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My Take: When evangelicals were pro-choice
The author notes that evangelical Christians were once largely pro-abortion rights.
October 30th, 2012
05:54 PM ET

My Take: When evangelicals were pro-choice

Editor's Note: Jonathan Dudley is the author of "Broken Words: The Abuse of Science and Faith in American Politics."

By Jonathan Dudley, Special to CNN

Over the course of the 2012 election season, evangelical politicians have put their community’s hard-line opposition to abortion on dramatic display.

Missouri Rep. Todd Akin claimed “legitimate rape” doesn’t result in pregnancy. Indiana Senate candidate Richard Mourdock insisted that “even when life begins in that horrible situation of rape, that it is something that God intended to happen.”

While these statements have understandably provoked outrage, they’ve also reinforced a false assumption, shared by liberals and conservatives alike: that uncompromising opposition to abortion is a timeless feature of evangelical Christianity.

The reality is that what conservative Christians now say is the Bible’s clear teaching on the matter was not a widespread interpretation until the late 20th century.

Opinion: Let's get real about abortions

In 1968, Christianity Today published a special issue on contraception and abortion, encapsulating the consensus among evangelical thinkers at the time. In the leading article, professor Bruce Waltke, of the famously conservative Dallas Theological Seminary, explained the Bible plainly teaches that life begins at birth:

“God does not regard the fetus as a soul, no matter how far gestation has progressed. The Law plainly exacts: 'If a man kills any human life he will be put to death' (Lev. 24:17). But according to Exodus 21:22–24, the destruction of the fetus is not a capital offense… Clearly, then, in contrast to the mother, the fetus is not reckoned as a soul.”

The magazine Christian Life agreed, insisting, “The Bible definitely pinpoints a difference in the value of a fetus and an adult.” And the Southern Baptist Convention passed a 1971 resolution affirming abortion should be legal not only to protect the life of the mother, but to protect her emotional health as well.

Opinion: Why the abortion issue won’t go away

These stalwart evangelical institutions and leaders would be heretics by today’s standards. Yet their positions were mainstream at the time, widely believed by born-again Christians to flow from the unambiguous teaching of Scripture.

Televangelist Jerry Falwell spearheaded the reversal of opinion on abortion in the late 1970s, leading his Moral Majority activist group into close political alliance with Catholic organizations against the sexual revolution.

In contrast to evangelicals, Catholics had mobilized against abortion immediately after Roe v. Wade. Drawing on mid-19th century Church doctrines, organizations like the National Right to Life Committee insisted a right to life exists from the moment of conception.

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As evangelical leaders formed common cause with Catholics on topics like feminism and homosexuality, they began re-interpreting the Bible as teaching the Roman Catholic position on abortion.

Falwell’s first major treatment of the issue, in a 1980 book chapter called, significantly, “The Right to Life,” declared, “The Bible clearly states that life begins at conception… (Abortion) is murder according to the Word of God.”

With the megawatt power of his TV presence and mailing list, Falwell and his allies disseminated these interpretations to evangelicals across America.

CNN’s Belief Blog: The faith angles behind the biggest stories

By 1984, it became clear these efforts had worked. That year, InterVarsity Press published the book Brave New People, which re-stated the 1970 evangelical consensus: abortion was a tough issue and warranted in many circumstances.

An avalanche of protests met the publication, forcing InterVarsity Press to withdraw a book for the first time in its history.

“The heresy of which I appear to be guilty,” the author lamented, “is that I cannot state categorically that human/personal life commences at day one of gestation.... In order to be labeled an evangelical, it is now essential to hold a particular view of the status of the embryo and fetus.”

What the author quickly realized was that the “biblical view on abortion” had dramatically shifted over the course of a mere 15 years, from clearly stating life begins at birth to just as clearly teaching it begins at conception.

During the 2008 presidential election, Purpose Driven Life author Rick Warren demonstrated the depth of this shift when he proclaimed: “The reason I believe life begins at conception is ‘cause the Bible says it.”

It is hard to underestimate the political significance of this reversal. It has required the GOP presidential nominee to switch his views from pro-choice to pro-life to be a viable candidate. It has led conservative Christians to vote for politicians like Akin and Mourdock for an entire generation.

And on November 6, it will lead millions of evangelicals to support Mitt Romney over Barack Obama out of the conviction that the Bible unequivocally forbids abortion.

But before casting their ballots, such evangelicals would benefit from pausing to look back at their own history. In doing so, they might consider the possibility that they aren’t submitting to the dictates of a timeless biblical truth, but instead, to the goals of a well-organized political initiative only a little more than 30 years old.

The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of Jonathan Dudley.

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Abortion • Catholic Church • Christianity • Opinion

soundoff (2,844 Responses)
  1. MagicPanties

    Religion does far more harm than good.
    It shackles the brain and promotes behavior based on the idiocy that "faith" trumps everything.

    Religion is a relic of the middle ages and it is well past time to move on.

    October 31, 2012 at 1:44 pm |
    • GHP

      To each their own opinion, and their right to either reap the rewards or suffer the consequences. For your sake, I am happy that you have moved on. However, do not force your lack of any faith on me, my decision is different.

      October 31, 2012 at 1:50 pm |
    • the AnViL

      GHP:

      the exact opposite is the problem.

      we've got delusional idiots working overtime to restrict the freedoms and rights of americans all based on silly religious ideology.

      those of you caught in the sick ignorant grip of delusional thinking should never be allowed to vote, hold public office, teach public school or purchase firearms.

      you should literally be ashamed to be this ignorant

      October 31, 2012 at 9:21 pm |
  2. Jim Andrews

    A huge "thank you" for this excellent article defending the faith of the centuries as against the wishes of the activist few. As an evangelical Christian who has always held to the position of the Church prior to the 1970's apostasy, I congratulate you.

    October 31, 2012 at 1:42 pm |
  3. steelerguin

    This article is a bunch of baloney. "Forward thinking" individuals like the author are asking those of a differing opinion to be "backward thinking" to beliefs held 30 to 40 years ago. Given his logic, why not harken back to the beliefs of the Dark Ages. That is certainly progressive thinking.

    October 31, 2012 at 1:42 pm |
    • Dan

      We are going back to the Dark Ages. A time when science was eschewed (like now). I time when religion was in power around the known world (we're headed that way). You may get your wish. Irtonically, the Evangelicals from 40 yers ago were more enlightened than they are now. Moving ford in time is not always progress. Sometimes we go the wrong way.

      October 31, 2012 at 1:52 pm |
    • Knuckles Nuclear

      What the author was trying to say is that people's interpretation of what the Bible means changes constantly. Over a hundred years ago Christians were finding legitimacy for slavery in verses. 50 years ago, some were finding reasons against interracial marriage in there. 20 years ago, as pointed out they thought the Bible was OK with abortion. Then someone interprets it to be different.

      "But those others were wrong in the first place", you might say. "It has always meant to be blah, blah, etc, etc." But that's the thing. Every time different people at different times have said "No, those people got it wrong. This is the RIGHT way to believe!" Well, how do you know the current way you may be interpreting the Bible is the correct one? What if 20-30 years from now someone says the Christians of our time have had it wrong.

      "No that's not going to happen" you say. "We've got it right this time!"

      Yes, that"s what all the other Christians of different times have said, too.

      October 31, 2012 at 2:01 pm |
  4. Joe Rockbottom

    "Not only does each child have a purpose, but GOD himself KNOWS who that child will be when he or she is born."

    Gee, a god can determine all before even conception, but can't prevent death later on? Or maybe he just kills them once their purpose has been fulfilled. Or maybe their death is simply the fulfillment of some other persons plan. You have to wonder...

    Were the people shot in the theater iin Aurora put on earth by God so a maniac could kill them, or did they fulfull their purpose and this is how god decided to get rid of them?

    Did the two kids in NY city killed by their nanny fulfull gods plan for them and this is the best way he could think of to get rid of them once he was done with them? Of were they part of the nanny's life plan. Or maybe the plan was actually to drive their mother and fater insane and the rest is just collateral damage.

    The people drowned in the recent storm must certainly have fulfilled god's plan for them and the storm was a convenient way to dispose of them. Who knows, maybe that was the sole purpose of the storm – eliminate people who's "plan" was fulfilled. And the damage is just gods plan to get other people working on some other stuff for awhile, I guess. Who knows?!?!?1

    I heard a lady on the radio yesterday who couldn't understand why they were not well off and had to struggle financially because they prayed about money all the time, even about buying some bookshelves. She thought God must just have some other plan for them.

    Get a clue. There is no plan for you! There is no god looking after you. If there is a god, it cares nothing about you and doesn't even know you exist.

    All this wondering about gods plan and human choice is just rationalizing the fact that god's "plan" is mysterious. Yes, it is, because it is all in your head.

    Religion is for those who are too weak to take life on it's own terms. It is what it is. Nothing more. Get over it. Grow up. Get a clue!

    That's why abortion is a non-issue. It does not matter one bit. Humans are a dime a dozen. One more or less will make no difference what-so-ever. Untill you understand that, you will be doomed to be under the thumb of religious nutjobs who want nother more than to control you and take your money (go look at the absolute fortunes spend to build cathedrals if you don't believe what the true goal of the church is!).

    October 31, 2012 at 1:40 pm |
    • bcarpe

      Death is punishment for the human race's own sin.

      October 31, 2012 at 2:49 pm |
  5. Cynic

    The United States would be better served if Christianity was replaced by Reason.

    The lack of logic and the hatred for freedom that these so-called Christians display (not to mention their misogyny) disgrace the religion they profess to believe in.

    October 31, 2012 at 1:36 pm |
    • Lamb of dog

      Christians and the Muslims both love to control women. It's hard to understand how women put up with it.

      October 31, 2012 at 1:44 pm |
    • GHP

      Reason??? You would like reason.? Here is reasoning: If a women can state that an abortion is a sound decision after the fact...then it must be an excellent decision to say no before the fact or to take precautions. I am all for saving an intelligent persons life if it is in danger, or they are in a condition due to a violent act against them. However to state that abortion is a right of a woman over her body is to dumb down the intelligence of mankind. Preventive action is also a woman's right that is apparently ignored millions of times a year in the US. Not since Nazi Germany has a national government condoned the LAWFULLNESS of wanton murder of their own people for no sound reason other than convenience. Shame on America!! We continue to dumb down the population instead of holding ourselves to a high standard. Shame, Shame, Shame.

      October 31, 2012 at 1:46 pm |
    • Anybody know how to read?

      If the nation is so broke, how can it be so 'free'? Somebody is confused. Unless the mobsters have no intention of paying the loans off, then they are just crooks and the citizens have been had as usual.

      October 31, 2012 at 1:47 pm |
  6. Rob

    Isn't interesting that so many of the comments here are from men?

    October 31, 2012 at 1:36 pm |
    • Lamb of dog

      And how many are from dogs and sheep.

      October 31, 2012 at 1:40 pm |
  7. Patrick

    I'm not pro life because the bible says so. I'm pro life because the science says so.

    An embryo is definitely human (not another species), definitely different from the mother (unique DNA), and definitely a living being (as defined in biology textbooks).

    This article is absolute nonsense.

    October 31, 2012 at 1:35 pm |
    • Ted in Dallas

      @Patrick...And so is your argument. Until that "embryo" is born naturally or otherwise...it's nothing. Just because there is an embryo developing, there is no evidence to suggest that it will be a functioning human being. It could just as easily be born with out a brain.

      October 31, 2012 at 1:43 pm |
    • Ms Anne

      If I were to attach myself to you and starting using all of your systems (circulation, nervous etc) to survive and cutting me off / removing me would kill me, would you? You could file a motion to have me removed and not one judge on earth would blame you nor rule against you. If you are pro-life, you can carry the fetus for the women who do not want to carry it. Is that a problem – too bad. Any man who gets a woman pregnant and isn't married to her should have his balls cut off if she carries to term. Laws on her body = laws on his body. What? Is there another problem, Pat? Can't win them all. In any event, my bible opens with "gawd almighty" creating adam, who doesn't appear to be alive until he takes the 'breathe of life" into his very own lungs by his own involuntary action. It's right there...

      October 31, 2012 at 1:55 pm |
    • Zeus

      Patrick, please don't try and infer or use science because you do not understand it.

      October 31, 2012 at 2:02 pm |
    • raforrester

      The idea that because the embryo's DNA is different from the mother's that the embryo is a "living being" is silly. The egg and sperm are already "living" and when they merge the result is just as alive as they are. It is like saying that at the moment you finish the blueprints for a new and unique building, that the building already exists, and you have no choice but to build it. Would you also say that if the DNA of an embryo is identical with that of the mother (called parthenogenesis in biology), that it is not "alive?"

      You may sincerely believe your arguments, but those arguments are just rationalizing a position that powerful people want to use to manipulate you into supporting conservative politicians. Nixon started it in the 70's and it worked, and there is no way for the Republican Party to back out of that position anymore.

      October 31, 2012 at 2:04 pm |
    • bcarpe

      Ms. Anne, if Pat was willfully engaging in recreational activities that that put you in the position of relying on his body to survive, I think there are plenty of judges who would rule that he needs to either keep you on or be charged with at least manslaughter (manslaughter for unintentionally putting you in a terminal state).

      October 31, 2012 at 3:17 pm |
  8. Cassgood

    This is what the bible ACTUALLY says. Anything else, including the opinions of this writer is pure conjecture. Please read the bible for yourselves people.

    Psalm 139

    13 For you created my inmost being;
    you knit me together in my mother's womb.

    14 I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
    your works are wonderful,
    I know that full well.

    15 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,

    16 your eyes saw my unformed body.
    All the days ordained for me
    were written in your book
    before one of them came to be.

    Isaiah 49:1

    Before I was born the LORD called me;
    from my birth he has made mention of my name

    October 31, 2012 at 1:34 pm |
  9. Greg s

    Exodus 21:22–24 Is open to interpretation as is Jeremiah 1:5

    Isnt it odd that If a Man murders a Pregnant women he is also charged for the murder of a baby, You see its a Baby if you want it its a fetus if you don't

    Ask a woman whose had an abortion her feelings on Abortion, Ask a mother her feelings on Abortion.. In most cases once you have had a child, the one you through away haunts you for the rest of your life. If it feels wrong its wrong!

    October 31, 2012 at 1:31 pm |
    • bob

      That's not odd at all... consent and motive are huge parts of the law. If you give someone money its fine, if they take it from you and you didn't want to give it to them, that's a crime no matter how easy it was to take.

      October 31, 2012 at 1:36 pm |
    • Doc Vestibule

      My partner had an abortion and a child.
      Both decisions were the right ones for her to make at the times they were made.

      October 31, 2012 at 1:41 pm |
    • mk

      "If it feels wrong its wrong!"

      The religious say the same thing about se.x.

      October 31, 2012 at 1:50 pm |
  10. SurelyUjest

    Seems to me you are proving the authors point. Leviticus says nothing about the unborn only about a "man". Based on Leviticus women and babies are not worth mentioning and certainly the unborn are not worth noting. No the author did not use the whole quote but, the whole quote did not help your argument. I think the author's view is that evangelicals views have been shifting for 15 -30 yrs very radically from where they were and I would say thanks to that idiot Jerry Fallwell back wards in time.

    October 31, 2012 at 1:29 pm |
    • Greg s

      What Christians think today is different then it was 40 years ago and that's just the way it is, Because its also different then it was 100 years ago, Its 2012, we have to deal with things as they are today, 1971 makes no difference.

      October 31, 2012 at 1:34 pm |
    • raforrester

      As I understand it, Richard Nixon and his campaign strategists decided to capture the religious vote by making abortion an issue, and they won. That's all it took to persuade conservative politicians that abortion was wrong. Winning elections is the only moral good the conservative politicians recognize. Unfortunately, they can't ever go back, no matter how much of the rest of the country abandons their fake moralizing.

      October 31, 2012 at 1:52 pm |
  11. James

    This article would make Jesus cry

    October 31, 2012 at 1:24 pm |
    • SkepticalOne

      Evangelicals would make Jesus cry.

      October 31, 2012 at 1:41 pm |
    • GrogInOhio

      Modern "Christianity" would make Jesus cry.

      October 31, 2012 at 1:48 pm |
    • Ouch

      Jesus could make Jesus cry if he pulled his own nose hairs.

      October 31, 2012 at 2:07 pm |
  12. Ken H

    The "right to my body and the fetus isn't human argument" is a convenient way to be irresponsilbe. This article further clouds the subject by putting a new twist on the same old arguments. Of course women have a right to decide what happens to their bodies. But what about the other life? If a fetus isn't a life than who cares...but if a fetus is human, that presents an inconvenient problem; Shouldn't the unborn child also have a right to decide what happens to their body? How does living one moment inside a mother and the next moment outside suddenly make a fetus a human? Babies are born prematurely all the time and are younger than fetuses that are aborted. It's too convenient to draw the line at birth and it doesn't make logical sense, forget wrapping this in a religious argument (this article) for the moment. Technology has allowed us to see with amazing clarity and detail the developing life inside a mother. We need a new dialog that respects each life at stake-the mother and the child and we need to stop the tired old rhetoric that keeps both sides dug in and clinging to their old paradigms of hate and disrespect. We also need to GROW UP as a society and accept responsibility for our actions rather than trying to justify bad choices with our failed reasoning.

    October 31, 2012 at 1:22 pm |
    • Greg s

      Dang Ken, you nailed it!

      October 31, 2012 at 1:36 pm |
    • open minded

      excellent Ken!

      October 31, 2012 at 1:49 pm |
  13. Huebert

    Anti-choice proponents, seem to think that every child is wanted. Unfortunately this is untrue. Only unwanted, or medically untenable, pregnancies end with an abortion. If Roe v. Wade were over turned there would be a massive increase in the number of unwanted children. I don't understand how anyone could support bringing more unwanted children into the world.

    October 31, 2012 at 1:22 pm |
    • Darryl

      Really, Have you seen the 4 yar adoption waiting list? Make a better case for it.

      October 31, 2012 at 1:25 pm |
    • Greg s

      You must be pretty young because you dont get it, most children are unwanted in those first few weeks of realizing your pregnant.,

      October 31, 2012 at 1:38 pm |
    • Zeus

      Darryl,

      Please understand a few facts before trying to think, much less speak or write a comment. There is a waiting period for adoptions in this country, but it has nothing to do with children not having homes. It's because of the hypocritical nature of our culture, especially from being influenced by the "moral majority". There are tens of thousands of non-white babies waiting to be adopted. Tens of thousands of young children of all colors and pre-teens and teenagers. Unfortunately, all these "wonderful" parents waiting to adopt want newborn to 12 month old white babies. They won't touch a 3 year old black baby.

      October 31, 2012 at 1:40 pm |
    • open minded

      How about adoption, and disregard the "waiting period" comment, there are MANY channels to adopt.

      October 31, 2012 at 1:51 pm |
    • Anon

      So Bob Barker was right: "Help control the pet population. Have your pet spayed or neutered."

      October 31, 2012 at 1:52 pm |
    • Huebert

      That wait list is due to the fact that people only want to adopt young, healthy children with no behavioral issues. Many children spend their lives in foster care.

      October 31, 2012 at 2:30 pm |
  14. Reality

    Leaving god (or the gods) out of it:->>>>

    ONLY FOR THE NEW MEMBERS OF THIS BLOG:

    The reality of se-x, contraception, abortion and STD/HIV control: – from a guy who enjoys intelligent se-x-
    Note: Some words hyphenated to defeat an obvious word filter. ...

    THE BRUTAL EFFECTS OF STUPIDITY–

    The failures of the widely used birth "control" methods i.e. the Pill (8.7% actual failure rate) and male con-dom (17.4% actual failure rate) have led to the large rate of abortions and S-TDs in the USA. Men and women must either recognize their responsibilities by using the Pill or co-ndoms properly and/or use safer methods in order to reduce the epidemics of abortion and S-TDs.- Failure rate statistics provided by the Gut-tmacher Inst-itute. Unfortunately they do not give the statistics for doubling up i.e. using a combination of the Pill and a condom.

    Added information before making your next move:

    from the CDC-2006

    "Se-xually transmitted diseases (STDs) remain a major public health challenge in the United States. While substantial progress has been made in preventing, diagnosing, and treating certain S-TDs in recent years, CDC estimates that approximately 19 million new infections occur each year, almost half of them among young people ages 15 to 24.1 In addition to the physical and psy-ch-ological consequences of S-TDs, these diseases also exact a tremendous economic toll. Direct medical costs as-sociated with STDs in the United States are estimated at up to $14.7 billion annually in 2006 dollars."

    And from:

    Consumer Reports, January, 2012

    "Yes, or-al se-x is se-x, and it can boost cancer risk-

    Here's a crucial message for teens (and all se-xually active "post-teeners": Or-al se-x carries many of the same risks as va-ginal se-x, including human papilloma virus, or HPV. And HPV may now be overtaking tobacco as the leading cause of or-al cancers in America in people under age 50.

    "Adolescents don’t think or-al se-x is something to worry about," said Bonnie Halpern-Felsher professor of pediatrics at the University of California, San Francisco. "They view it as a way to have intimacy without having 's-ex.'" (It should be called the Bill Clinton Syndrome !!)

    Obviously, political leaders in both parties, Planned Parenthood, parents, the "stupid part of the USA" and the educational system have failed miserably on many fronts.

    The most effective forms of contraception, ranked by "Perfect use":

    - (Abstinence, 0% failure rate)
    – (Masturbation, mono or mutual, 0% failure rate)

    Followed by:

    One-month injectable and Implant (both at 0.05 percent)
    Vasectomy and IUD (Mirena) (both at 0.1 percent)
    The Pill, Three-month injectable, and the Patch (all at 0.3 percent)
    Tubal sterilization (at 0.5 percent)
    IUD (Copper-T) (0.6 percent)
    Periodic abstinence (Post-ovulation) (1.0 percent)
    Periodic abstinence (Symptothermal) and Male condom (both at 2.0 percent)
    Periodic abstinence (Ovulation method) (3.0 percent)

    October 31, 2012 at 1:21 pm |
  15. Darryl

    If your going to make your case that Christians are nuts because they don't even follow what the Bible says, you better at least quote the Bible correctly youngster!!! Wow, based on his photo this writer is just a child himself. I guess that's why he has to misquote the Bible verse:

    Leviticus 24:17-21
    King James Version (KJV)

    17 And he that killeth any man shall surely be put to death.
    18 And he that killeth a beast shall make it good; beast for beast.
    19 And if a man cause a blemish in his neighbour; as he hath done, so shall it be done to him;
    20 Breach for breach, eye for eye, tooth for tooth: as he hath caused a blemish in a man, so shall it be done to him again.
    21 And he that killeth a beast, he shall restore it: and he that killeth a man, he shall be put to death.

    October 31, 2012 at 1:20 pm |
    • Darryl

      I can buy into contraception because until sperm and an eqq meet, there isn't a life. Once they do, life is in motion. It's just that simple.

      Can a case be made for an abortion if the mother is goingto die unless she has one .... of course. It's then in our hands to chose one life or the other. Either way, someone is going to die.

      October 31, 2012 at 1:23 pm |
    • The Truth

      Ah Darryl, way to show your ignorance buddy. First, age has zero to do with how much you know about the bible, I myself had read it cover to cover by the time I was 12 and had been through it 3 times by the age of 24 after graduating from a certain bible college, so don't pull the "This here youngster, looking so young in the picture, must not know what he's talking about, cause he's young!!!" Right, like being old every made anyone more intelligent or less liekly to r a p e boys in the shower like Jerry Sandusky. But back to the point, you quote scripture from your translation of the bible, did you know there were more than just one translation? Did you not know that the King James is merely the book translated into olde english which may make it sound more pompous and pius, but adds nothing to the actual meanings of any scripture? Alas, may thee findest thou mind for thou hast surely misplaced it...

      October 31, 2012 at 1:28 pm |
    • Duggerdog

      And he that hath wrote so many verses "Needs to get thou-est a life"

      October 31, 2012 at 1:31 pm |
    • Chutzpah

      I think if you re-read the article a little more slowly you'll see that the author was QUOTING conservative evangelist Bruce Waltke, witing in Christianity Today.

      October 31, 2012 at 1:33 pm |
    • snoozie

      Well, first of all, the author wasn't quoting Leviticus, he was quoting Exodus, so your point about "getting it right" is moot. Second, your quote says nothing about the fetus, while the author's does. Third, this is a perfect example of how anyone can cherry-pick the bible to support their arguments.

      October 31, 2012 at 1:38 pm |
    • Zeus

      Ah Darryl, I see you are a religious moron. When the sperm meets the egg there is a period of time, sometimes as long as a week, before the egg implants into the uterus. During that period any number of factors, food, exercise, genetics, infections, drug interactions can cause the egg to abort. This happens about 60% of the time. In fact, most women don't know they are ever pregnant because the embryo is aborted in the first few days to weeks. Again, this can happen because of a number of factors. So, if you were to say that life starts at the time when sperm meets egg, then you are saying that God has killed more children then have ever been born. What an evil little man he must be!

      October 31, 2012 at 1:46 pm |
    • Greg s

      The Truth, you are a story teller my friend, No one reads the Bible 3 times.Except for the truly devout! You do not sound even a little bit devout. When ever you see someone say They have read the bible 3 time, (Its always 3 times for some reason) they are trying to instill upon there audience there understanding of the bible. But the tone of your post tells us your understanding of the word is limited at best, Lets face it, At 12 years old you probably made it halfway through Genesis. The desire to read the bible comes from craving the Word, No one takes up a bible for casual reading. Then reads it cover to cover. Most who read a Bible hopscotch around from one end to the other. Then back to the middle.
      If you have read the bible 3 times then you might want to try one more time, Start with Matthew! Genesis is best saved for latter. Its a real beast to get through!

      October 31, 2012 at 1:58 pm |
    • Zeus

      Greg, I have read the Bible several times. In English, Latin and Hebrew. I especially like Hebrew because the language doesn't translate so easily to English. No one should be allowed to call themselves a Christian until they have read the Bible and fully understand the text and not the perverted King James version or in English. And they should read all of the books that were intended for the Bible, not the ones the Roman Catholic Church decided were acceptable. And then they should understand the history of each book, and where it came from. Until then, most Christians are just hypocrites waiting to be told what they believe.

      October 31, 2012 at 2:08 pm |
    • Get Real

      Greg s,

      Oh yeah, Matthew is especially appropriate today, what with his"

      "The tombs broke open and the bodies of many holy people who had died were raised to life. They came out of the tombs, and after Jesus' resurrection they went into the holy city and appeared to many people."

      Oddly enough, he is the ONLY one to have dreamed up such a spo-oky scene, and there is not one single shred of reportage about this stunning event by ANYONE else EVER.

      October 31, 2012 at 2:16 pm |
    • The Truth

      @Greg – I said I read it 3 times by the time I was 24, I am now 40 and have read it four times cover to cover and was a pastor of a Church in Ohio for nearly 10 years before I left. I have been cut off from my very large family who no longer speak to me which is there choice. If you would like to challenge my bible knowledge I don't mind, poor all the water you would like on my alter and my God of intellect will still burn it away even unto the stones. You worship an imaginary and hollow God and I feel for you and my family for you hold such hatred close to your hearts as you grasp to that feeling of wanting, no NEEDING to be special and to think that a universal creator loves you and has a plan for you and that everything will be alright. As a child we called it a feeling of being "homesick" but you call that feeling in the pit of your stomach, that need to be needed, that pain to be loved, God, and just like getting your security blanket back or returning home after a long trip you feel better when you are being told "Everythings Okay! You are special and will live on for eternity in happiness!" Yes, yes, great stuff, but just like the joy of a child expecting Santa, at some point we have to grow up and except the reallity that it's just a story designed to make us feel good but has absolutely no substance.

      October 31, 2012 at 2:22 pm |
  16. Katherine Walsh

    Ultrasound changed everything. Now we can see a beating heart when the fetus is the size of a bean. The tiny baby is waving its arms and legs at a couple of months and sucking it's fingers not long after. Does anyone really think this is not a human being?

    October 31, 2012 at 1:19 pm |
    • BRC

      IT's never been a question if the fetus is Human, it's a question if the fetus is viable, or if it is still completely dependent on the mother.

      October 31, 2012 at 1:25 pm |
    • Punctus

      Interesting point.... would be curious to know how closely the advent of fetal ultrasound use corresponds to the shift in the evangelical position.

      October 31, 2012 at 1:28 pm |
    • Chutzpah

      Face it, most human beings don't really become interesting until they're fifteen or sixteen. Before that it's an open question whether there's a brain there yet or not.

      October 31, 2012 at 1:38 pm |
    • Greg s

      Viable you say , is that the guidelines for determining if your a person or not, Is a 6 month able to care for its self or does it need its parents to survive, How about a 1 year old, a 2 year old, Our two year old is on a mission to self destruct, He still isnt viable to survive without his parents. So should we say any child up to the age of 4 can be aborted?

      October 31, 2012 at 2:03 pm |
    • Primewonk

      What's fun to do is find a mall where the fundiot nutters have their anti-woman/anti-choice tables set up and hand them some pictures. I have some nice full page size images of a human fetus at 8 weeks, and some pictures or other mammals at the same point in their embryological development – dolphins, pigs, dogs, cats, etc. Ask them to pick out the ones that are human. The won't be able to.

      October 31, 2012 at 2:06 pm |
    • BRC

      @Greg s,
      thank you for your innacurate and disingenuous comparison. There is a WORLD of difference between a 6 week old fetus and a 6 month old (technically 15 months old at that point) baby. the baby is capable of completing ALL biological functions internally and indepent of outside assistance (it can breath, circulate blood, take in, digest, and distribute nutrients, can convert nutrients into energy, is beginning to form an immune system, can repair damaged cells, and can expel waste products) and is therefor viable. before approximately 22 weeks, the fetus CANNOT do all of those things, and is wholey reliant on the mother for many of those functions. That is the difference as far as I'm concerned.

      October 31, 2012 at 3:56 pm |
  17. yll

    i laugh at how so many here claim the bible's word is clear cut one way or another, forgetting that they are interpreting imprecise wording written long ago with greatly differing diction and style from today. for that matter, interpreting a translation, which was subject to interpretation in the first place.

    October 31, 2012 at 1:18 pm |
  18. PumpNDump

    Per ACTUAL scientific studies: There is no sharp limit of development, age, or weight at which a fetus automatically becomes viable. According to studies between 2003 and 2005, 20 to 35 percent of babies born at 23 weeks of gestation survive, while 50 to 70 percent of babies born at 24 to 25 weeks, and more than 90 percent born at 26 to 27 weeks, survive. It is rare for a baby weighing less than 500g (17.6 ounces) to survive.

    October 31, 2012 at 1:17 pm |
    • yll

      developmentally there are clear distinction on when it is not viable though. certain milestones have to be reached (e.g. lung surfactant, etc) to allow current technology to support the premie; those that haven't reached those milestones are considered nonviable. numerically there isn't a hard number, but for the most part it works out to be around 22weeks

      October 31, 2012 at 1:22 pm |
  19. Duggerdog

    You all realize that you're quoting from an ancient book written before the Dark Ages and was handed down over centuries orally from one person to another. Would we trust a book on how to dismantle an atomic bomb if it was written with the same process? C'mon, you are reading words from really old goat people who did not have toilet paper. Really?

    October 31, 2012 at 1:17 pm |
    • Barry G.

      To assume that God could not or has not revealed himself; to assume that the Hebrew and Christian Scriptures are not a credible witness that this revelation took place; and to fail to recognize that these Scriptures present an ethic higher and greater than has ever before or since been provided; is indeed indicative of a narrow mind and ignorance, which exceeds that of the ignorance of the Dark Ages.

      October 31, 2012 at 1:28 pm |
    • reasonablebe

      to Barry G: Huh? no idea what you are trying to say.

      October 31, 2012 at 1:41 pm |
  20. Mike M

    Did the author of this actually read Waltke's argument? Hint... It wasn't exactly "pro-choice."

    October 31, 2012 at 1:16 pm |
    • Punctus

      True – but it certainly was not what we would call "Pro-Life" today.

      October 31, 2012 at 1:30 pm |
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The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.