Infant humans are humans. Humans conceive human embryos. Those embryos develop into human infants. Our English word embyro is just the Greek word ἔμβρυον (Embyon) for foetus (fetus) and Foetus is Latin for infant. From a biological perspective, all the stuff that determines what we become is already present. From a logical perspective, it makes no sense to say that we become human either in utero or after. Who says? On what basis? Any answer is bound to be either entirely subjective or self-serving.
Some of One neglected aspect of the story of Modernity has been the loss of a Christian anthropology. Along with its exile of God, Modernity has also been busily re-defining humanity with unhappy consequences. Through two world wars, abortion, genocides, “eugenics,” Communist purges, etc. “Enlightened man” has murdered more humans in the last century certainly than in any other century in human history and perhaps more than in all of recorded history prior. The “Enlightenment” did not do away with slavery. Several of our (American) “enlightened” founders were slave owners. Mass murder and chattel slavery are symptoms of a sub-Christian view of human beings. The predominant late-modern narratives about humans, that we are a cosmic accident or mistake or worse a cosmic mistake, only continues the unhappy trend toward de-humanizing humans.
Yesterday news emerged that Iceland has been systematically murdering infants in utero because they have Down Syndrome. Margaret Sanger lives. France and China have been following similar polices with similar results. In the USA estimates are that between 61–90% of infants in utero diagnosed with Down Syndrome are murdered before birth. If use of the verb murder in this context is jarring that is only another indicator of the degree to which we have lost a Christian anthropology.
For several centuries we have come to think of humanity as a status that we confer upon others. The West did this in slavery. We justified chattel slavery partly on the lie that Africans are not fully human. Americans denied the humanity of Africans in order to justify the “peculiar institution.” Defenders of abortion routinely deny the humanity of human infants in utero in order to justify abortion. This is done partly through rhetorical sophistry. In the study of human biology, we are said to develop from an embryo (a zygote , i.e., a fertilized ovum then to a blastocyst) in the first 8 weeks to a fetus, which covers the remaining 7 months. The impression is frequently left that an embryo and a fetus are sub-human. That, of course, is a lie. Infant humans are humans. Humans conceive human embryos. Those embryos develop into human infants. Our English word embyro is just the Greek word ἔμβρυον (Embyon) for foetus (fetus) and Foetus is Latin for infant. From a biological perspective, all the stuff that determines what we become is already present. From a logical perspective, it makes no sense to say that we become human either in utero or after. Who says? On what basis? Any answer is bound to be either entirely subjective or self-serving.
Some are appalled at the continued existence of confederate monuments. That is understandable but some of those same people make the same arguments used by the defenders of slavery. “It’s my body” is no different from “that slave is my property.” Both are abhorrent things to say. They are morally and logically equivalent. In both cases the pro-slaver and pro-abortionist is denying the humanity of another person in order to justify abusing and/or murdering them.
Christians are not immune from the effects of the downgrade in anthropology. In the 17th, 18th, and 19th centuries, Christians stole people from West Africa in the trans-Atlantic slave trade. Those who participated in slavery denied the humanity of those whom they enslaved. They denied that Africans are created in the image of God. That denial continued during the long. sad history of the Jim Crow laws. Marx was not entirely wrong. The slavers denied their humanity for economic benefit. “Enlightened,” educated females (with and without the consent of their “enlightened,” professional husbands and boyfriends) regularly murder unborn children for economic benefit too.
Anti-capitalists are capable of denying the humanity of their enemies and murdering almost unthinkable numbers of people. The Fascists and the Communists were different kinds of socialist. The German National Socialist Workers Party (the Nazis) and the Russian-dominated Union of Soviet Socialist Republics both denied the humanity of cultural and political enemies to justify murdering them. The German Socialists organized the murder of 6 million Jews along with millions of others. Stalin murdered directly and indirectly 3-5 million Ukranians (Kulaks). The racist neo-Nazis and neo-Communists clashing in our city streets are cousins in the same ugly, atheist, family tree.
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