You're putting words into my mouth. You might try actually listening, instead. That way you won't attribute to me things I never said.
Abortion is murder. That is a factHow is it a fact, and not a judgment?
BTW, I agree fully that abortion is murder, but I don't state this as a matter of fact. I admit that this is a judgment based on my Orthodox value system.
So, for you, Orthodoxy is not factual, but just one system of values among many in the marketplace of ideas, to be arbitrated, in this case, by secular legal bodies.
Or perhaps you could say things that make sense.
If I don't make sense, the best thing to do is ask questions to elicit from me an answer you can comprehend. Reading into my statements what you want to see is not the way to accomplish this.
So explain for us: why is the statement that abortion is murder a value judgment, and not a fact?
That abortion is the killing of a living being is a fact that cannot be denied; something was alive and growing before the abortion and is now dead as a result of the abortion. To call that living being a human person, however, is a judgment based on what we define to be a human person. The Church gives us that definition by stating that human life begins at conception, so those who follow the Orthodox Way cannot call the victim of abortion anything less than a human person. We will even say that those who disagree with us by calling the abortion victim something less than human (e.g., a fetus, a blob of flesh, etc.) are just plain wrong in that they don't recognize the image of Christ in that person. However, this is something that cannot be verified except through the eyes of faith. That an unborn child is a human person cannot be proven empirically, hence I do not call this statement a fact
; to me, it is a statement of faith borne from our discernment of the image of Christ in the unborn human child--a value judgment, you might say.
Likewise with calling abortion murder... What is the term "murder"? What does it mean? How do we use the term? We don't call just any act of human killing human murder. Sometimes it's an accident. Sometimes it's performed in self-defense; sometimes without malice aforethought and without premeditation, which our legal code has branded "manslaughter". So what distinguishes murder from just any killing of a human person? The act of killing must match up with our definition of "murder", a definition that in itself makes "murder" a value-laden word. We must judge the facts of the case, discern the motives of the killer, and determine whether all the evidence we've reviewed shows that the act of killing matches our definition of "murder". Once we've done all this, the ultimate verdict of "murder" cannot but be a judgment. The only fact
that can be proclaimed from all this is that we judged
the killer to have committed murder.
Having said all this, I am an Orthodox Christian who strives only to see the world and everything in it as the Church sees it. The Church has always recognized that human life begins at conception, which makes abortion no less than the taking of a human life. I recognize also that the Church has traditionally judged abortion to be murder, and I don't disagree--abortion requires premeditation and some level of gross disregard for the sanctity of human life, which matches my definition of murder. As such, I also call abortion murder. But there's no way of verifying empirically that abortion is murder, since "murder" is itself a value-laden word that connotes harsh judgment of the crime. This is why I call the statement that abortion is murder a judgment
and not a fact
How is this distinction meaningful?
As a way of recognizing when I am actually judging someone and when I am merely proclaiming fact. You may disagree, but I see the Gospel proclaiming very clearly that we are not to judge other persons wantonly.
What is your criteria for determining factual statements versus value judgments?
I think I explained that above.
Do you really believe in such a distinction,
Yes, I do.
or did you concoct it on the fly out of some burning need for polemical ammunition?
You say that you consider abortion to be murder- in so doing, how are you not thereby judging everyone who commits abortion to be a murderer?
If my belief that abortion is murder tacitly implies that those who commit abortion are therefore murderers, then so be it. I refuse to give voice to that implication, however, because I don't see how calling an abortion provider a murderer does anything but fan the flames of condemnation in myself and others. I would rather point out how the abortion provider is committing murder and call him to repentance.