Several years ago, the local scientific apologetics group I belong to learned that I was involved in doing some pro-life teaching and speaking. As a result, they asked me to give a presentation about how the apologetic case for Christianity in general might relate to making the pro-life case as well. That was an easy one.
We at the Life Training Institute (LTI) deliberately construct our arguments against abortion in a way that they can’t be dismissed by abortion proponents as “just a religious opinion.” We do that by using science and philosophy to show what the unborn is, why it is valuable, and why that makes taking its life a grave moral wrong. Our argument is not in the least bit “religious”; it is a rational and reasoned case that points to the most basic of all human rights — the right to life. The fact that the case we make is perfectly compatible and consistent with what the Bible says is just one more reason to believe the Bible is a reflection of the truth about ultimate reality.
But I digress…
As part of the presentation, and only after we give a reasoned argument for our case, we at LTI give ample warning that we are about to show a 60-second video showing the aftermath of abortion. We do this carefully and compassionately. We warn the audience that the video is graphic and give anyone who wants it a chance to leave the room or cover their eyes before we show it. And then we play this:
The presentation I gave that day was no different, nor was the reaction to it. But several months later, one of my friends from the group told me a story about what happened afterward. He said that he had never seen the argument against abortion presented in quite that way. It had moved him to put up a Facebook post about it with a link to the video. No big deal. But there’s more to the story.
The post drew some attention and discussion. Little did he know that some of that attention was from a European lady whom my friend had never met or spoken to — they both just happened to be bird lovers and members of the same on-line group of folks who shared that interest. The lady was an abortion supporter and the images had horrified her. She was also an atheist.
Because the post had provoked her, she contacted my friend through the bird-lover group to challenge him about posting it. Their back-and-forth discussion lasted for weeks. Eventually, the bird-loving lady not only changed her view on abortion, she was compelled by my friend’s reasoning to reconsider her case against Christianity. By the time my friend told me this story, the European lady had become a Christian and was soliciting my friend’s advice about how to approach her “hard-core atheist” son to invite him to do the same.
All because she saw an image.
I was reminded of this story during the uproar about The Center for Medical Progress’s release of a series of videos documenting the barbarity of Planned Parenthood. The impact of these videos is monumental; so monumental that they, like the videos seen by the European bird lover, have prompted someone like Ruben Navarette (“I Don’t Know If I’m Pro-Choice Anymore” at The Daily Beast website), a 30-year supporter of abortion rights, to challenge himself about his stance on what abortion is and what it does.
Make no mistake, the methods and tactics of the abortion industry have not changed, and neither has the truth content in the arguments we wield against it. What has changed is that the public has been allowed to see exactly what is going on. Seeing injustice has a way of connecting our intellects to our our emotions … and the power in that connection is what compels us to change our behavior.
I would never advocate shoving pictures of aborted children in the face of an unsuspecting bystander on the street. I understand the motivation to do that because of its shock value. But I also understand that the shock value can rebound as anger and dismissal. It is shocking because it’s rude.
I don’t want to be rude. I don’t just want to shock people.
I want to make them understand, through reasoned argumentation, what abortion is and why it’s wrong. And then I want them to see its reality. I want to appeal to their humanity. I want their heads to connect with their hearts to not only change their personal feelings about it, but to motivate them to change the behavior of our society.
I don’t just want to talk about it and I don’t just want to make people look at it.
I want to make it stop.