Dialogues on Life
Dr. Everett PiperDr. Piper is the President of Oklahoma Wesleyan University. Associated with Chuck Colson’s Breakpoint and Centurions programs, Dr. Piper is the author of "Why I am a 'Liberal' and Other Conservative Ideas" http://www.whyiamaliberal.com/. He has also authored "The Wrong Side of the Door: Why Ideas Matter. Piper is a frequent speaker on Christian education, Biblical worldview, and applied apologetics in both regional and national venues. For more information go to www.okwu.edu or go to www.everettpiper.com .
- 2008 Nov 12
Student Question: “Abortion is a complex moral issue…Many things should be considered; not just the mother's health. What about rape? What about incest. What about the plight of ‘unwanted children’?”
Piper Response: As someone who formerly held a similar view to the one you imply in your questions I must say this: You can't argue for any of your positions on rape, incest, support of "unwanted" children, or even the broader concepts of personal choice and human freedom until you first answer this question: ‘What is life and who defines it? Our debate must start here. If you don't first answer this basic question of life then all your presuppositions are empty and your arguments fall short. Why care about any of the issues on your list of injustices if life is subjectively defined and relative to a given power structure, personal preference, or political platform? You see - your indignation over rape, incest, and other such evils betrays some sort of objective understanding of the life and liberty of those people in question. If these victims of injustice have objective rights then why doesn’t every other human being regardless of age, race, gender, and mental capacity enjoy the same?
This is an example of the “First Things” that led me to leave your position behind several years ago. Recognizing my own duplicity, I became disillusioned with the shallow nature of my own arguments. They were worn out and thin. They didn't have intellectual integrity. I couldn't cherry pick which life was worthy of my support and which life wasn't. I couldn't declare righteous indignation over the sexual oppression of women etc. without first admitting that such indignation had to be grounded in a "righteousness" beyond my own self-assurance and intellectual arrogance.
The “diabolical human mind” (M. Scott Peck) calls us to eat again and again of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. The serpent of self tempts us with the flattering worlds “You shall become as God – You can define what is right and wrong and true and false. You no longer need Jehovah to tell you of these things.” But we need to remember this: Worshiping the created (i.e. our own knowledge and our own constructs) rather than the Creator (i.e. His immutable and absolute Logos and Law) always lead to the selfishness and sin of juvenile rebellion rather than the liberty and freedom of a Father’s love.