“I frequently quote myself.” said George Bernard Shaw. “It adds spice and flavor to the conversation.” At the risk of seeming presumptuous I begin by quoting from a sermon on the transcendence of God I preached last January:

In the final analysis the great importance of belief in God’s transcendence is that it makes a difference between reverence and irreverence. Reverence is translated into all of life. Without belief in a God who transcends our own experience and our own consciousness, man must come to believe that he is the Lord of Life, and sooner or later he is led to either arrogance or despair. In his arrogance he will decree when the lives of others shall begin and end. He will develop the perfect world with just the right number of people. No one will be born with physical defects and no one will be born who is unwanted; no one will live longer than is good for himself and the community—all this in the name of humanitarianism. But in a time of despair this earthbound Lord of Life may logically decree the conclusion of his own.

In the context of this I subsequently gave considerable thought to the question of legalized abortion. I consulted the psychiatric, general medical, and legal communities; these should not, of course, be the final determinants of a spiritual conclusion, but theological judgments about an issue made without recourse to experts in related disciplines are often unsound. My presentation is strong on psychiatric reference, but for a good reason: most legal abortions occur with the blessing of psychiatry, since only a small minority can be justified on strictly physical grounds.

In consulting related disciplines I soon found that even accepted facts should be carefully scrutinized; contradictory arguments ...

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