other. In addition, just as it happens with owner of the herd is the one that takes any sheep from the herd as he wishes, so should the human race leave the roles of creating and taking life to God.

            It is due to this reason that life should be protected, nourished and cherished. In protecting life, God had given Adam the dominion over all creation on earth. IT was therefore upon Adam to ensure that what God created was completely free from harm. Today’s generation of the human race should therefore continue preaching and practicing this teaching; that they are the ones to take care of God’s creation, including the unborn. In that case, abortion of fetus is and should be regarded as doing opposite of how God instructed people to behave toward his creations. In nourishing God’s creation, members of the human race are asked to be making the world a better place for God’s creation. This requires them to be making preparations before the fetus is born, so that life can be easy and fruitful for the child of God growing from the fetus stage.

This should be done by ensuring that the mother was well fed and cared for, that the environment the mother lives in Good conditions. In addition, human race should make life better through enrichment of peace in the world. The nourishing commitment should be completely be upheld by Christians and other human race. In cherishing the life, it is up to the human race to be happy and praise God for the good that he does in the creation process. This should never be taken for granted by Christians.  It is deep rooted in Christian tradition that God is happy when people cherish creation and good deeds. In return, he blesses people that cherish his creations. In this regard, members of the human race should praise the Lord everyday for all his deeds towards his creation. All these are included in the traditions and teaching of the church and there is no reason why concurrent generations of Christians should not be thankful for the good that God has done throughout generations.

            The book of Isaiah teaches on God’s promise to the human race. God says he has and will uphold his creation’s life since conception, through birth, and development.[12]  In this regard, Christians are taught that God their Creator plans their lives right from the point they were conceived in their mothers’ womb up to the point of their death. Never did he give authority to anyone to help with that task nor disrupt it. Christians should thus leave that work to the Lord. Their only contribution should be helping with taking care of the works of God’s hands as detailed in the point above. In the same section of Isaiah, it is written that God knows no boundary between the unborn, the just born and the old age; they are all same in his eyes. Other sections of the bible refers to the human race as God’s children further exemplifying the fact that He knows no difference between the two groups. Christians should therefore contribute to God’s stand by seeing the unborn as children of God, who have similar rights and privileges like the full grown human beings. This has been a major teaching of the church in throughout millennia and c\should not change in the twenty first century and even through time.

            All the above teachings boil into one of the commandments instructing that the human race should not commit murder.[13]  Christians are therefore taught and encouraged to embrace the life given to fetus by God the Creator of all human race. This should be the case in all matters pertaining to abortion. No Christian, indeed no human being, should take the life of another of God’s creation. If anything, Christians should be at the forefront of cherishing, nourishing and respecting the work of God’s hands. This is because they all called upon to do so in all their days on earth.

            The book of Psalm calls for all believers to be to defend all the defenseless, especially children and the unborn. This should be done through the maintenance of their rights and rescuing the weak and needy.[14] In this regard, Christians should be at the front of defending the rights of the unborn children by fighting abortion. They should always teach and learn that this practice is completely against church traditions. In addition, it is vital for all Christians to look at the division between denominations of the world and all things that are different in these groups. After doing this, they should again consider that abortion is fought by all denominations equally, that is they all agree on the vices of the practice. They should again consider that abortion is fought by all denominations equally, that is they all agree on the vices of the practice. This unity should be upheld at all times by the denominations and all Christians.

            Christian traditions also teach that God forgives all sins that are committed by humanity against others.[15]  Having shown that God takes the unborn and the born equally, Christians should understand that God can forgive in case some of them continue to support the vice. As they are taught in churches and the bible, Christians just need to ask for forgiveness in the sins they could have committed against other children of God, including the unborn.

            Despite all the above teachings, many Christians have continued to support abortion on grounds that individuals were at liberty to control their lives in best ways they saw how. In regard to abortion rights, it is claimed that women are at liberty to choose whether to take undertake the measure or not. Despite this contradiction with the teachings of Christian faith, it can be argues that adherents all over the world are free to practice as they wish, because no one will force them to change their behaviors, and thus act in accordance with teachings of their faith. What the church does is to preach and encourage followers to follow the teachings.

Reference

Catholic Church. Evangelium Vitae (Vatican: Catholic Church, 1995), 65.

Church of England.’ General. Synod Proceedings. (London: Church of England, 1992),

125.

Orthodox Church. The Church and the Nation (Moscow: Orthodox Church, 2000), 352.

Orthodox Church. Ditache.

http://www.orthodox.cn/patristics/apostolicfathers/didache_en.htm

Society for the Protection of Unborn Children, 2008. .

http://www.spuc.org.uk/students/abortion/religion

St Andrews University. Human Ensulment.

http://www2.franciscan.edu/plee/aquinas_on_human_ensoulment.htm

[1] Orthodox Church. Ditache. http://www.orthodox.cn/patristics/apostolicfathers/didache_en.htm

[2] Jeremiah 1:5

[3] St Andrews University. Human Ensulment. http://www2.franciscan.edu/plee/aquinas_on_human_ensoulment.htm

[4] Lk 1:41

[5] Catholic Church. Evangelium Vitae (Vatican: Catholic Church, 1995), 65.

[6] Orthodox Church. The Church and the Nation (Moscow: Orthodox Church, 2000), 352.

[7] Church of England.’ General. Synod Proceedings. (London: Church of England, 1992), 125.

[8] Society for the Protection of Unborn Children, 2008. http://www.spuc.org.uk/students/abortion/religion

[9] Plm 139

[10] Job 10:12

[11] Plm 100:3

[12] Isa 46:3-4

[13] Exo 20:13

[14] Plm 82:3-4

[15] Plm 51:1-2

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