Published on Saturday, February 07, 2009.
Last modified on 2/7/2009 at 1:17 am
Socratic questioning applies in abortion debateSocrates (born in 470 B.C.) was called the savior of Western civilization.
He realized that knowledge and virtue are inseparable; so much so that virtue could be defined as right knowledge. Right thinking and right doing can be distinguished from each other, but they can never be separated.
Therefore, Socrates realized that the death of truth would mean the death of virtue and that the death of virtue would spell the death of civilization. Without truth and virtue the only possible outcome is barbarianism.
Socrates used an analytical method by which he sought the logic of facts. For him the logic is what is left after the facts are exhausted.
"Beauty remains," he said, "after the rose fades."
Using the Socratic method of discerning truth is to ask provocative questions.
Let's allow the reverse order of this proven method from the "gadfly of Athens" to probe deeper into the moral logic that opposes abortion:
Claim: Don't interfere with abortion unless you're willing to adopt the unwanted infants.
Q: Is that like saying, "Don't interfere with wife-beating unless you are willing to marry the victimized woman?"
Claim: Every child has the right to be a wanted child.
Q: Is a person's value determined by another person's desire or evaluation? What if aged parents or discarded lovers are "unwanted"?
Claim: Every woman should be allowed freedom of choice.
Q: Is that like saying, "I wouldn't abuse a child or commit rape, but I will grant freedom of choice to others in these matters?
Claim: Every woman has the right to control her own body.
Q: Shouldn't it have been exercised earlier? Proof of no control?
Q: Since when does anyone have absolute right of control over his/her body? Police will limit if drunk, naked, contagious, etc.
Q: When another body is involved, aren't rights restricted? (as with rape, murder, etc.)
Claim: Termination of pregnancy, fetus, embryo, product of conception, etc.
Q: Don't labels often deceive? Why not "poisoned," "mutilated," "shredded," "killed"? (The newest proposal is to inject preborn babies with a lethal dose of potassium chloride, used to execute death row inmates, into the baby's heart so as to steer clear of the federal partial-birth abortion ban.)
Claim: Some communities reportedly have extended a warm welcome to the idea of housing abortion clinics.
Q: Where are the voices of those who so adamantly denounced ills committed against puppies and kittens, dogs and cats? We're talking human life now.
Claim: There are increasing numbers of clergy, politicians and citizens who state that abortion, gay marriage, and other cited moral ills are a matter of religious freedom.
Q: Could the words of the Roman philosopher and statesman, Lucius Annaeus Seneca (4? B.C. - 65 A.D.) be prophetic of this age in history, when he said that, when vice (an evil or wicked action) becomes a society's custom or accepted convention, it is almost impossible to remove?
Claim: This is a free country where people have the right to reject religious constraints and practice a new morality (such as sex while not married and the right to eradicate any unwanted consequences/pregnancy).
Q: Is there any truth to Ronald Reagan's quote, "If we ever forget that we are 'One Nation Under God,' then we will be one nation gone under?"
The Rev. Monty Casebolt leads the Livingston Bible Church.
The Faith & Values column appears regularly in the Saturday Life section of The Billings Gazette.
Copyright © The Billings Gazette, a division of Lee Enterprises.