December 22, 2010 was a very interesting day. On that evening I met with a local pastor who had indicated his purpose in asking for the meeting would be to question me about my worldview.
Although the conversation didn’t seem to have a planned direction some of the topics included: Abortion, Armageddon, and morality.
Abortion. I told him my views on abortion, making it clear that I felt that abortion should not be used as a contraceptive. I told him that I felt abortion was necessary in cases of r&pe, danger to the mother’s life, incest, and if the fetus was obviously deformed or would suffer in total agony during a very short life. Although I did not express one other reason, I also think that abortion should be permitted when the mother and father cannot financially care for a child. In this case though I would prefer the child be given up to adoption. I explained that I did not think late term abortions are moral, nor the procedure of sucking the infants brain out as it is being born.
The only reason he saw abortion as necessary was in one case: danger to the mother’s life. For rape, incest, and deformations no matter what they might be, the baby must be carried to term. I saw this as an absolutists view, one expected of an individual steeped in religious doctrine. I was truly surprised that he did make his one concession to abortion. This is a view some fundamentalists do not share.
As a goal in life I expressed the view that people should help other people. By this I meant that we should all help those in need with food, housing and other needs. I told him that I envisioned a world where no one was hungry or homeless. This of course initiated a response from him asserting that my goal was similar to socialism, in that I wanted to create a utopian society. That’s when I said that his ultimate goals are similar to mine up to a point, which would have ended the need for religion, but that his goal did not end where mine did, in that Armageddon was his ultimate goal. The destruction of humanity and the return of his Lord.
Concerning morality… he stated at one point that Atheists did not have a basis for morality, for God is the source of all morality. We returned to a discussion of abortion, where he asked at what point I felt an individual was human and should not be aborted. I told him that my thoughts on that were that a fetus becomes a human life that should not be aborted at the point where it is able to survive outside the womb without extraordinary measures.
This led to a discussion about cattle, adult humans, and of all things blades of grass. He asked if I could allow the abortion of a fetus, even at conception, then why not casually kill adult humans, If I could make a distinction at the point where they are viable, then how could I allow a cow to be slaughtered for it’s meat. How could I mow the grass, as it is a mature growth.
This pastor, who in all respects seemed an intelligent individual, well-read, also didn’t hesitate to say that he was against euthanasia, stating resolutely that only God can decide when a person is to die. It didn’t matter whether the individual was in abject agony, the suffering must continue until God decides the end has come. I expressed support for euthanasia, explaining that a person who still possesses full control of their mental faculties should be able to exit life with dignity.
Despite our differing views, we had desert and beverage, and parted amiably.