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Abortion Clinics Closing at Record Rate

(UPDATED) Reasons vary, but the trend is clear.
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CT has examined the new pro-life surge in-depth.

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(BP) For Abby Johnson, the closing of a single Planned Parenthood center demonstrated her dramatic reversal from abortion clinic director to leading pro-life advocate.

But for pro-lifers ...

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Displaying 1–155 of 155 comments

audrey ruth

January 14, 2014  10:44pm

THANK GOD for this. Margaret Sanger’s Eugenic theories were put into place to shrink the urban population of the poor, the unwanted and the minority races - her racist theories were used to 'justify' abortion, and ultimately led to the establishment of "planned" parenthood. Abby Johnson's book unPlanned gives insight on this. She became enthused about abortion (partly because she'd had at least one herself) during her college days and saw PP as a viable way to help women. As the years went by and she 'graduated' from a volunteer to a "clinic" worker to the manager of a "clinic", she began to see the awful truth. I recommend her book to anyone who wants to know the truth from the inside out. Also: Blood Money: Getting Rich Off a Woman's Right to Choose, by Carol Everett (who owned a chain of "clinics" at one time) AND The Hand of God, by Dr. Bernard Nathanson, atheist and co-founder of NARAL who did a 180 when he saw the living baby in the womb via ultrasound.

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James Cowles

November 15, 2013  8:34am

I don't understand why pro-life folks consider this such good news. The first paragraph of the article says that the reason abortion clinics are closing is because of anti-abortion legislation. But if the only way to decrease the rate of abortions is by using the blunt instrument of the law to bludgeon women into carrying their pregnancy to term, that tells me 3 things, none of which I should think would be considered good from a pro-life standpoint: (1) the pent-up demand for abortion has become so great -- or at least, not diminished -- so that (2) the technique of moral suasion has to be abandoned and (3) replaced by the police power of the state. Women have to be coerced into doing that which they would not do, absent such coercion. If the demand for cigarettes & tobacco had remained so intense that the only way to induce people not to smoke was to make smoking illegal & criminalize the practice of same, I doubt that anti-smoking folks would be celebrating.

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Robin McCown

October 17, 2013  5:39pm

Contrary to popular belief, the best way to prevent abortions is NOT by closing Planned Parenthoods or outlawing abortions. The best way to prevent abortions is to make birth control cheap and easily available to ALL women. This fact has been proven in many studies. Here is one: http://www.guttmacher.org/pubs/tgr/06/4/gr060407.html

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James Cowles

October 16, 2013  12:24pm

@ Wayne Despres: "The fact that we do not have the means by which to measure entities like consciousness, intellect, emotion and aesthetic feelings ... doesn't prove the non-existence of spiritual entities." All that is true from a purely theoretical standpoint. But if you examine the context of the discussion, you will find that I was referring to "spirit" within the context of what can be used as a legal basis for prohibiting / restricting abortion. In constitutional law, this is known as a "rational basis" test. The government certainly does have a compelling interest in protecting life. To pursue this interest, it may restrict abortion in many ways, e.g., qualifications of clinic staff, sterile conditions, etc. But to prohibit / restrict abortion itself -- which SCOTUS in "Roe", "Casey", et al. has ruled is a right -- there must be a "rational basis", which means that the restrictions must be religiously neutral AND scientifically based. Spirit is neither, at least at present.

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Wayne Despres

September 27, 2013  3:14pm

James: The fact that we do not have the means by which to measure entities like consciousness, intellect, emotion and aesthetic feelings such as love and joy, doesn't prove the non-existence of spiritual entities. Nor is it proof that such entities are not “spirit.” Also, we don't call such entities as consciousness, will, intellect, heart and love "spirit" simply because we can't measure them and so we kind of made up a different name for them. We call them "spirit" because they aren't material - they are "spirit." Two distinct characteristics altogether. Further, you made a huge assumption - that regardless what will be discovered in the future, that which we have defined as "spirit" will always be shown to be material. How do you know that? Still, are you saying that such “non-physical” entities are the equivalent of glandular secretions like insulin, bile, testosterone, etc?

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James Cowles

September 27, 2013  1:16pm

@ Wayne Despres: "James, there's no distinction between (at least as far as human beings are concerned), "spirit", i.e., consciousness, intellect, emotion and aesthetic feelings such as love and joy, and will, and "matter" - physical energies and everything that derives from them - particles, atoms, molecules, living cells and organisms such as the human body? How exactly IS spirit "accounted for in physical / material terms"?" You're right ... no distinction. Everything like endocrine gland secretions, hormone release, the electrochemistry of brain synapses, etc. ... all that ... is understandable in terms of phenomena that can be observed and measured and quantified. We only refer to ostensibly "non-physical entities" -- actually an oxymoron -- as "spirit", etc., because they are so exquisitely subtle that they often escape detection, even by our most subtle instruments. But that is a matter of technology, not metaphysics.

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Wayne Despres

September 27, 2013  9:13am

James, you're saying there's no distinction between (at least as far as human beings are concerned), "spirit", i.e., consciousness, intellect, emotion and aesthetic feelings such as love and joy, and will, and "matter" - physical energies and everything that derives from them - particles, atoms, molecules, living cells and organisms such as the human body? How exactly IS spirit "accounted for in physical / material terms"? Are you saying that "spirit" is a material object?

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James Cowles

September 26, 2013  12:14pm

@Wayne Despres: "All existing beings consist of a material AND an invisible "spiritual" aspect ... " That is a time-honored dualistic position. The problem is 2-fold: (1) there is no evidence for an "invisible 'spiritual' aspect" distinct from the physical", and (2) the available evidence strongly indicates that all the attributes of the object that are termed "spiritual" may be accounted for in physical / material terms. So the "spiritual" is eliminated by Occam's Razor. E.g., read what Stephen Hawking says about God in "A Brief History of Time", which is far too lengthy to fairly synopsize in 1K characters. Besides, even if a "spiritual" aspect could be demonstrated, it is a LLLOOONNNGGG way from there to the conclusion that this "spiritual aspect" is synonymous with anything even remotely resembling what Christians mean when they talk about spirits, souls, etc.

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Wayne Despres

September 25, 2013  11:37pm

James, we can pick up where we left off, if you want. Your idea of "spiritual water" made me LOL - genuinely funny! But I was only staking out the CONVENTIONAL territories. I subscribe to neither. Idealism and materialism only get it half right. All existing beings consist of a material AND an invisible "spiritual" aspect, which guides and controls behavior. Humans have a body AND a mind. Animals have a body AND instinct. Plants have the physical aspect AND the invisible force that directs all processes. Molecules, atoms and particles all have quantifiable material aspects AND the blind law that directs their behavior. Even the energy from which subatomic particles emerge has ALSO a directive aspect that makes energy manifest variously as protons, electrons, neutrons, etc. Because effects always manifest something of the nature of the cause, and because all things (effects) consist of both, the first cause must also consist of SOMETHING COMPARABLE to BOTH spirit and matter.

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James Cowles

September 25, 2013  11:08pm

@ Wayne Despres: I replied to your "spiritual water" post, but the "CT" blogmaster deleted it because it was "OT" -- "off topic". That is passing strange, because this ENTIRE DISCUSSION, which started out being about abortion, segued into cosmology and spirituality. So now the ENTIRE DISCUSSION is 'OT", not just my modest little post. Oh well ... double standards, anyone?

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Wayne Despres

September 25, 2013  2:34pm

James: "The analogy doesn't hold. As long as we are talking about lakes and water, we are talking about physical / material attributes." Again, let's drop the "divine" because you and I haven't yet established exactly what that means. What's really interesting about what you said, James, is that "extreme idealism" claims that the first cause is exclusively "spiritual" and all that exists is "spirit," whereas the “materialism" of Marx and Engels claims that all things are material and that "matter" is the exclusive first cause. Likewise, 1. Because you assume that water is exclusively "material," it can therefore tell us nothing of a "spiritual" first cause (which you already assume to be material anyway) and 2. Correct me if I'm wrong but, since you assume I believe the first cause to be exclusively "spiritual," then “ne'er the twain shall meet.” Am I getting this right? PS - Black holes, strings, "branes", etc. are a part of the resultant world, and are not "first causal."

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James Cowles

September 25, 2013  1:57pm

@Wayne Despres ... A question to reflect on ... suppose science could someday rigorously demonstrate that the First Cause of the universe was ... let's say ... colliding multi-dimensional branes. Or suppose science could someday rigorously demonstrate that the First Cause was a random quantum fluctuation in the vacuum potential / "zero-point energy". Would you rest content with either one, or with any such alternative not involving final causes?

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Wayne Despres

September 25, 2013  11:11am

James: "... but never final causes ... and least of all any transcendent or Divine cause." Again, you need to drop "God" or "Divine" from the discussion. It's not helpful, because you have such an aversion to God or Divine. But your resistance to the chance of finding divine properties in the first cause is like me saying that no matter how close we get to a lake, although I have no idea what a lake IS made of, I can already tell you that it is NOT made of water, and even if you show me that it DOES have all the properties of water, I will still deny it. It is you, James, who have already dismissed the possibility of certain findings about the first cause, rather than me who is arriving at preconceived conclusions about it. Yet, we already know that a first cause exists. Hawking et al agree that time, space, matter and energy all had a simultaneous, finite beginning. It behooves us to dismiss all previous concepts about the first cause and take another look in light of new reasoning.

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James Cowles

September 25, 2013  4:03am

@ Wayne Despres: "The nature of "whatever" DID cause the universe to come into existence can be deduced by looking at the results ... " The nature of science is that it deals with phenomena that are understandable & explicable in terms of material & efficient causes -- but never final causes. Yes, you can learn a lot about the universe by looking at it, making various measurements, theorizing about it & then testing your theories empirically. But all you will be led back to on this trail is one more material or efficient cause, or set of such -- never final causes, and least of all any transcendent or Divine cause. Analyze a Schubert string quartet all you want, and you will learn a lot about harmonics, acoustics, the physiology of the ear, etc. But you will never reveal a component of the string quartet called "beauty". Beauty is -- BY DEFINITION -- beyond the writ of a description / understanding that proceeds purely in terms of material & efficient causes.

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Wayne Despres

September 25, 2013  1:34am

Rick: "If science could prove the existence of God, all debate would be over. The American Acadamey of Science would be an evangelistic organization and University science departments would be hot beds of theology." Not so fast. All things take time, some much longer than others. Some scientists are out to prove that God DOES NOT exist, and will sweep under the carpet and ridicule anything to the contrary. Communists still believe dialectical materialism, the supposed "scientific socialism," which is based almost entirely upon 18th century science, even though North Korean former communist Dr. Sang Hun Lee totally demolished the entire materialistic ideology in his book "Communism: A New Critique and Counter-proposal." New ideas in general are NOT readily accepted. The American Cancer Society is still poisoning and irradiating cancer patients, although more effective, less costly non-toxic treatments have been out there for years. And what about the first 400 years of Christianity?

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Wayne Despres

September 24, 2013  11:16pm

James: The reason I quoted St Paul - Rom. 1:20 - was not so much that he assumed God created the universe, but that he understood that invisible things - like the origin of the universe - can be understood by observing visible things. But in the final analysis, what difference does it make whether one person calls it "God" while others call it Krishna, Yahweh, Allah, Manitou or the Force? All are talking about the same thing - the origin of the universe. " ... but why does this origin NECESSARILY HAVE to be Divine?" It doesn't NECESSARILY HAVE to be. But following the trail backwards using the right reasoning, that just happens to be where it ends.

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Wayne Despres

September 24, 2013  11:06pm

James: "Again, you are jumping from "The Universe had a beginning" to "THEREFORE God did it"." For the sake of this discussion, I think you need to pretend the word "God" doesn't exist. You're allergic to it. :-) I have never used such logic. All I've said is: The universe did not always exist. It came into existence at some point. It didn't cause its own origin. The nature of "whatever" DID cause the universe to come into existence can be deduced by looking at the results, in the same way that a person's invisible nature can be deduced by observing their "visible" words, expressions, behavior, etc. The application of such reasoning allows us to arrive at significant conclusions about the nature of the "first cause" (who cares what some people call it?) For example, did you know that a systematic examination of every level of existence indicates that the first cause of the universe absolutely must have two significant sets of attributes, and a number of other faculties?

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Rick Dalbey

September 24, 2013  8:29pm

Well of course Wayne. I was addressing an issue bothering Jim. He was waiting for this supernatural feeling of faith to descend and overwhelm him, but it never came. So he concluded that faith was not under his Christmas tree. My point was that is that is an incorrect view of faith. In reality, God asks us initially only to obey. To repent, change direction, to follow. As we obey and as we follow over time our relationship becomes more one of friends than servants. Love is a fruit of the Spirit that grows over time.

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Wayne Despres

September 24, 2013  7:51pm

Rick, Although obedience is critical in the earliest stages of a life on the path of faith that leads back to God, it is not the end of that path, or even the ultimate expression of faith. Slaves and servants are obedient to a master, but they have no love. But the goal is not merely to be "obedient;" it is to be one with the heart of God, and to act out of one's own heart of love - to love as God loves - rather than out of fear of some punishment, or blind obedience to rigid laws. Contrary to the Christian viewpoint, Old Testament history was one of tragic DISobedience on that path. That's why it took 2000 years for them to prepare for the coming of the Messiah Jesus, who finally came to teach love, not mere obedience to laws. Jesus and his disciples disobeyed laws of the Sabbath because Jesus acted out of love - something deeper. The example of Abraham may not have been the worst to highlight, but it was disastrous nonetheless. 400 years of slavery was the result.

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Rick Dalbey

September 24, 2013  3:53pm

You're right James. Creation seems to indicate that there must be a creator. Hence every tribe and culture on the planet has for all recorded history acknowledged a creator of some sort. It is like finding a Boeing 707 and assuming someone designed it. Human beings have always been "predisposed to give assent to the religious explanation." It is just the way we are wired. Solomon puts it this way "God set eternity in the heart of man." The Bible doesn't tell us how God created, just that He did and He is personal and good. I know, circular reasoning. You have to believe it in order to believe it. How arrogant of Jesus to say, "I am the way, the truth, the life. No man comes unto the Father but by me." There it is. An assertion. Perhaps Jesus is a liar. How arrogant for Paul to say that God reveals himself clearly to the human race and we are without excuse. But there you have it. You've chosen a different way with clear knowledge of what the Bible asserts. Sounds like Pascal's wager.

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James Cowles

September 24, 2013  2:48pm

@Wayne Despres: "Romans 1:20 - 'For since the creation of the world God's invisible qualities - his eternal power and divine nature - have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that men are without excuse.'" Circular reasoning. This argument works if and only if you are predisposed to give assent to the religious explanation *** TO BEGIN WITH ***. IOW, Paul is indulging in some cosmic-scale question begging by "baking" his conclusion into his premises. "Science already indicates the existence of an origin to the universe." Yes ... but why does this origin NECESSARILY HAVE to be Divine? LaPlace gave Napoleon a copy of his great book "Celestial Mechanics". Napoleon read it and said "But, monsieur, I saw no reference to God in all your equations". Replied LaPlace "Ah ... sire ... I had no need of such a hypothesis".

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James Cowles

September 24, 2013  2:44pm

@Wayne Despres: "That's absurd, James. Here you are talking like a scientist - Hubble, red-shifting, galactic recession, etc. - but somehow the investigation of the origin of the universe in which all these phenomena occur ISN'T SCIENCE?" Cosmology is science, physics is science, theology-disguised-as-ID / -creationism is NOT. Why? Because "God did it" is consistent with literally any set of data you can postulate. Scientific theories must be FALSIFIABLE. "God did it" is not. "Science has already indicated that the universe has not always existed. Science shows it CAME INTO existence at some point in time. And science is now investigating the nature of that origin, which cannot be divorced from the concept of God," "Cannot be divorced from" is not the same as "Necessarily implies". Again, you are jumping from "The Universe had a beginning" to "THEREFORE God did it". There's lots of missing steps to get to that conclusion. "God did it" is consistent with ANYthing ... so not science.

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Rick Dalbey

September 24, 2013  2:23pm

“By faith Abraham, when he was called, obeyed by going out to a place which he was to receive for an inheritance; and he went out, not knowing where he was going.” The evidence of faith is obedience as James so forcefully reminds us. If science could prove the existence of God, all debate would be over. The American Acadamey of Science would be an evangelistic organization and University science departments would be hot beds of theology. Science gives us clues and it independently affirms the truth of the Bible. It affirms the reasonablness of Christianity, but it can never prove anything. It tells us how but not who, what but not why. You're right, God’s invisible attributes are seen and understood especially in non-science cultures (there's only been a science dominated culture for 150 years). We are without excuse, we can’t say God hasn’t given me faith. “For even though they knew God, they did not honor Him as God or give thanks.” James is waiting for something which may never come

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Wayne Despres

September 24, 2013  1:31pm

Rick: 1 Cor. 2:9 - “No eye has seen, no ear has heard, and no mind has imagined what God has prepared for those who LOVE him.” I was inspired when you quoted this passage a few days ago.

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Wayne Despres

September 24, 2013  1:24pm

Rick: "Apologetics can build a case for the reasonablness of a Christian belief system, but it cannot prove the existance of God, just as we will never be able to see paralell universes. You are right James, either you believe or you don’t. Faith is not an ability that some are granted and some are not. Biblical faith is simply obediance." James IS wrong, and so are you. Romans 1:20 - "For since the creation of the world God's invisible qualities - his eternal power and divine nature - have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that men are without excuse." Science already indicates the existence of an origin to the universe. By studying the things that have been made - the universe itself - science is indicating far more about the nature of that invisible origin - God - than ever before. Obedience isn't the fundamental of faith. Science shows that God is a God of love. He doesn't want obedience - he wants love. Obedience is external and superficial to love.

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Wayne Despres

September 24, 2013  1:13pm

James: "The argument for a creator-God is not bad science, because it isn't science, being unfalsifiable." That's absurd, James. Here you are talking like a scientist - Hubble, red-shifting, galactic recession, etc. - but somehow the investigation of the origin of the universe in which all these phenomena occur ISN'T SCIENCE? Science has already indicated that the universe has not always existed. Science shows it CAME INTO existence at some point in time. And science is now investigating the nature of that origin, which cannot be divorced from the concept of God, because they are one and the same thing. The fact that some call that origin "God," and for very good reason assign to that origin attributes that can be seen in humans, is a big bugaboo for fake scientists who really don't want to acknowledge certain realities. Scientific investigation ABSOLUTELY DOES INDICATE far more about the nature of that origin than some may wish to acknowledge. An inconvenient truth?

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Rick Dalbey

September 24, 2013  1:05pm

Apologetics can build a case for the reasonablness of a Christian belief system, but it cannot prove the existance of God, just as we will never be able to see paralell universes. You are right James, either you believe or you don’t. Faith is not an ability that some are granted and some are not. Biblical faith is simply obediance. Abraham obeyed God and left UR for Canaan. All the great examples of faith are really examples of obediance. You have decided that you will not choose Christ, that God is not worthy of your trust or obediance. That is certainly your choice and there is really nothing I or anyone else can do to persuade you. It just concerns me that you made this choice not out of ignorance, but full knowledge. I would just urge you to reconsider. His grace is immeasurable. But your problem is forgiving God. Ironic. Hawkins hypotheses is just that. It does not mean that it is true and in fact his hypothses is unfalsifiable. God of the gaps? The Bible tells us why, not how.

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Wayne Despres

September 24, 2013  12:55pm

James, from 9/20: "That's kinda my experience in a nutshell: the shock of a vocational crisis / trauma forced me to realize that I did not believe AND NEVER HAD." It wasn't me who brought up your doubts about the existence of God. I was addressing YOUR statement. Me, from 9/23: "Is it possible that your concept of God was completely askew? That God could never have performed according to your incorrect expectations, for some very good reason? Is there perhaps some restraint placed upon the supposed omnipotence of God of which you may be unaware? Is it possible that, even though God DOES exist, He really CAN'T - or WON'T - do some things, despite the hopes and expectations of man?" You took out of context what was a QUESTION - a request for more information - turned it into a judgment, and are now using it as "evidence" to back up your position that you're being falsely accused by "fundamentalists," while ignoring what I already said about that.

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James Cowles

September 24, 2013  12:21pm

@Wayne Despres ... From your own post: "That God could never have performed according to your INCORRECT expectations ... " (all-caps added). "I've been asking what YOUR view was, such that the origin of the universe failed to live up to YOUR expectation." I wasn't arguing about the origin of the universe. You brought that up. I find the naturalistic explanations involving some version of an inflationary cosmology satisfactory, and have no issue with them. Probably not the "ultimate" theory, but then no scientific theory is. The argument for a creator-God is not bad science, because it isn't science, being unfalsifiable. "YOU decided to dismiss the idea of the very existence of an origin of the universe." Again, I'm not sure where this comes from. The idea that the universe had a definite origin has been around since Hubble discovered galactic recession via redshift & distance as inferred from, e.g., Cepheid variables and the period-luminosity relation. No counterargument from me.

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James Cowles

September 24, 2013  12:15pm

@Rick Dalbey: "Why do you assign agency to God? And besides, there is no personal God according to you." Because I'm adopting the terms of discourse that Christians use, what John Milton in "Paradise Lost" called a "language of accommodation". Also, Hawking's math merely demonstrates that God is not a NECESSARY hypothesis, in order to counter the customary creationist / ID argument that leaps DIRECTLY from the singularity to the conclusion that "Therefore there must be a God". The singularity is just one more gap for the God-of-the-gaps to fill.

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Wayne Despres

September 24, 2013  2:00am

Hi James. You're right - intelligence and goodness are not necessarily related. But the beginning of the universe and that very "thing" which many call "God" are, regardless of the name one gives that origin. The conclusion that "God is good" is derived from the Law of Resemblance. Effects always reveal something of the nature of their cause, eg., an otherwise invisible, causal human mind can be "seen" through the visible facial expressions, deeds and spoken words that it causes. The invisible origin of the universe is "seen" in the visible universe it caused. The visible universe is "good" in the sense that all things in the universe give and receive without reservation. In so doing, all things integrate into one harmonious, interconnected body - except for people, who violate universal laws with impunity. Because the universe derives its nature from its origin, and the universe is "good," the conclusion is that the origin has within it the nature of goodness. That is, "God is good."

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Wayne Despres

September 23, 2013  8:39pm

Hi James. "My reticence would not be fair if I NEVER disclosed the details of the story to ANYone. But I do. Just not conservative evangelical Christians. I think it vindicates my attitude when you call my expectations "incorrect" without knowing what they are." A couple of points: 1. The fact that I believe that the universe had an origin, i.e., it has not always existed, and it did not cause itself to come into existence, makes me a conservative Christian? Not a Muslim, a Jew or any other faith? 2. I haven't judged your expectations as incorrect. I've asked several times what your expectations were, and you still haven't told me. Instead of giving me YOUR viewpoint, you offer a critique of the Christian perspective. I really don't care what the Christian view is. I've been asking what YOUR view was, such that the origin of the universe failed to live up to YOUR expectation, such that YOU decided to dismiss the idea of the very existence of an origin of the universe.

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Rick Dalbey

September 23, 2013  7:59pm

Hawking's point is that the universe needs no beginning according to his creative imaginary mathematics trick which few accept. Which means it requires no creator. Which means the character of God is moot. Of course, Hawking's venture into imaginary numbers is not considered scientific and are just as fanciful as imagining multiple universes. It can never be established. Hawkins was uncomfortable with a singularity, but that is exactly what our best science tells us. The universe had a beginning. Since many scientists are uncomfortable for theological reasons with a singularity they resort to infinite universes which is complete speculation and really does not remove the problem of a beginning. All that Auschwitz established is that something evil exists in the universe. But we already knew that. It is just a matter of degree. Why do you assign agency to God? And besides, there is no personal God according to you.

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James Cowles

September 23, 2013  6:07pm

@Wayne Despres ... Difficult to know where to start, largely because Ive been away for a little while. I'm not sure what the relevance is of God as the Initiator of creation. I will say that conservative Christians tend to see 3 things as related that are not related at all: (1)the beginning of the universe, (2)the existence of God (as Creator), and (3)the goodness of God. Points (1) and (2) are not related. (See Hawking's "A Brief History of Time"), nor are (2) and (3). This is a fallacy of ID: God the Creator HAS to be good. But intelligence is not related to goodness. Auschwitz was the product of ID, but hardly of goodness. The only way to connect (2) & (3) is through religious dogma, but then ID is no longer science. My reticence would not be fair if I NEVER disclosed the details of the story to ANYone. But I do. Just not conservative evangelical Christians. I think it vindicates my attitude when you call my expectations "incorrect" without knowing what they are.

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Wayne Despres

September 23, 2013  9:23am

James, I agree that Christianity mistakenly thinks it already knows all the answers. On the other hand, you want to convict God of some crime He has supposedly committed against you, but you won't reveal what that crime is, pleading "entrapment." In this way, you can keep the argument going around in circles ad infinitum, without ever allowing any new answers that may contradict your guilty verdict against God. Is that fair? You're accusing God of having either done or not done something, based upon SOME view of God (who knows what?), that you think He should have done or not done. Is it possible that your concept of God was completely askew? That God could never have performed according to your incorrect expectations, for some very good reason? Is there perhaps some restraint placed upon the supposed omnipotence of God of which you may be unaware? Is it possible that, even though God DOES exist, He really CAN'T - or WON'T - do some things, despite the hopes and expectations of man?

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Wayne Despres

September 23, 2013  1:48am

Rick; Your statement didn't say anything about justice in this world, and implied that justice is only administered by God in the next world. Repentance ("Sorry!" perhaps accompanied by some form of restitution) frees the "perp" of his guilt; forgiveness ("No problem!") frees the victim of his resentment - on Earth. If repentance and forgiveness - justice - don't take place on Earth, then yes, it must happen through a more difficult course in the spirit world. However, the God of goodness did not create evil ("... and it was good ... and it was very good"). God never intended for evil to exist. The concept of justice is a principle that allows sinful (evil) man to be reconciled to God and to one another as a result of the unwanted, unintended presence of evil in what was to be God's own world of only goodness. When man finally repents of all evil, and we live in the Kingdom of Heaven on Earth which God DID intend from the start, the concept of "justice" will be a moot point.

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Rick Dalbey

September 22, 2013  10:24pm

Wayne, did the 6 million innocent men, women and children who were tortured and died in the Nazi Holucaust receive justice in this life? That is kind of James Cowles point. Hebrews 11 says "All these people were still living by faith when they died. They did not receive the things promised; they only saw them and welcomed them from a distance, admitting that they were foreigners and strangers on earth. People who say such things show that they are looking for a country of their own. If they had been thinking of the country they had left, they would have had opportunity to return. Instead, they were longing for a better country—a heavenly one. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God, for he has prepared a city for them."

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Wayne Despres

September 22, 2013  8:16pm

Hello again, Rick. You said: So when we witness conditions in the world that are hurtful we either have to trust in His superior knowledge of the future and ability to deliver justice in the next world ..." How does God's justice in the NEXT world reconcile with the prayer Jesus taught us: "Thy will be done ON EARTH, as it is in Heaven." When God's will is done on Earth, there's no distinction between life on Earth and life in Heaven. And there's no need for "justice," because it is God's will already being done ... Whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven."

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Wayne Despres

September 22, 2013  2:58pm

James, I'm not stuck on the name "God." The fact remains that there definitely was an origin to the universe. To doubt the existence of an origin to the universe flies in the face of science. "Something" caused the universe to come into existence, call it what you will. So the question isn't "Was there an origin to the universe, which some call 'God.'" It is: How can we develop an accurate, functional understanding of the nature of that invisible origin - an understanding that does not contradict the social, historic and scientific reality I see all around me? Christianity, with the best of intentions, has developed numerous theological constructs that attempt, albeit unsuccessfully, to define that origin. In the modern age, the result of that unsuccessful attempt has been the proliferation of agnosticism, atheism, dialectical materialism, and a desperate search elsewhere for answers.

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Wayne Despres

September 22, 2013  2:44pm

James, I prefer to brush aside previous theological assumptions about the nature of God. Their incompleteness, and/or incorrectness has caused intelligent people like you to look at the reality of life, compare that reality with assumptions that have been accepted as "true," and then erroneously conclude, not that the assumptions themselves are wrong, but that God Himself could not possibly exist. This is what I meant in a previous post about the child jumping off the roof because they were told they would float. You wouldn't dismiss the law of gravity just because it didn't do as you expected. You only conclude that the information about gravity was wrong. There absolutely, indisputably IS an origin of the universe. The question is: What is the true nature of that "origin," and what is my PROPER relationship with that "origin"? One must expect different behavior from a kitten compared to a tiger, right? And one must conduct oneself differently in their presence.

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Rick Dalbey

September 22, 2013  2:07pm

You’re probably right James. The problem is if you concede the existence of a un-created creator, the alpha and omega, there are certain inherrent assumptions. God’s primary identity is His goodness. He declares his own goodness, declares His original pre-fallen creation as good. He shows Moses all his goodness and Jesus incarnates the exact representation of the Father’s nature. So when we witness conditions in the world that are hurtful we either have to trust in His superior knowledge of the future and ability to deliver justice in the next world, or claim that we know as much as Him and have a superior goodness in order to convict Him. This existence is a brief shadow, what the Bible calls a vapor. Eternity is long, God is just and his justice and goodness is not limited by time. “No eye has seen, no ear has heard, and no mind has imagined what God has prepared for those who love him.” Your "intellectual integrity" requires a closed loop, in other words, all the facts must be in.

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James Cowles

September 22, 2013  11:46am

@ Wayne Despres ... Our recent exchange reminds me of a long-ago book by C. S. Lewis, or perhaps a Lewis anthology compiled by someone else, "God in the Dock", which purported to comprise Lewis' writings tackling the "tough" questions surrounding "the problem of evil" (PoE) Lewis stated his intent to confront the PoE with a steely glance, considering with clinically impartial detachment & supposed daring all the evidence AGAINST God. By the end of the book, God had been - unsurprisingly - completely exonerated. No surprise whatsoever. General principle: IT IS NOT POSSIBLE, EVEN IN PRINCIPLE, FOR A DEVOUT, BELIEVING, & COMMITTED CHRISTIAN TO ADDRESS THE PROBLEM OF EVIL WITH INTELLECTUAL INTEGRITY. Why? Because beneath all the pretensions of "tackling the tough questions" & all the play-acting about putting "God in the dock", THEY COVERTLY BELIEVE THEY ALREADY KNOW THE ANSWERS.

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James Cowles

September 22, 2013  7:33am

@Wayne Despres: This is a trap I've learned over the past 10+ years not to step into. Answering your questions would require a LOT than 1K characters. But even if I gave a comprehensive answer, the outcome would still be the same. You would listen politely, but in the end I would end up - in your mind - being at fault. Can you, as a devout & believing Christian, seriously envision ANYthing I would tell you, any combination of circumstances, that would result in you concluding, & saying out loud "God betrayed / cheated / was just playing mind games with Jim"? I've had many of these conversations back "in the day" when I was naive enough to believe I would get a fair hearing, and it always turns out that way. Always. No exceptions. That is why Blumenthal's book was so critical. Blumenrhal is a devout, observant Jew -- but in "Facing the Abusing God", he looked at the Bible & friends' experience & concluded that at times - not always, but sometimes - God acts abusively & unfairly.

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Wayne Despres

September 21, 2013  8:08pm

James: PS - My "verdict" (I've been placed in the judgement seat here) is: God not guilty; Jim not guilty; Christian theology not guilty. You may be right to not believe in the God who does not exist. You may be wrong to not believe in the God who does. As John Maynard Keynes famously quipped: “When the facts change, I change my mind. What do you do, sir?”

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Wayne Despres

September 21, 2013  8:00pm

James, I think I just need to revert to my original question, which was "what was it that you expected from God that He failed to deliver?" Clearly you had the idea that God was supposed to do or not do something, but God apparently failed to perform according to your expectations, which caused you to lose faith. I'm just asking: 1. What that expectation was, and 2. On what basis did you have that expectation of God in the first place?

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James Cowles

September 21, 2013  11:31am

@Wayne Despres ... I say this without rancor & only in the interest of candor: without even hearing my story, you have ALREADY returned the "God-innocent-Jim-guilty" verdict. You have just provided an example -- a better one than most, in fact -- of what I referred to. BTW, I think what I appreciate most about Prof. / Rabbi Blumenthal's book "Facing the Abusing God" is his stalwart refusal to NOT pre-judge before hearing others' stories, a few of which he cites in his book. (His book's verdict does not go AGAINST God. I think that, in the end, he declares a hung jury & a mistrial. But certainly the defendant is not convicted before the defense's opening statement.) Philip Yancey ends up exonerating God, but (1) in a way that does not convict the defendant, and (2) in any event, gives a fair hearing to the latter's case. Most Christians are so anxious to exculpate God that any countervailing narrative is ruled out of court & exculpatory evidence is ruled inadmissible before it's seen.

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Wayne Despres

September 21, 2013  10:11am

James, I can see your point. But consider this: If children were taught they would float when they jumped from the rooftops, they would be very confused - and damned mad! - when they hit they ground. When one is taught incorrect assumptions about the nature of God, and God does not fulfill those expectations, where does the problem truly lie? Misconceptions can turn the entire course of history in a disastrous way. For example, influential Old Testament Jews expected the messiah to arrive on the clouds of Heaven as a warrior king. When Jesus met neither of those expectations, Jews were thrown into a quandary of faith and rejected him. Christians do not know the true nature, heart and will of God. Christian teachings may have satisfied the simple faith of 2000 years ago and for centuries after, but in this age are now causing great disillusion. Yet, despite the errors in Christian thought, James, there are some very good reasons to cut God, and belief in God, some slack.

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James Cowles

September 21, 2013  8:04am

@Wayne Despres ... Thank you for asking ... and I say that sincerely, not at all sarcastically. However, I have learned the hard way over the past 10+ years that, when discussing this with Christians, it is futile to go into detail. My Christian interlocutor will always -- no exceptions -- use my story in such a way as to make God "look good" and me "look bad". So I'm always in the position of pleading my case in a courtroom where the judge & the jury are "always already" convinced that I'm guilty & in the wrong & God is "always already" innocent & in the right. So my side of the story never gets a fair hearing. Lesson learned: don't cast myself as the main character in a Kafka novel.

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Wayne Despres

September 20, 2013  10:30pm

Hi James. I know you said your personal story is too long and involved, but what was it that you expected from God that He failed to deliver?

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James Cowles

September 20, 2013  6:44pm

Well, you can't manufacture belief, fake it, simulate it, yes, but not manufacture the real thing. That's the fallacy of Pascal's wager: trying to believe because God will whack me if I don't only produces a fake / play-acting simulacrum of belief, a simulacrum much more likely to insult any God worth worshipping by demeaning His intelligence, than to earn His approbation. That's kinda my experience in a nutshell: the shock of a vocational crisis / trauma forced me to realize that I did not believe AND NEVER HAD. All I had was the play-acting which fooled other people, myself most of all, an act I sought to conceal by always "busting a gut for Jesus" ... until I busted one gut too many & sent myself into a near-suicidal depression. Even God was not - and IS not - worth that. I realized that the gift of faith was never under my Xmas tree, and never would be. Hence my "functional atheism". So I am no longer a Christian, just an honest man. But for me, that's progress.

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Rick Dalbey

September 20, 2013  5:12pm

I will read them James. I never shy away from controversy or criticism. I read Christopher Hitchens, Dawkins, Dennet, Sam Harris, Stephen Hawkins, Bart Ehrman. I also read Franky Shaeffeer's biography. I'm skimming Blumenthal's book and it is a fascinating Jewish Rabbi's take on the theology of suffering. I feel I have an answer but I will wait till I read the entire book. I worked through some of this in studying Job's dilemma in the last few years. I think truthfully I'm lost as far as being a de-conversion project. Christianity was never just an exercise in mental assent, apologetics or even faith with me. I have really come to know the Lord and He communicates a lot with me. It would be like someone trying to reason that my daughter isn't real. They could use all the advanced reasoning they are capable of but Anna and I would just look at each other and laugh. We know each other too well.

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James Cowles

September 20, 2013  4:19pm

@Rick Dalbey ... The full story of my "anti-conversion" is both too long and too personal to tell here, as you might well imagine. Suffice to say 2 things: (1) I heartily recommend 2 books that, taken together, give the outlines of my story: Philip Yancey's "Disappointment with God" & David Blumenthal's "Facing the Abusing God"; and (2) my experience of vocational "calling" & failure I have come to think of as "the Great Divine Vocational Bait & Switch". Between (1) & (2) I think I have come as close as any male can to knowing what a woman in an abusive marriage feels like -- and how VERY good it feels to finally find the courage to escape.

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Rick Dalbey

September 20, 2013  3:21pm

Since you raised the issue of your disdain for monotheism, let me introduce one possible scenario. (I am 63 by the way and met Jesus alone one night in my apartment in Berkeley in 1970). Let’s say, God forbid, you should die. You suddenly find yourself conscious and in an unpleasant existence separated from God for all eternity. You will be able to say, “some are here because they stumbled in, addicted to selfishness or sin. But not me. I made a rational choice in full knowledge to reject the grace of God!” This is actually not that far fetched as Near Death experiences are being reported with ever more frequency describing this exact scene. Please read Proof of Heaven: A Neurosurgeon's Near-Death Experience by Eben Alexander, a Harvard Neurosurgeon. I am praying for you James. Just a thought.

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James Cowles

September 20, 2013  2:18pm

@Rick Dalbey: "You are cheered by the decline of Christianity?" Yes, I am, and not just Christianity. What I am cheered by is the decline -- except in the Muslim world -- of monotheism. Religions that are centered on one god - Yahweh , Jesus, Allah - tend toward intolerance, militant triumphalism, and regimentation. They can flourish in polities built on Enlightenment principles, but only in a VERY uneasy relationship of "armed neutrality". Devout monotheists are never ... QUITE ... comfortable living in a pluralistic, latitudinarian, constitutionally governed political culture. The religious right in the US is a sterling example. Politically, monotheism tends toward theocracy and away from, e.g., First Amendment principles of equality on a level playing field. This is especially true of Reformed Protestantism, which has a typically Augustinian tendency to subordinate the civil to the religious. Healthy religion (e.g., Buddhism, Taoism) is non-theocentric

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Rick Dalbey

September 20, 2013  10:57am

James, my point is that building a case for restriction of abortions does not require a belief in Spirit or Soul. There are strong movements fighting abortion in China and India that oppose abortion on humanitarian grounds, not Christian theology. Ultra-sound and abortion are being widely used to select for the sex of the baby in Asia. Of course I believe in an eternal, conscious spirit resident within humans. But you can also oppose abortion because you oppose the fascist Eugenic policies of Margaret Sanger. She promoted abortion as a remedy to rid the population of mental defectives, the poor, and minority races. Her principles were adopted by the Nazis and she was the progenitor of Planned Parenthood. Her abortion clinics were located in poor, black urban centers. You can oppose abortion to fight racism. Abortion has been a racial holocaust for the black population as a disproportionate number of black babies have been eliminated. You are cheered by the decline of Christianity?

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James Cowles

September 20, 2013  10:23am

@Wayne Despres: I don't dispute your stats. I've read the same numbers, plus or minus, in other sources. Where you & Rick, on the one hand, and I, on the other will have to agree to disagree is this: I am encouraged by those numbers as signs of progress, and you (both) see them as a disaster-in-the-making and / or a disaster-already-present. I was a Christian of one kind or another for 50+ of my so-far-64 years, but only found true liberation when I added the prefix "ex-" to my Christian self-description. (Not that my path is normative for everyone. It isn't.) My hope is that something like that is happening generally. People should be free to be religious ... or not. I also think the illusion of persecution is due to the fact that atheists, no longer in the closet, have found their voice & are critiquing Christianity on the same basis as everything else. IOW now there is competition.

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James Cowles

September 20, 2013  10:14am

@Rick Dalbey: "I'm not sure what James is talking about?" I'm talking about (1) the age-old question "What constitutes a human being?" and (2) the irony of me, an atheist, having to argue what I previously thought -- I now realize incorrectly -- was the Christian position, i.e., that a human being is more than flesh & bone & matter, and that the essence of a human being is mind, consciousness, intelligence, sentience ... who knows for sure? ... maybe even a soul ... none of which are possessed by a corpse lying in a mortuary lab. If I enter the lab with a shotgun & fire it at a corpse, I will be arrested & charged with a variety of offenses -- but murder will not be one of them.

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Rick Dalbey

September 20, 2013  9:55am

Wayne, I don't dispute your figures. And by the way, I am not your enemy here, I believe we are both on the same side fighting the same fight. We both want to end abortions. On the one hand we suffer from a plague of irresponsibility and sexual promiscuity. On the other hand we have lost our respect for human life and made abortions too easy, a form of birth control. I believe we need to address the problem from both sides. My other point is I don't believe more scientific, intellectual proofs of the existence of God are going to move the needle. Think about all the scientific, intellectual books that have been written in defense of Christianity in the last 100 years. From Francis Collins to Hugh Ross to William Lane Craig and others. Responses to atheists Dawkins and Hitchens and Stephen Hawkings abound. I am not sure young Christians can comprehend some of the scientific arguments, I barely can. No, the battle will be won "not by might, nor by power, but by My Spirit saith the Lord".

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Wayne Despres

September 20, 2013  9:35am

Rick: Personal experience tends to obscure the wider reality. "If I'm okay, the world can't be THAT bad." But the facts reveal a different story. 1948-2008: Self reported Christians fell from 92% to 78%; the nonreligious population rose from 2% to 15%. 1952-2008: People who recognize the importance of religion fell from 75% to just over 50%; those who felt "Religion is not important” rose from 5% to 19%. 1957-2009: People who see religion as “out of date” rose from 7% to 29%. 1950-2009: People who thought religion was “relevant to life” went down from 82% to 52%. This is the disastrous reality occurring right in the midst of your claim that "There has never been more high quality apologetic writing on the subject." In other words, the abundance of "more of the same" has been ineffective. At this point, only the new revelation spoken of by Jesus can save Christianity. THAT would be the needed miracle.

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Wayne Despres

September 20, 2013  9:34am

Rick, I hope you didn't DELIBERATELY perform "an abortion of convenience" on my point. I didn't confine my argument to criminal sexual behavior or family breakdown. My main point, which I clearly stated, but which you omitted when referring to it, was about what you yourself refer to as "convenience" abortions, i.e., those resulting directly from what I called "rampant sexual promiscuity." Did you miss that part? But Rick, do you really not think family breakdown is a major contributing factor to sexual deviance, sexual criminal behavior, overt sexual promiscuity among teens, the use of drugs and alcohol which in turn lead to sexual promiscuity, alienation of teens from parents, single parenthood and a host of other nightmares, all of which lead only to yet another round of abortions? Banning abortions without addressing root causes is the equivalent of "curing" someone of jaundice by painting their yellow face and eyes their original color.

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Rick Dalbey

September 20, 2013  12:51am

Wayne, remember the top 3 reasons for abortion were 1. Unready for responsibility 2. Can't afford baby now 3. Concern about how having a baby would change her life. These are reasons of convenience not criminal sexual behavior or family breakdown. We have created a culture that devalues life. Whether the baby lives or dies depends on convenience. We have made abortion too easy, cheap and convenient. Do youth demand intellectual, scientific proof of the existence of God? There has never been more high quality apologetic writing on the subject. In my experience, youth need a demonstration of the reality of the presence of God. Show me a miracle, show me a healing. As one who has spent 43 years in the evangelical church and put 3 children through the church youth programs, we have a deep wealth of sophisticated apologetics. We just need a simple demonstration of the presence of God...a new Pentecost, a fresh wind of healing, answered prayer. I'm not sure what James is talking about?

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James Cowles

September 19, 2013  11:55pm

@Rick Dalbey: " A human corpse is not human? Human remains are not human?" Physiologically yes. But in any other sense, no. I can't believe that I, an atheist, have to tell this to a Christian. I always thought Christians believed in things like souls & spirits. Even I, an atheist, believe, not in eternal souls, but certainly in mind, cognition, sentience, & a capacity for rationality, thought, and aesthetic experience. Christians have often criticized me -- incorrectly & inaccurately -- for wanting to reduce everything to matter & flesh. Now I find out Christians believe that even more than others thought I did! Mirabile dictu! "Do elephant remains cease to be elephants when they die? " No, but elephants are not human beings, since they do not, as far as we know, possess sentience / rationality / consciousness. Again, I'm astounded that I have to point this out to a Christian! Who is the real materialist / rationalist here?!

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Wayne Despres

September 19, 2013  11:52pm

Rick: Abortion itself is not the central issue, even if confined to cases of rape, etc. Until Christianity can resolve the rampant sexual promiscuity, criminal sexual behavior, and family breakdown that make ANY abortions necessary, Christians will be the spiritual equivalent of the boy with his finger in the dike. Unfortunately, Christianity is already being driven out everywhere. Why is this happening? Because it is no longer able to engage the intellect of modern youth, who demand scientific, intellectual "proof" of all things, especially the existence and true nature of God, what the model society should look like, and the plan of action to realize that ideal. Christianity is in desperate need of a lifeline. The question is, will Christians be humble enough to recognize and grasp it when it arrives? 2000 years ago, Israel didn't, and their fate was sealed. As the new Israel, Christianity faces the same challenge today. You need a new revelation from God appropriate for this age.

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audrey ruth

September 19, 2013  10:07pm

Rick, I agree - this article gives one hope! Thanks for bringing out the (often unknown) fact that Margaret Sanger’s Eugenic theories were put into place to shrink the urban population of the poor, the unwanted and the minority races - her racist theories were used to 'justify' abortion, and ultimately led to the establishment of "planned" parenthood. Abby Johnson's book unPlanned gives insight on this. She became enthused about abortion (partly because she'd had at least one herself) during her college days and saw PP as a viable way to help women. As the years went by and she 'graduated' from a volunteer to a "clinic" worker to the manager of a "clinic", she began to see the awful truth. I recommend her book to anyone who wants to know the truth from the inside out. Also: Blood Money: Getting Rich Off a Woman's Right to Choose, by Carol Everett (who owned a chain of "clinics" at one time) AND The Hand of God, by Dr. Bernard Nathanson, co-founder of NARAL who did a 180, quoted below.

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audrey ruth

September 19, 2013  9:06pm

James, I know you have chosen to be a Buddhist. Does that mean you have no concept of God? Surely you understand that a God who created all that exists has the authority to decide who lives or dies. It is one thing for Him to decide that - that is His right. It is a whole other thing for people to take that upon themselves. YES, for human beings to kill a little baby for the sin of his or her father is murder because it is is disobedience against God - other faiths acknowledge this. Two wrongs do not and cannot make a right. If your Buddhism keeps you from understanding what I am saying, if that means we do not share this standard of truth, then we may as well accept the fact that we can only agree to disagree. BTW - Dr. Bernard Nathanson was an atheist when he wrote those statements about the babies' life in the womb. He was honest about what he discovered upon the advent of ultrasound, as posted below in quotes and at this webpage: http://www.aboutabortions.com/Confess.html

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Rick Dalbey

September 19, 2013  8:26pm

James, that's all that I ask is that you don't murder those who are physiologically human AND ALIVE ok. We don't have to establish if they have a soul or a spirit. After all, according to you, atheists don't have eternal souls. Amillia Taylor, was born premature at 21 weeks, six days, and weighed in at just under 10 ounces. She stayed in the hospital for 4 months and went home normal and healthy. If a gunman and broken into the hospital a week after her delivery with intent to kill and shot her, he would have been tried for murder. And...what is this new definition of human? A human corpse is not human? Human remains are not human? Do elephant remains cease to be elephants when they die? What was it? I dunno. A big mass of protoplasm.

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audrey ruth

September 19, 2013  8:26pm

"I am often asked what made me change my mind. How did I change from prominent abortionist to pro-life advocate? In 1973, I became director of obstetrics of a large hospital in New York City and set up a prenatal research unit, just at the start of a great new technology which we now use every day to study the foetus in the womb. A favourite pro-abortion tactic is to insist that definition of when life begins is impossible; that the question is a theological or moral or philosophical one, anything but a scientific one. Foetology makes it undeniably evident that life begins at conception and requires all the protection and safeguards that any of us enjoy. Why then do some doctors who are privy to the findings of foetology, discredit themselves by carrying out abortions? Simple arithmetic at $300 a time, means an industry generating $500,000,000 annually, most of which goes into the physicians' pockets. AS A SCIENTIST I KNOW, NOT BELIEVE, KNOW THAT HUMAN LIFE BEGINS AT CONCEPTION."

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James Cowles

September 19, 2013  8:06pm

@Rick Dalbey: " ... that you don't murder those who are physiologically human ... " But -- by definition of the word "murder" -- you CANnot murder an entity that is only physiologically human, because they are not ... well ... HUMAN. You cannot murder a corpse.

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James Cowles

September 19, 2013  8:05pm

@Audrey Ruth: "Again, killing a little baby for the sin of his or her father is murder" Then God is a Murderer because God presides over the spontaneous abortion of -- so the literature tells me -- roughly 50% of all the fertilized eggs that fail to implant in the womb. Hence my conclusion that, if human life does begin at the moment of conception, the appropriate conclusion is that God is an Abortionist.

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James Cowles

September 19, 2013  8:03pm

@Rick Dalbey: " It talks about those who are ouside the city gates and specifies murderers." Of course, murder is defined as the wrongful taking of a HUMAN life. I understand that, to you, the fetus is human, and so, of course, abortion is murder. But I would ask you to understand that other people -- even other evangelical Christians, despite your claims to the contrary -- define the taking of fetal life differently, as other than murder, and that the only basis for the disagreement is theological / philosophical. To define the taking of fetal life as murder LEGALLY would require that your theological convictions be written into the civil law, which would ... here goes the broken record one more time ... violate the "establishment" clause of the 1st Amendment, because, while you have a right to your religious opinions, there is no rational basis to justify writing those opinions into civil law. Ditto the religious opinions of people who disagree with you.

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James Cowles

September 19, 2013  7:59pm

@Audrey Ruth: " A favourite pro-abortion tactic is to insist that definition of when life begins is impossible; that the question is a theological or moral or philosophical one, anything but a scientific one." That technology must be pretty impressive if it can reach inside the mind / soul / spirit of the developing fetus and determine that consciousness and sentience are present. That is one impressive instrument indeed, to be able to see such intangibles! Usually, pro-life people argue that the fetus HAS to be human because it has a brain, a heartbeat, human DNA, etc. All this proves is that the fetus is PHYSIOLOGICALLY human. I then ask "How do you know when the fetus has a mind, a brain, a soul, a spirit?" ... any of those "metaphysical" & intangible things & beyond-physical things that Christians are always talking about. I only get another lecture on fetology / embryology. The irony is that I AN ATHEIST HAVE TO REMIND CHRISTIANS THAT THEY BELIEVE IN A SOUL! Go figure ...

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Rick Dalbey

September 19, 2013  7:18pm

This has been another eye-opening day for me. I just finished my Bible reading program this morning, took 5 months, and I read the last chapter in Revelation. It talks about those who are ouside the city gates and specifies murderers. Us surburbanites don’t like to think of ourselves in this harsh light but we have participated in this murderous undertaking since 1973. It has especially decimated the black population as Margaret Sanger’s Eugenic theories were put into place to shrink the urban population of the poor, the unwanted and the minority races. But Praise God, Americans are beginning to wake up and renounce this vile practice. Great article that gives one hope.

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audrey ruth

September 19, 2013  6:53pm

Rick, I totally understand what you are saying, and, yes, that would be a great place to start! My desire is not that people here would focus on what I have said, but on the words of Dr. Bernard Nathanson, co-founder of NARAL, who committed more than 75,000 abortions (including at least one on his own child/ren), whose eyes were opened and mind was completely changed when he saw the reality of human life in the womb via the invention of ultrasound. An excerpt of his words is posted in my second post below. Link: http://www.aboutabortions.com/Confess.html

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Rick Dalbey

September 19, 2013  6:47pm

I agree with you Audrey. My point is that unfortunately all abortion, all murder of babies is totally legal today. That has got to change, the sooner the better! If that is the only way legislation would pass and 99% of abortions would end and the abortion mills would shut down, I would vote for it. We can deal with the 1% later. Maybe we can't get 100% of what we want in congress, maybe we can only get 99%. That would be a HUGE VICTORY, but I hear what you are saying. Fortunately it looks like abortion is becoming illegal by default as state by state opinions change and restrictions increase. Praise God.

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audrey ruth

September 19, 2013  6:43pm

James, James Robinson's mother had no choice - and he and she thank God for that. Do you know who Dr. Bernard Nathanson was? He co-founded NARAL and self-admittedly worked hard to perpetuate myths about pregnancy and abortion throughout America in order to try to convince Americans to support abortion on demand. One fact which they did not not make known is that medical abortions in hospitals were already legal for women who whose lives were threatened by their pregnancies. My own mother-in-law was pregnant in the 1950s with a life-threatening pregnancy, and abortion was given as an option to her and her husband. She and he chose not to abort; instead, they chose to pray. God spared her life AND the baby's life. He is my brother-in-law today. I encourage you to read Dr. Nathanson's book The Hand of God (available at Amazon and in public libraries) so you can get the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth. Also, look up his website and you'll get FACTS like these:

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audrey ruth

September 19, 2013  6:41pm

"I am often asked what made me change my mind. How did I change from prominent abortionist to pro-life advocate? In 1973, I became director of obstetrics of a large hospital in New York City and set up a prenatal research unit, just at the start of a great new technology which we now use every day to study the foetus in the womb. A favourite pro-abortion tactic is to insist that definition of when life begins is impossible; that the question is a theological or moral or philosophical one, anything but a scientific one. Foetology makes it undeniably evident that life begins at conception and requires all the protection and safeguards that any of us enjoy. Why then do some doctors who are privy to the findings of foetology, discredit themselves by carrying out abortions? Simple arithmetic at $300 a time, means an industry generating $500,000,000 annually, most of which goes into the physicians' pockets. AS A SCIENTIST I KNOW, NOT BELIEVE, KNOW THAT HUMAN LIFE BEGINS AT CONCEPTION."

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audrey ruth

September 19, 2013  6:34pm

Again, killing a little baby for the sin of his or her father is murder; it is disobedience to God. Two wrongs don't make a right.

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Rick Dalbey

September 19, 2013  6:33pm

James, I am a realist when it comes to legislation. If the only thing that will allow pro-choice restrictions to proceed and abortion mills to close is an exclusion for rape or incest, then I will hold my nose and vote for it. Because at least we could have saved 54.6 million babies out of 55 million since 1973. I would hope with the other 1% exclusion the mother will be persuaded by reason or adoption or stories like James Robison’s background. But I doubt we can share common ground since you are dead set against ALL restrictions against abortion. You will have to look for support elsewhere than born again evangelicals. I urge you to choose life.

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James Cowles

September 19, 2013  6:17pm

@Audrey Ruth: "A woman who was raped as a teen and chose not to abort has written her testimony ... " The operative word in this sentence is "chose". If certain radical conservative pro-lifers had their way, she would not have had a choice. I agree that women who become pregnant through rape and incest, or women whose lives are threatened by a complicated pregnancy, are heroines if they freely decide -- if they ***** FREELY DECIDE ***** -- to continue the pregnancy. If they were coerced into continuing the pregnancy, however, this element of moral courage would be gone.

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James Cowles

September 19, 2013  6:15pm

@Rick Dalbey: "Ah, so establishing an exclusion due to rape was just a strawman argument. Why have we been wasting our time debating it?" Not a strawman at all. I started there because not restricting abortion for rape and incest is a ... well ... a place to START. I'm realistic enough to know that my "only-the-woman-decides" position is not likely to prevail for a long time. So as a pragmatic first step, I cited my opposition to abortion restrictions in the cases of rape and incest in the perhaps-vain hope that even the most conservative would concur. It's called "finding common ground". Also called "practical politics".

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audrey ruth

September 19, 2013  6:11pm

James Robision, a well-known Bible teacher, is the product of rape. A woman who was raped as a teen and chose not to abort has written her testimony about the amazing blessing of meeting her precious daughter years later (who was adopted and reared by a strong Christian family). She gave her testimony on a Homecoming video. Killing the little baby for the sin of his or her father is still murder; it is disobedience to God. Two wrongs don't make a right.

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Rick Dalbey

September 19, 2013  5:58pm

Ah, so establishing an exclusion due to rape was just a strawman argument. Why have we been wasting our time debating it? It is only a factor in 1% of abortions. In reality, you are against ALL attempts to restrict abortion. In other words, a woman may abort for any reason whatsoever at any stage, just because she just doesn’t want to have the baby. And you define any restrictions as promoting slavery. And in doing so define those that oppose her decision as the slave procurers. Which, in your terms, means that most (though not all) evangelicals are slave traders. Is that what I hear you saying?

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James Cowles

September 19, 2013  5:42pm

@Rick Dalbey: "So let's agree Wayne and James and shut down 99% of all abortions." As I attempted to say before -- my post was deleted by the "CT" blogmasters, as this one may be -- I am in favor of the woman making the final decision to abort or not. I would require consultation with her partner and relevant professional support -- doctors, lawyers, etc. -- so she could make an intelligent & informed decision. But given that she is the one who is pregnant, and also given that no one knows -- many BELIEVE, but no one KNOWS -- when the fetus attains personhood the woman's judgment is as good as anyone else's. So she should decide. Coercing a woman into carrying a pregnancy with no "rational basis" -- religious beliefs are not such -- is inconsistent with the "establishment" clause, because it entails privileging one theological doctrine above others. One may disagree with the "Roe" decision, but SCOTUS at least tried a rational basis approach (1st-trimester viability).

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Rick Dalbey

September 19, 2013  5:11pm

The very rare cases of pregnancy that pose a threat to the mother's life, including uterine cancer and ectopic pregnancies, are a source of great confusion. The Catholic Church (I am not RC) bans direct abortion to save the life of the mother. However the mother's life may be saved by a surgical procedure that does not directly attack the preborn baby. The most common dysfunctions are ectopic pregnancy, carcinoma of the cervix, and cancer of the ovary. In such cases, the physicians must do everything in their power to save both the mother and the child. If the physicians decide that, in the case of an ectopic pregnancy, the mother's life can only be saved by the removal of the Fallopian tube (and with it, the preborn baby), or by removal of some other tissue essential for the preborn baby's life, the baby will of course die. But this kind of surgery would not be categorized as an abortion. This is all the difference between deliberate murder (abortion) and unintentional natural death.

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Rick Dalbey

September 19, 2013  5:00pm

James and Wayne, First of all, let me clarify, I never said I was an absolutist. If what it takes to shut down 99% of abortions in the US is to allow an exception for rape or incest, I would be for that. Here’s why. Rape and incest account for less than 1% of the reasons for abortion. In a study conducted by the pro-abortion Alan Guttmacher Institute, entitled “Why Women Have Abortions,” women were asked to give specific reasons why they had an abortion. The top three answers were: 1. Unready for responsibility 2. Can't afford baby now 3. Concern about how having a baby would change her life. The three reasons, which came in last place and were tied at 1 percent included: 1. Was a victim of rape or incest 2. Husband or partner wanted the abortion 3. Didn't want others to know she has had sex or is pregnant. So let's agree Wayne and James and shut down 99% of all abortions. That would have saved 56.4 million babies since 1973.

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James Cowles

September 19, 2013  2:36pm

@Wayne Despres: "What if I, a total stranger, had walked up to you, or any anti-abortion absolutist, out of the blue one day and announced “Rick! You're going to El Salvador to open an orphanage. You have no choice. Start packing.” Would that not be different?" That would be another exercise in slavery, involuntary servitude, and human trafficking -- and you draw an excellent analogy to forced pregnancy. Coercing a woman into having a child she had no voluntary role in conceiving, or forcing her to carry to term a pregnancy that threatens her life, is itself an alternate form of rape. Rape is not about sex, it's about power. Ditto coerced pregnancy.

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James Cowles

September 19, 2013  2:31pm

@Rick Dalbey: ""I never said evangelicals per se pose a threat to liberty or that evangelicals per se advocate human trafficking ... ." Are there any other kind?" Sure there are ... I've encountered some in "CT" forums. One in particular whose pen name is "JG", though we have only ever discussed gay rights, not abortion. "According to a poll last month, "A new Quinnipiac poll found that born again evangelicals were far more likely to support the right-to-life than any other religious group in the United States." That is what an evangelical is." "More likely" is not the same as "always". Most people in the US do not smoke. Does that mean no one does? "Besides, you cannot separate law from religious doctrine." Sure you can. That's what the "establishment" and "free exercise" clauses are all about. But that does not mean that the basis of law is theology. But we're getting off-topic because you are still not responding to my ORIGINAL arguments. Again, I invite you to do so.

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Wayne Despres

September 19, 2013  2:06pm

What you have done is highly commendable, Rick. God bless you for it. I notice that you used the past tense. I still have some unwanted babies for you, even now, like it or not. But you have misunderstood my point. Unwanted children are not my problem, Rick. I would abort them, for the sake of the woman. But you say, in essence, “Yeah, too bad you got raped or abused, but that's YOUR problem. Deal with it.” If you can theologically justify forcing one person to have a child she doesn't want, why would it not be equally theologically fair to force ANY person to have a child they do not want? No one forced you to have an orphanage in El Salvador, did they? You did that of your own free will. But what if I, a total stranger, walked up to you, or any anti-abortion absolutist, out of the blue one day and announced “Rick! You're going to El Salvador to open an orphanage. You have no choice. Start packing.” Would that not be different? That's a yes or no answer, not a theological gray zone.

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Rick Dalbey

September 19, 2013  1:36pm

"I never said evangelicals per se pose a threat to liberty or that evangelicals per se advocate human trafficking ... only those evangelicals who want to substitute religious doctrine for the rule of law." Are there any other kind? According to a poll last month, "A new Quinnipiac poll found that born again evangelicals were far more likely to support the right-to-life than any other religious group in the United States." That is what an evangelical is. Besides, you cannot separate law from religious doctrine. "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness…” Whether the Magna Charta, Shariah or English Common law, they all share a basis in theological views of God, man and morality. The strongest base of support for pro-life is evangelicals. The strongest base of support for marriage between a man and a woman is evangelicals.

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Wayne Despres

September 19, 2013  1:10pm

Compare Psalm 139 with Gen. 1:28 “… and rule over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the sky and over every living thing that moves on the earth.” God placed all responsibility for this world in OUR hands, regardless of the psalms of David or theological misconceptions of God's omnipotence. We have a mess of our own creation on our hands, from the individual all the way up to the global level, rooted in immorality. Eliminating abortions won't clear up immorality, but ending immorality and family breakdown will finally bring an end to abortions – and a whole host of other plagues at the same time. Christianity, the new chosen people since the failure of Israel 2000 years ago, inherited the job. Dim as the Christian light has become in the chaos of the modern world of science and intellectualism, they must find new words of truth to get the message of Heaven across. Otherwise, Christians face the same fate as Israel of 2000 years ago – not one stone left piled upon another.

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James Cowles

September 19, 2013  12:48pm

@ Rick Dalbey ... You are not responding to what I DID say, you are responding to what I did NOT say. I never said evangelicals per se pose a threat to liberty or that evangelicals per se advocate human trafficking ... only those evangelicals who want to substitute religious doctrine for the rule of law & the Constitution & those evangelicals who aspire to indenture a woman in servitude to her own womb. I've encountered a number of evangelicals, even on "CT" forums, who agree with me on these issues. Now that that is out of the way -- actually, I suspect you knew better -- I would invite you to respond, point by point, to my actual arguments. Having too many straw men around poses a fire hazard.

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Rick Dalbey

September 19, 2013  12:15pm

James, your great implaccable enemy, to put it in Melville’s terms, your great white whale is God. If He exists (and you assert He doesn’t) you accuse him of being immoral and a murderer. And according to you, the great threat to the world is not North Korea’s nuclear weapons or Jihadists, it is evangelical Christians. And the most dangerous book on the planet is the bronze age religious text which purports to condone genocide and slavery, the Bible. Evangelicals are guilty of vile slavery and human trafficking. Anti abortion protestors are guilty of procuring slaves, they are slave traders. Anything else you want to get off your chest in Christianity Today? Ever read John Milton’s Paradise Lost? When cast down to earth Lucifer cries “Here at least, we shall be free; th' Almighty hath not built, here for his envy, will not drive us hence: Here we may reign secure, and in my choyce to reign is worth ambition though in Hell: Better to reign in Hell, then serve in Heav'n."

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James Cowles

September 19, 2013  11:52am

@ Rick Dalbey: "Why do I have to pay child support if my sperm gets someone pregnant. Especially if I was told she had birth control and I didn't want or expect a baby! That's slavery! How unfair that I get stuck with payments for 18 years!" You are forgetting the original context here: rape and incest and life-threatening complications with the pregnancy. In all those cases, your concerns about child support do not apply. My argument about forced pregnancy being the same as slavery still DOES apply, however. In rape or incest, the man who gets the woman pregnant is acting in the same capacity as the people who forcibly dragged Africans onto slave ships. In the case of the life-threatening pregnancy, that slave-procurement role is performed by people who agitate to prohibit abortion even when the mother's life is threatened. It's called "human trafficking". Prohibiting abortion IN SUCH CASES is human trafficking ... done in the name of being "pro-life". Ironies abound!

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James Cowles

September 19, 2013  11:29am

@ Rick Dalbey: "And James, why are you still mad at God because He gets to decide who lives and dies and you don’t." I'm not angry at God. I hardly could be, since I am an atheist, rationalist, and secular humanist. I am, however, more than a little angry at people who, if they had their way, would use the "establishment" clause of the First Amendment for toilet paper by writing into the civil law their own or their church's personal, individual, idiosyncratic interpretation of a middle-Bronze-Age religious text -- which also condones genocide and slavery, BTW -- so that that women could die in order to appease their or their church's personal, individual, idiosyncratic theological and ethical principles. They, not Iranian or North Korean nukes or jihadist sociopaths, are the greatest threat to a free society today.

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Rick Dalbey

September 19, 2013  10:34am

You are right Wayne. Unwanted children are everyone's problem. That is why I was on the board of an El Salvadoran orphanage for several years and raised funds for education and placement. My sister in law raised two beautiful adopted daughters. One is still working on her doctorate as an MD, the other, who suffered abuse as a throwaway infant and has difficulty with academics, is a beautiful Christian woman, a photographer and was just married last year. Being against abortion means being for Crisis Pregnancy Center, means being for Adoption, means being for financial support. It doesn’t mean being for death. And James, why are you still mad at God because He gets to decide who lives and dies and you don’t. That is why He is God. Just because God can take a life doesn’t mean that you can murder. That is the most bizarre rationale for abortion I have ever heard. "God does it so why can't we?"

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Wayne Despres

September 19, 2013  2:09am

That was rather tepid, Rick. Then if you have nothing more to say, how many unwanted children, that you also do not want, can we put you down for? Five? Seven? Well, never mind. Giving you a choice would defeat the point. Why don't you just let me decide that for you and send a bunch of them over - kind of like rape, right? Just stick it to ya, like it or not! What's the address?

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Rick Dalbey

September 19, 2013  1:41am

Yeah, OK, Good one Wayne. Abortions are back on. 55 million and counting. Good argument. Never thought of that. Keep them abortions coming.

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Wayne Despres

September 19, 2013  1:11am

I can't envision God the Abortionist. Even if "blastocysts" are alive at that phase, but don't make it, it's not because God willfully killed them, or withheld His power to save them. We should look to medical science to address that issue. Therefore, unsuccessful blastocysts are no rationale for Man the Abortionist. Most abortions result from our inability to create a society free of rape, incest and sexual promiscuity. Evil people do evil deeds, and innocent people suffer. Even if a "blastocyst" is "a life," a raped woman, an abused child or a woman whose life is endangered should not be compelled to bear that life. Her own innocent life has now already been invaded and ruined. Why should pro-lifers force her to make it even worse? Anti-abortion absolutists may appreciate the burdens they heap upon others if they were forced, against THEIR will, to take that child. How fast would it suddenly become "not my problem"?

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Rick Dalbey

September 18, 2013  10:49pm

James, if I kill someone it is called murder. If God kills someone, it is called "his time". Does that make God a murderer? If God gets to do it how come I can't? That is a foolish argument. Why do I have to pay child support if my sperm gets someone pregnant. Especially if I was told she had birth control and I didn't want or expect a baby! That's slavery! How unfair that I get stuck with payments for 18 years! The Bible does not concern itself with when a fetus becomes sentient. With Mary, the blastocyte or zygote or fetus was simply the fruit of her womb shortly after conception and given appropriate honor. With Elizabeth, a 6 month old fetus was called a baby and filled with the Spirit. Arguing when a fetus becomes sentient is immaterial to scripture. As David says, "My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place, when I was woven together in the depths of the earth. Your eyes saw my unformed body" "you knit me together in my mother’s womb."

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James Cowles

September 18, 2013  9:08pm

@Rick Dalbey: "the abortion mills are being shut down and evangelical christians are rejoicing" Now if we could only convince God to not cause the spontaneous abortion of roughly half of newly conceived human beings ... Unfortunately, He seems strangely reluctant to do so. "technical arguments like “slavery to her uterus” Nothing at all technical about it. Many people advocate that a woman should be bound under penalty of law to obey the dictates of her uterus, even though the child was conceived without her consent. That is slavery BY DEFINITION. May I suggest that you do not perceive it as such because you are male? "And Liz said, “blessed is the fruit of your womb!”, not “blessed is the blastocyte.”" At 6 months, the fetus was well past the "blatocyte" stage ... a term that did not exist in the 1st century CE, anyway. At what point the fetus becomes sentient & human is very much debatable, and if settled, it will be through scientific research, not appeal to authority.

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Rick Dalbey

September 18, 2013  4:56pm

James, for all your clever rhetoric, the abortion mills are being shut down and evangelical christians are rejoicing. Yay! Yet, 55 million babies have been killed and you want to extend the reign of these for profit death mills with technical arguments like “slavery to her uterus” being the equivalent of historical black slavery, or keeping the argument focused on “blastocysts” so we can de-personalize. As the angel said to Elizabeth about John the Baptist, “he will be filled with the Holy Spirit while yet in his mother’s womb.” When the just pregnant Mary met her 6 month pregnant relative, “the baby leaped in her womb” as he was filled with the Spirit. The baby, not the fetus. And Liz said, “blessed is the fruit of your womb!”, not “blessed is the blastocyte.”

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James Cowles

September 18, 2013  8:22am

@ Thomas Gary: "Untold millions of blastocysts a year in women worldwide never implant on a uterine wall. Are these persons who God lets die? What about the tens of millions more that do implant but don't hold? Are they persons dying as God watches?" The answer to your 1st & 3rd questions is & MUST be "Yes" -- according to orthodox Christian theology. Excellent points, all. Conservative evangelical Christians always cite biblical texts like Psalm 139 as proof of God's supervenient sovereignty in the creation of human life. But they never reflect on the DOWNside of this argument: that the roughly 50% of fertilized eggs that fail to implant (according to the literature) implies that God is not only sovereign as the Creator of life, but also sovereign as the Great Cosmic Abortionist on a scale that would make Dr. Tiller look like a rank amateur. Bottom line: if you want a sovereign, all-powerful God, be careful what you wish for. Human abortion clinics are closing, but not God's.

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Thomas Gary

September 18, 2013  2:33am

One thought for my Pro-Birth friends. Before Roe v Wade & for decades after the question was "Is the unborn baby equal to the mother's life?" Now you have turned the question around "Is the mother's life equal to the growing baby's life?" Yes it is. I believe human life begins at conception but how can a fertilized egg floating down the Fallopian tubes be called a person as you want in law? It is dividing cells with all of the DNA but no brain or any structure. The future spinal cord does not develop until days later. Untold millions of blastocysts a year in women worldwide never implant on a uterine wall. Are these persons who God lets die? What about the tens of millions more that do implant but don't hold? Are they persons dying as God watches? Abortion as only birth control is wrong. I look at pictures of babies forming & I cry with joy. Pro-Lifers love the moms too. God makes a human out of a sperm and egg, a divine mystery. Don't cheapen it by not loving the moms also. God does!

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Thomas Gary

September 17, 2013  6:10pm

To Christopher Fluegge - From Hebrew Translation: V22 "And if men strive together & hurt a woman with child so that HER FRUIT DEPART (THIS MEANS THE UNBORN BABY) & yet no harm come (WOMAN DOES NOT DIE), he shall be surely fined according as the woman's husband shall lay upon him & he shall pay as the judges determine". V23 "But if any harm follow (THE WOMAN DIES) then thou shalt give life for life." What do you think that FRUIT DEPARTS MEANS? U R doing the standard Evangelical thing - read a verse to how you want it to mean & then ignore the Hebrew text & the context. Please research what I posted about ancient Jews not thinking that unborn baby was equal to a person outside the womb. Please check historical fact of Jews using abortion to save life of mother. Please check the whole story instead of using two verses without the known historical truth of the ancient Jews, including Jesus' times & far, far later. You & I don't have to agree with it but don't say Bible says so. Peace/God

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Wayne Despres

September 17, 2013  5:57pm

James Cowles - you're absolutely correct! Just as I could never see the fairness of forcing someone to adopt a child they did not want, I likewise could not expect anyone to see the fairness of forcing a raped woman to give birth to a child she never wanted. QED

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Wayne Despres

September 17, 2013  5:53pm

Abortion - like communism, family breakdown, and rampant drug abuse, crime and immorality - is a symptom of the failure of Christianity to win the hearts and minds of youth. Christianity is in danger of being swamped by secularism, atheism and radicalism. Christianity must find a new way of presenting issues such as the reality of the existence God, clear insights into the nature of the true living God, the purpose of all life in the universe God created, and the vision for the realization of the true individual, family, society nation and world centered upon God. Unless Christians can accomplish this, they are in danger of perishing in a few short generations.

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James Cowles

September 17, 2013  5:38pm

@ Wayne Despres: "James Cowles, in addition to what you say in your comment, the follow-up point was that if it's okay for "pro-life absolutists" to end abortions and thereby compel a raped woman to give birth against her will, would it not be okay in turn for "pro-adoption absolutists" to force pro-life absolutists to adopt these children against their will? Further, why not force them to adopt ALL children who need homes and just put an end to orphanages?" I hear what you are saying, but one could argue that the latter form of coercion -- forcing people to adopt -- would likewise be a form of slavery / involuntary servitude. One would not excuse the other. **** HOWEVER **** ... that said ... if one accepts the slavery of a woman to her uterus, one must -- in the name of consistency, inter alia -- accept the slavery of others (coerced adoptive parents) to that same woman's womb. CONSTITUTIONALLY, BOTH are suspect. But LOGICALLY, both stand or fall together.

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Wayne Despres

September 17, 2013  5:20pm

James Cowles, in addition to what you say in your comment, the follow-up point was that if it's okay for "pro-life absolutists" to end abortions and thereby compel a raped woman to give birth against her will, would it not be okay in turn for "pro-adoption absolutists" to force pro-life absolutists to adopt these children against their will? Further, why not force them to adopt ALL children who need homes and just put an end to orphanages?

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James Cowles

September 17, 2013  2:48pm

@ Wayne Despres: "A raped woman is forced to become pregnant. You say she should also therefore be "forced" to give birth to that child." EXACTLY ... the operative word being "forced". What happens to the baby after birth occurs AFTER this coerced act of involuntary servitude. Even if the baby is adopted, the fact remains that, for 9 months, the woman was forced into the role of being a slave on the plantation of her own uterus. Ditto incest. Ditto life-threatening pregnancy. THE SLAVERY SUBSISTS IN THE PRIOR ACT ... AND THAT FACT PERSISTS EVEN IF ADOPTION RESULTS IN A "HAPPY ENDING" ... Joe is reluctant to deal with the issue of coercion.

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James Cowles

September 17, 2013  2:44pm

@ Joe Farah: Your entire post is beside the point of my argument. I am talking about constitutional rights, not embryology or cytology or reproductive biology. Would you care to address my constitutional argument on its own terms?

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Wayne Despres

September 17, 2013  1:58pm

Joe Farah, you raised a number of issues, none of which was relevant to Wade's point. He specifically highlighted "forced" as the key word. A raped woman is forced to become pregnant. You say she should also therefore be "forced" to give birth to that child. Adoption, on the other hand, is entirely voluntarily; no one is "forced" to adopt a rape child. But based upon your position, if it's fair to "force" an unwanted pregnancy and birth on someone else, then surely you would agree that those who support your position should be equally forced to adopt rape children?

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Joe Farah

September 17, 2013  11:55am

@James: 1. Nobody is forcing anyone to care for a child after birth. I will gladly accept any child and there are 100,000s of others who will too, if not millions. 2. Abortion is more dangerous than having a baby. Assuming you have your facts at hand, please let me know the number of deaths to the mother per 100,000 live births, and per 100,000 abortions. Second, please let me know the number of abortions per 100,000 that are due to rape or incest. Then look at those number for a while and tell me what they tell you. 3. In either event, killing an innocent child is not a solution. Please tell me that you are familiar with fetal growth and that you know that abortion stops a beating heart. You need to do some serious research on the life of the child in the womb before you start throwing out comments like this. @Wade: I'd consider it "fair and just" as long as we first asked if there were anyone who wanted to raise the child. Give me the child rather than abort him/her.

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Christopher Fluegge

September 17, 2013  11:48am

Thomas Gary September 16, 2013 "I am Pro-Life. Contrary to Evangelicals, the Bible does NOT condemn abortion in all cases. In Exodus 21: 22-25, the unborn child is not considered a full human or else the man who caused the baby's death would be killed instead of paying a fine......." You clearly did not read that scripture. It clearly says that if there is serious injury or death, that the one who caused the serious injury or death should receive the same (Injury or death) in return. Let me spell that out for you, Thomas.... It says that if the person killed an unborn baby, that person should be killed themselves. Not sure how much more clear that Bible verse can be.

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James Cowles

September 17, 2013  9:09am

Forcing a woman to have a child she had no voluntary part in conceiving -- rape and incest -- is a form of slavery, which has been illegal since the 13th Amendment was ratified. Ditto forcing a woman to carry a pregnancy that threatens her life. People who have no problem with this kind of involuntary servitude would, if they were consistent, likewise have no problem with folks of color being bound to a plantation, the only difference being that, with the incest / rape / life-threatened victim, the "plantation" would be her own uterus.

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Chris Griffin

September 17, 2013  7:54am

@joechipps "Mind your own business." "Just like you would not like people telling you how to live your life" "it's best to stay out of others." Joe, it seems like you are contradicting yourself. At one point, you are telling the people commenting on this site to not tell other people what to do and at the same you are telling them what to do. So is it that only you get to tell people what to do? How does this work? You are not living by your own advice.

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kestrel 27

September 17, 2013  4:53am

Liberals tried for years to tell us that abortion should be legal for the rape, incest, and life of the Mother BS. Truth be told, it was always about them being able to have sex without any consequences. If you followed their warped logic, women would be getting raped by the millions and incest would be rampant, which we all know it isn't. Notice that the picture has a "planned parenthood" sign being taken down. We all knew "Planned Parenthood" was nothing but a multi million dollar a year abortion mill that Liberals used to promote guilt free sex while making millions of dollars in the process. That's the real reason Liberals want abortion mills. They make lot's of money running them. You see, Liberals really do love Capitalism...just for themselves though!!

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Thomas Gary

September 16, 2013  11:10pm

Speaking as a Pro-Life father, I don't believe that abortion laws should be involved in certain terrible circumstances where there is nothing but pain. I'm a Christian not Catholic. I believe I should have the choice to save a beloved wife at the terrible cost of losing a child or both. If I had a daughter who was raped & got pregnant, especially if she is going thru PTSD & other mental problems, we should have a choice in limiting the tragedy. In a Latin American country, the Catholic Church hierarchy said they'd excommunicate any doctor who helped in the nation's first legal abortion - aiding an 11 year old girl raped by a stepfather. Such compassion! Many here sound the same. Of course the baby is innocent, but so is the dying mother or raped daughter. I've seen plenty people talk righteously until tragedy hits home. A Christian high school counselor told a psychologist friend that when EV girls got pregnant, almost always the parents had the girl get an abortion. Sad but true.

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Tara Murphy

September 16, 2013  9:14pm

Women will only travel to other states in order to abort. Abortion should always be legal in cases of medical reason where there is a birth defect or chromosomal abnormality. It isn't only unwanted pregnancies that are aborted. Many are much wanted pregnancies where a defect is found, some of which are fatal anyway. I know Christians don't believe in aborting these under any circumstances, but many women would rather be spared the heartache and burden. Modern medicine has provided ways to detect the health of a fetus as early as 10 weeks. Please respect the heartbreaking choice that many women make for their families.

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Wade Meadows

September 16, 2013  9:13pm

I have a question regarding children conceived from rape. Which of us would agree that forcing someone other than the birth mother to adopt those children when they're born would be fair and right? The operative word here is "forcing," as in "you have no choice." A social worker arrives one day at your door and informs you that you now have a new family member ... or two ... or three ... and you WILL take in and care for these children.

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Mary Calhoun

September 16, 2013  5:38pm

I've read several posts stating it isn't God's will for a child to be conceived from rape. You are right. It isn't His will. However, we live in a broken sinful world that doesn't operate in God's will. Kill a child because of it? No. Why condemn the life of a child for someone else's horrendous act? There are many women who see abortion or morning after pills as a simple way of tossing a problem away. They fail to see the "problem" is a child from conception. God knew us before we were born. He knit us together in our mother's womb. Everyone has to answer for their actions one day to God. It is a simple fact. No amount of analysis with change that. Taking the life of a child in the womb is no different than taking the life of a growing, thriving child in the world. Murder is murder. God never intended for everything to be so complicated when it comes to His word. I'm thankful the abortion clinics are finally shutting doors.

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John Reynolds

September 16, 2013  5:24pm

Christian? Please don't be so naive. Haven't you heard of the "Morning After Pill"? The abortion procedure is simply being replaced by an easy to swallow over the counter pill available at your local pharmacy. America has not repented of anything. America is on a downward spiral of sin and death. You'd be wise to forget America and get yourself ready for the imminent return of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

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Linda Carroll

September 16, 2013  5:18pm

Wade Meadows, may I address your comments about rape and the child of that rape? While I agree with you that no woman should be forced to rear a child born from rape, I also do not think any child conceived of rape should be aborted. The child is not at fault because the father is the criminal. A similar argument could be made by the following scenario: a man kills another man, but the killer manages to escape the authorities. However, he has a son (could be a daughter), so the authorities go to the killer's home, and because they have the law on their side, they take the life of the child, for the crime of the father. Taking the life of the unborn child can be compared to that, for that child did not rape or cause harm; the father did. Let the pregnancy continue and let the woman give up the child for adoption. I know that those nine months will be a great sacrifice (and probably pain) for the woman, but that nine months compared to death for the child is a small price to pay.

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Wade Meadows

September 16, 2013  3:51pm

Hi Steven. I guess you were referring to me when you mentioned that someone in this discussion had said "we should not force a woman to bear a child they didn't want to conceive." If so, that's not quite what I said. My words were: "A girl should never be compelled to bear a child she never wanted, but was VIOLATED into conceiving." I was referring to rape, and I do not think any woman or girl should be forced to raise a child she was raped into conceiving. She should not be compelled to bear and raise that child. I cannot see the conception of that child as being "the will of God." God's children are conceived and born in love, and raised in the love and will of God by two parents who stand together as the image and representative of the heart and will of God - God made man in His own image ... male and female he created them."

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Linda Carroll

September 16, 2013  1:46pm

This article does provide some good news; now if we can get Congress to stop funding Planned Parenthood, the majority of the rest of these slaughter houses will close. We can pray and work toward that goal. Call your representative, as they are talking budget NOW. Make your voices heard. As to Kevin Stowell's narcissism comment about Abby Johnson, I rejoice that Johnson has seen the error of her ways and finds comfort in knowing that no other babies will be murdered and that no other "Abby Johnson" will have to live with the guilt that she has lived with now that Bryan facility is closed. I see nothing narcissistic or evil in that, only hopeful gratitude.

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Stephen Swanson

September 16, 2013  1:14pm

Someone said we should not force a woman to bear a child they didn't want to conceive. It is also generally accepted that we should not murder (premeditated killing of an innocent person). In this case, these two are in conflict. Which should take precedence? Should we force motherhood to prevent a murder? Or should we murder to prevent a forced motherhood?

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Kevin Stowell

September 16, 2013  12:42pm

"Knowing that the former abortion clinic I once ran is now closing is the biggest personal victory of my life," Johnson said in a written statement after the announcement of the shutdown. "From running that facility, to then advocating for its closure, and now celebrating that dream ... it shows that my life has indeed come full circle." Narcissism is the root of much evil.

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Rene Guerra

September 16, 2013  12:17pm

J. Chipps attempts to defend "doctors and mothers making decisions to abort", deciding on the life of the third human in the trinomial, the most innocent human life there can be: a baby in gestation whom a soulless physician and the depraved woman who wants to get rid of "the inconvenience" are about to murder in the 1st degree. DNA science has unequivocally proved that a baby in gestation is not a limb of the carrying woman, for the baby's DNA is NOT identical to her's, and the distinctiveness is such that she cannot be cloned from any physiologic tissue of the baby, whereas she can be cloned from even the DNA in her very feces. No, an aborting woman is not deciding on her body at all; she is deciding to commit murder in the 1st degree on another individual, an individual who comes in to being since the very instant the spermatozoid and the egg fuse into a distinct human being, in the form of an embryo, a human one, not the embryo of a cricket or a frog or a cat or any other species.

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Wade Meadows

September 16, 2013  12:03pm

God may have a plan and a will for each one of us, but that doesn't mean every event that occurs is in accordance with the plan and will of God. Rape, adultery or incest are not the will of God. The death of a mother as a direct consequence of carrying or giving birth to a child is not the will of God. Otherwise, virtually any evil behavior could be justified as "the will of God." Further, based upon that reasoning, why take a stand against evil if evil itself is the will of God. A stand against evil would be a stand against God Himself.

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Ross Page

September 16, 2013  11:49am

I prefer to fight the baby killers with harsh rhetoric. I know this is a Christian site and what i advocate does not fit in to the peace-nic attitude of American Christians. I have found that my harsh rhetoric toward the communist left such as the baby killers inflames their passions. When people in general are angry they make mistakes and can be defeated much easier. This is what has been happening of late. Christians got quiet and what happened here and there to derail the commies made them mad. Then the left became inflamed and lost in the State Houses. So you should appreciate we Christian agitators. So what if a few baby killers are sent to join Pharaoh because they are alienated.

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James Aist

September 16, 2013  11:18am

According to the God of the Bible, human life begins at conception. God has a plan for our lives before we are even conceived, and abortion thwarts the plan of God. We are made in the image of God, and He condemns abortion as sin because it is murder, an act of utter and total disrespect for the image of God himself and a grave offense to the very being of God. And, it is a sin to be “pro-choice”, because a pro-choice position, in effect, approves of and encourages the sin of abortion. Read more at http://rethinkingtheology.com/2013/05/13/abortion-a-biblical-perspective/

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Gregg Sotack

September 16, 2013  11:15am

Kudos to ALL of y'all for intelligent & respectful discourse in a Comments section! I'm not used to this, esp. when abortion is the subject. "For by your words you will be acquitted and by your words you will be judged" - Matthew 12:36.

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david cafarella

September 16, 2013  11:09am

Praise the Lord Jesus Christ ! :)

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Rick Smith

September 16, 2013  10:34am

Maybe the tide is turning. I pray that it is

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Kru Satyr

September 16, 2013  10:26am

Planned Parenthood is a messy business and, as stated by others here, may be attracting too much attention, is too easily targeted. Nevertheless, hundreds of millions in profits and government subsidies and quid pro quo political funding are in play, the poser president expresses personal affection for this outfit and its killing: it will continue in a less targetable fashion.

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Wade Meadows

September 16, 2013  9:35am

The disappearance of abortion clinics may compel individuals to become more circumspect about their behavior. If the emphasis was upon abstinence education rather than how to deal with unwanted pregnancy, the question of abortion would be irrelevant. Until folks are ready to take full responsibility for the consequences, some abortions will be necessary. A girl should never be compelled to bear a child she never wanted, but was violated into conceiving. A woman should not have to bear a child if her own life is at stake. For those who feel we should teach abstinence and still have no abortion under any circumstances because one of those aborted babies might have become a doctor or a farmer, I ask the question "What if those babies had never been conceived at all due to the practice of abstinence? Would we not still be short a doctor or a farmer or two?"

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leslie turrin

September 16, 2013  8:58am

Liberals love killing babies. This isn't going to sit well with them.

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Janet Marion

September 16, 2013  8:54am

I am concerned that the "decline in the abortion rate" might not take into consideration the abortion inducing drug RU486, also known as the morning after pill. "Conventional" abortion, ie D&C and suction, may be declining because of RU486. With the advent of RU486, could abortions actually be increasing? Unfortunately, the numbers might be misleading.

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Matt Clayton

September 16, 2013  8:52am

It is refreshing and an answer to prayer to see clear Christian victories savings lives of the most innocent of our society. I've read fellow posters comments and can partially understand where differences of opinions come from. No one wants to see any fellow human being in a state of poor health. To Joe Chipps- God does not make ANY mistakes. That might be an easy answer in attempting to explain infant morbidity, but your belief is simply incorrect. I pray that this trend will continue, and fewer babies will be murdered all in the name of "choice". I work for a large pro-life organization in Ohio. I have seen the women's faces while pondering abortion. The best thing we can do as Christ's hands is to LOVE them. True love is extending a hand of knowledge, truth, assistance, and gentleness so women can make the best choice. Praise be to God!

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Thomas Warmuth

September 16, 2013  8:34am

Manuel, Don't get too caught up in literal translations. Jesus revealed the spiritual nature of the 6th Commandment in Matthew 5:21-22. God considers anger or hatred to be murder. By that standard, we are all guilty of violating this Commandment whether we call it "murder" or "killing". 21–22  “You’re familiar with the command to the ancients, ‘Do not murder.’ I’m telling you that anyone who is so much as angry with a brother or sister is guilty of murder. Carelessly call a brother ‘idiot!’ and you just might find yourself hauled into court. Thoughtlessly yell ‘stupid!’ at a sister and you are on the brink of hellfire. The simple moral fact is that words kill. Peterson, E. H. (2005). The Message: the Bible in contemporary language. Colorado Springs, CO: NavPress.

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manuel martinez

September 16, 2013  7:17am

Sue Di its thou shalt not murder you should really look into the translation error and how much one word does make a difference.and yes this would be murder cold calculated planned killing for gain. here is a video that you can see the differences in translations from the original texts or the oldest its a real good start http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tddCNY6U77Y

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Thomas Warmuth

September 16, 2013  7:16am

To Joe Chipps and Jamie Brown, you seem to think some level of abortion is necessary or justifiable. Jamie, how many of those children never became farmers to help feed all the people you worry would starve? Joe, how many never became doctors who could help alleviate suffering? Both of you see children as a drain on resources in a zero-sum game. By your logic, everyone in this country should have died in misery and suffering 100 years after the US was founded because our population would have overwhelmed our limited resources by then. Yet the opposite happened and this country prospered as no other country ever has in history. Why? All of us have a conscience, and the conscience is given to us by God to know right from wrong. We all know it's wrong to lie. We all know it's wrong to steal. We all know it's wrong to murder. We know this because God has taken the time to write his law on our hearts, with our conscience bearing witness. So, it's okay to kill a baby in the womb when...?

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manuel martinez

September 16, 2013  7:08am

joe chipps your so wrong all the pain and suffering has been caused by man to man so your logic is wrong.beings with free will make mistakes or are just evil and have through the ages caused people to suffer for some form of strategic/economic/political gain.and as for the rape incest thing the child did nothing wrong to deserve death guess i am just not the type to kill a baby for something it didn't do.

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manuel martinez

September 16, 2013  7:04am

you guys do realize nothing has changed for the better from what i see here the doctors are being given perks for closing like they are by law allowed to use hospitals for their operations like it says here in mandating abortion doctors have admitting privileges at local hospitals. now why do yo think a doctor admits someone to a hospital to visit them nothing has been gained the whole thing is a feel good ruse a deception or bait and switch. we need to make it a capital offense to kill an unborn child and execute those who do it.

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Blu Clw

September 16, 2013  5:35am

Thank you Lord, thank you for helping us push this abomination out of our world and into the pit where it belongs!

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gina stafford

September 16, 2013  4:25am

Praise the Lord, I pray more and more, close!!!

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joe chipps

September 16, 2013  3:14am

I am new to this site and reading the comments most poster's seem to think they are taking the high road by being anti-abortion in all cases. Your wrong, God does make mistakes, go to any hospital and see the pitiful results. Babies either in pain for a short life or worse living years bedridden. You poster's do not like Doctors and mothers making decisions to abort but by not aborting you are sentencing the child and family to a life of misery. Mind your own business, you do not know the anguish of the people involved or the circumstances, and just like you would not like people telling you how to live your life it's best to stay out of others.

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Rene Guerra

September 16, 2013  12:54am

J. Brown doesn't believe in abortion, meaning he doesn't approve, let alone support abortion. However I do believe in abortion, for it does exist, being the most repugnant abomination humans can commit; not even mother hyenas murder their babies in gestation. Furthermore, absolute respect for innocent human life is the most essential foundation of human society; no human conglomerate can be called society if absolute respect for innocent human life is not rigorously observed and enforced. And what form of innocent human life can be more innocent than a baby in gestation? Abortion on demand is nothing else than the murder with all premeditation, malice, collusion, and advantage, of a baby in gestation; it is murder in the first degree. Human life starts the instant the spermatozoid and the egg fuse into one human embryo not an iguana's, or a rat's, or a fish's or a dog's; let's all make the point: let's all make our real age the time from birthed plus the duration of our mother's term.

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Sue Di

September 16, 2013  12:13am

When you have a solid belief in God and the 10 commandments any questions the prior commenters raised should have been answered within their own moral beliefs. What happened prior to abortion becoming law? Children were adopted. There were many families who wanted these children. Now, they go to China or elsewhere to adopt children. Starvation? Why would there be starvation? We welcome 20 million illegal aliens without a hitch but we can't support our own children? Not true. For Christians - what does the Bible teach? Thou shalt not kill. That's simple and straight forward. There's no if, ands or buts...don't kill. Don't kill your unborn child. Period. Instead...know that this child is a gift, a precious gift you have been given and you must act responsibly to take care of that child or give it to someone who will love it. Society has made the right thing to do very murky...they call it a woman's right to choose. To choose to kill another human being? Please...don't.

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double ducks

September 15, 2013  11:54pm

Yes, babies are all too often born into difficult situations, too numerous to recount. The choice of life is seldom easy. But life is not easy. Persevere. Death is never the answer to life's problems. Never give in to the Evil One who always calls for hopelessness and death of spirit.

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Jamie Brown

September 15, 2013  11:16pm

I am a failed man. I make no judgements on any of the people commenting or not. I do not believe in abortion. I believe in the sanctity of the act (Which I have strayed countless times) and honestly only believe in abortion in a rape or incest case. That is what I was taught and that is what I believe (and I found it on my own). I believe in God and I am a saved man. I am also smart as hell and what we are doing and fighting for makes no sense if we want generations after us to live. We are absolutely kidding ourselves if we don't see what is happening in this world with overcrowding. If Abortions were never legalized with Roe vs. Wade. We, Americans, would have a food shortage right now and America pretty much feeds 70% of the world. I believe in the Bible, Jesus, and the Scriptures. Jesus might have been the greatest Tactician of all time. We have to think outside the box now. Federal or State, abortions are never going away. We need to save the part that can be saved.

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Bob White

September 15, 2013  10:25pm

There may yet be hope for this nation. This story is encouraging. I was so proud of Texas when we figured out a way to shut these murder factories down. Satan will always find plenty of people to do his bidding, but I like to think we may have them outnumbered in the South, anyway.

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Greg Wangler

September 15, 2013  10:09pm

Call it a war on women-- the babies are winning.

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Lori Copeland

September 14, 2013  1:01pm

I am pro-life meaning I am pro-baby and I am pro-mommy and I am pro-daddy. While abortion clinic demise is good news I wonder what this really means to pro-lifers, you know, the ones like me who are pro-all life. So, now more babies can be born into poverty, born into extremely dysfunctional domestic situations, and more single moms can be looked down upon by Christians in their million dollar palaces (sometimes called churches, or ministry centers, etc). So, Church, Body of Christ, Fellow Believers, how about we start offering some viable solutions to these issues? How about instead of building a million dollar gymnasium or a new sparkling hi-tech fellowship hall, how about we build homes for moms with babies they didn't abort? How about we help feed them, clothe them, invest in them personally. I don't mean giving a donation bag of items to a crisis pregnancy center. I mean how about inviting these moms with their babies/children into our lives to see the love of Jesus?

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CB Ross

September 14, 2013  8:13am

@ James Aist Well said, sir! I have often asked those who support abortion to tell me at what stage the "embryo" "becomes" a human being. I'm still awaiting a sensible answer! From the instant that the male sperm pierces the female egg, and the first mitosis, we have a human being - albeit at its earliest stage of development. What is certain is that, if left to grow, it cannot possibly become anything else! It is often said that when the USoA catches cold, the UK sneezes. I hope and pray that this trend will soon be observed on this side of 'the pond' also. Blessings, and shalom.

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James Aist

September 13, 2013  6:54pm

From a biological perspective, human life (the 2N phase) begins at conception and proceeds on an uninterrupted continuum of developmental stages, first in the womb, and then outside of the womb. There is no identifiable point in this continuum at which an unborn child becomes suddenly human; the unborn child, being 2N, is, biologically speaking, a human being all along. And that is why, in 1960, everyone seemed to know that human life begins at conception. Read more at http://rethinkingtheology.com/2013/05/10/abortion-a-biological-perspective/

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