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Saturday, August 13, 2022

What the Bible Really Says About Abortion Might Surprise You

In the days since the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade, which established the constitutional right to abortion, some Christians have cited the Bible to argue that the decision should be either celebrated or mourned. should do. But here’s the problem: This 2,000-year-old text says nothing about abortion.

As a university professor of biblical studies, I am familiar with the faith-based arguments Christians use to support the idea of ​​abortion, whether they are in favor of it or not. Many people assume that the Bible deals with the subject directly, which is not the case.

ancient reference

Abortion was known and practiced in biblical times, although the methods differed greatly from modern ones. For example, the 2nd-century Greek physician Sorenus recommended fasting, bloodletting, vigorous jumping, and heavy lifting as ways to terminate pregnancy.

Soren’s treatise on gynecology acknowledged different schools of thought on the subject. Some physicians forbid the use of any abortion methods. Others allowed them, but not in cases in which they were intended to cover adulterous contact or simply to maintain the good looks of the mother.

In other words, the Bible was written in a world in which abortion was practiced and closely watched. Yet the Hebrew and Greek equivalents of the word “abortion” do not appear in the Old or New Testament of the Bible. That is, the topic is not directly mentioned.

What Does the Bible Say

However, the absence of a clear reference to abortion has not prevented its opponents or supporters from looking to the Bible to support their positions.

Anti-abortion opponents turn to several biblical texts that, taken together, seem to have a value of human life before birth. For example, the Bible opens by describing the creation of humans “in the image of God”: a way of explaining the value of human life, possibly even before people were born. Similarly, the Bible describes several important figures, including the prophets Jeremiah and Isaiah and the Christian apostle Paul, who were called upon for their sacred works since their time in the womb. Psalm 139 claims that God “woven me together in my mother’s belly.”

‘The Creation of Adam’ from the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel in the Vatican, painted by Michelangelo.
GrafikaArtis/Getty Images

However, anti-abortionists aren’t the only ones who can appeal to the Bible for support. Supporters can point to other biblical texts that count as evidence in their favor.

For example, Exodus 21 states that the life of a pregnant woman is more valuable than the life of a fetus. This text describes a scenario in which fighting men attack a pregnant woman and cause her to have an abortion. If there is no harm to the woman other than the abortion, then a monetary fine is imposed. However, if the woman inflicts additional harm, the punishment of the offender is to suffer spousal harm for life.

There are other biblical texts that seem to celebrate the choices women make for their bodies, even in contexts in which such choices would have been socially discarded. The fifth chapter of the Gospel of Mark, for example, describes a woman suffering from a gynecological condition who has constantly bleed her, taking a great risk: she reaches out to touch the cloak of Jesus in the hope that it will heal her. would do, even though touch was believed to cause ritual contamination to a menstruating woman. However, Jesus appreciated her choice and praised her faith.

Similarly, in the Gospel of John, Mary, a follower of Jesus, wastes resources by pouring a full container of expensive ointments at her feet and using her hair to wipe them off – but she sheds light on the social taboo surrounding touching an unrelated person. defends her decision to break up. so meticulously.

beyond the bible

In response to the Supreme Court ruling, Christians on both sides of the partisan divide have appealed to any number of texts to claim that their particular brand of politics is supported by the Bible. However, if they claim that the Bible specifically condemns or approves of abortion, they are skewing the textual evidence to suit their position.

Of course, Christians can develop their own faith-based arguments about modern political issues, whether or not the Bible speaks directly to them. But it is important to recognize that although the Bible was written at a time when abortion was practiced, it never directly addresses the issue.

World Nation News Desk
World Nation News Deskhttps://worldnationnews.com/
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