Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Understanding God: how God "thinks"

I am going to give you an analogy and a case study that will help you to understand "how" God "thinks" (by that I mean his perspective on human actions). My purpose is not to help you to try to understand what cannot actually be understood by humans (or even by angels, who while they share God's vision they cannot comprehend how its perfection originates in God, which is why they constantly praise God in heaven). Rather, I am going to help you to look at a sad and unpleasant earthly issue and be better able to make just, righteous and virtuous choices and thus form your own opinions accordingly. I've thought of a few analogy and case studies so here is the first one.

As you know, many people who oppose abortion understand that even certain forms of birth control have shades of abortion, since they destroy the created embryo by not allowing it to implant, etc. While the Catholic Church and others of their belief oppose all forms of terminating preborn life, they recognize that there is a difference between contraception (preventing the embryo from even forming in the first place) and abortion (destroying or hindering the growth of an actual embryo). Thus the Catholic Church opposes both but for different reasons, though both rest on the reverence and valuing of all human life. Contraception is opposed because there is a Biblical prohibition of "spilling one's seed on the ground," which means that all sex acts should occur in a marital situation that is open to the possibility of a pregnancy occurring. So contraception is opposed because it appears that God has instructed that the raw material of pregnancy should not be discarded, wasted or hindered from combining into a pregnancy. Abortion is opposed because it is viewed as not only being devaluing of life and irreverential toward God's commission to be fruitful and multiple, but because it also violates the Commandment against killing. So that is the medical and spiritual background against which this case study takes place.

One way people promote both birth control and abortion is to accuse those who oppose either or both of those practices of being "insensitive" and "cruel" in certain situations. The usual situation is whereby a victim of rape seeks an abortion. Now, the specific case study I want to give to you is the situation regarding why some people oppose giving "morning after" so called "emergency contraception" pills to a rape victim. In other words, working in slightly different ways, these pills create an environment hostile toward a pregnancy either occurring (if it has not yet happened) or the embryo if it is in place being able to attach and grow. Many people, including those of good will and emotional thoughtfulness, wonder how people can be mean as to "condemn" a rape victim to a possible pregnancy.

Before I move to the analogy, where I explain God's way of thinking in the matter, let me remind you that I am not an absolutist, as I have blogged before. I believe that a small child who is raped and pregnant and who is seeking an abortion for the good reasons of her extreme youth and her fragile health, should receive one, and the sin of abortion thus rests upon whoever allowed the rape to occur. I remind you that I blogged about the most recent case of this happening so that you are not distracted in reading my analogy by the thought that I am insensitive and inflexible, for I am not, obviously.

So let's go back to the case study, which is a teenage or adult woman (in other words, not a child as I outlined above) is raped and seeks immediate "after the rape" "emergency contraception," which is medicine that either aborts the newly formed embryo or prevents the sperm and egg from fertilizing, if they had not yet. So I am speaking of someone who could bear a child with the normal risks of pregnancy, but not the additional risk and trauma of a little child being raped.

Here is the analogy that helps shed some light on how God views this dilemma. Imagine there is a poor and primitive village of indigenous people in a remote area, where they barely eke out a living to support themselves, but are otherwise content. One day a man goes insane and kills a married couple, leaving their small child alive, but now with no one to provide for her. How would you feel if the village decided to kill the small child, because they could not support her in the place of her parents and, and this is the important point, the fact that she is now unsupported is the result of a crime.

So think this through. These well meaning villagers have now lost two pairs of hands and legs that used to raise food, build dwellings, haul water, etc due to the crime of murder, and now with that loss of sustenance providing married couple, the village is stuck with a burden, the little girl, that did not exist before, and all because of a crime.

I'll bet many of you have to haul yourself back from the slippery slope of "understanding" that the "poor indigenous" people just "might have to" make a "tough decision" and being "unable to support the little girl" "through no fault of their own" and "because of someone else's crime," they just "can't support the little girl due to this crime" and thus (how long can we delay saying it?)... they kill her, either outright or by allowing her to starve or perish due to wild beasts in the forest, or from exposure to the cold.

No, God would not "understand" that. God would think that the people who do have enough to eat and shelter don't deserve to have even the little they do have if they cannot raise, support and comfort the little girl whose parents, those two able bodied workers, were murdered. Odds are that God would hardly bless the future of the village who killed the child because "they could not support her." Indeed, these villagers would all have to answer to him when they receive on their inevitable death personal judgment.

Now that you understand "how God thinks" in the analogy, now look back to the case study. In both situations you have a helpless child due to a crime (in the case study, due to rape, in the analogy, due to the murder of the parents). God does not want to hear lame, selfish and craven excuses from a poor village who murders due to poverty, so how much less does God want to hear such excuses from a society that has health care, hospitals, welfare, parents and grandparents with salaries, and the potential for adoption?

It is a hard message to understand how God thinks because his thought is entirely based on love and justice. No human can ever live up to that, but they sure should not provoke the obvious because of greed and selfishness, or, and this is understandable, where shattered emotions and self pity due to the rape can lead, due to the weakness of human nature, of blaming the child for "ruining" their "plans." "My life has been ruined, I've been raped and if I have this child I have to pay money and lose a year of college before getting my high paid job and giving the baby away in adoption." Put in God's point of view, while he understands the broken, selfish weakness of humanity (after all, Eve had everything and she still wanted more in the Garden of Eden), it is hardly as noble and kind hearted as humans think they are being when they urge a rape victim to consider "emergency contraception" and/or abortion.

Back to the analogy. Maybe those lazy ass villagers ought to work a little harder to grow a few more crops, rather than just the bit they have, in order to not murder the child. Maybe their doing so would result in them discovering a vein of gold in a stream that they had not noticed before. Sometimes even those in extreme economic situations through genuine kindness can exert themselves even more to support a child, rather than say "We'd like to but we can't."

God is the ultimate democrat, because every life is equally precious in its creation and its potential in his eyes. Many people alive today exist because somewhere in their family tree someone did not abort a child due to rape in warfare or other circumstances.

I hope that this case study and the accompanying analogy has helped you understand one aspect-a very important one-of God's "thoughts." More so I hope this helps you to not have knee jerk reaction to even painful events when developing your own stance, attitudes, thoughts, feelings and ultimately policies and decisions, where you react to the obvious sympathy and empathy without considering all the routes that genuine mercy, virtue and righteous do take place.