Monday, February 7, 2011

Linkorama 7/2/11

Back to the blog again after a break enforced by my week on duty. While this week was not as busy as the last one, I was still too preoccupied to get onto the internet. It is rather interesting that it happened right after I posted about my blogging addiction (which some of you noted!!). Well, I guess the break answered my own questions in a way! And thanks for the comments and encouragements. When I've been off the internet for some time, the links are generally a hotch-potch collection. So kindly adjust!

REACTION TO THE VERDICT ON DARA SINGH: Ever since the Supreme Court verdict on Dara Singh was passed, I have been thinking of writing something about it. Then I saw Andi Eicher's beautiful reflection on all that has happened and realised he put most of what I was thinking into words in a better way than I could have done myself. Thanks Andi. And thanks to Mrs. Gladys Staines for exemplifying for all of us true Christian love and forgiveness. Something very rare in today's world.

ERIC LIDDELL BIOGRAPHY: Tim Challies has posted a biography of one of my childhood heroes. This part speaks of his early days and the events made famous in Chariots of Fire. I'm really looking forward to the second part which will hopefully tell the less known story of his life - as a missionary in China.

ANGIE SMITH'S STORY: Deepa's post reminded me of the story of Angie Smith (wife of Todd Smith, lead singer of the band Selah) who had to decide about whether to abort her fourth daughter who was diagnosed to have life threatening health issues in the womb. There are many stories of parents who have chosen as she did and whose children now remind them every day of the right choice they made.

THE CASE AGAINST ABORTION: There is an organised and researched methodology of replying to questions on abortion, which is very useful in any debate on the matter and I thought I would link to this post of mine again as we were on the topic. As I was searching for it, I found I had posted quite a few links on this topic - and some useful information too. (Forgive the plugging!)

WHAT YOU MAY HEAR AT AN ABORTION CLINIC: Recently, the blogosphere has been up in arms against Planned Parenthood, one of the premier abortion clinic networks in the US after Lila Rose's organisation published the following videotape. In it, the manager of a clinic discusses how to 'help' a pimp who is purportedly running a sex ring with underage girls. It is quite disgusting. But it gives a good idea of the way our minds get warped as we seek to condone and explain this crime of killing babies. (HT: Z)


  1. That was a heart rending account by Angie Smith - my heart goes out to her family and I'm very sorry for their loss. As doctors, we have to deal with death on a fairly regular basis and it is quite difficult speaking to the family about it. When children are involved, it is a particularly harrowing experience and I think it becomes worse when you become a parent as you can empathise with them and you imagine yourself in that horrifying position and shudder at the mere thought of it.

    While I agree with the fundamental principle that abortion is wrong and should not be condoned for the most part, I am also of the belief that there are situations where it is a necessary evil, rape victims and risk to maternal life being cases in point. Now, to answer some of the points you put across in your other post.

    IS THE UNBORN CHILD HUMAN?: Maybe a tad less than human, according to the Bible.

    Exodus 21:22-25 And if men struggle with each other and strike a woman with child so that she has a miscarriage, yet there is no [further] injury, he shall surely be fined as the woman’s husband may demand of him; and he shall pay as the judges decide. But if there is any [further] injury, then you shall appoint as a penalty life for life, eye for eye, tooth for tooth, hand for hand, foot for foot, burn for burn, wound for wound, bruise for bruise.

    Sounds fair, does it? If the baby dies, you get a pay-off. If the mother dies, you kill the offender. This places a higher value on the life of the mother than on that of the unborn baby, as the unborn child is not considered to be fully human yet. Do you commiserate with this view? Or do you agree that there is a possibility that the Bible could be fallacious? Sophie's choice, eh?

    In your own words, "Scientifically, the unborn child fulfills all the criteria for a living organism - like growth, response to stimuli, metabolism, and so on - from the moment of conception." Scientifically, I can think of one other creation of God that satisfies all of the above criteria. We call it Cancer. Now, not for a minute am I suggesting that we compare the unborn child to a cancer, so please don't try to use that against me. I only state this for argument's sake.

    THE RAPE ARGUMENT: Neither you nor I can even begin to understand the mental anguish of a woman who has been raped, so let's not rush to pass judgement on what she should do with the unwanted pregnancy. Excuse me but there is no logical end to this argument. A rape victim is exactly that - a victim. There is no justice in further victimising a victim. She has every right to live the rest of her life as she had hoped and dreamt. Several rape victims decide to carry on with the pregnancy and bring up these children as they ordinarily would and kudos to them. But this is a decision they should be free to make without the pressures of the anti-abortion lobby condemning her for the crime of executing a child that the Bible considers to be unworthy of saving. And I won't accept that hogwash about everything being God's will. If you really believed it was, then so are cancers and we shouldn't be trying our darndest to get rid of them. We should just accept it as God's will and as our destiny and allow it to guide us down the lighted path to the land of evermore and blah de blah de blah..............

    Frankly AJM, with all due respect, I consider the comparison of the unborn child of a rape victim with that of an unruly toddler or an autocratic boss to be flippant, to say the least. Is that all you consider her angst to be? You're not just comparing apples and oranges mate, you're comparing apples and snakes. A dangerous path to tread.

    - Continued in next post (due to lack of space).........

    - The Black Mamba

  2. Having said all of that, I am basically against abortion except for the above mentioned reasons and for the occasional exceptional circumstance. India probably has the worst record in this regard and the reasons for the majority of the abortions in the country are deplorable.

    An anonymous poster on one of your previous posts on the subject had a few compelling arguments that I agree with. Let's see if he revisits the topic to pass on some of his wisdom. I could do with some support!

    The Planned Parenthood video gave me the shivers. I'm sure there are people like this in the world - but there are also people who are kind and just. You cannot judge all of mankind just because of one horrible person like this. After all, one swallow does not a summer make.

    - The Black Mamba

  3. Hey Mo!

    And now to address my favourite bete noire! Dear Black Mamba, It seems that the only time I get on the net is to address you comments! It's been really busy out here, so forgive the delay! Well, as always, you have raised some really important issues. And as always, reading them is really good for me, as it makes me think more about my own faith and what I believe in. So do keep them coming. I am beginning to enjoy these discussions perhaps even more than the blog itself!! Let me try and address some of the issues you have raised. And do keep in mind, that with hardly any experience in Apologetics, these thoughts may be fallacious at best and heretical at worst. I wish I had some time to research deeper into some of these things, but time is not on my hand right now. Perhaps (and I really hope) later!

    First, regarding your question about the Bible. Now in my limited understanding, I believe that all that is written in the Old Testament needs to be seen in the light of the new covenant made possible for humanity by Jesus' death and resurrection. So there are many things in the old testament that were part of life when everything was under the law and the only way to be saved was to follow everything to the letter. If you read the whole chapter which you quoted (and some other passages from the Old Testament as well), you will find that there are many things that present day believers have set aside. Jesus Himself made some stark departures from the letter of the law during His time on earth. Because He brought a new way for man to access God through His life on earth, and because we are no longer saved by our works, but by faith, we need to always remember this, especially when we read confusing passages from the books of law in the Old Testament. So it's not really a Sophie's choice. Rather, it is a deeper understanding of God the Trinity made possible by His incarnation on earth as a lowly human. So as humankind begins to understand more of the true nature of God with time and with the relationship made possible by Christ, some things that were written take on a new light. With our limited understanding, we will still make wrong interpretations, which will become clearer as we progress in the relationship. In the 1930s it was perfectly normal to discriminate against Jews in Germany and blacks in America. Now it is considered an evil. I believe the time will come when mankind will look on abortion in the same way we look at the Holocaust today. Then it was deemed acceptable to kill the unwanted specimens of humanity in the cause of creating a perfect race. Today, it is deemed acceptable to kill unwanted babies for many reasons. I believe this thinking will change. I hope this answers your question. Of course, this is my understanding with no theological background. I may be wrong, and a person skilled in Apologetics will be a better person to answer questions like this.

    As you said, bringing in cancer was just for argument sake. It's a weak one, though and I will not dwell too much on it. But logically, there is at least one major difference between an embryo and cancer - pluripotency. A cancer cell will always remain a cancer cell. Not so with an embryo.

    Regarding rape, as I have stated before, it is a terrible thing and not one to be discussed lightly. But then, two wrongs never make a right. And if I truly follow a God of love, I will be able to show love to the victim rather than any form of judgement. Her decision is her own and whatever she decides, my response should always be of love and never of judgement. But that does not change my own personal opinion that killing the unborn baby may not be the best option. If I love enough, I will provide her with other options that will be easier for her. But I repeat, her decision is her own and there will only be a love response whatever it is.

    (continued in next comment)

  4. Finally, I must say that all these things are decisions that need to be made personally by each person. I have my own ideas clear. But may I humbly suggest that there is a dichotomy in what you are saying. Either abortion is wrong or it is right. The moment we begin to place conditions, then it is likely that we are tampering with our idea of it being wrong or right. If we make our decision based on the knowledge that it is essentially wrong, then in most cases there will be a better option than abortion. One which easily comes to mind are the many parents who are unable to have children naturally. One couple and a baby will be blessed by keeping adoption as an option rather than abortion. What do you think?

  5. My dear AJM, you don't need any experience in Apologetics, you are a natural! It appears to be an innate quality.

    I don't understand how a Holy book becomes archaic. Granted that the Old Testament was formulated a long time ago, yet it cannot be denied that it is the word of God, just as much as the New Testament is. If I'm not mistaken, the Ten Commandments are part of the Old Testament. That still seems to hold good in spite of the new order taking over. So why such a drastic change associated with the birth of Christ? Did God change his mind about how men should live and what their values should be because He sent His son to earth? Did He decide that His own ideas were antiquated and passé and that it was time to republish? A kind of New Age religion, maybe? And did this happen because man's social circumstances changed? I'm guessing that with the emergence of Facebook and the internet, a new Holy Book is in order. One can only wait with patience and bated breath.......... After all, one can never say what the new rules are going to be like......

    Can you tell me what the New testament says about abortion? To my knowledge and in one word - nothing, zilch, nada, diddly squat. Sorry, got carried away, that's more than one word.

    Correction - the killing of Jews in Nazi Germany was NOT considered normal even in the 1930's. Only one madman thought it normal and his lackeys blindly obeyed, out of fear and respect. Eventually they started to adopt his principles. The rest of the world still thought that antisemitism was heinous and deplorable - hence World War II and the Nuremberg trials (yes, I know that WWII was not directly related to antisemitism but then the killings were only discovered during the war).

    The religious argument against abortion is pluripotency? I don't think most people can even spell the word. Certainly not the ancients. But your point is well taken, although I don't think it really clarifies the distinction between a foetus and a child.

    Now it's time for a bad analogy. You wouldn't hesitate to break an egg for your breakfast, but would you kill a chick, even if it tasted really good? That's the difference between an embryo and a child. Sorry but that popped into my head and I had to tell someone. Looks like you drew the short straw.

    As for the dichotomy in my statement, life is never entirely black or white - it is a multitude of shades of grey. There are exceptions to every rule. For instance, it is universally agreed that lying is wrong. We say that to each other and teach it to our kids. But white lies are still a part and parcel of everybody's life. We lie to our children to keep them happy and to protect them from the harsh realities of life. This is just an example but the same principle applies to every facet of life. There are dichotomies everywhere. That is why I added those caveats to my statement about where abortion should be allowed.

    Since you have so much love in you, please could you send some my way? I could do with some more. Lol.

    And one more request - 'bete noire' has a negative connotation to it. Believe me when I say that we have been friends for a long time and hopefully will always continue to be so. I would like a better and more positive designation please. ;-)

    - The Black Mamba

  6. After reading the comment exchange between the two of you, I was so so tempted to say this... and I'm giving in to to temptation.


    AJM, with friends like these, you certainly don't need enemies!! LOL.

    TBM, please don't feel bad about what I just said.

  7. @Deepa - Being friends does not mean we always need to agree with each other. It is only because I am his friend that I challenge his viewpoint - to try to make him a better person, as I am sure he would do the same to me. Only a good friend would do this, an enemy would stand by and silently await the inevitable fall. I would rather act as his conscience than as a 'Yes man'. God knows he has enough of those already.

    I've mentioned before that a lot of what I say here will not go down well. I'm sure most people who read this blog will be happier if, with every comment I went - "Praise the Lord and we shall all revel in His glory" but I'm sorry, that's just not who I am.

    It is terribly easy to agree with everything somebody says. Easy, and a bit escapist. It requires individuality and moxie to raise your hand and say, "I don't think so".

    These debates only came about because these are controversial topics and I'm pretty sure AJM knows exactly what he is doing. Controversial topics attract controversy! This is AJM's space and if he ever were to think that I'm going overboard, all he has to do is say so and I'll be out of here quicker than you can say "Black Mam....."

    Deepa, feel free to question my views but please don't judge my friendship. AJM is a person I greatly respect and love and I wouldn't do anything to jeopardise that.

    - The Black Mamba

  8. You know TBM, I was looking for that verse in the Bible that talks about a good friend being like the thing that sharpens a sword or something like that. Basically meaning that a good friend is someone who keeps you from getting rusty.

    clearly, you are one of those! :)

    I made a bookmark of that verse to give my friend once. Right now I just don't know where to find it in the Bible.

  9. Proverbs 27:17 - "As iron sharpens iron; so a man sharpens the countenance of his friend"

    - The Black Mamba