Wednesday, January 2, 2008


In my last post about child-killing in the Bible, I wrote that all the instances of child-killing were in the Old Testament. This is wrong. According to Matthew 2:16 (a Gospel of the New Testament) Herod sought to kill the newborn Messiah, but when Jesus' family gave him the slip, many other innocent children were killed as a result (in a scene reminiscent of God's killing all the first-born Egyptian males in Exodus, just to make sure he killed the Pharaoh's heir).

One other thing I'd like to mention is my thoughts about the following: many Christianity-promoters (especially pro-lifers) or Judaism-promoters may argue that we shouldn't take too much from the fact that there is so much child-killing in the Bible. For one thing, just because God sees fit to kill children in particular instances does not mean that it is not wrong for us to abort children on our own volition. But I think this is failing to give the child-killing references all the weight they deserve. Sure, in a rhetorical "vacuum," where we are only dealing with the text of the Bible, and no argument has been made about it, we really can't say that the Bible says that generically, child-killing is permissible or is holy, simply based on the few instances recorded in the Bible. But I still think it takes away from the weight of the claims about the wrongness of abortion, or the sanctity of human lives or children's lives, when we are not arguing over the text of the Bible only, but are also dealing with the pro-lifers making those kinds of claims (which they state or let-be-assumed are amply backed up in the Bible).

Especially in light of all the Biblical instances of child-killing, if there is a God who really thought abortion was wrong, I think He would make it really clear in the Old Testament that it is taboo, and the writers would give us a hint of it nearby to some of the references to child-killing. Another thing is Matthews's Gospel verse I described in my first paragraph of this post- what, God and Matthew don't think it's wrong at all that all those innocent kids had to die? God couldn't protect them? If their lives are so inviolable and precious, it seems their "murders" despoil the entry of Christ into our world as a human. On the contrary, there is not even an explanation in the Bible of why their deaths were necessary.

So: while I think it's right that the instances of child-killing don't necessarily mean that abortion is permissible from a Christian or Judaic point of view, or that child-killing is not a particularly heinous form of murder, (1) I think the opposite can't be said to be necessarily true either, based on the Bible, (2) more clear condemnations of child-killing and abortion are an outstanding omission in the Bible in light of the pro-lifers' claims, and (3) it makes sense to show these Bible references to the pro-lifers and say, "Account for this."