Guest Post: Gosnell and the Danger of False Thinking
Jim Daly Jim Daly is president and chief executive officer of Focus on the Family, a non-profit organization dedicated to helping families thrive.
- 2013 Oct 24
In my role as the executive director of the Focus Leadership Institute, I try to impart practical life principles to college students. These young men and women enroll because they want to learn how to best serve their families, churches and the culture.
Each semester, we discuss a myriad of things, but if I had to boil it all down, I’d say most of our discussions revolve around two main themes:
- You can’t serve well if your thinking isn’t right
- Right thinking starts with using Scripture as the singular authoritative truth for how we live. As Christians, we must conform our personal intellectual positions to the transcendent teachings of God’s word.
History is full of examples where well-intentioned plans have ultimately hurt people because they weren’t based in truth.
More troublesome, however, are when evil deeds are rationalized away.
It was in 2010 when most of the country first heard the name of Kermit Gosnell and the horrors that went on in the abortion clinic he ran in a downtrodden part of Philadelphia. The abortionist was ultimately convicted of numerous crimes, including three counts of first-degree murder and one count of involuntary manslaughter.
At one point, Philadelphia writer Steve Volk interviewed Gosnell. According to Volk, Gosnell’s story is “worse than we knew—a lesson in how self-righteousness and cold rationalizations blur distinctions between man and monster.”
According to Volk’s e-book, Gosnell defended his heinous actions by suggesting a strong loyalty to the impoverished community he came from.
In Gosnell’s own twisted words: “I was a Christian, and I am still a Christian. And I think the greater sin is for a woman to be forced to give up all her potential. The greater sin is the pain of carrying an unwanted pregnancy to term, and the economic and psychological pain that causes not only the woman, but the ripple effects that has on the rest of her family, and the child, and society.”
What a distorted view of right and wrong! What a tragic example of wrong thinking leading to destruction.
False thinking permeates the culture
It’s fair to say that many abortion-rights advocates have repudiated the actions of Kermit Gosnell. What many haven’t rejected, however, is the thinking that led to his actions. It says:
- Poor people have limited resources
- Raising kids requires resources
- Reduce the number of children born to “solve” the problem
Unfortunately, this rationale is far too common. Absent a Bible-based worldview that upholds the dignity of preborn life, the temptation to see human life in the womb as a burden to our wallets and a limitation to a more comfortable way of life seems to be too much to resist.
Just recently, I was told by a person who identifies as a Christian that I ought to be pro-abortion because “nobody is going to provide resources and education for these poor children once they are born.”
We need to recognize that type of false thinking that helped Gosnell justify his horrendous actions is the same kind that underlies abortion generally as well as population-control measures like one-child policies. Gosnell took that rationale to a shocking extreme, while others prefer to dress up their thinking with politically correct terms.
The end result, however, is still the same: the extermination of human life.
As Christians, we need to stand at the ready to counter false-thinking with God’s truth. That starts with being well-versed in His Word, and in making sure we have a Christ-centered worldview. After all, true social justice can only exist at the junction of love and truth.
Let’s let our orthodoxy guide our orthopraxis, and start with the Scripture as our foundation.