New Venues, Old Discussions

I had a family visit recently. One of my Dad’s brothers came for an overnight stay. For those who don’t read much of my stuff, my father was an avowed atheist/agnostic for the majority of his time on earth. His family seems divided between those more or less in that line of thinking and devout Catholics. ( To simplify the background).

Anyway, my well-honed practice of debating religion comes from my dad. He was a relentless debater. And it seems, trained in some of ye olde logic and formal debate ( which I never benefited from… but hey I would have been formidible if I had;) but I digress.

To go on …. this Uncle likes to have those sorts of discussions and we went long into the night, revisiting some of the old topics.

One old topic for debates, but new for family real-time ones, was Abortion. We had worked through some of the God-related themes and my Uncle seemed to want to spring this one. I guess that is how it came up….. I have a hard time recalling how we got there.

The interesting thing about this was how this turned about. I popped out the premise that the biological model is the most strict when it comes to defining what is human. And it plainly is. Having been around the block with this debate in numerous forms, there are lots of ideas on what being a human being means in terms of ethics and religion, but the biology is straightforward: you are your dna…. and humans will reproduce humans which from the point of conception through the point of termination will progress through the life cycle. They can be damaged, but they will be human- not a dog or a cow or anything else at any point.

But the surprise came as a sort of Zen, or absurdist, or some sort of previous philosophical thought got layered on: the oft bandied about idea that “we can’t know anything- really. So the biological becomes what people might morph into in some future world.

This was abstraction gone mad…. but we hammered on it with a back forth: “we can’t know” “-but you can’t live based on that” “-we can’t know anything -we just believe we know”” – but you don’t live in alignment with that… you live as though there are things you know”.

You get the gist.

But the fact is that science produces recognizable, if not fully proven facts. Things that over time are true… and keep being true.

INW, you can know some things, not just believe. And in those things which you believe, you can put them to some reasonable testing.

And in the abortion issue, there will be no getting around the fact that babies are little humans. Even when the imaginary ethical models are applied, there are just too many problems involved that we are not willing to live with. And the arguments for abortion will always boil down to : We just want to. If we end a life we do it because we feel we want to. It may be a reason compelling to some, but it is ending a human life.

But revisiting the argument with the new mix of rationale was an interesting one. I think what such discussions most point out to me is how fragmented and compartmentalized modern man is in his thinking.

This is the earmark of post-modern man: no unity of thought.

Maybe that is why there are so many shattered souls in modern society. When things start to make sense it is too devastatingly painful to face having tried to build a life upon the shifts of so many non-related, specialized ideas. It is better to soothe ones psyche with the idea that we can’t ever know anything.

Apologies to my Uncle if he reads this. This is only my side of it, and he ended things with the truly non-plussed comment that he couldn’t understand how someone intelligent could think the way I do in full acceptance of the Christian religion. He apologized for saying that, which was gracious, but this is certainly a reaction I have come across before, so it was OK.

Some of this surprise I attribute to the fact that too often Believers are willing to cut off the conversations with the other side with fiats and build their own monolith of “what’s right”. If it is right, it has a reason that it is….. seek to express what that is to the best of your ability.

Next month a cousin who is a Believer ( Protestant, like me) of the moderate type and yet extremely liberal is coming for a visit; he , too, likes to debate…… wonder what that bodes by way of conversation and truegrit tattling?

If we don’t get caught up investigating bakeries, and seafood places and such! Or maybe if we do? For the next installment of >>dada ta daaaa<< "Old Discussions".