In New Zealand it looks as though the issue of abortion may be coming to a head.  I for one am very interested to see how it all pans out and decided to post a bit of the story so far.  In June last year there was a review of the Abortion Supervisory Committee (ASC) where the High Court judge doubted the grounds of most New Zealand abortions and claimed the ASC weren’t doing their job.

He had this to say:

“There is reason to doubt the lawfulness of many abortions authorised by certifying consultants.
Indeed, the [Abortion Supervisory] Committee itself has stated that the law is being used more
liberally than Parliament intended.”

Personally, I agree with him. Currently under the law an abortion is only justified if it “is immediately necessary to save the life of the patient or to prevent serious permanent injury to her physical or mental health.” (From the Contraception, Sterilisation, and Abortion Act, 1977)

However, of the approximately 18000 abortions performed each year, nearly all are justified on the grounds of risk to the mother’s mental health. I find this dubious to say the least and think that consultants are freely reinterpreting the law to effectively give the country abortion on demand.  Justice Miller clearly thought so too and his ruling has made pro-life groups feel vindicated.  Earlier this week the ASC appealed the ruling and the group “Right to Life” cross appealed.  In the end it was chucked out because it was outside of the courts jurisdiction and many pro-choice groups are recommending the law is reviewed in parliament.

I’m very curious as to what happens next. Will this become a more publicly discussed issue and will we see a law reform?

I personally don’t have much problem with the law as it stands but what I don’t like are the rationalisations that we are dealing with something other than human life.  The aborted foetuses are produced by our reproduction, which makes them part of our species.  We shouldn’t get to decide who is or isn’t human.

Posted by: rmbrowning | May 12, 2009

Close-mindedness and Christianity

In today’s age of religious tolerance there is a tendency for people to deride the importance of religious belief or to say that “all paths lead to God”.  Increasingly anyone who does not agree with these ideas can be labelled as close-minded, intolerant or judgmental.  However I think all of this business is a bit muddled and needs a bit of straightening out.

Now unless you really haven’t paid any attention to me whatsoever you either know or are not surprised to find that I am a Christian.  Am I therefore close-minded or intolerant then as well?  That depends on what you mean by close-minded and intolerant.

If you mean that if one holds a belief and defends their position against views which are incompatible/contradictory then I’ll likely disagree.  For example if I am approached by a nice Mormon individual while strolling to the supermarket who tells me that salvation is by faith + works I may disagree and attempt to falsify this idea being a budding apologist.  It is perfectly acceptable to do so (with gentleness and respect of course – 1 Peter 3:15-16) as their position contradicts my own and I do allow their beliefs to endure.

I think the crux of the matter is that all religious faiths are mutually exclusive.  This means that the idea that “all paths lead to God” is logically infeasible.  For instance Taoism is pantheistic, Hinduism polytheistic and Christianity monotheistic. Basically they’re all teaching different things which are irreconcilable with each other.  If you believe A is true and someone else believes B is true you cannot both be correct (although you can both be wrong).  This is also the case when you compare Christianity and Islam (considered to be quite similar) they are not the same at a fundamental level.  Christianity says Jesus died on the cross and Islam says he did not die on the cross, both cannot be correct.  These claims come from religious texts which  claim to be written by men inspired by God but one must be incorrect (Either A or B, not both).  This is a reflection of logic and reality, not intolerance.  Truth cannot contradict itself otherwise it cannot possibly be the truth can it?

Furthermore I would add that anyone that holds an opinion on anything is close-minded to an extent.  Having an opinion usually indicates they have employed reason to get there and eliminated other alternatives as possibilities (as we should – 1 Thessalonians 5:21).  You should still show respect for the others position and remember there is always a chance you could be wrong.

So in conclusion I do not believe that “all paths lead to God” as religions make mutually exclusive truth claims.  Is it logically possible to reconcile Christ’s statement “I am the way and the truth and the life.  No-one comes to the Father except through me.” (John 14:6) with a religion that does not accept Jesus as God incarnate?  To do so you would have to alter them to the degree that either one or both no longer contains its core doctrines.  Respect/tolerance should always be shown to those with different ideals but this does not make all views equal or correct.

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