The unborn is not a potential human being, but a human being with potentials

Is abortion a simple issue? (Some would like to make it simple, as RoeVsWade attempted, and look at what it has gotten us in the last 50 years or so. More debates with no resolution in sight.) The question really is: what is a human being? Is a human being easily definable by human beings? Many will say Yes, if we focus on just an aspect, say biology, or sociology. But, a human is not just a biological creature or a social animal, as we know. There is the psychological aspect, a hint that maybe, a human is not limited in essence to his/her materiality. A human could ontologically be also of non material nature and thus is spiritual, which could account for spiritual/ religious lives of many. Humans have developmental lives from conception to old age. They are social animals with senses and have sensual lives. They are normally part of an economic society, so they have economic lives. In short, they are complex beings by no small measure. So, i think the honest answer is No, human being is not easily definable if taken in his totality.

The next question is: are humans valuable? To what extent are they valuable? And, how do we judge that value? As can be seen these are very, very fundamental questions. They are so fundamental that it is often proposed these days that they are stupid questions to ask. But, are they?

Which should really lead us to ask: if humans are that valuable, and more often than not, that is taken for granted, why can't we reflect more on what is the real value of humans? Why are we so prone to accept reductions, as can be seen in the above write-up? It is no accident even to casual observers that mankind has become more utiitarian in its mentality and approach, so the question is, do we even have the right frame of mind to ask fundamental questions? Are we or are we not caught up in consumerism, production efficiency, profit driven motives, political and economic agendas, etc, that there is a risk to judge men and women as just another asset or liability, a material input or cost, or an emotion-less resource? Is this the reason why man has now been made to serve money instead of money serving man, as Pope Francis asked.

If we are handicapped judges, how can we even propose that there is an opposition between the rights of women and the rights of the unborn? Is there really an opposition between these two rights? Really? How and when did that happen, because it was not always that way? (There was a time when chivalry was not something awkward. Maybe, it was a time when men had a higher regard for women because they saw in them their mothers. It was a time when motherhood was seen as the highest dignity a human could have Today, it is called slavery or an unwanted status. How sad, really.)

If there are answers to the foregoing, were these enough to justify the 80 million plus abortion worldwide in the last 40 years? 80m unique DNAs in each and everyone of them, where one could have been a scientist who could have solved mankind's problems? A pipe dream, but why dispose of them when animal rights guys would have screamed bloody murder if they were animals? No doubt, what we are witnessing is a genocide of historical proportion; others claim it is eugenics at work.. Anyway, who is he/she who could decide which category of humans can be put in the chopping block and which can't be? Every embryology textbook states that the unborn at any stage is a wholly integrated human from the time of fertilization. Zygote, blastocyst, embryo, and fetus are terms just for taxonomy so experts could communicate, but each is only a phase in a continuum of life from zygote to old age. In short, the unborn is not a potential human being, but a human being with potentials. (Politics now wants power to decide which portion of that continuum is the beginning and end of life, and there have been attempts to change textbooks. Didn't we already find it so shocking, so Nazi, when Belgium legislated child euthanasia? What could prevent other legislators in the world to arbitrarily come up with other horrible concepts?)

No matter how we answer all the above, can we see the rationale why some concluded that the abortion debate is nothing but a debate about utility and lifestyle? Is it a debate between two philosophies in life: (a) sacrifice first, then pleasure, or (b) pleasure first, then hangover? Which is the vice and which is the virtue? So, what is the moral foundation for killing the unborn? In many laws worldwide, it is considered double homicide when a pregnant woman is killed, how is it that with abortion, it is not murder?

It is therefore ignorance to broach that if we could settle the doctrine on souls, we would be able to untangle other gridlocks in the abortion debate. First of all, it was not RCC that came up with the concept of souls. It was Plato who in trying to understand how man could have the power for introspection came up with the concept that man must be made up of two components: one material, the other non-material. It was of course further polished by subsequent philosophers, in and out of the Church. They said it must be the intelligence and will of man that make up the soul. Soul defined as such must then be what separates us from the brutes, which could only have imagination, memory, instinct, or any biological product of an animal brain. Humans share what animals have, but brutes dont have the ability to self reflect, so it must be that human has a soul.

The dualistic concept, body and Soul, has aided in explaining some doctrines to be more understandable to the masses. However, in several, it was useless for the reason that the Bible is not fundamentally dualistic in its concept. The Bible is Jewish in thinking, not Greek. So it is not about soul per se that is the central issue for that is deceptively limiting what RCC is teaching about man and what his nature is. There is simply something enigmatic about humans that their "substance" should be accorded the dignity no matter what their circumstance, or "accident" as philosophically termed. Jesus does not save the soul, it is the human person that He saves, if we are to be biblical.

This is not to convince anybody, but if it is still maintained that the existence of a soul is not something provable, then one could as well argue more that scientism, whether it is Darwinian evolution, selective mutation, etc, has neither had the leg to prove there is no soul. And if one is really so averse to the concept of a soul, why doesn't he just read on atheist S Freud and get a hint from the id, ego and superego.

[This is a GRP Featured Comment.]


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